To my parents' generation, the Forgotten War was Korea. WWII had been over for just a few years, the country was back to producing consumer goods and baby-boomer children, and nobody wanted to think about the frozen quagmire that was Korea.
Our forgotten war is Afghanistan. It was always overshadowed by its bully big brother, the Iraq War, but now that things seem to be winding down in Iraq, we want to forget that Afghanistan even exists, let alone that we have troops there who are fighting and dying -- yes, dying -- for what appears to be no good reason at all.
I just learned that we have reached a sad milestone in that war: The 1,000th American death:
He was an irreverent teenager with a pregnant girlfriend when the idea first crossed his mind: Join the Army, raise a family. She had an abortion, but the idea remained. Patrick S. Fitzgibbon, Saint Paddy to his friends, became Private Fitzgibbon. Three months out of basic training, he went to war.Why are we still there?
From his outpost in the Kandahar province of Afghanistan, he complained to his father about shortages of cigarettes, Skittles and Mountain Dew. But he took pride in his work and volunteered for patrols. On Aug. 1, 2009, while on one of those missions, Private Fitzgibbon stepped on a metal plate wired to a bomb buried in the sun-baked earth. The blue sky turned brown with dust.