With more limited vision now I am getting most of my information from the internet and from scanning our TV offerings. I am struck by what seems to be the casual and smiling way our attractive announcers occasionally report that X numbers of enemies have been blown away in a new incident.

Lest we forget — the 9/11 attack was carried out by by 15 Saudis, one Egyptian and 3 others. It was presumably inspired by al Qaeda which had a base in Afghanistan. There is no evidence that either Iraq or Afghanistan was involved in any direct way in this attack. And yet we have gone to war with both nations, now having killed indeterminate thousands of “insurgents” who have opposed our occupations. The numbers are vague because we do not systematically keep track of them — only occasional reports flow through our media. These reports also are disputed — with claims that we have killed innocents as opposed to enemies. How many we do not know. I heard the testimony of one of our young sergeants who reported how his inexperienced group tossed hand grenades through doors, killing civilians. He has been found guilty of a lessor charge than murder for which he will serve time. He was obviously distressed by what he and his team had done.

I wish our American public could at least share with this young soldier his obvious grief and shame at the killings he carried out — and some of the guilt of our urging our soldiers to ‘win’ the wars in the only ways that they know how — killing people. They are not anthropologists who have apparently been sent in most recently to guide our troops in their relations with our “enemies” whom we are trying to enlist at long last as friends.

All this strikes me as absolute madness of the kind that was featured in Alice in Wonderland. Perhaps our violent TV stuff — both fictive and real — has desensitized us to what we are really doing over there — killing people who have gotten in our way. To my recollection this was the sort of thing done by the evil ones during WW2. Perhaps we are involved now in a role reversal?

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent 212-665-8535 (voice mail only) [blind copies]
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