War on Iraq

Should Americans Really Consider Afghanistan the "Right" War?

With Americans still convinced it is the "good war" and more troops headed its way, an honest debate about Afghanistan is long overdue.
Watch "Meet the Bloggers" on Friday at 1pm EST to join the discussion on U.S. policy in Afghanistan.

In the spring of 2004, Time Magazine ran a cover story posing the question: "Remember Afghanistan?" One year after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, the message was clear: the war in Afghanistan, started in retaliation for 9/11 and continuing years later, was "The Forgotten War."

That was March 8, 2004. A few weeks later, in Fallujah, a group of Blackwater mercenaries were ambushed and slaughtered, their burning bodies hung from a bridge on the Euphrates River. It was, as Jeremy Scahill would describe it, "the day the war turned;" the U.S. military laid waste to the Iraqi city, the resistance to the war caught fire, and the rest, well, one can only wish the rest was history. Regardless, Iraq at the time was front page news.

Four years later, the war has fallen off the media's radar. Network coverage, consistently on the decline, has been "massively scaled back this year" alone. With recent news coverage of the occupation abysmal, perhaps it should surprise no one that Afghanistan, traditionally the more neglected of the two, should be even more marginalized. But now that's beginning to change. The U.S. presidential race -- not to mention thriving opium production and a recent succession of bloody attacks -- have shifted people's attention back to Afghanistan. The picture isn't pretty -- and it's getting worse. A Pentagon study released last month predicts a rise in already steep levels of violence in Afghanistan, reporting that the Taliban "regrouped after its fall from power and have coalesced into a resilient insurgency." "It now poses a challenge to the Afghan government's authority in some rural areas. … The Taliban is likely to maintain or even increase the scope and pace of its terrorist attacks and bombings in 2008."
Liliana Segura is a writer and activist living in New York.