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Anniversary of an endless war

In the classroom, we learn of wars through dates. Distinct and contained in calendar years, the great wars, we learn, began on one date and ended on another. World War I -- 1914 to 1918; World War II -- 1939 to 1945; Vietnman -- 1955 to 1975... we could go on. There is some lie to these dates, of course: If the history of the world is the history of wars, as some say, we can be sure that war never springs from a vacuum one year only to end neatly some years or months later. There are contexts, conditions, mess and hangover, always.

But never has the idea of a war contained by dates seemed so absurd as it does today, which, as it turns out, is the 12th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. The Afghanistan War -- 2001 to T.B.D. It's little wonder that the 12th anniversary of the Afghan engagement arrived today with little fanfare: in an epoque of borderless and endless war, operating under the ever-mutable "War on Terror", anniversaries make little sense. It is problematic to learn of wars through learning distinct years and dates; in an age of constant war and shadow war, it's not only problematic, it's impossible.

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