The War in Afghanistan Turned 11 Today

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLHU-_OhT8g">Screenshot courtesy of YouTube</a>

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Though you may not find it highlighted on the front pages of many papers in the US, this happened 11 years ago Sunday morning:

WASHINGTON (AP) – Forty U.S. and British warplanes and an armada of warships and submarines pummeled strongholds of the al-Qaeda network and the Taliban regime in Afghanistan on Sunday with Tomahawk cruise missiles, 500-pound gravity bombs and computer-guided bombs. The targets included five Afghan cities, which housed early warning radars, surface-to-air missiles, airfields, aircraft, military command and control installations, and terrorist camps.

So began Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) on Oct. 7, 2001. It continues to this day, albeit with a different objective. Osama bin Laden lies at the bottom of the sea. His Afghanistan-based Al Qaeda terror syndicate, which killed 2,997 people in the September 11 attacks, has been dismantled and scattered, replaced by local warlords and terror clans like the Haqqani network. The Taliban government in Kabul, which harbored bin Laden and his cohort, has been replaced with a weak, corrupt central government that appears at turns unable or unwilling to stanch the flow of violent extremism throughout the country. And participants in the American-led military coalition there continue to make the ultimate sacrifice: Authorities last week confirmed the death of the 2000th US service member in Afghanistan.

The anniversary is being commemorated in Great Britain, where television news still airs the procession of virtually every killed servicemember’s casket: Peace activists reportedly held a “naming of the dead” ceremony in London’s Trafalgar Square Sunday. Yet despite the Afghan War’s immensity—the longest American war since Vietnam, a rare war that started with near-universal approval, with even the French after 9/11 declaring “nous sommes tous Américainsthere was no mention of its birthday on the front page of Sunday’s New York TimesWall Street JournalUSA Today, or Washington Post.

President Obama discussed mortgage refinancing rates in his weekly address Saturday, but not America’s 11-year-old war. Mitt Romneywho failed to even mention Afghanistan in his long nomination acceptance speechmade no mention of the war on his website Sunday. But he does have a major foreign policy speech planned for Monday; perhaps he’ll give the conflict some acknowledgement there.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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