National Review / Digital
A Million Steps
Our men trudge endlessly through Afghanistan as politicians vacillate.


This time the patrol emerged from the corn next to a compound where a black-turbaned mullah was preaching to young boys in the courtyard. As he hustled them inside, the dozen men who had been lounging about folded their arms and glared at the Marines, refusing to respond to friendly greetings. The patrol continued and soon arrived at Pabst Blue Ribbon, a tiny compound occupied by nine Marines and a dozen farmers — part of a home guard called the Afghan Local Police. Due to “green on blue” killings — Afghan soldiers’ murdering coalition soldiers — the police weren’t allowed to carry weapons inside the fort. They were cheerful and friendly, though, and disdainful of the nearby hamlet and its hostile mullah.

“These Afghans want us here,” Sergeant Eric Johnson, a squad leader, said. “They won’t stay exposed out here without us. If we leave, they leave.”

October 15, 2012    |     Volume LXIV, No. 19

Books, Arts & Manners
The Long View  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Athwart  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Poetry  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Happy Warrior  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .