Saturday, August 7, 2010

Morally Culpable

I lately find myself blogging more and more about my feelings on the Afghanistan war. In summary, if the purpose of the war was to deny safe haven to the terrorists who perpetrated 9/11, we succeeded long ago and should have declared victory and gotten out. Now nobody's sure of the mission, the military strategy, the criteria for success, the exit strategy....Afghanistan has become a big black hole, sucking even more blood and more treasure. With no end in sight.

Ask yourself this: is staying in Afghanistan making you any safer? And if you bring up the point that we owe it to the Afghan people to try to fix up the country we wrecked, I do agree and we should send humanitarian aid rather than combat troops. We should offer--on the condition of safe passage and non-interference--to build schools and wells and hospitals and roads and bridges, and provide vaccines and medical care. We could do a lot rather than squander a million dollars per U.S. soldier per year.

But rather than debate the issue, probably futilely, let me post a quote that you may also find interesting.  From the blog, (formerly AfterDowningStreet), a post by John Grant on 3 August, "The New Afghanistan Policy: Murder Inc."  He poses a tricky philosophical question:

Let me get this straight. Robert Gates, the Secretary-Of-Defense-For-Life, is touring the TV news shows and major newspapers pleading with great angst lines in his forehead that WikiLeaks is “guilty” and “morally culpable” for releasing 75,000 field reports from Afghanistan to the American public because they endanger Afghans allied with US forces.

But he and the US militarists who initiated the war in Iraq and who have continued the war in Afghanistan for nine years, the people who keep everything about these wars secret except what is useful to sustain them, the people who finance these wars on credit without raising taxes, dumping the costs on future generations – these people are not “morally culpable,” “guilty” or endangering anyone?

Do I have that right?

In other words, to reveal information about the war makes one morally guilty of endangering people, while being responsible for the war itself does not.
Now my head hurts and I'd better go for a trail run.  If I'm getting strident about war, it's just that I'm becoming increasingly worried about the future of the Mister Tristans (the human being, not the blog) of this world.


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