Afghanistan: Reflections on the the Kill Team

I was about to fall asleep last night when my American fiancée slightly nudged me and said, "Josh, I'm telling you this because you'll see it in the morning anyway." She proceeded to tell me about the pictures of American soldiers posing with Afghan civilians that had been shot dead, -- kinda like when you hold a caribou's horns when you've shot it dead.

She was apprehensive about telling me because I'm an Afghan -- born and pretty much raised. The sad part is, I didn't really see the photos making any news really when I woke up this morning. I spent the entire day reading about the Arab Spring, the fight between Fox and CNN over CNN's reporters supposedly being used as human shields, and other stories. It really isn't a big deal anymore when civilians are killed then shown off as trophies by American soldiers, apparently. The perpetrators have been dubbed the 'Kill Team'.

Incidents like Abu Ghraib and ones similar to it have seriously desensitized the American people and the rest of the world to the extent that we've, in my opinion, ran out of anger, I suppose. Things like these happen and that's that. Though, there are still a few of us who for one reason or another look at them and manage to eek out some anger. The recent images have already forced an apology by the US Army and diplomatic row.

But after we've shown our share of moral outrage over the photos, let's remember a few important points.

First, let's not forget that out of the hundreds of thousands of American soldiers that served or are serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and the rest of the world, only a few have committed such acts. The rest have bravely tried to restore peace in a world where finding any measure of it these days seems to be out of pure luck. That in itself is a victory for the American military since it is frequently asked by its citizens and indeed the world to step in and police things because everyone else is too squeamish or too afraid.

Secondly, the latest leaked photos raise several questions. How many of these incidents don't we get to hear about? Sure enough Abu Ghraib, this latest incident and others like it were kept tightly under-wraps even after internal investigations had begun into their perpetrators. How many have been quietly dealt with? How many have been committed that nobody knows about? Where has the US military failed for such horrible incidents to take place in the 21st century?

I hope people are out there asking these questions and trying to find solutions for them. Otherwise, a lost war will continue to come back and haunt the US public over and over and over again, leaving an indelible black stain on its image.