American support for the Afghan war has collapsed. Several new surveys show that even most Republicans, from the party that is home to the nation's hawks, now oppose the 10-year-old conflict. And it's no wonder.
Listen to Army Lt. Col.
"I covered more than 9,000 miles and talked, traveled and patrolled with troops" across the nation, he wrote in the
Not surprisingly, his is a dissenting voice in the U.S. military. But the Afghanistan NGO Safety Office, representing hundreds of non-governmental organizations working there, offered similar observations in its most recent status report. The number of violent incidents they counted from their stations in almost every province was 14 percent higher last year than in 2010, while the official military count showed a 3 percent decline.
"We find their suggestion that the insurgency is waning to be dangerous political fiction," the report said.
In fact, attacks on the NGOs themselves increased by 20 percent. Compare that to the saccharine quote a Pentagon spokesman offered just after 40 people died in protests over the accidental burning of those Korans on a U.S. base in late February.
Senior officers "believe we have achieved significant progress in reversing the Taliban's momentum and in developing the Afghan security forces," he said. A few weeks later, a
As a result, the
But then there's a question about how competent those efforts will be.
"There is a systematic level of incompetence inside the
For example, the ministry hasn't been able -- or willing -- to stop Afghan Air Force pilots, flying aircraft paid for by
All of this and more has led 66 percent of Americans to decide that the war is no longer worth fighting, a new
That leaves Republican presidential candidate
No one knows what finally pushed so many Americans to turn decisively against the war. Perhaps some of them heard Lt. Col. Davis on Democracy Now radio, saying: "Senior ranking U.S. military leaders have so distorted the truth when communicating with the
One major problem is that measuring success in this war is virtually impossible. What are the metrics? Unfortunately, that has led to a resumption of the much-maligned "body count" strategy -- counting insurgent attacks and enemy dead.
Western forces have become "hopelessly mired in body count as a measure of success," General Mackay said. "The history of
As the NGO report put it, "the only coherent strategy the international community ever had in
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