A friend and new dad once told me he was fighting in Afghanistan so his son never would have to. This was in 2011. We have sixteen years to go.
Afghanistan eats bombs. It eats rockets, too, and bullets, mortars, IEDs, RPGs, souls. Its hunger is immediate and insatiable, and while thrashing for more, it uncaringly kills men, women, children, foreigner, and local. Who taught this monster to crave flesh and gunpowder? We weren't the first--a history of conquest and cruelty map across the mountains and deserts--but we feed it, and in doing so only strengthen this beast.
Helmand has begun the long slide. One by one, the districts are going. There is little positive to take away from the recent events as southern Afghanistan begins to fall apart again. It makes me wonder at the entire effort--what was the point? There were some fundamental problems with the scheme to bring governance and... Continue Reading →
The Helmand Province I remember is one of dust storms and heat, danger and heroism, and--in the end--wasted effort. Only a few weeks ago, we acknowledged that loss by fully withdrawing from a province we barely understood and never controlled. This has been weighing on my mind considerably, especially during the build up to Veterans'... Continue Reading →
Six months ago, I returned from Afghanistan. I had been there as part of the civilian-military effort to build a government and deliver security, rule of law, and development to that dangerous corner of the world. I was elated at first, happy to be home safe and sound from the harsh desert of Helmand Province. ... Continue Reading →