General David Petraeus assured his troops, one hundred and thirty thousand of them, that they are "in this to win." This comes as a comfort, I'm sure, not only to the soldiers in Afghanistan, but their families at home. Some of the misguided notions floating around previously about the United States' mission over there, such as we were over there to help ensure the safety of Haliburton employees, can now be put to rest.
"We must never forget that the decisive terrain in Afghanistan is the human terrain," Petraeus wrote Sunday in a memo to his troops, praising their effort. "Protecting those we are here to help nonetheless does require killing, capturing or turning the insurgents. We will not shrink from that." Again, that might still include Haliburton employees, but I think he means the men and women who live there. Unless they happen to be insurgents, in which case there will be more killing, capturing and turning.
Turning? Did he say "turning?" Are we really expecting that our presence there will convince "insurgents" that they've made some horrible mistake or miscalculation and that these Americans really are here simply to help democracy flower? Well, that and capture, kill or turn insurgents, so why not come on over for the big win? "As you and our Afghan partners on the ground get into tough situations, we must employ all assets to ensure your safety, keeping in mind, again, the importance of avoiding civilian casualties," the general continued. Those civilians, by the way, just might turn out to be insurgents, so keep your head on a swivel, soldier.
Meanwhile, back on the home front, we were informed by Republican Party chairman Michael Steele that Afghanistan is now officially "Obama's War Of Choice." It's not quite as catchy as "Desert Storm" or "Enduring Freedom," but "The Hundred Years War" was already taken. Good luck, general, and godspeed.