We were going through our normal routine yesterday evening, setting the dinner table, cleaning snow peas picked fresh from the garden that morning, and my youngest son asks me: "Dad how long have we been fighting in Afghanistan."
I realized he was watching the evening news on television (I had tuned it out) and was watching a report that June in Afghanistan "is rapidly becoming one of the war's most lethal months for foreign forces."
I had to figure quickly. "Since November 2001. We have been fighting in Afghanistan since November 2001."
My son cocked his head to one side, thought hard, then said – with some incredulity in his voice. "You mean we have been fighting in Afghanistan ever since I was born?"
Again I had to figure quickly. "Yes, we have been fighting in Afghanistan ever since you were born."
That put the conflict into perspective for me.
What I couldn't bear to tell my son is that as far as I can see, the only result of that lifetime of war is this: Remorseless Times Square car bomber Faisal Shahzad warns: 'We will be attacking the U.S.'