Losing the War’s Beginning
The ninth year of the US war in Afghanistan began with an apology. “We deeply regret this tragic loss of life and will continue to work. . . to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”
The apology wasn't to the people of Afghanistan, for invading back in 2001. Or for the loss of civilian life in reprisal for civilian loss of life, on American soil for which no Afghans were responsible.
The apology was to Pakistan, a country where we're not even officially at war. General Petraeus and ambassador Anne W. Patterson apologized for NATO shooting and killing Pakistani border guards.
And amidst the Pakistan news, the papers of record failed. The New York Times and the Washington Post failed even to mark the anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan. Instead, the Post ran a story titled “Despite rising doubts at home, troops in one corner of Afghanistan see signs of progress” under their ongoing heading “Obama's War.”
And so it is that the war begun on October 7, 2001 has quickly lost its beginning, even as it's losing its end. And its borders.
And so it is that anti-war groups struggle to keep up any kind of pressure. War seems simply to be the way it is. We have always been at war in Afghanistan. We will always be at war in Afghanistan. Or maybe Pakistan. Or both. Always.