All (American) Lives Matter

In yet another sign that the Trump administration just wants to make America white again, reporting on fighting in Helmand is focusing on a couple of wounded US soldiers. Instead of the 20 or so Afghan civilians who probably died thanks to US airstrikes. It’s this kind of white-centric reporting that makes me miss Obama even more.

Two American soldiers were wounded Thursday in Helmand province’s fiercely contested Sangin district. U.S. airstrikes there on the same day may have killed as many as 25 civilians. 2 US Soldiers Wounded in Afghanistan Clash

Some lives are more equal than others

Which is the kind of alternative truth we’re going to have to expect under Il Dunce. Even though I’m taking it another direction. Because we’re always going to worry more about perfectly good white boys getting holes in them. Since the alternative would be to think a lot more about why we keep killing Afghans with airplanes.

Which is actually a thing that Americans do. In Afghanistan, in Yemen, in Iraq, in Syria, in Somalia, and in Pakistan. But by all means let’s keep wringing our hands about the senseless waste of American soldiers. Since dead Helmandis have names that are super hard to pronounce.

I’m going full broad brush here. I know that. And if this particular shoe doesn’t fit, throw it at someone. Preferably a member of the Trump administration.

I’m afraid of Americans

Soldiers get shot. It happens. They signed up for that possibility.

Dead Afghan civilians, on the other hand, did not similarly volunteer themselves for target practice.

“But,” you’re saying because you can’t help but play devil’s advocate, “the Taliban are hiding in homes. So it’s not our fault.”

If you can take a break from your multi-level essential oils sales for a minute, hear me out:

When the Taliban hide in homes, don’t bomb homes.

In an asymmetric war, the worst thing you can do is show just how asymmetrical you are. In this case, you do that by dropping bombs on people. Who were once alive, but thanks to all the bombing, are now dead.

And the Americans are going to write it off as the fog of war. Or a misstep by Afghan allies on the ground. Or some other bullshit that exonerates them from another oopsie.

Credibility: Taliban — 1, Americans — 0

Might as well write the press release for the insurgency. Because by killing civilians, you already have. And you’re undermining Kabul with every weapons release.

Afghans in Helmand don’t trust Kabul. They sure as fuck don’t trust Americans. So the Boys from Balochistan are more than happy to capitalize on that.

“See? We didn’t drop bombs on you. How great are we?”

I know. They don’t have an air force. Not the point.

The point is that the Taliban love shit like this. And of course I’m super duper about the troops. I just wish we’d stop writing about Afghanistan like it’s an American war.

We started it, and we’ve tried making the Afghans finish it. Which is going poorly. So expect more US-centric reporting.

Because if the US/NATO commander in the graveyard of transitions gets his way, more troops are coming. And they’re going to be in harm’s way. Good thing most of them have pronounceable names.


Originally published at Sunny In Kabul.