by Eric Stoner, CommonDreams.org, Jan 17, 2011
Albert Einstein famously defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” If that doesn’t accurately describe the more than nine-year-old U.S. war in Afghanistan, I don’t know what does.
The results of the surge of tens of thousands of additional troops into the “graveyard of empires” are now evident. More soldiers, humanitarian workers, and civilians were killed in 2010 than any year since the United States invaded. One tally put the dead at more than 10,000 last year alone.
At least 120,000 Afghans have also been driven from their homes due to the violence over the last year and a half. I visited Charahi Qambar in December, the largest of some 30 camps for the internally displaced around Kabul, and was horrified by the living conditions there. These refugees call simple mud huts home and lack adequate access to food, clean water, education, or work. The most vulnerable, especially the children, often die from the cold during the bitter winters.
Meanwhile, with the presence of foreign troops in Afghanistan serving as one of its most effective recruiting tools, the Taliban has grown exponentially–from an estimated 7,000 in 2006 to 35,000 or 40,000 today, according to NATO.