Wednesday, September 2, 2009

#152 Life, Death, Taliban Wife II

Continuing from last post, Did we really want to kill this woman? Baitullah Mehsud's late wife was a blip on the computer screen at Air Force HQ in far-off Nevada. Would the operator have called the drone back, or redirected it, had he known that his missile was to hit a woman, a dutiful spouse, probably a mother, but assuredly a non-combatant? No, she's "collateral damage." A civilian casualty of war that must be tolerated. What's more--and this will test your moral ambiguity tolerance--a case can be made for justifiable homicide.

The late "Commander" Mehsud was for years in charge of those responsible for killing thousands of innocent people by suicide-bombings and other means. They may have been involved in the murder of the beloved Benazir Bhutto. A very bad man, but just doin' his job. Our job is to kill him--such are the rules of the counter-insurgency game now that Obama has put us all the more in play, alas. And, hey, that woman was trying to keep the guy alive! Serves her right to get killed in the middle of that intravenous drip. Her wifely ministrations would have kept him healthy enough to continue killing innocent civilians of his own. Okay, but that will go on anyway, with no doubt renewed fervor, no matter if he died of complications due to diabetes or kidnet disease or flying robot bombs. As we saw a couple of posts ago, there's already a doppleganger also named Mehsud to take his place. All of this makes HER death all the more meaningless.

Notwithstanding, I nominate the Taliban Wife as poster girl for all that's wrong with our involvement in the Middle-East Wars. We just flat-out shouldn't have to deal with all this moral and military ambiguity, dammit. We should be-the-hell not there. She was still a civilian casualty that shouldn't have happened, or at least happened without our help. Whether or not the poor lady was guilty of trying to keep alive a mass-murderer of innocent people, here's the alarming fact: OUR FORCES KILL TWICE AS MANY CIVILIANS as do the militant and insurgent forces. Shouldn't be surprising. In addition to regular troops and mercenaries, we've got planes and missiles and drones, oh my, to do the job for us.

We're paying restitution though: August 2009 was the deadliest month for our troops in Afghanistan since we arrived there eight years ago. Let me repeat: EIGHT YEARS AGO! And you'll recall that, according to Defense Secetary Gates (DM #148), it's a "mystery" as to when we'll ever get out at all.

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