Friday, February 19, 2010

Afghan insanity

We're one week into the latest misadventure in Afghanistan — this one to try to chase the Taliban from in and around Marjah because that area is the headquarters for growing opium poppies to make heroin.

To understand how sad it is to put our GI's at risk doing things like that, we need to keep in mind the full price tag so far of our military lives in the eight-year wars without end:

• Iraq. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 4,366

• Afghanistan. .. .. .. .. 904

Many of us think of those losses just as numbers. To try to help understand they're individuals, let me share with you these recent accounts of one lucky and one unlucky GI in Afghanistan:

On Monday, Marine Lance Cpl. Andrew Koenig, 21, of Casper, Wyo., survived uninjured when a bullet fired by the Taliban bounced off his helmet.

Last week, Army Sgt. Adam J. Ray, 23, of Louisville was killed by an improvised explosive device.

Ray's mother, Donna, told The Courier-Journal that he called home two weeks ago to say he was OK and promised "he would not be a hero."

His mother said, "He loved the Army. He hated the war because there was so much evil and sadness. But he faced it. He was not in the least bit regretting it."

Ray didn't want to be a hero, but he'll be honored at a memorial service Wednesday at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., where his unit was based.

All of us should salute for him. We also should insist that President Obama bring all of our troops in Afghanistan home. Let the Taliban grow poppies.

This is part of the drug war, not a battle in the war on those who attacked us on 9/11/01.

What is the "anti war presidential candidate" doing?

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