Just the other day, America was debating whether it was OK for our soldiers to pee on people they had killed in Afghanistan. There was no quarrel over whether it was OK to kill the peed-upon, in the first place.
Building on the skewed, To-Pee-Or-Not-To-Pee diversion, the question du jour is whether the same soldiers should say sorry for incinerating Qurans on a bonfire in the Bagram Air Base, north of Kabul.
Built by Kellogg Brown & Root, which was “until recently a subsidiary of Halliburton,” the Bagram Base “is located on a sere plain beneath snowcapped spurs of the Hindu Kush,” writes author Cullen Murphy in “Are We Rome? The Fall of an Empire and the Fate of Rome.”
“In the Past, Bagram has yielded glassware and bronzes from as far away as imperial Rome.” But, “Bagram today is an outpost of American, not Hellenic, civilization. … Bagram Air Base supports a population of more than 5,000. The base perimeter, nine miles around, is ringed not with walls of stone or mud but with chain-link fencing and concertina wire and arrays of bright lights and electronic sensors.”
With its rows of “prefabricated dwellings,” stacked “shipping containers” (“giant bladders of water and fuel”), “American-style stores” and hospitals; with precincts packed with hundreds of contractors who cater to the troops, with checkpoints and multi-denominational chapels, which double-up as Vegas-style, quickie naturalization centers for Afghan recruits – Bagram embodies “imperial overstretch”: “the idea that one’s security needs, military obligations and globalist desires increasingly outstrip resources available to satisfy them” (“Are We Rome,” p. 71).
The dilemma over an apology is only the froth on the top. It is the elephantine character of American entanglement in Afghanistan that underpins the fury.
“Burning the Quran at Bagram is an unforgivable crime and sin,” Inayatullah Baleegh thundered from the pulpit of a Kabul mosque Friday, the main prayer day of the Islamic week. “But the presence of infidels in a Muslim country is an even bigger sin” (Los Angeles Times).
Widely supported by Afghans, the Taliban also denounced the “accursed Western invasion, which is forcing itself upon us in the name of democracy.”
Following the Bagram incident, the president of the United States and U.S. Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen – he commands Western troops in Afghanistan – felt a profuse apology was in order. But for doing this bare minimum, Barack Obama’s uncouth Republican rivals decided the man who had bested Bush in detonating hundreds of civilians in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region with his growing fleet of armed Predator and Reaper drones was being unnecessarily obsequious.
Twenty eight people have died so far in the riots that erupted following the book burning. Two of them were “unnamed U.S. military advisers ranked colonel and major,” who were shot in the head execution style at the Interior Ministry in Kabul City. Although it’s hard to fathom what the Romney-Santorum-Gingrich troika expected from the president, it’s easy to foresee how each one of them would inflame matters in the future.
For liberals, on the other hand, the lessons learned are very different. The violence that so often convulses Middle Eastern as well as South and Central Asian countries, in reaction to U.S. presence, signals to liberals that the troops need to be further softened to the multicultural message.
And if they can get in touch with their inner-woman, grunts can get in touch with their inner-Muslim, right?
A Stars and Stripes bulletin wrote quite proudly about how political correctness is incorporated into military consciousness. “Army enlisted leaders all over the world are being ordered to take the Pregnancy Postpartum Physical Training Exercise Leaders Course, or
PPPT.” “Hardened combat veterans” are made to strap on an “empathy belly” and fake boobs and get in touch with their imaginary uterus so as to better understand pregnant soldiers (who, as Rick Santorum rightly pointed out, have no place in a fighting force that must maintain “esprit and group identity”). Replace body armor with an empathy belly and fake breasts – and a male grunt can even be drilled into secreting estrogen in abundance.
If you can create a more maternal military – why not make the same men get in touch with their inner-Muslim?
As much as liberals (a label that includes almost all conservatives these days) like to mess with men’s nature, it is undeniable that the most effective soldiers are also the most fiercely chauvinistic – men who’re impervious to anything but the defense of their own country and kind.
Moreover, the more menacing and hyper-masculine America’s military, the less likely it is to be deployed and used injudiciously by its political masters. For who would want to risk unleashing a feral fighting force, unless absolutely essential?
Mold the military into a friendly purveyor of soft power that fits with a political, social-engineering agenda – nation building – and you are guaranteed that cynical, unethical master manipulators will continue to use and abuse it.