...But of these sophisms and elenchs of merchandise I skill not...
Milton, Areopagitica

Except he had found the
standing sea-rock that even this last
Temptation breaks on; quieter than death but lovelier; peace
that quiets the desire even of praising it.

Jeffers, Meditation On Saviors



To subdue the valley

miscommunication and deception:
killing civilians is great propaganda for the Taliban

there’s always a local political story at the root of the killing and dying. That original misunderstanding and grievance fertilizes the land for the Islamists. Whom do you want to side with: your brothers in God’s world or the infidel thieves?

“He’s on medication,” Kearney said quietly to me.
Then another soldier walked by and shouted, “Hey, I’m with you, sir!” and Kearney said to me, “Prozac. Serious P.T.S.D. from last tour.” Another one popped out of the HQ cursing and muttering. “Medicated,” Kearney said. “Last tour, if you didn’t give him information, he’d burn down your house. He killed so many people. He’s checked out.”
As I went to get some hot chocolate in the dining tent, the peaceful night was shattered by mortars, rockets and machine-gun fire

with the promise that they would be going after insurgents who had killed their friends and whose grizzled faces were plastered on their bad-guy family-tree wall
He signed off on collateral damage, and Kearney turned to Caroon: “Take out the compound. And anyone that comes out.”

Flaming rockets flashed through the sky.

the puppy whose ears were chopped off by an Afghan

then Becky, everyone’s favorite Apache pilot, swept in. Not only did she offer the comforting voice of a woman seeping right into their ears, but Becky was one of the most aggressive shooters. She flew up and down the canyon walls seeking out and rocketing insurgents.

The Apaches, Slasher and Bone dropped bombs all night.

The pilot was a woman and, Sandifer later told me, “It was so reassuring for us to hear her voice.” She spotted guys hiding and asked if she was clear to engage. “ ‘You’re cleared hot,’ I told her. And we killed two people together.” But, at this point, the killings were no consolation

The tally was bad — 5 killed and 11 wounded, all of them women, girls and boys.

long passage detailing the sufferings and deaths of American soldiers

“I’m bleeding out. I’m dying.”

“I’m bleeding out. I’m dying.”

“I’ve got too many geeking out, wanting to go off the deep end and kill people,” he said. One of his lieutenants wanted to shoot every Afghan in the face.

He wished he could buy 20 goats and let the boys beat and burn them and let loose their rage.

pain and misery will knock on many doors
Hey dude, ask yourself. Why would I bring you radios and food and shoot at you?

Rubin/NYT 24.Feb.08
Could be the headache I got about three paragraphs in, but this line seemed really exceptionally discordant
Still, he wasn’t going to let himself shoot at houses every time his unit took fire: “I’d just create more people that hate me.”
Not because it's wrong, but because it doesn't work. Having more people hate you doesn't work. And that's it for morality now, according to whoever's running all this.
Nothing is wrong or right by itself, things either work or they don't. Torture is bad because it doesn't work, killing civilians is bad because it doesn't work. Unless they do, then they aren't.

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