'Let Us Be at Least a Little Bit Ashamed'

To echo, Tom Ricks, why are we still in Afghanistan?


American officials scrambled Monday to understand why a veteran Army staff sergeant, a married father of two only recently deployed here, left his base a day earlier to massacre at least 16 civilians, 9 of them children, in a rural stretch of southern Afghanistan. The devastating, unexplained attack deepened the sense of siege for Western personnel in this country, as denunciations brought a moment of unity to three major Afghan factions: civilians, insurgents and government officials.
It doesn't really mean much to say, as the president has, that this massacre, "does not represent the exceptional character of our military." Surely the vast, vast majority of American soldiers are not psychopaths capable of murdering children in cold-blood. But you are not simply represented by the "good" done under your standard, but by the evil. When you prosecute a war in a country, its residents will rightly hold you responsible for its results. For what unassailable good are we willing to countenance these sorts of results?

H/T Juan Cole for the hed.
Presented by

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

The Blacksmith: A Short Film About Art Forged From Metal

"I'm exploiting the maximum of what you can ask a piece of metal to do."

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Video

Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

Video

An Ingenious 360-Degree Time-Lapse

Watch the world become a cartoonishly small playground

Video

The Benefits of Living Alone on a Mountain

"You really have to love solitary time by yourself."

Video

The Rise of the Cat Tattoo

How a Brooklyn tattoo artist popularized the "cattoo"

More in Global

From This Author

Just In