I wasn’t planning to write about the Afghanistan shooting, don’t want to write that kind of a blog.
But it’s kind of difficult to get away from the incident, and the truth of the matter is, why bother to blog at all if no one’s going to read it? Which is to say: this minute’s views/comments are what matters in the 24/7 blah, blah, blah of a world, the mainstream news leading the pack with the greatest resources. The corrosion of our discourse about everything, even serious things, is proven by the universal demand of who can move the quickest, which will be the go-to news service, who will produce new details, which will turn the cleverest phrase, which gets the best quote. Heck, this blog might even get read because I’m clever in saying I’m already sick of it.
So, to dispense with it all, here’s all you need to know: If you were against the Afghanistan war, this is proof and affirmation; if you’re in favor of the war, this is just a hiccup on the way to promising progress. What more is there? If you think the military kills indiscriminately, you still think it; if you don’t, you’re mad at all of those who think that the military kills indiscriminately.
If you’re Afghan, you’re outraged. You’re probably not outraged if 16 school girls were gunned down in a dispute over family or tribal honor, you’re not outraged over corruption or human rights in general. But you didn’t have anything better to do today anyhow.
If you hate the United States or hate Obama, this is reason to hate.
If you’re Foreign Policy or some other Washington-establishment rag, you do the requisite round-up of comments, as if anything is outside the proscribed scripts.
If you’re RT.com (TV-Novosti) or some other news organization that loves to hate the United States, you write a headline like “Several drunk Marines behind bloodbath, laughed on shooting-spree, burned corpses.” Some Afghan eyewitness said it.
Publicly, on the web, on Twitter, the President, Secretary of Defense, NATO head, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, CENTCOM, and ISAF on down to the janitor at the Pentagon all apologized and expressed their condolences.
Obama even called Karzai and called the incident “tragic and shocking.” The White House released a picture. That kind of makes it a crisis, elevates it and debases it all at the same time. By noon I imagine the information warfare maven will be predicting and wagering on the state of the battle of hearts and minds and selling your theory of what needs to be done. Scratch that, they were on it yesterday.
President Barack Obama talks on the phone with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai from his vehicle outside the Jane E. Lawton Community Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland, on March 11, 2012. UPI/Pete Souza/White House.