British papers have worked hard to bring quality coverage of the war, and today the Guardian ran a touching story of a man who attending his best friend's funeral in neon dress to honor a pact they had made before British soldier Kevin Eliot was redeployed to Afghanistan.
The entire article is excellent, but one passage in particular caught my attention:
Elliott , a Black Watch infantryman, had told his friend that he was terrified of Afghanistan, with its innumerable booby traps and a redoubtable enemy that seemed to be getting deadlier by the week. The 24-year-old believed that he would never come back if he returned to Helmand.
When we talk about the need to stay in Afghanistan, we often lose sight of who we are asking to stay there. Of course, this is true in all wars, but this is not a conventional war where trillions of dollars in military technology and first-rate training can protect our troops. Suicide bombs, roadside bombs, an enemy that blends in with the civilian population, this is truly terrifying stuff. That's why anyone who says "we", as in, the troops should still be there, they should be ready with a damn good explanation for why.