Country Joe McDonald at Woodstock singin’ that Fixin’ to Die Rag. “Gimme an F . . .”
A curious event happened in Afghanistan yesterday. Actually, a lot of curious events happened, but I want to focus on two of them that grabbed my attention.
As y’all know, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta jetted to Afghanistan to attempt to put out the firestorm caused by the as yet unnamed U.S. soldier who slaughtered 16 Afghan civilians, 9 of them children, as they slept in their beds.
He made a bunch of bullshit speeches about staying the course; he shook a bunch of hands; and smiled a bunch of smiles. But he seemed, well, kind of off. Scared maybe. At least that was my take on it.
Might have had to do with something that happened just before he arrived at the base airport in Helmand province. An Afghan civilian commandeered a vehicle and attempted to run over a bunch of the brass welcoming committee standing out on the tarmac waiting for Panetta’s plane to pull in after it landed. They saw him coming and scattered avoiding injury. The guy stopped the vehicle and set a bunch of gas cans and himself on fire.
Not even the most skilled torturers at the base could get anything out of him.
So, Panetta gets off the plane and they stand around scratching their heads exchanging wtf-wow-did-you-see-that type remarks and it’s on to a big inflated-type tent somewhere on the base where Panetta is scheduled to speak to a bunch of Marines, except . . .
The patiently waiting Marines are ordered to leave the tent and disarm, piling all of their M4s, M16s, 9 mm handguns, ammo, knives, and assorted other weapons on the ground outside the tent, notwithstanding the rule that Marines in a war zone are never supposed to be unarmed.
After they come back scratching their heads wondering wtf and resume their seats, Panetta comes out and tells them everything is copacetic; we’re winning the war; and all we need to do is stay-the-course.
And poof! Off he goes to his next venue.
Now, I was never in the Marine Corps and never served in the military, so maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about, but I would have been furious, if I were one of those Marines. What kind of message was that?
“Y’all are a bunch of fucking crazy psycho killers and I don’t feel safe around you.”
That’s not the way to treat a Marine.
Was it possible for the United States Secretary of Defense to have done anything more stupid and disrespectful?
Wow! Just wow!
I’m not buying the ‘official’ explanation that the Marines were ordered to disarm so that the disarmed Afghan National Army troops who also were present wouldn’t feel singled out.
Why don’t I believe it?
Because it’s still an insult and I would prefer armed Marines to unarmed Marines when I was in the presence of supposedly unarmed Afghan National Army soldiers.
I mean, what if one of them had one of those liquid bombs we’re all supposed to be terrified about, or a bare bodkin like Hamlet hallucinated about.
Any way you cut it, disarming the Marines was the equivalent of saying, “I fear for my life and I don’t trust you.”
So, now that we know the Marines and probably the rest of our troops in Afghanistan, if not all of the armed services, think Panetta is a coward who does not respect and trust them, I’m sure as shootin’ fish in a barrel that they are thrilled as all get-out to continue to risk their lives every time they go out on patrol with their oh-so-loyal Afghan partners.
Maybe I’m reading too much into this, but I doubt it. I think troop discipline, which is already unraveling, will really start to fly apart now like it did in Vietnam when soldiers started fraggin’ their platoon leaders.
The only reasons we aren’t going to get out are:
1. Obama will not withdraw before the election because he’s afraid the right wing will jump on him and he’ll lose the election;
2. The generals don’t want to get tagged with losing the war;
3. Win or lose, war is big business.
4. Heroin is big business.
Therefore, the body count will continue to mount.
As Country Joe McDonald said, “Whoopee, we’re all gonna die.”
Here’s a link to an article about the incident.