It isn’t just that we showed up in their back yard one day, armed to the teeth, and stayed for 10, now 11 years.It wasn’t just the kicking of doors, the killing of people, sometimes innocent, sometimes not, dead nonetheless. But it wasn’t just the death. By then they were used to death.
Mostly they just didn’t understand.
We showed up in 2001 and still, almost a decade later, they didn’t even know the catalyst to our arrival, the heavy hearted burden we’ve all carried since 911.
Destruction we’ve wreaked, tooling around with our multi-million dollar machines, not just on their country, but on our own economy. All according to bin Laden’s plan. He’s dead now, but we’re still bleeding.
And when the havoc comes to a close, we present our western government in a box, nice little bow on top, consolation prize, to a tribal people who still find “centralized government” to be as a foreign as our language.
Then McChrystal goes on his orchestrated little PR tirade, stamping around Afghanistan like a loud snot nosed kid in a Wal-Mart parking lot, Michael Hastings in tow, a patient mother, thinking ‘wait till I get home.’
One day I found kids playing soccer in a huge hole that was supposed to be the basement of some building, an unfinished project. At least they found use for it, unlike the massive Olympic pool the Russians built atop a hill that overlooks Kabul. Skeletal, empty, a danger for kids.
We should have learned from the Russians.
“What’s your message for Obama?” I ask one contractor.
“Pay attention to who you’re giving money to. You give it to corrupt people,” he says.
I don’t blame the patrolling troops, or the operators training Afghan soldiers (often at unforeseeable risk), they’ve remained resolved through and through. They’ve pushed the Taliban back, certainly, and adequately trained security forces to subjective operational standards.
How can we win their hearts, when our hearts are no longer in it?
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