As noted on Reason 24/7, the AP reported the death of the 2,000th American service member in Afghanistan over the weekend, the result of a blue-on-green firefight—one of 52 U.S. and NATO troops killed by Afghan security forces so far this year. Reason 24/7 also noted back in August when the New York Times reported the 2000th American service member killed in Afghanistan. The Times noted then that though it took nine years for the U.S. to reach the grim 1,000 milestone, it took only twenty seven months to reach the second thousand. When the Times reported 2,000 dead, on August 21, iCasualties.org listed the total number of American dead at 2,102. The surge in casualties is attributed to the troop surge Obama ordered in 2009, one that did not appear to turn the tide in the nearly eleven year old war and that has left the situation in Afghanistan worse off than it was before the surge started.
The continued mismanagement of the war in Afghanistan is part of Obama’s broader failing foreign policy, but remains a background (if even) issue in the 2012 election. Candidates trying to make Afghanistan an issue aren’t gaining much traction and Congress is now out until after election day, having not done much at all in regards to Afghanistan. Nevertheless, a Tampa Bay Times article about a local soldier, Staff Sergeant Matthew Sitton, killed in Afghanistan (which reports his August 2nd death as the 2,056th American soldier killed) reports his local congressman, Republican Bill Young, who got a letter from the soldier shortly before his death warning of the futility of the mission there, hopeful that stories of deaths like Sitton’s will resonate and return questioning the wisdom of the Afghanistan war into the political conversation. With less than 40 days left before the election, even as the presidential debates commission is losing sponsors over limiting participation to just Obama and Romney, Afghanistan remains unlikely to be seriously addressed.
Semi-related, Democrat Pete Stark lambasting George W. Bush on the House floor in 2007 for sending soldiers off to Iraq to “get their heads blown off for the president’s amusement” and that the president “just likes to blow things up” in attacking his veto of SCHIP: