General Stanley McChrystal has paid a huge price for his decision to give Rolling Stone reporter Michael Hastings free access to himself and his staff. But he performed a great service for the rest of us. US President Barack Obama fired McChrystal — his hand-picked choice to command NATO forces in Afghanistan — for the things that he and his aides told Hastings about the problematic nature of the US-led war effort in Afghanistan. But by acting as he did, McChrystal forced the rest of us to contend with the unpleasant truth not only about the US-led campaign against the Taliban in Afghanistan. He told us the unpleasant truth about the problematic nature of the Western way of war at the outset of the 21st century.
The war in Afghanistan just passed Vietnam as the longest war in American history. It’s not the only similarity commentators now see in comparing the two wars. After nearly nine years of fighting, the enemy is now clearly in the driver’s seat. The month of June has been the bloodiest yet for coalition forces in fighting the Taliban. Since the war began in 2001, over 1,100 American soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan. Almost 500 of those casualties have happened in the past 10 months.