During the Vietnam war we would boast almost daily of the numbers of enemies we had killed — quite often vague and exaggerated figures.

Now with particularly Afghanistan our reports of enemies killed are generally sotto voce. As often as not our ‘enemies’ have turned out to be a wedding party or some such hit by our drones from on high.

‘Terror’ is a word that has never been clearly defined. But I can think of nothing more ‘terrible’ than innocent civilians being killed and wounded. Particularly in Afghanistan where there has never been a strong central government and thousands of villages have their chiefs in charge of things versus the corrupt Karzai ‘government’, I cannot imagine any way that we can sort out friends from enemies. The Afghans don’t like being run by outside powers and have a history of wearing them down and driving them out.

The only thing we can be sure of there is that we are killing ‘them’ — whoever ‘them’ is — and that they (?) are killing us.

People wonder why Obama has paused to figure out what to do in this misbegotten situation. There is no nation to be formed nor leaders to form one. The only game is town is not a ‘war’, but rather killing, here, there, and elsewhere.

What do you think?

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent 212-665-8535 (voice mail only) [blind copies]

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