“Only the dead have seen the end of war.” This is a powerful and blunt truth.

The quote is usually attributed to Plato, although the reality seems to be that it was George Santayana who said it in 1922. He’s also the same guy who said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” How appropriate.

To my fellow veterans, and especially those who are trying to make sense of everything happening in Afghanistan right now, I offer a slight revision:

“Only the dead have seen the end of war… in Afghanistan.”

For many of us right now, there is no end to this war. There never will be an end to it. Is there a day or week that goes by, that we don’t think about our war?

Do you see this war at night in your dreams or recount it in your memories?

Do you feel this war, every day, as your back hurts when you get up in the morning?

Are you still on patrol, when you enter a crowded place, and cannot be with your back to the door? Are you still scanning for the enemy when you sit somewhere so you can see the entire room, and watch every single person who enters?