Forgetting the Boys in Afghanistan
Ah, the American soldier in Afghanistan. We don't know why he's there. We don't know when he's coming home. We don't know what he's doing right now, and we won't make too much noise if he dies.
It's the dollar store of wars; cheap life, cheap death.
And all of it without those Vietnam-era protests that made American rich people scared that they might never again be able to start a purposeless war.
Yeah, there's 66,000 American rap and country and heavy metal fans over there in Afghanistan, humping it through the brush, trying to keep their testicles attached to their lower bodies even as their images fade from American television like last year's reality star. Kim Kardashian's ass gets more press than some 19-year-old rendered legless by a roadside bomb. And why not? A blind man can find Kardashian's ass, but a wizard couldn't find that kid's legs. If you can't see it, it ain't there.
And it might, it just might be that, in a year or so, we can have as few as 3,000 to 15,000 troops in Afghanistan. So says the Obama administration, which is as uncomfortable with war as George Bush the younger was with peace.
Imagine what it will be like to be one of the 3,000 left behind in Afghanistan to defend that country from its relentlessly medieval interpretation of the Quran. Hell, they could all get killed and, if there were a baseball players strike, it might be days before anyone in America knew.
Three thousand people in Afghanistan, each and every one of them a "hero" gone to put a boot in someone's ass, as the song says. There are towns of 3,000 where they don't even have a cellphone store.
No one is ever going to tell us we "lost" the war in Afghanistan, not the way they told us we lost in Vietnam. That's good. That's peace with honor, or at least peace with the eyes closed tighter than a dead man's.
No one is ever going to tell us anything. The proud vets can return to unemployment or to three shifts a week tending bar at Applebee's or to welfare or to crack cocaine. Dollar store America has a lot of stuff to do that's not too much better than doing nothing.
The lucky ones will get to be cops or postal workers (if that's still a job), and they can tell vague, disjointed stories about the big push to nowhere.
If anyone's listening.
They're out there tonight, Ernesto and Mikey and Antwan and some guy they call "Tiny," American soldiers patrolling some scrap of road that might as well be 20 miles away and facing in the other direction because no one is sure who's holding what piece of ground or if the mission has been accomplished.
And they don't show up on television very much and that "embedded" crap is pretty much over now that the reporters have figured out being embedded with Uncle Sam's orphans won't make you famous.
And the yellow ribbons are fading on the car bumpers, and the flags are gone from the highway overpasses.
A year or two from now, a few thousand dusty heroes will stand back to back on Afghanistan's plains, waiting to be the last ones out.
We'll leave the light on for you, but don't make too much noise when you get in.
We'll be sleeping.
To find out more about Marc Munroe Dion and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com.
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