The Kandahar Shootings: More Grim News from Afghanistan
Version One, when I was 21:
A US soldier snapped under the pressure and went on a killing spree, gunning down at least 16 civilians in their homes as they slept. While this is a terrible thing, when it comes right down to it, the Afghans have only themselves to blame. It’s a primitive culture steeped in a primitive religion, and despite being liberated from the Taliban and given a chance to be a modern democratic nation, many Afghans choose to blame their saviours and support the murderous Taliban. So it’s no surprise that the occasional American soldier, surrounded by a people who hate him and would kill him at the first opportunity, loses his cool. When the Afghans finally grow up and accept the gift of freedom and democracy, incidents like this won’t happen. .
Version Two, when I was 31:
A rogue American soldier, reportedly one who had had a mental breakdown, left his base in the middle of the night and killed at least 16 Afghan civilians in their homes. He was taken into custody when he returned to his base, and military officials have promised a full investigation. President Obama and US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta phoned Afghan President Karzai to offer their condolences, Mr Obama said he would hold accountable anyone responsible for the “tragic and shocking” incident. Administration spokesmen took pains to point out that this was an isolated incident, and doesn’t reflect on the overall high quality of the NATO forces in Afghanistan, or the continuing success of their mission.
Version Three, today:
Look at the old fellow’s face. His grandfather fought the British. He and his father fought the Russians. He lost family both times. Now the Americans have taken more friends and family. I can’t imagine what he must be feeling. More innocent women and children murdered, slain by a soldier in an army that has no business being in Afghanistan in the first place. However much American war apologists want to wash their hands of this, we are all guilty of this crime. Our war with and occupation of Afghanistan are war crimes, because the USA and NATO control the UN and made this occupation “legal” doesn’t magically change right from wrong. In fact, it makes it even more wrong.
War is sick and unnatural, and terrible things happen even in the most just of wars, which Afghanistan most definitely is not. There was a time during and after the Vietnam War when many Americans understood this, but war was way too profitable for the powers to be to let that continue. And here we are decades later, our “leaders” promising us war and more war … and delivering it. Will Americans wake up and stop this insanity before it descends into something that makes Vietnam look mild in comparison? Damned if I know, all I can do is be a voice for peace and hope for the best.
(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s not being used for profit, is central to illustrating the post, and is arguably a historically important image. It’s use here in no conceivable way interferes with the copyright holder’s commercial use of the image. Credit and Copyright: AP or Reuters, I’ve seen it credited to both on different mainstream news web sites, even the big boys make mistakes sometimes.)