I end the year with a question and one last outrage. The U.N. believes about 1 million Afghans are addicted to drugs. The publication Development Asia estimates 2 million Afghan addicts. Some staggering number of these same addicts end up in the Afghan National Police.

In March 2010, the Government Accountability Office reported 12 percent to 41 percent of Afghan police recruits tested positive for narcotics. The GAO added:

"A state official noted that this percentage likely understates the number of opium users because opiates leave the system quickly; many recruits who tested negative for drugs have shown opium withdrawal symptoms later in their training."

Under consideration, the report continues, is establishing "dedicated rehabilitation clinics at the regional police training centers."

Pederasty, misogyny and corruption aside: This drug-addled ANP is part of the Afghan National Security Forces the U.S. government expects to secure Afghanistan against "extremist networks" and is spending $350 million per day in Afghanistan until that happens.

My question: Who's high here? Illiterate Afghans on drugs, or educated Americans on fantasy?

Like a legion of modern-day Don Quixotes seeking the impossible COIN (counterinsurgency theory) -- winning Afghan hearts and minds from Islamic loyalties, constructing a heretofore unseen Afghan "city on a hill," training Afghan police (literacy rate 4.5 percent) perhaps even as they dry out, and don't get me started on "ally" Pakistan -- the U.S. has plunged to a depth of denial only an "intervention" could reverse.

This American flight from reality skews everything, whether large and obvious, like waging a sanity-defying war, or small and easily overlooked, like refusing to bestow a medal on a deserving fallen soldier.

I refer to the appalling fact that Pvt. William Long, slain by an avowed jihadist outside an Arkansas military recruitment center in June 2009, hasn't received a Purple Heart from the U.S. government.

When Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad fired his AK-47, killing Pvt. Long and wounding Pvt. Quinton Ezeagwula (no Purple Heart, either), he was committing an act of war. The U.S. refuses to recognize this fact even as Muhammad, in interviews, statements and letters to media, has never shut up about it.

The U.S. failure to recognize Pvt. Long's sacrifice is my year-ending outrage. It symbolizes the others that propelled this column through 2010. In this denial of jihad reality and callousness toward those who bear the brunt of sacrifices most Americans escape, we may see broader government failures toward the people on every front involving life and death.

Fortunately, the people are not failing Pvt. Long. At the close of a recent ceremony honoring Arkansans killed in recent wars, memorial organizer Ron Hopper told a story.

As the Arkansas News reported, Hopper, whose son was killed in Iraq, mentioned a jewelry company that presents an engraved silver bracelet to all families of fallen soldiers.

When the Long family asked the company to put their son's name on the list, "they were told that since he was not killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, the family was not entitled to one."

"An outraged murmur spread through the room," the report continued. "He may not have been deployed overseas. But he was killed in the global war on terror," Hopper declared. "For that reason, we ordered one made ourselves."

And he presented a silver bracelet engraved with Pvt. Long's name to his sister, who, tears streaming down her face, announced she would give the bracelet to her mother for Christmas.

The government may be in denial in the sealed corridors of power, but at the VFW on Davis Drive in Searcy, Ark., reality lives, a thing of pain, loyalty and love.

Happy 2011.

Examiner Columnist Diana West is syndicated nationally by United Media and is the author of "The Death of the Grown-Up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization."