In WWII, even in Korea, we had news photos of GI’s giving candy and food to local kids and adults. This practise disintegrated in Vietnam, where babes in arms could just as easily be rigged to explode. Partly this was the result of a global ideological conflict. Partly, though, perhaps the greater part, was that American soldiers were not helping the people of the nation they’d invaded. Whatever agenda they had – save Australia from Communism, establish a drug business, pump oil out of the China Sea, rip off the Defense budget or the PX – it had nothing to do with Freedom, Liberty, or the Vietnamese people.
Invading Iraq was an excuse for Halliburton to bill Congress; invading Afghanistan … well, frankly I don’t know. I think it may have had to do with oil. Hunting Isis, the Taliban, bin Laden, all noble pursuits. But the only success among them was the surgical erasure of bin Laden. In the current era of frontless war, invasion-sized offenses have generally failed.
Rest assured, I have no qualms about killing terrorists. I’m no Buddhist. Probably that’s linked with the ease with which I justify squishing mosquitoes and suffocating ticks. I figure, even if they are my ancestors, they’re pests now and squishing and drowning is part of a bug’s karma.
American military behavior, while never as valorous as we’d like to believe, still was admirable compared with The Other Guys. I’m not so sure any more. Sweeping troops through residential neighborhoods, through actual residences, will not make many friends among the residents. Drone attacks, unless regularly extremely accurate, would tend to scare the living shit out of the civilian population. While calling America “terrorist” is not correct, calling its motives corrupt and its overall approach murderous may be thoroughly accurate.