The Serial Child Killer in Afghanistan

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The massacre of 16 Afghan civilians by a still-to-be-identified American soldier limns the course of American foreign policy in the post-9/11 era. Think of it: he went out in the dead of night, at three in the morning, armed to the teeth, and snuck into a village where sleeping children were cradled in their beds. Taking careful aim, he knelt and started firing: one after another these young girls and boys had their heads blown off. One news account described a bullet hole right between the eyes of one young victim. That’s some pretty good shooting there, soldier: all that training, financed by the US taxpayers, paid off! His work there finished, our serial killer went to another house, where he repeated his grisly work. After it was over, he gathered the bodies together and set them ablaze, in a display of "shock and awe" and cleansing fire, as if to simultaneously wipe out the evidence of his crimes and appease his Wagnerian sense of the dramatic.

If only the television crews had been there to witness this American Gtterdmmerung: it would have made an award-winning shockumentary, the story of a square-jawed over-deployed American soldier and straight-as-an-arrow patriot who just wanted to serve his country and wound up becoming a mass murderer.

The Western media is already running this clichd narrative up the flagpole, and there are no doubt plenty of Americans ready to salute. After all, we’re being told, he had a "breakdown" – a rite of passage for every normal American these days, whether the precipitating incident is a divorce, impending bankruptcy, or the sudden discovery that their tattooed –and-pierced daughter is having a sex change operation right after she aborts her out-of-wedlock baby. Having a breakdown is now a sacred and legally-protected "right," right up there with the "right" to healthcare, cheap gas, and a federally-insured home mortgage, a "Get out of jail free" card every American gets to play at least once in their lives. So, you had a "breakdown" and massacred 16 civilians, most of whom were young children? Don’t worry, my friend – the "safety net" will catch you.

As a good citizen of America’s "therapeutic state," this soldier embodies the idea that every trauma, or major discomfort, gives us permission to commit acts that would normally be frowned upon. If we apply this operating principle to the realm of foreign policy, what we come up with is the exact course of American foreign policy during the last decade.

It’s fair to say America experienced a collective "breakdown" in the days and weeks after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Normally rational people became bloodthirsty lunatics, and the War Party cashed in bigtime: as Seymour Hersh pointed out, the neocons pulled off a coup d’etat at the very heights of the US government and took the country on a rampage from Afghanistan to Iraq and beyond. After more than a decade, the wilding continues unabated under President Obama. The recent Afghan massacre is just a microcosm of the mass murder of innocents carried out by our drone campaign, and in the blood-drenched sands of Iraq – carried out with the same well-trained precision our American serial killer employed in slaughtering his young victims.

The Unknown Soldier used to be a symbol of all our noble, self-less, American heroes-in-uniform, who put their lives on the line to protect the nation: now that we have entered the age of imperialism, he has become the Unknown Serial Killer, whose identity is kept secret as he’s rushed out of the country to escape the wrath of his victims’ families.

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