Sad milestone of war


The war in Afghanistan goes along unnoticed unless there is bad news, which is the only kind of news to emerge. The 2,000th death of a U.S. soldier in the 11- year- old war put Afghanistan back on the front pages on Monday. The war struck home locally in August when the combat death of Army Private Michael DeMarsico of North Adams contributed to the grim march toward 2,000.

The milestone carried added significance because it came during an exchange of gunfire with Afghan soldiers, allegedly America's ally. Insider attacks on Americans by Afghan soldiers or police, often trained and armed by Americans, or insurgents disguised in their uniforms, is a relatively new and demoralizing phenomenon. This year, 52 American or NATO troops have been killed in this fashion.

America went into Afghanistan in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, to kill or capture Osama bin Laden - mission accomplished - and disrupt al-Qaida, which is a far larger and more dangerous presence today in Yemen. The U.S. mission there no longer exists and 2014 is too far off for the planned withdrawal of our troops. The last straw should have come years ago, but the murders of our troops by the people they are trying to help surely must be the last straw when it comes to American involvement in our longest war.


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