A fair number of Americans would probably tell you that Memorial Day is held to celebrate the Indy 500. And, even those who are aware of why, actually, the day has been set aside tend to honor it in the breech, if at all. On my way, every year, to the service in our town, I am struck by how many more cars are parked near the golf course than in the church parking lot.
But that, of course, is one of the glories of America.
As we've previously noted, the Spirit of America is a "terrific non-profit [that] supports our troops' efforts on the front lines by supplying materiel they judge will be helpful in accomplishing their mission."
Obama administration bigwigs are falling all over themselves to denounce, condemn, lament, and apologize for the unfortunate behavior of a few Marines in Afghanistan last year. Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta condemned the action as not just deplorable but “utterly deplorable.” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed not just dismay but “total dismay.”
The Wall Street Journal reports today that the U.S. and allied commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Allen, is pushing as hard as he can to keep U.S. troop strength up in Afghanistan until at least 2014.
In an on odd exchange on Meet the Press this morning, Senator John Kerry, a Democratic member of the supercommittee, suggested that taxes should be raised because men and women have died fighting for America in Afghanistan and Iraq, and he seemed to equate the sacrifice:
Iraq is not Vietnam. There are certainly analogies: the length and unpopularity of the wars; the late escalation and increase in forces; the counterinsurgency success that came after public support for the effort seemed already exhausted; the decision to abandon the effort and thus snatch failure from the jaws of possible victory; and the arguments about the irrelevance of the conflicts to the core interests of an America riven with internal strife and economic troubles.
What is combat in Afghanistan like? For those of us who have not been embedded as reporters, but want to know what our soldiers in this difficult war are up against, there is now Restrepo, a documentary film by Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger.