A U.S. Marine from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit looks through his gun sights during a patrol in the town of Garmser in Helmand Province of Afghanistan, Sunday, July 13, 2008. Some 2,200 Marines, who have been deployed since late April, moved into the town of Garmser to sweep out insurgents. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)
Michael Brendan Dougherty. The Week: America is losing its longest war
Eight years ago, Barack Obama premised his foreign policy on the idea that the Iraq War was a distraction from the real task at hand in Afghanistan. Anyone think he has completed the task there?
Obama himself isn't so sure. In the past month, he announced a further drawdown of American troops in Afghanistan, from 9,800 to 8,400. It was an alteration of his plan to keep just 5,500 troops there. It seems he wants to keep just enough troops to prevent a disaster on his watch, but just few enough to look like he's living up to his promise of finishing the job.
But it is becoming clearer by the day that America is losing the longest war in its history. After it removed the Taliban from government 15 years ago, the Taliban is recapturing larger parts of the country, making governance of the nation's far-flung regions from Kabul impossible, and doing the most violence it has in years. Afghanistan's civilian casualty rates this year are near record levels.
What was it all for?
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WNU Editor: The war is escalating .... Thousands flee fierce fighting in Afghanistan's Helmand (AFP), and even the U.S. is admitting that their air campaign is failing .... Airstrikes Barely Holding Off Taliban in Helmand, Afghan Officials Say (New York Times). The trend lines are definitely not good.