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The war-ette - Will Durst

The best part of a long-term Afghanistan occupation is there's no shame in failing, since we'll be joining so many other proud names on such a very long list.

The worst part of a long-term occupation of Afghanistan is the many moons it's going to take for us to figure that out. And according to the president, we should input that online, calendar-repeating entry until summer of 2011. Minimum.

It took the president 33 minutes in front of a crowd of acutely attentive West Point Cadets to explain the ins and outs of our upcoming Afghan escalation. The Second Surge. He painstakingly detailed how absolutely necessary it is that we go in and support these fine tribal folk, who wouldn't know democracy if it climbed up their pants on a three-legged camel and relieved itself on their legs.

He went on to stress that, while understanding about the whole getting-in is important, it is even more imperative that we are cognizant of how vital it is that we also get out. And fast. Not as fast as we're going in, mind you, but we got to get out quicker than you can say, "Hey, everybody, its opium poppy harvest time again."

A bit of the old in-out, in-out. You could call it the Clockwork Orange Speech.

Kudos to the White House for breaking new ground. Never has an administration set this country on course to fight a war with an expiration date. Constrained hostilities. A mini serious. It's an innovative strategy. A refrigerated war with a sell-by stamp, like a pint of lox schmear. An evanescent ruckus. Tiny carnage.

From now on, let's just call it "The War-ette." A cursory confrontation cramped by a clock. Or in this case, a sundial.

We all know what's going to happen. Being forewarned, the Taliban will play hide-and-seek while wearing spelunking gear, until our ticket home gets punched in July 2011. Wouldn't you? "The enemy is coming! The enemy is coming! But their return flights are confirmed 18 months from now." "OK, we'll hunker down 'til then. We can use my family's summer cave. Everybody jump into the wagon. No. No. The wagon. With the straw and the rifles and the goats."

Our good buddy, Afghani President Hamid Karzai, is on board ... with reservations. Oh, he has reservations? During the last election, this nefariant handed out ballots with his name pre-selected on them. Apparently, not only is Katherine Harris in the campaign-manager business, she's branching out internationally. He then allowed how the election may have featured a wee bit of a tad of voter fraud, but still deserved praise.

OK, Hamid. Nice voter fraud. Now Karzai is setting up a corruption task force. And you couldn't find a more qualified guy, considering his lifetime hands-on experience with the subject. I'm just curious as to which side of the corruption task-force he'll be working.

President Obama insists that one of the keys for this all to succeed is for the Afghan military and police to step up. Oops. Excuse me, sir, I see another small snag here. I don't mean to sound all chauvinistically modern and all, but mightn't it help if the people wearing the uniforms over there knew how to READ? Of course, education is more collateral damage destined to be abandoned in our wake. Except for the hard and ugly lessons we'll be taking home. Which, once again, nobody will learn from.

Comic, actor, writer, former radio talk-show host and margarine smuggler, Will Durst wonders why can't every day be like Christmas? Durst is a political comedian who has performed around the world. He is a familiar pundit on television and radio. E-mail him at durst@caglecartoons.com.