By now you’ve probably heard about the US soldier who killed 16 Afghanistan civilians in their homes this weekend, including 9 children. It’s horrific and it makes us all angry and sad and frustrated.
There has been a bit of attention paid to the reactions of readers of the Fox News website and there has even been an attempt to somehow link this to Rush Limbaugh’s show that is broadcast on Armed Forces Radio. I’m obviously no fan of Mr. Limbaugh but using this tragedy as an argument for removing him from Armed Forces Radio is stupid and offensive.
There’s still a great deal about this that is unknown, obviously, and we will get a lot of details in the next coming days, and I’m sure various groups will latch onto various bits of fact and will attempt to use those bits to make their points. Some of these analyses will be thought-provoking and measured, and others will be stupid and offensive. So it goes.
My only point about this is one that has been made before by many other people and will seem trite to repeat it here, but it has to be repeated: war is hell. I’m not saying that to excuse the action or to make it easier to accept. I don’t want it to be easier to accept; I want to make it harder to wage war.
In every large group of people, every large group, there are people who can be pushed beyond their limits. The great majority of US service members would never do anything remotely like this, but in any group that includes hundreds of thousands of people, you will find individuals who, given the right circumstances, will do great evil.
I’m not excusing the actions of whoever did this. He is 100% responsible for his actions. But we Americans, those of us who participate (and those who are able but do not) in this democracy, we are also collectively responsible for this.
When nations go to war, these things can and will happen. You stick that many people in those situations and it goes on for 10 years… these things will happen. We need to remember these things when we consider a decision to go to war.
It is amazing to me that we have people who, seeing the destruction that we have wrought in Iraq and Afghanistan, want to do it all over again in Iran. It amazes me that some of these people are the same ones who convinced us to go to Iraq, and that they are able to find anyone, ANYONE, who will listen to them still.
As I said, there will be all sorts of people writing opinions about this and people on all sides will point to these opinions (and this opinion) and say how offensive and stupid they are. But the most stupid and offensive thing that we could do in regards to this tragedy would be to forget about it and fail to account for its possibility the next time we are considering a foreign adventure.