Part of the sadness of the endings to two ridiculous Bush wars is that we still haven't learned a damn thing. Obama knows that and I feel sorry for him or anyone else who has to stand up and explain, from time to time, why we're doing what we're doing.
Someone some day may have the guts to say "because of the huge profits war brings to US industry and finance." Meanwhile, here we have the President at the podium with -- this time -- Hamid Karzai. We watch them muck their way past the muddy patches of what they each separately knows about this war and what neither of them wants to face in public.
We like to think that if there's dishonor associated with our "war of choice," it's all on the other side. Obama and Karzai and the military and the militants of both nationalities know that's not true. But it's not something either leader can force his constituents to face.
Here's part of Amy Davidson's description of the joint press conference yesterday.
Obama, for his part, looked like a man who might be sorry that he had, early in his Presidency, tripled the number of troops in Afghanistan. His nomination of Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense certainly supports that view. “Let me say it as plainly as I can: starting this spring, our troops will have a different mission,” he said. “That is a very limited mission, and it is not one that would require the same kind of footprint, obviously, that we’ve had over the last ten years in Afghanistan.” When a reporter asked about how America’s departure would affect Afghan women, Obama, with some feeling, spoke about how “Afghanistan cannot succeed unless it gives opportunity to its women.” Karzai appended a distracted “Indeed, indeed.” ...Amy Davidson, New Yorker
And so the war muddles its way to some kind of end, and -- like the world of TS Eliot's hollow men -- not with a bang but with a whimper. Indeed, indeed.