Whether we believe war is an awesome glory fest for freedom, or a predatory evil – we have to admit that an institution that dreams up the term, collateral damage, as a way of saying the unintended killing and maiming of innocent civilians is not one we’d want to employ unless it’s absolutely undeniably necessary. Particularly in a zone where the loved ones of the collaterally damaged will likely join the ranks of the enemy. Those recruits will have more skin in the game and more desire to kill, with more vengeful joy felt in the killing, than our kids. Sometimes it is necessary. But in Afghanistan? Really?
Does a moral scale exist anywhere in Washington DC to weigh these factors before rewarding Donald J. Trump’s personal ratings-based decision making?
The definition of victory is constantly in flux, determined as much by opinion polls at home as by reality on the ground. American exceptionalism theology inspires wacky assumptions about what people in other parts of the world want. We have to accurately measure the ability and the will power of the enemy to deny the people what it is we assume they want. Factor in our lack of imagination and moral courage to admit or believe that they might have no desire for the same kind of system and values as Americans. How can so many people who rise this far into positions of leadership and influence believe that every person from every culture wants exactly what people in America want; their vision of the American economic/political/judicial system and culture based on, if anything at all, watching an American sitcom or Spiderman film. Of course we never ask. If we did, we’d know that they want us out of there when the clock turns 15-years-ago. If that would be inconvenient – make it tomorrow morning.
I’m no military expert… no, let me rephrase that: I know nothing whatsoever about military strategy, tactics, weapons, training, lunch menus or protocols but I have a hunch about one thing:
If every military decision about strategy, tactics and goals are not preceded by a brief chat about how American citizens would respond to a foreign occupying force, regardless of it’s stated intent on our behalf– success is impossible in any sustainable way.
Depending, of course, on the definition du jour of success.
— Polar Levine, News Goo Dissection, October 24, 2017
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