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Dateline Kabul....from a civilian teacher

The unvarnished facts from a US volunteer teacher in Kabul.    And the "news" ain't good let alone promising.

"One thing true we can say about war is that truth is its greatest casualty.

I am a volunteer teacher. Four years ago I responded to a call from then candidate Barack Obama for a new kind of soldier to wage peace, one without a uniform, without a gun. On the three-year anniversary of my moving in with the orphans here in Afghanistan, I listened to gun battle and explosions in my Kabul neighborhood for ten hours through the night and into the morning. While CNN reported the insurgency event had ended I shook my head. “Nope,” I muttered to myself, listening to stray bullets fly over my room.

Two weeks later, President Obama swung through for what appeared to be his first re-election stump speech. Unannounced under the dark of midnight he signed his agreement with Karzai. Then he was gone before dawn. This cloak and dagger visit didn’t particularly highlight peace and security unfolding across the nation. In his speech Obama maintained an end to America’s longest war is in sight. Here are a few realities he neglected to mention in his speech, and I will share them in the authoritative, patriarchal, father knows best manner in which Obama shared his very fuzzy assurances—

“One” there are 400 American military bases of one sort or another in Afghanistan.

“Two” out of the 3,005 coalition military fatalities in this war, 1,956 have occurred in the time since my arrival here. That’s 65% of all military fatalities in the 10½ year war occurring in the last three years.

“Three” 2011 saw the greatest single year in civilian deaths for the entire war.

“Four” The U.S. just signed a twelve-year agreement beyond the next two years that is shadowy in its lack of details. It maintains the U.S. will fall back into a “supporting” role, while Afghan forces take over security operations. It is a partnership that resembles in every way a prolonged occupation.

Contemplating these facts it is difficult to fathom a light at the end of this tunnel, and just how the U.S. is planning to exit. Do not expect an Iraq-like drawdown. That drawdown was strategically inconsequential, seeing as the U.S. simply moved its buildup to nearby Kuwait bases and the U.S. Embassy in Bagdad was beefed up to stand as a proxy base of operation. Afghanistan stands solidly alone in the heart of American geo-political interests. The signed agreement assures that interest will be assuaged. Insult to injury it seems terribly convenient for America to have Afghans bear the brunt of NATO’s failed policy on the front lines while we maintain bases of operation, including drones and special forces able to engage in missions to Pakistan and Iran. And of course, if we want or need to, we always reserve the right to move back into the seat at the helm of operations in-country. We have our cake, we eat it too."


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