Today in Special Things: The Record-Breaker for Longest Awful Thing Ever

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What's been going on longer than the Vietnam War, but for less time than General Hospital?

Okay, that's unfair, because General Hospital is basically the cockroach of human cultural touchstones and will likely never die. But if you guessed

The War in Afghanistan

you guessed correctly. As pointed out by Media Fix blogger Greg Mitchell via a beautiful Reader's Digest photo essay, the conflict in Afghanistan will officially become the longest war ever over the course of this month (as wars -- pun unintended -- tend to bleed in and out of set calendar days), though, for the record, we're at a war in Afghanistan, we're not at war with Afghanistan, and technically, the war is "on" terrorism, which... ah, whatever. You've probably already considered how strange this idea is and already concluded that the world is an absurdly awful place, so why go there?

McClatchy blog Nukes and Spooks provides perspective:

Given the state of the economy, there is not as large an appetite for a costly military effort, and the military knows this. And now that Afghanistan appears to be the longest U.S. military engagement in history -- even as it is far from over for the United States --only bolsters the case for the United States staying out of counterinsurgency war, at least for the foreseeable future.

If only. To date, the war in Afghanistan has cost us over $261B and counting. More importantly, 18,541 lives.

That's

Over 900 U.S. troops,
Over 8,500 Afghan "troops,"
More than 8,000 civilians,
647 coalition troops,
75 contractors,
and nine journalists.

[fkamer@villagevoice.com]


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