Commentary By Ron Beasley
And it's one, two, three,
What are we fighting for ?
Don't ask me, I don't give a damn,
Next stop is Vietnam;
And it's five, six, seven,
Open up the pearly gates,
Well there ain't no time to wonder why,
Whoopee! we're all gonna die.
Country Joe and the Fish
Those of us who are old enough to remember Vietnam - yes that includes me, although I was never in Vietnam I was in the military from 1968 to 1971, can easily replace Vietnam with Afghanistan in the lyrics above.
The real scandal in Afghanistan isn�t that Americans are getting killed. The real scandal is that we don�t know why we�re there. President Obama�s goal of disrupting, dismantling and defeating Al Qaeda has been largely accomplished. The Afghan government has a sufficiently large enough military to prevent a total Taliban takeover, and with a political reconciliation there is every likelihood that Al Qaeda will be denied access to Afghanistan.
Tragic as the loss of those soldiers is, without a clear strategy articulated by our leadership, it�s difficult to say what grander purpose they served. Rescuing other troops is a noble mission, and those that died in service to this mission all deserve our profound thanks. But if the war they�re fighting has no purpose and no definable end state, we should be questioning why they have to perform such heroic acts in the first place.
We should � we must � mourn the dead. But after we mourn, we should also ask why they�re being asked to sacrifice so much for a war that�s being propelled solely by inertia. The war is as incomprehensible post-crash as it was pre-crash. Despite our grief at this loss, our questions about why we�re there remain the same.
What Joshua is saying is we have accomplished the mission so why are we still there? For an answer we turn again to Country Joe:
Come on Wall Street, don't be slow,
Why man, this is war au-go-go
There's plenty good money to be made
By supplying the Army with the tools of its trade,
But just hope and pray that if they drop the bomb,
They drop it on the Viet Cong.
Different decade, different enemy but same purpose - the military industrial complex is making a lot of money. We really should have listened to this guy:
I agree with James Joyner:
It�s an age-old cliche that we should honor the fallen by ensuring that the didn�t die in vain. To the extent that this motivates their comrades, it�s a great part of the warrior code. But if the fight is unwinnable�or has been as close to won as we�re likely to get for years�it�s also a recipe for getting more good men killed.
So it's not just us dirty f**king hippies anymore.