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So says Thomas Gibbons-Neff in this piece in today's Washington Post.  WHy should we care that he says that?  13 at the time of the September 11 attacks that justified our going into Afghanistan, he served two tours there as a Marine rifleman.  His family home is a few blocks from the blast site in Boston.  As he writes,

When a relative told me, his voice brimming with anger, that he wanted to kill those responsible, I couldn’t help feeling that I had somehow failed. My family sounded like any of the Marines I’d met after a comrade stepped on an improvised explosive device: angry, confused, spiteful. War had seeped through my front door, and now my five-foot-tall flower child of a mother wanted revenge served cold.
Let's back up a bit.  Because Dzhokhar Tsarnaev supposedly told investigators that the US Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were part of the reason he and his brother did the bombing, Gibbons-Neff had asked himself
Had my war brought the horrors of battle home?
Gibbons-Neff is now a student at Georgetown, where he had the occasion to ask Hamid Karzai a question for which he did not get a satisfactory answer.  

He has offered us a remarkable piece.  Someone who served, who experienced the horrors of war to supposedly make us safer at home, now raises questions about his own participation.

The horrors of war.   Read this sentence:  

In Afghanistan, I shoved my knee into wounded Marines’ pressure points, smelled the cordite of gunfights and explosions, and said goodbye to dear friends.
He writes that the images of Boston reminds him of "mangled flesh, shocked faces, splattered blood" he saw in his combat service, not of streets where he used to shop for Christmas.  Then he tells us
Except the runners and spectators in Boston weren’t wearing body armor and helmets. No helicopter swooped in through a cloud of purple smoke to rescue them. They weren’t combatants. Rather, they were strangers, family members, co-workers and friends in Nikes and New Balances, turning sweat-drenched T-shirts and belts into tourniquets.
.

I've already told you about his mom, whom he tells us used to feel safe eating outdoors.

He notes the Tsarnaev brothers will be neither first nor the last who will cite US military action as justification for targeting civilians, then writes this:

Despite our best efforts and valor, I wonder, have America’s wars made the homeland less safe? Sure, we’ve killed and captured thousands of radicals who wanted to harm Americans. But in doing so, have we created more?
There is much more in this powerful piece.

Perhaps it struck me because I am of the brotherhood of Marines although my own service was only stateside.  I was discharged before the horrors of Tet in 1968, but there were those I knew who served and died in the battle for Hue, and at Khe Sanh.  Even before then, I knew those who were coming home somewhat traumatized by what they had experience.

From what I knew then, from what I have seen since, it is clear that first and foremost those who fight do so for those immediately around them, their buddies.  It is the loss of those buddies that cuts most deeply, and you will experience that in this piece.

Btt there is more. One wants to believe the horror one has experienced, to which one's actions may well have contributed, was justified. That is why those who fought in World War II are so fierce in considering it as a "good war," one justified because we were attacked by Japan and Germany declared war on us.  In retrospect learning the horrors of the Holocaust reinforced that belief that the sacrifice was justified.

But what if there were doubts?  We saw that after Vietnam, when the Viet Cong eventually took over the country.   What about the rationalization used by many that we were fighting to stop the spread of communism?  How much did that influence American attitudes towards the military?  How much did it impact those who served there, raising questions about their own service, the sacrifice of their friends' lives, the broken bodies and souls they and others carried forward?

We have for some time seen some of this in those who served in Iraq, particularly as that country spiraled downward, and as it became clear that the weapons caches used as a major justification for our entering that benighted place did not exist.  

Still, sometimes even those who criticized Iraq clung to the legitimacy of our not only going into Afghanistan but remaining there for a decade.  Even as it became clear that we had not crushed the Taliban, that we had not made the people of Afghanistan safe from violence, many clung to our continued participation in the nation, including during the timse the author of this piece served there.   As Gibbons-Neff writes near the end of this piece,

I’d like to believe that my war prevented an attack such as Boston’s for some years. If the 16 months I spent in Afghanistan delayed the bombing for just a day, then it would have been worth it.
IF one begins to question the worth of one's effort, there has to be a sense of betrayal - personal and national.

Keeping that in mind, read the final two sentences of this remarkable piece, then stop and sit still and let them sink in:  

But my war failed to help those people at the finish line. As those bombs exploded, my war came home.
my war came home

Some wish to ramp up our response.  Gibbons-Neff cites a neighbor, his mother with their anger.  We hear the bloviations of some politicians about how we should act towards immigrants, towards all Muslims.  

We use drones because they do less "collateral damage" then did the wide swaths of bombing done by B-52s.   We do drones because we can kill perceived enemies without exposing our troops to the IEDs that are the weapons of choice against us, or have them trapped in ambush.

But what if our continued military activities adds to the resentment that breeds violence against us?

What if our violence is seen in a context of our use of torture, and - do NOT ignore this - the disrespect for the religion and the culture of the nations where we apply that violence?

We have seen again from many of the usual suspect the Islamiphobia, the tarring of all Muslims with the actions of a few who happen to be of the same faith.  

Might that not also be part of the context, even if unsaid the by the surviving bomber?

Those are my thoughts, not those of Gibbons-Neff.

He was, even before Boston, questioning his service:  

Some of my best friends came home in flag-draped coffins, and no one ever convincingly explained to me why and what for.
Once we failed to apply the necessary force to capture Osama bin Laden in Tora Bora, it is arguable that our continued military endeavor in Afghanistan was unwarranted.

When we again propped up a non-functioning, corrupt and unpopular central government, we did little to make ourselves safer at home, or protect American interests abroad.

Going in to Afghanistan was justifiable.  Remaining there for more than a decade was not.

That those who served and sacrificed there now raise the kinds of questions seen in this piece by Gibbons-Neff is something we all should consider as we go forward.

Ignore if you wish my commentary.

BUt please, if nothing else, if you have not already done so, click here and read the entire piece by Gibbons-Neff.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (27+ / 0-)

    "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

    by teacherken on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 04:25:22 AM PDT

  •  Well, it's been my sense for some time (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite

    that "we fight them over there, so we don't have to fight them here at home," is a true statement, not about foreign terrorists, as we are led to believe, but about the people who are not inclined to be ruled -- i.e. the insurgents everywhere.

    The ruling elite perceives its position under threat and has concluded that demonstrating its demand for compliance overseas is safer than trying to do it at home. Indeed, although the response to OWS was brutal enough in some cases, the conclusion had to be that we the people are not going to put up with overt coercive force. Neutralizing ring leaders for a time is about all they can get away with. Imposing restraints on segments of the population (women, elders, children) is not going to be tolerated, either. If nothing else, the growth of the shadow economy is testament to that. The decrease in adult participation in the work force is also evidence. When people are forced to work for a paycheck just to survive, they seek out alternatives. Barter may be less efficient, but it beats being cheated out of one's wages on a regular basis.
    When children return to the parental home to look after their own, they short-circuit the elder-care industry. Social security and medicare payments go into their upkeep, instead of the assisted living facility. That's why these direct payment programs are under attack by those who would exploit their own kind. Cash income lets whole families decide how to secure the goods and services they need.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 04:49:30 AM PDT

  •  I disagree with him specifically and in general. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Roadbed Guy, Rich in PA, gfv6800

    1. I see any supposed 'justification' given by the Tsarnaev's as intellectual flailing-around by an individual who was understandably at the end of his rope after realizing that his time in the US has not been successful for him. I don't really even see them as 'terrorists' in sticking with the definition; unless evidence arises that they were agents of some organization, I really don't see what they did as different than a disgruntled postal worker shooting up a mall.

    2. 'Because Y happened, X was the wrong decision' is results-oriented thinking and the wrong way to evaluate decision-making, etc. You make decisions based on the information you have available at the time, your experience, and the importance of the cause you're going to act for. I too disagree with the decision to occupy Afghanistan for so long, but not because a certain number of troops died, or how long it's taking , etc. I certainly look at WWII as different than Afghanistan, but I don't believe you, Teacherken, would've said 'Well, we've lost 50k troops now, this war was the wrong choice, we should pull out.' or 'Now we have to ration gas, so the burden on our country is uncomfortable and therefore we shouldn't participate anymore.'

    I see what you did there.

    by GoGoGoEverton on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 05:05:16 AM PDT

  •  If you wage war in US because of war in (0+ / 0-)

    Afghanistan, are you not by definition a POW when captured?

    "If the past sits in judgment on the present, the future will be lost." Winston Churchill

    by Kvetchnrelease on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 05:08:12 AM PDT

    •  not under the rules of war (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rich in PA, Mindful Nature

      you are supposed to be (a) a member of the organized military and (b) in the appropriate uniform.  Violation of either of those does not give you the protection of rules of war.

