The lead-in to his excellent Vanity Fair piece on "America's Forgotten War" in the dead tree edition reads:
Four years into a nearly forgotten conflict, the 20,000 U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan are learning to wage war by every possible means. While the Taliban's weapon is terror -- the rape, torture and execution of civilians -- the Americans are relying on cheap vegetables, soccerballs, and paved roads, as well as Predator drones and A-10 Warthogs. From Kandahar to the mountains of Zabol, Sebastian Junger experiences a new kind of combat as the world's most powerful military grapples with a vicious small-scale insurgency in the shadow of a supposed U.S. ally: Pakistan.His report also is online here.
SADDAM MADE THEM DO IT
George Bush just doesn't get it.
Out on the hustings today to drum up flagging support for the war in Iraq, he conveniently sidestepped the U.S.'s numerous self-inflicted wounds and blamed the orgy of violence on Saddam Hussein, whom the last time I checked hasn't been running the show in Baghdad for three years.
Meanwhile, the prez has made it known that he wants Iraqi Prime Ibrahim al-Jaafari to step down. Jaafari says no way and warned the U.S. against undue interference in the nascient government's political process.
I kind of feel for Bush on this one because Jaafari would appear to be another closet thug who makes kissy face with the very radical anti-U.S. Shiite elements that are primarily responsible for tearing the country apart. That said, the guy was elected fair and square and he's yet another example of the White House wanting it both ways -- the growth of democracy but on U.S. terms.
HOW BAD ARE THINGS?
Pretty bad. "River," an Iraqi woman who blogs at Baghdad Burning when the electricity is on, provides a wee insight here.
(Hat tip to Andrew Sullivan at Daily Dish.)