Are We Nuts?August 17th, 2012

The question being asked about the attacks on US soldiers by Afghan soldiers and policemen is whether the killers’ motives were personal or political. That’s not the right question. We should be asking whether this adventure–this “training” mission–isn’t totally futile, even insane. Reason should be screaming at us that ten years have passed since the army started training Afghans to secure the interests of the USA. How can that not be enough? The 18-year-old boys the army trained when it started this adventure are 28 now and ought to be seasoned veterans. Shouldn’t they be doing the training now?

You wouldn’t know it from listening to the perky people at NPR, but something seems to have happened to all the guys we trained. Do the math. It’s been over ten years. Ten years must have produced tens of thousands of soldiers, the better part of a whole generation. What are they doing now? If they’re not already assembled in defense of the USA, isn’t it a bit insane to think that’s ever going to happen?

I remember after I got trained how much I hated my superiors. I had fantasies of killing my first shirt, who had me pegged as a subversive, which I was. Most of the people who ordered me around for four years I remember now without fondness, and it’s been over forty years.

I can imagine how someone in my place might feel if his superiors were officers of an army occupying his country, heavily armed and extremely dangerous, knowing nothing of his language or culture and caring less. I would have been more subversive, for sure. Put a pistol at my side or a rifle in my hand, and I might take advantage of an opportunity, especially if I could earn some distinction among my peers or some extra flour for my family.

Is it sensible to ask why Afghans are killing Americans? A sane person could not wonder. After all these years, Afghans are tired of taking orders from people in body armor who talk English and treat them like animals. Any GI that goes there now with any other expectation is an idiot, and any civilian that wants to continue this war is nuts.