      As a US citizen the correct charge if one viewed the actions of D. Tsarnaev as advancing the interests of an enemy with whom we were engaged would be treason.

      Because we are not at war with Chechnya nor with Russia (from Dagestan he would have had a Russian passport) he could not be classified as waging war on behalf of those nations.

      And this discussion is actually irrelevant to the piece about which I am writing.

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 05:13:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  But it's a real stretch to say that's what (0+ / 0-)

      happened  . . . . .

      •  not the issue (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        a2nite

        issue is perception of author of piece

        which is phrased as contingent, questioning

        "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

        by teacherken on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 05:24:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And my perception is that this is (0+ / 0-)

          just another attempt to link the actions of these fucked up youngsters to the GWOT - and thus justify keeping it going and/or ramping it up.

          The people running it are smart enough to know that "any publicity is good publicity" since concerns about blowback have long since been discounted/ignored.

          And that's what I find troubling - the perceptions involved.  Or more accurately most likely the misperceptions.

  •  Sometimes we learn too late. (6+ / 0-)

    Let's be smarter when it comes to Syria.

  •  I thought he was going to say (5+ / 0-)

    that the explosion in Boston injuring civilians made him sympathize with the civilians in Afghanistan who were caught up in the war.

  •  We can't be held hostage to the spurious... (5+ / 0-)

    ...grievances of every loser in the world.

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 05:57:34 AM PDT

  •  We had to respond to 9/11. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sandbox, CharlesInCharge

    What else could we have done; just sit there?

    Boehner Just Wants Wife To Listen, Not Come Up With Alternative Debt-Reduction Ideas

    by dov12348 on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 06:13:21 AM PDT

    •  I would agree (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tardis10, dov12348, jayden

      But the response soon decayed from something understandable to inscrutable.

      Articles like the WP one Teacherken links to just further confirm my feeling that 9-11 is a deeper type of scar on our nation, something I've applied the tag 'stain' on it from that day, but I'm not sure that's an appropriate description.

      But this service man comes back from service and conflates what might be just plain criminality with state security and his role in it.  Eloquent as it is, I just wonder if his concerns are not a little misplaced?  To think that our sacred places/events were immune to this sort of attack is silly.  Tsarnaev might claim some sort of Jihadi bent, but it seems as likely he was a disaffected pothead as much as a Muhajadin...

      I think it's appropriate for the Boston bombing to be dealt with as LE, and until it is obvious that it reaches in to the state security realm it should be viewed as such.  But the jump the service man takes seems to me just a symptom of the nation's post traumatic condition after 9-11.

    •  Right we had to respond by overthrowing (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dov12348

      the Taliban, but we also should have responded more at home.  And even in Afghanastan we over-reached/trying to reorganize their method of governing.

    •  There was an ongoing effort (5+ / 0-)

      based on strong international diplomacy to convince Omar to allow entry into Afghanistan to capture the al-Qaeda leadership. There were signs that this was succeeding. It was backed by every “muslim country” except IIRC Iraq and Syria. Many of us at the time were pushing toward a huge, international manhunt—that is, a law enforcement operation. Even John Kerry briefly associated himself with that idea.

      I believe that there is an excellent chance that it would have succeeded. Omar's position was that if we could provide Sharia-compatible proof that al-Qaeda had done the attacks, he would deliver them to justice. Obviously, he may have been lying. He is a totalitarian thug, after all. But there was a chance.

      I think we should have given those efforts more than two weeks, that's all.

      Furthermore, the Taliban and al-Qaeda are different organizations with very different goals. I don't like either one, but al-Qaeda is about international terrorism and are our enemies while the Taliban is about establishing a theocracy in the AfPak region and could care less about making attacks outside of that area. We assimilated the two groups and have been at war ever since with the Taliban, who did not attack us, while striking more or less sporadically at al-Qaeda, who did. A law enforcement approach would have targeted solely al-Qaeda and would have sought (and hopefully received) a certain degree of cooperation from the Taliban.

      So, what else could we have done? We could have gone after the ones who attacked us so that we could put them on trial and punish them. It would have been a much more effective approach, in my view, and just think of all the really horrible stuff we have done instead!

    •  Immediately after 9-11, the Taliban offered (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      out of left field, dov12348

      to surrender bin Laden to a neutral country, provided the U.S. revealed the evidence it had against him.

