Murder in Afghanistan

What strikes me most of all about the US soldier who murdered many villagers in Afghanistan is the dehumanising effect of war. Of course what he did was wrong. Whether it is the right man or not who has been accused of the offence, it was definitely a US soldier who did it. The problem is that Americans seem to think that they are intrinsically superior to other members of the human race.

They paid compensation of $50,000 to the families of those murdered & $11,000 to each of the injured but not killed victims. This is how much Americans value foreign lives. Helicopters such as the one the US military lost when they killed Bin Laden cost $40m each.

War is not just an obscenity because of the suffering & dehumanisation it causes but also standing armies & the equipment used by armies takes away funds which would otherwise be used for peaceful projects.

I presume the soldier in question was not an enlisted soldier. They don’t have enlistment in the US these days. But he had had I believe severe mental problems which had not been addressed & had done 2 tours of duty, as it is called, in Afghanistan. He had also serve, as it is called, in Iraq.

He does have some sort of criminal record & he had some sort of brain injury presumably suffered in combat. He needed help. He should have been excused further duties in Iraq & Afghanistan.

It is while war is glorified & soldiers are referred to heroes that war will continue. The phrases the right to defend oneself & by that they mean the country is at the root of the problem. War, itself, is wrong. Man is not intrinsically warlike. But once xenophobia is in the air, the sound of war follows, not inevitably but often. The crowd is carried along on a cloud of xenophobia. Nobody is threatening America on American soil but American troops occupy plenty of foreign territory themselves. It was President Tate who said there was nothing better than the American flag on foreign soil. We talk about illegal wars. Are wars ever legal? Apart from World War II, it is hard to think of any wars which are not illegal. Wars are deemed to be legal by the combatants, usually by the victors afterwards. The victors tend to be ones who take the spoils & are the ones write the history.

What to do about the soldier who committed these murders? It is hard to know. They refused to hand him over to the Afghan authorities, something they themselves would never tolerate. The notion do as I say not what I do seems to be what they are espousing. One cannot, in this case, entirely blame them. There is little chance that the alleged perpetrator would have been given a fair trial or that his particular circumstances would have been taken into account. He himself would have been summarily executed which I suppose most people would have thought just given that he appears to have killed many people. His wife thinks they have the wrong man but he appears to have given himself up.

In the end militant Islam will collapse. On the whole religion is on the decline in the World, even in places where at the moment it is apparently strong. Religion does have a place in society.  But the problem is that people believe things that aren’t true & people like to believe that they know everything. Countries which believe that God is on their side wreak havoc upon the planet. Without religion, the World would still go round. People might be less happy but probably it would make no difference to their level of happiness whatever that is. What would make a difference is if nations agreed not under any circumstances to resort to war & agreed to settle disputes by negotiation. If war itself was illegal, there might be some hope for the planet.

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