Every American of every political persuasion
should must Ralph Peters’ “Soldiers Murder Afghans, General Murders Soldiers,” at Real Clear Politics.
Here are some excerpts, but please read the whole thing and pass it on:
“It [the murder of 16 Afghan civilians] was the brutal act of a veteran who cracked. The deed cannot be excused. But I believe it can be explained.
“We shouldn’t be surprised that this happened. We should be surprised that it hasn’t happened sooner and more often: The shock of this incident after a decade of hopeless, meandering efforts that have thrown away the lives and limbs of our troops while ambitious generals lie about progress, seek promotion, and engage in military masturbation is actually a tribute to our men and women in uniform….
“If there’s a ‘battle cry’ in Afghanistan, it’s ‘Blame the troops!’ Generals out of touch with the ugly, brute reality on the ground down in the Taliban-sympathizing villages respond to every seeming crisis in Afghan-American relations by telling our troops to ‘respect Afghan culture.’
“But generals don’t have a clue about Afghan ‘culture.’ They interact with well-educated, privileged, English-speaking Afghans who know exactly which American buttons to press to keep the tens of billions of dollars in annual aid flowing. The troops, on the other hand, daily encounter villagers who will not warn them about Taliban-planted booby traps or roadside bombs, who obviously want them to leave, who relish the abject squalor in which they live and who appear to value the lives of their animals above those of their women. When our Soldiers and Marines hear, yet again, that they need to ‘respect Afghan culture,’ they must want to puke up their rations.
“The problem in Afghanistan isn’t that we haven’t tried, but that the Afghans are not interested in fighting for the exuberantly corrupt Karzai regime. … Meanwhile, despite repeated claims that the Taliban is on its last legs, the religious fanatics remain the home team backed by Afghanistan’s Pashtun majority. (If the people didn’t back them, the Taliban would, indeed, have been long gone — we need to face reality.
In war, soldiers die. But they shouldn’t die for bullshit.” Emphasis added.
This is the truth — unwelcome and unvarnished. Maybe the tragedy of the Bales’ massacre will get us to face it, at the Pentagon, in the White House, on the Hill, and in the GOP presidential campaigns.