      This the U.S. NEVER DID. EVER! Colin Powell promised a 'white paper' detailing the allegations and evidence, but AFAIK said white paper never materialized. That's when I knew the whole thing was a tissue of lies and half-truths erected to justify an exercise in imperialism.

      Now consider if the positions were reversed: let's say the Taliban had accused you of of running an airstrike that killed 9 Afghan children and demanding that the U.S. government turn you over to it. Would you not want your government to at least insist upon seeing the evidence before turning you over???

      What else could we have done? How about good, solid international police work to capture an alleged mass murderer and bring him and his cohorts to justice in a criminal court of law?

      Oh, no, instead we had to take sides in an internal Afghan civil war (we took the side of the brutal Northern Alliance). And, eminently predictable, just like the last time we tried it in Asia (Vietnam), we have been given a thorough ass-whooping.

      But since it's only victims of the poverty draft (blacks, latinos and poor whites) who have been killed or wounded, America doesn't even know this time that it's had its ass whooped.

      •  Yes - if we could have gone for destruction... (0+ / 0-)

        ...of al Qaeda alone that would have been best.  No need for the war if avoidable.

        We almost had bin Laden in Tora Bora but right around then we were focusing more on switching to Iraq and then let him get away.

        Boehner Just Wants Wife To Listen, Not Come Up With Alternative Debt-Reduction Ideas

        by dov12348 on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 04:50:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Wait, what? I assume that was snark. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greenbell, Oaktown Girl, jayden, dov12348

      You can't possibly mean we had to start two wars of aggression with sovereign nations because of the actions of a few criminals, rather than hunt down the actual organization covertly, and then continue to stay in the countries we invaded for a decade after those we were supposedly after had left.  Especially when we didn't then do the same thing with Pakistan, which was in the same position as Afghanistan in re AQ.

  •  I think this isn't much to do..... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ChurchofBruce, tardis10, jayden

    with Afghanistan.  I have been listening and reading about the family dynamics and I see that as a bigger influence than that distant war.  The mother was increasingly radicalized herself.  She took up the habib and became a 9/11 truther.  She was under the strife between her husband and his brother, who on television blamed her not his brother for shaming the family.  The Russians became suspicious of Tamerlane after listening in on conversations about jihad he had with his mother .  Mom was also tapped talking with others about jihad whom they are still following up on.  Of course the Russians didn't tell the CIA what they were hearing, but hey, these two joined the 700,000 on the watch list, so there is that.

    These young men were failing at navigating American culture as immigrants, in one of the most diverse and liberal places in the country, Cambridge Massachusetts.  They failed in sport (most people don't become excellent athletes, so that dream was perhaps unrealistic).  Dhjokhar was failing in school, but that is not uncommon for young men who don't have a clear plan for their future.  Tamerlan was married with a child, his wife converted and wore a habib as well.  But Tamerlan was doing childcare while his wife worked all night as a caregiver in people's homes.  

    Most ironically, the young man from China was also an immigrant.  He was a success in China, success in an MBA program, success in a startup, driving a fancy (leased) car.  And he was a success escaping these two and helping the police capture them by leaving behind his iPhone 5.  So for those seeking the bombers as a reason to hate immigration need to juggle hating the man who helped catch them.

    I don't want to deny the reality for the young soldier, coming home to Boston and realizing the futility of his war.  But his war was never going to keep us safe from the radicals on the Internet.

    You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

    by murrayewv on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 06:14:52 AM PDT

    •  That mom was a piece of work..... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sandbox, jayden, Gator Keyfitz

      she is convinced her sons were set up in some massive fraud.  She can't return to the USA because she is wanted for felony shoplifting and destruction of property.  I suspect she was indeed a big influence.

      Tamerlan's wife is the one I feel for.  She left her kid with her husband even the day before he went out to murder a policeman and kill himself wearing a suicide vest and charging the police so his brother could escape.  She is distraught and by anyone's objective assessment, changed herself to please a man to no avail.  Don't know that she will ever get over this.

      You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

      by murrayewv on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 07:01:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Just a detail: (0+ / 0-)

        We do not know at this point that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was wearing a "suicide" vest at the time he was apprehended.  

