Sunday, September 06, 2009

Of War And Death

Surprise, surprise, surprise.  Not.  Our ignorance, and mind boggling arrogance, has killed quite a few of our own soldiers and now it seems that we, the taxpayer, footed the bill and installed the mines before some of these poor kids were even born.  How's that for irony?
In the article, British journalist Kate Clark quoted an unnamed Taliban commander as saying, "There's a kind of landmine called a Dragon. Iran's sending it. It's directional and it causes heavy casualties." The commander said the new mine would "destroy" large tanks "completely", whereas "ordinary" anti-tank mines had only caused "minor damage".

If true, the revelation that an improved Iranian anti-tank weapon had been killing US and NATO troops in larger numbers would have been a major development in the war in Afghanistan. Roadside bomb attacks are acknowledged by US and NATO officials to be the cause of most of the casualties and deaths of foreign troops in the country.

The rapid rise in casualties over the past two years is attributed in part to the increased lethality of the Taliban mines.

But according to the Pentagon agency responsible for combating roadside bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan, the increased Taliban threat to US and NATO vehicles comes not from any new technology from Iran but from Italian-made mines left over from the US Central Intelligence Agency's military assistance to the anti-Soviet jihadists in the 1980s. (Emphasis mine)
Ah yes, the mujahideen and the Reagan Doctrine.  Can't say that worked out real well for us.  Now our soldiers are paying the price for a policy most people have forgotten.  That still doesn't give us the right to burst into hospitals, tie up staff and visitors, and force patients from their beds.

As tragic as Corporal Bernard's death is, the highly disputed AP photo is only showing the consequences, the true reality (he died on the operating table) of war.  Soldiers are real people and they are really dying and in horrible ways.  Being outraged over a photo, instead of how the young man came to be in that condition, is the real travesty.  And as sorry as I am for the family, I am even sorrier for his teammates who have those moments and many more like them seared into their brains forever.  If we can't handle looking at a photo then how do we expect our troops to function after seeing people die violently on an all too frequent basis?

I'm against the death penalty on principle, several of them if you want to be picky. One of the principles is that it isn't uniformly applied.  In Kentucky Steven Green gets five life sentences for raping a teenage girl he and his friends had been stalking, killing her, her parents and her six year old sister, then setting fire to the lower half of her body to cover it up.  Meanwhile in Florida, the death penalty is being recommended for Michael King who killed a young mother of two.  If one crime is more heinous than the other wouldn't you think that what Steven King did was the most evil?  Hopefully there is a no pizza provision as part of his sentence.


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