In the very early days immediately after the opening of this shebeen, we proposed The Goat Cart Scenario concerning our continued, and increasingly inexplicable, war-making in Afghanistan.
OK, we said, suppose we find an Afghan militant that we want to kill and we launch one of our hyper-accurate smarter-than-smart airborne explosives at him. And, just as it detonates, scattering pieces of the militant to the four winds over the Hindu Kush, some ordinary farmer drives his goat cart up the other side of the road and he gets vaporized, too. What, do we imagine, his wife, children, nephews, nieces, aunts, uncles, and lifelong farmer friends are going to think of us down through the years? Are they going to believe that his sacrifice was necessary so as to keep the Taliban from re-establishing a base in western Asia? I find this unlikely.
It's a situation like, say, this. From Reuters:
A U.S. drone strike intended to hit an Islamic State (IS) hideout in Afghanistan killed at least 30 civilians resting after a day’s labor in the fields, officials said on Thursday. The attack on Wednesday night also injured another 40 people after accidentally targeting farmers and laborers who had just finished collecting pine nuts at Wazir Tangi in eastern Nangarhar province, three Afghan officials told Reuters.
“The workers had lit a bonfire and were sitting together when a drone targeted them,” tribal elder Malik Rahat Gul told Reuters by telephone from Wazir Tangi. Afghanistan’s Defense Ministry and a senior U.S official in Kabul confirmed the drone strike, but did not share details of civilian casualties.
“U.S. forces conducted a drone strike against Da’esh (IS) terrorists in Nangarhar,” said Colonel Sonny Leggett, a spokesman for U.S. forces in Afghanistan. “We are aware of allegations of the death of non-combatants and are working with local officials to determine the facts.”
A bunch of guys spend the day gathering pine nuts which, I suspect, is a pretty terrible job, all things considered. All they want is to sit around a bonfire at the end of the day and, I don't know, shoot the shit about who's dating whom, and how much they hate gathering pine nuts, and maybe pass around a jug of illicit green-raisin moonshine, if nobody's looking. And, in a second, they're gone. They have families. One day, their three-year old son finds out how his father died and he picks up a gun. And 'round and 'round we go.
What the hell is the point? 'Round and 'round we go.
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