        There have been a lot of statements from unnamed "officials" that have been reported and turned out to be untrue.  Perhaps the most striking was the assertion that the younger brother may have tried to commit suicide by shooting himself in the neck while he was in the boat.  This was repeated over and over.  Now we have learned that he did not have a gun, so he could not have possibly shot himself.  Instead, he was probably wounded when the SWAT team surrounding the boat opened fire after one of their number panicked and fired the first shot.  At least ten bullets went through the boat (a fibeglass boat is no protection against bullets) before a supervisor called a cease fire.

    •  The debate about immigration... (0+ / 0-)

      ...has much more to do with displacement and dispossession than with particular Annecdotes.  You want a polyglot worldcity you got it. Along with everything that goes along with it.

      A Catholic, Jew, Muslim and Buddhist walk into Al Aqsa Mosque. Buddhist immediately exclaims: "excuse me I appear to be in the wrong joke."

      by Salo on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 07:20:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I heard the opposite (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Simian

      Dhjokhar did well in school and received good grades.

    •  Yes but, war creates refugees (0+ / 0-)

      It's not surprising that some families whose lives have been disrupted by violence and hate bring that violence into their own families and continue the cycle.  

      I don't believe Afghanistan directly lead to this attack but the war in Chechnya probably did and our war in Afghanistan like any other war may spin off violence as well.  If the war doesn't solve a problem or resolve an issue, the hate just continues to fester.

  •  All Said (8+ / 0-)

    Looking back at the Iraq and Afghanistan invasions, I do not think that they had anything to do with the 9/11 attacks or anything, really, to do with domestic security. A convenient excuse, maybe.

    But beyond that, the ties are very thin.

    We went to war because powerful people felt they could profit from it -- either economically or otherwise. No concern was ever spared for how it might impact the security of Americans. Rich, powerful people wanted wars, so we had them. That's that.

    Did these wars make domestic security in the U.S. worse?

    I guess the Boston bombings indicate that this is possibly the case, though I suppose we'll never know.

    What has happened over the last 12 years is that fears about terrorism have increased exponentially and separately from any actual increased risk of terrorist attacks.

    Again, this is a perfect benefit for the rich and powerful, who now have their cattle going through endless minor security detainments whenever they want to go from Point A to Point B. This keeps the serfs nervous, insecure and distracted.

    "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

    by bink on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 06:20:55 AM PDT

  •  Invade the world invite the world. (0+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    Hidden by:
    GoGoGoEverton

    It's very appropriate that this occurred in Boston too. where else but the beginning of the revolution.

    A Catholic, Jew, Muslim and Buddhist walk into Al Aqsa Mosque. Buddhist immediately exclaims: "excuse me I appear to be in the wrong joke."

    by Salo on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 06:27:08 AM PDT

  •  Thoughtful Post worth reading and considering (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenbell

    We, as a nation, need to carefully think through the fall out and blow-back of our global "war".  Is it really making us safer? What are we buying with the blood of our youth and our treasury?

    We need more discussion about how to go forward in light of all factors resulting from our actions to date. Vets have a unique perspective and should have a loud voice in that discussion.

  •  Whether or not this was the true reason (8+ / 0-)

    for the Tsarnaev brothers' bombing is not that relevant for me.  What is relevant to me is that our waging of wars upon countries that have not directly attacked us is eventually going to come home to roost.  We cannot continue to invade sovereign countries for whatever trumped up reason and expect their citizens and the rest of the world to love us for it.

    The "war on terror" has been a financial black hole for this country, but the cost has been even greater in terms of our status in the world.  They do not hate us for our freedoms.  They hate us for our imperial aggression.  I suspect those at the highest levels of power probably know that, but the MIC must be fed continually.

    War is not clean or surgical.  War inflicts terrible costs to our own service men and women.  War inflicts even greater costs upon innocent civilians in these countries.  For every war we are involved in, we are creating more and more enemies.  

    "Growing up is for those who don't have the guts not to. Grow wise, grow loving, grow compassionate, but why grow up?" - Fiddlegirl

    by gulfgal98 on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 07:24:30 AM PDT

  •  Regardless of how "justified" we feel about our (6+ / 0-)

    seemingly endless wars, it is not our feelings that determine how those wars come back to haunt us.

    It is the feelings of those we war against.  And no matter how justified and righteous we may deem ourselves, to someone whose family disintegrated in a pink spray before their eyes, we are no different than Adolf Hitler.  We are the devil incarnate.  Were they Christians and not Muslims, we would be the Antichrist.  On steroids.

    And they feel as justified in destroying us as we felt justified in fire-bombing Dresden and nuking Japan.

