Monday, March 12, 2012

Afghanistan nightmare

Lord, remember your children in Afghanistan!

The mass murder of 16 people, including 9 children, by a staff sergeant from Fort Lewis is a vision from hell. Initial reports are that the victims were killed in their beds or execution style.  A 2 year-old child is among the dead.

The vision is made all the more appalling in how it illuminates the chasm between US policy and reality in Afghanistan.  There is no purpose to our presence there.  Any purpose we may have had was swallowed up  years ago by the savagery, the cruelty.  As John Gardner wrote in Jason and Medeia:  "War proves itself."

We chose war over law enforcement in our response to 911.  One decade later, the horror continues to grow. 

The perpetrator of the crime must, of course, be prosecuted with the full weight of the law. That is, if we choose to maintain that we are a nation of laws.  If we can't control our military, why bother to keep up the pretense?

It is possible that this latest atrocity, committed by the staff sergeant from Fort Lewis could be one of those catalytic historical phenomena that change everything.  A single grain pushed off the weighting platform of a delicately balanced scale.  Beam forsakes equilibrium.  World tilts.  Maybe. 

Regardless, these 11 years have brought horrors and suffering far beyond anything we were led to expect by war's advocates.  Are we any wiser for it?

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