My baby brother, Gomez, is on his way to Afghanistan for a year-long deployment (after which he passes the baton to my other younger brother, Vincenzo). Another year away from his family, another year worrying about the well-being of the young soldiers he'll be commanding.
To me, the main tragedy of Afganistan is that the United States government did not do nearly enough to help the population after using them as proxies in the Cold War. We armed them, supported Islamic fanatics who went over there to wage war (Osama Bin Laden among them), we trained them how to fight a superpower, and then forgot about them until we were reminded of them in horrendous fashion on September 11, 2001. Even post 9/11, the U.S. government decided to engage proxies, and became embroiled in a war that had nothing to do with Sunni Islamic fundamentalist extremists. Twenty-one years after the Soviet withdrawal, the U.S. has soldiers fighting in this dirt-poor failed nation.
When will our leaders learn that they are not playing with Risk pieces, but with actual human lives, American as well as Afghan?