    Karma sucks when you are the ones being Karma-lized.

    Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed. --Herman Melville

    by ZedMont on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 07:42:52 AM PDT

  •  This latest attack highlights that we have to (0+ / 0-)

    change our immigration policy so that those determined to be radical islamists are denied visa entry on that basis and non-citizens already here who become radical islamists should also be legally deported (after a hearing).  Once individuals embrace the jihad ideology (and we can argue about why they do) it's not worth all the surveillance and police effort to keep track of them.

  •  Sometimes you just cannot know (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sandbox, GoGoGoEverton

    Whether things would have been different.  We must come to terms with not knowing whether it was "worth it" and proceed in the world anyway.  

    Here, I don't actually think the war brought attacks home.  They have been here in one form or another for decades.   The first World Trade Center bombing wears twenty years before Afghanistan. The most violent decade for terrorist attacks in the US was the 1970s.  People have been putting bombs in crowds since the 1800s.  The question of whether a war delayed and attack o provoked one is unanswerable and perhaps the wrong question

    If that isn't really the right question, I would suggest the right question is the same it has always been:  given the persistence of violence, is an invasion of the country governed by a group of people supporting that violence the right response

    Touch all that arises with a spirit of compassion

    by Mindful Nature on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 08:26:47 AM PDT

  •  suggesting people read another piece (0+ / 0-)

    from William Boardman in Reader Supported News.   I think it very much ties into the kinds of thing raised in the op ed.

    "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

    by teacherken on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 09:01:15 AM PDT

  •  Tsarnaev can never be justified (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GoGoGoEverton, sandbox

    But my beef with Afghanistan is not so much that it makes people hate us.  There will always be people who hate you for whatever reason you can't control.  

    My beef is mainly it was poor strategy and the ideology surrounding it is so right wing, that it makes liberals into hawkish neo-cons.  Nation building is beyond the scope of our abilities.  

    You can't change people unless they want to change.  There is no such thing as security.  You most certainly cannot buy it and killing for it is only so effective.  

    "Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This is a law eternal."

    by sujigu on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 09:48:15 AM PDT

    •  Erm, we can control it. (6+ / 0-)

      Most of the people around the world who 'hate us' have reason to do so, thanks to our own violent foreign policy, invading other countries, murdering their citizens with drones, supporting their dictators, exploiting them for natural resources.

      Only we have the power to change the way we interact with the rest of the world.  As long as we continue to do so through violence and exploitation, we will create such hatred.

      The few remaining who 'hate us' simply because they're divorced from reality will be far less threat if we put our own house in order, and stop acting like an abusive parent.

      •  Not so much (0+ / 0-)

        Most of the hatred in the Islamic world stems from the fact that we think Israel has a right to exist. Remember, most of the 911 terrorists were Saudis. We've never invaded their country, overthrown a democratically elected government there, killed anyone there with drones or exploited them for their natural resources (we pay them a shitton of money for it at prices that they basically set).

  •  I couldn't. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    out of left field, lotlizard
    "It is perfectly true that they used brute force and that it is possible for us to do likewise, but by using similar means we can get only the same thing that they got. You will admit that we do not want that. Your belief that there is no connection between the means and the end is a great mistake. Through that mistake even men who have been considered religious have committed grievous crimes. Your reasoning is the same as saying that we can get a rose through planting a noxious weed." - Mahatma Gandhi
    The use of military action is by definition a failure of non-violents means to achieving an end, and should be reserved only for instances in which great slaughters are about to be perpetuated, that might, might, be stopped by a much smaller attack on the perpetrators.  They should never then be used to occupy or force 'democracy-building' or 'nation-building' upon a people.  Violence only begets violence.  You can't invade to create lasting peace.
  •  Gibbons-Neff wrote: (0+ / 0-)
    Despite our best efforts and valor, I wonder, have America’s wars made the homeland less safe? Sure, we’ve killed and captured thousands of radicals who wanted to harm Americans. But in doing so, have we created more?
    Yes and yes.  He is reluctant to come to that conclusion, but he does and so do I.  Bush qualifies as a war criminal for getting us into those wars.  Obama qualifies as either a fool or something else for continuing on in Afghanistan, rather than pulling out of there as soon as he could.

    Thanks for this diary.

  •  Tips for provocative thoughts, presented with (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken

    sensitivity and intelligence.

    Non futuis apud Boston

    by kenlac on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 04:36:44 PM PDT

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