Monday, August 17, 2009

Awful news last weekend. I hadn't even noticed that William Cahir had been called up again. I voted for him in the primary last year, although I probably wouldn't have voted for him in the general, given our disagreements on most domestic policy questions. He was a patriot and braver than I could hope to be. I greatly regret never having talked to him.

There's still a real war out there in central Asia, and it's looking increasingly nasty. Sgt. Cahir was in Civil Affairs, and was killed by direct fire. There's an ugly reality encoded in those two facts in combination with each other. I've heard the fighting in Helmand compared with Second Fallujah in intensity & scale. Michael Yon's been reporting significant British losses as well. There aren't nearly as many of our soldiers in Afghanistan as there are in Iraq, and they're much, much more exposed right now.

This isn't the end of this.

And the ugly truth is, the only reason we're there is pride and commitment. They're there because they've been committed, and it behooves us to break the notion that Americans can be out-waited, or scratched to death with ineffective little cuts. Vietnam & Somalia established an impression which has to be dispelled. Far more than in Iraq, which represents an actual strategic national and ideological interest, the Afghan War is being fought solely to kill the idea that America has no staying power.

Bill Cahir died as part of a plan to protect non-combatants on a battlefield. He gave his life for people he not only didn't know, but had most likely never even seen. He died to establish a certain idea of how American Marines behave, in fidelity to the laws of war & humanity. In the very best sense of the word, he died for pride. Pride that says our soldiers and marines fight within laws, that we as a nation fulfil our commitments, and our warriors are ever faithful.

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