After almost 9 years, the US death toll in Afghanistan reached 1000 just before the Memorial Day weekend.
KABUL, Afghanistan – More U.S. military deaths in the last 10 months of the Afghan war than in the first five years of the conflict. More boots on the ground than in Iraq.
As the U.S. military death toll in the Afghan conflict reached the 1,000 mark, a fight that has become "Obama's war" now faces its greatest challenge — a high-risk campaign to win over a hostile population in the Taliban's southern heartland.
More casualties are expected when the campaign kicks into high gear this summer. The results may determine the outcome of a nearly nine-year conflict that has become the focus of America's fight against Islamist militancy.
The 1,000th U.S. military death occurred in a roadside bombing Friday — just before the Memorial Day weekend when America honors the dead in all its wars.
America's fight against Islamist militancy? Didn't this used to be called the War On Terror?
What other abstract nouns could we make war on? How about a war on Los Angeles Laker basketball supremacy? Or a war on the lack of Facebook privacy? Or a war on Chinese currency rate obstinacy? Or a war on crude oil leakage? These are wars I could support.
But let's go further. How about a war on Human Cruelty? That would certainly subsume the fight against Islamist militancy. In fact, let's expand that war, let's escalate it to a war on Everything Humans Do that doesn't conform with the Golden Rule—
- Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful
Thus we would declare war on anyone who treats others in a way contrary to how we ourselves would like to be treated. Unfortunately, this immediately leads to a contradiction. If we imprison or—God Forbid!— shoot someone for breaking the Golden Rule, we have no doubt broken the Golden Rule. Oh, well—I gave it my best shot here. The Golden Rule is unenforceable!
But let's get back to the war on Islamist militancy. Why just Islamist militancy? Why not all militancy? No can do. We're thwarted again because that would obviously include a war on American militancy, which we all know would be completely inappropriate because our militancy is Good, whereas Islamist militancy is Bad.
Speaking of Good Militancy versus Bad Militancy, the UN calculates that there were more civilian casualties in Afghanistan in 2009 than there were in 2008.
KABUL, 13 January 2010 (IRIN) - Armed conflict in Afghanistan is taking an increasing toll on civilians, according to figures released by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).
At least 5,978 civilians were killed or injured in 2009, UNAMA said in a report entitled Annual Report on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict 2009.
“UNAMA Human Rights [unit] recorded a total of 2,412 civilian deaths between 1 January and 31 December 2009. This figure represents an increase of 14 percent on the 2,118 civilian deaths recorded in 2008,” said the report released on 13 January 2010...
The conflict has also destroyed infrastructures and livelihoods, displaced communities, and eroded the quality and availability of basic services in the country, [the report] said.
This situation has been getting serious lately—
KABUL, May 31, 2010 -- U.S. General Stanley McChrystal issued reprimands and admonishments to six officers found responsible for the killings of 21 civilians traveling in three minibuses that were mistaken for a convoy of rebel fighters and shot to pieces by an airstrike earlier this year.
The U.S. probe laid blame on special forces in Uruzgan province, along with Air Force personnel operating out of Creech Air Force base in Nevada, in a summary of findings issued Saturday.
An officer described the incident in the southern province of Uruzgan as one of the most "egregious" mistakes made by coalition forces in the past year, and not just because of the high death toll.
In fact, we've made so many "egregious" mistakes lately that the mounting civilian casualties (CivCas) threaten to undermine the entire war effort according to Commanding General Stanley McChrystal—
BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan — Civilian casualties inflicted by coalition forces are on the rise in Afghanistan and threaten to undo the entire war effort, according to Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, senior U.S. and NATO commander here.
“Because of CivCas [civilian casualties], I think we have just about eroded our credibility here in Afghanistan,” McChrystal said in a quote attributed to him in a PowerPoint presentation by Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Hall, McChrystal’s senior enlisted adviser, during a May 20 conference of about 50 command sergeants major and other senior enlisted troops here.
“The constant repeat of CivCas is now so dangerous that it threatens the mission.”
The "mission" is now threatened. And what is that mission again? Why, it's a war against Islamist militancy of course!