This is not meant to condone, excuse or in any way justify the slaughter of innocent women and children by an American soldier in Afghanistan. I fully expect him to be tried and sentenced for the crimes he (allegedly) committed. With that said and with America tiring of war, it’s worth remembering that the people we’re fighting remain the bad guys, (the quote is from Michael Yon’s blog):
Got this message from former Marine Tim Lynch, in Afghanistan. Tim’s not always polite, but he’s a former infantry officer and I listen to him very closely:
“The Taliban killed 13 women and children today with an IED in Uruzgan and I think they got 8 yesterday – but that’s all cool here because they’re the Taliban and we’re the big fat retarded kid on the block who gets bullied everyday but still shows up to fork over even more lunch money while assuming at some point everyone will like us because we’re so xxxxx generous.”
When one of our guys kills 13 women and children, he gets tried for murder and it makes international headlines – and that’s how it should be. When one of their guys kills 13 women and children, it’s just another day – and that’s pretty messed up. The Taliban are every bit as responsible for moral (or immoral) behavior as we are – their religion neither condones nor excuses their conduct.
What’s worse is when we ENCOURAGE the Taliban’s brand of intimidation and terror by allowing it to influence our discourse – as the recent controversy at the NY Times proves. An atheist group ran and ad in the Times attacking Catholicism and encouraging “moderate”or “liberal” Catholics to depart the Church. A different group (not sure their affiliation) ran an essentially identical ad but substituting Islam for Catholicism. The Times’ response to Pam Gellar, the woman who rad the ad:
Bob Christie, Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications for the New York Times, just called me to advise me that they would be accepting my ad, but considering the situation on the ground in Afghanistan, now would not be a good time, as they did not want to enflame an already hot situation. They will be reconsidering it for publication in “a few months.”
Eugene Volokh hits the nail on the head – there aren’t likely to be any Catholics that respond violently to a cartoon mocking them. There is a tiny, tiny percentage of Muslims that might, so the Times pulls the article out of concern for “safety.”
The world isn’t black and white, and there are shades of grey, but every once in a while it’s worth remembering who the good guys and who the bad guys are.