Iraq is now the forgotten war, where the 300th soldier with Washington state connections just died, although the country is trying not to think of Afghanistan much, either, where two more from this state were recently killed. War far away is not a war that hits home, even if it costs considerable money -- the U.S. has so far spent $1.013 trillion fighting in southeast Asia, $2.2 billion in costs to Seattleites alone -- and no one seems too upset about that.
Additionally, the killing has slowed in Iraq where Izzy O'Bryan, 24, and Chris Yauch, 23, became the 299th and 300th locals to die there, followed by number 301, Christopher Opat, 21. All were all Fort Lewis Strykers and the only three American soldiers to die during a four-day period in June. But if there's something good about a decelerating body count, tell it to their widows, kids and parents.
Conversely, in Afghanistan, where Stryker Jason Fingar, 24, drove over a bomb and Spokane Marine Joshua Dumar, 23, stepped on one, the toll is rising smoothly. The U.S. body count is 1,150 with no end in sight, a point made but mostly overlooked in the biggest recent story about Afghanistan, in Rolling Stone:
In June, Afghanistan officially outpaced Vietnam as the longest war in American history - and Obama has quietly begun to back away from the deadline he set for withdrawing U.S. troops in July of next year.
RS allowed Gen. Stanley McChrystal, commander of all U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, to talk himself out of a job and that is what made the news, not the pessimism and perhaps futility of endless warfare, expressed by McChrystal's senior aides.
"If Americans pulled back and started paying attention to this war," said one, "it would become even less popular." It might even be over.