4,000 Days at War in Afghanistan

We continue to slog along in an unwinnable war in Afghanistan. There are many questions why we persist in this futile exercise.

Someone has calculated that today, September 19, 2012, is the 4,000th day of the beginning of the War in Afghanistan, since the bombing began October 7, 2001.

Except for isolated demonstrations, including one this afternoon from 5-6 p.m. at the Lake Street bridge in Minneapolis, there will be little attention paid to this anniversary.

One of the few newspaper articles I have kept for posterity is one from October 8, 2001: Afghanistan Oct. 7 2001

This is a short article, simply describing the results of a poll of Americans at the time about going to War. It is worth reading. If you don’t care to open it: succinctly, 94% of Americans approved of the bombing of Afghanistan for whatever rationale they might have had for the action.

For a politician to be against the war in 2001 would have been almost certain political suicide.

I was one of the 6% who, had I been asked, would have disapproved of the bombing in 2001.

My opinion wasn’t based on being anti-war, then, though it was that singular event that launched my subsequent activist life for the years since.

As a military veteran myself, in the Army at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, in a unit that was mobilized for possible action, I had no altruistic attitudes.

Very simply, on that dark day in 2001, I could see absolutely no long term good coming out of attacking a country, Afghanistan, whose only ‘sin’ was harboring an isolated bunch of terrorists who were soon to become enshrined in our political conversation as “al Qaeda” (which, to my knowledge, is simply an Arabic term, al-qa’ida: “the base”).

October 8, 2001, was a very lonely time to be against War, I can attest.

Only about one of twenty Americans agreed with me, and most thought there was going to be a long war, and were okay with the idea and (I suppose) thought that we’d “win” something or other.

Not long after, of course, our sights shifted to Iraq, a place which had nothing to do with 9-11-01.

Of course, our futile exercise in supposedly attempting to eliminate evil in the world is succeeding only in slowly destroying ourselves.

“The Base” has to be pleased.

I probably won’t change anybodies mind, but take a bit of time today to consider a few numbers related to that number 4,000 (my apologies for any math errors):

2,977 — the number of deaths on 9-11-01 (including citizens of over 90 countries, but excluding the 19 hijackers, none of whom were Afghan)
2,686 — the number of days of War on President George W. Bush’s watch
1,314 — the number of days of War on President Barack Obama’s watch

Nov. 9, 2009 — the approximate date where we’d been at war for 2,977 days: one day of war per 9-11-01 casualty.

There is no prospect of ever “winning” the war against terrorism, or Afghanistan yet we persist in our fantasy for all the assorted excuses we might have. There is no sane politician that will argue that we must end war now, or ever.

The fault is not the politicians (unless we extend the definition of “politician” to include ourselves, each and every one of us.)

There is no truer example of the truth of Gandhi’s words “we must be the change we wish to see in the world”.

Start where you’re at, as an individual, today, now.

A good place to begin to focus is this Friday, September 21, the International Day of Peace. There are numerous links. Here is the one that is at the top of the google search list.

Personally, I’ll be over in New Richmond WI, witnessing 14 year old Eric Lusardi’s becoming an Eagle Scout (the public ceremony is at 4:00 p.m., New Richmond Community Commons. Part of the ceremony will be dedication of a Peace Site.

Eric exemplifies Gandhi, and I think he’s an exemplary example of youth for our future as a people and a planet.

For some personal inspiration for Peace, visit A Million Copies, here.

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Dick Bernard September 25, 2012 at 11:21 PM
To Eric John Coffman. Your comment caused me to look the info up. Up until post WWII it was the War Department, which basically meant the Army and its offshoots like Army Air Force, etc. I believe it was 1949 when the end of the War Department came - at least the name.
Dick Bernard September 25, 2012 at 11:22 PM
Great to hear from you, Don. Those college days are ever more long ago and far away. In a couple of months it will be 51 years since I finished my last class at good old VCSTC. Time flies.
Greg Dasovic September 25, 2012 at 11:44 PM
War, huh! What is it good for? Absolutly nothing. I Corps - RVN Nam Vet 67 - 68
Thomas September 26, 2012 at 03:24 AM
Bring everyone home.
Markus September 26, 2012 at 12:45 PM
Dick writes: "There is no sane politician that will argue that we must end war now, or ever." There is at least one. http://www.ontheissues.org/2012/Ron_Paul_War_+_Peace.htm There are many on the right that are now admitting they were naively duped into believing we must fight the ambiguous and undefinable "war on terror". There is a strong anti-war movement brewing in the Republican party ranks among the grass roots. Politicians are beginning to feel pressure to change or at least rethink their positions on war. Unfortunately, the GOP establishment (AKA "the CFR Oligarchy") is feverishly working to stamp out any grass roots influence in the party. A truism has been circulating for the last few years and has become popular among the libertarian anti-war folks. "War is the health of the state". Until we realize the state (particularly the US government) thrives on war, not much will change. The people need to recognize this and rise up before it is too late!


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