I wrote in Asia Times hardly twelve days ago: “We are not quite there where the epic film on the Vietnam-War era Apocalypse Now by Francis Ford Coppola was set. But one can almost hear Ride of the Valkyries playing over the American chopper loudspeakers.”
Well, I can now hear that chopper. This morning before the crack of dawn, an American solider assigned to Afghanistan walked out unseen from his military base with his weapon and walked into the neighbouring Najibyan village in Kandahar’s Panjwayi district and went on a shooting spree at the Afghans and as of reports available, “at least 17″ civilians were killed
and five others were injured. The morale of the American troops is breaking down.
They realise the Afghan people see them as occupiers and want them to just go somewhere else and leave their country alone. By the way, this is also the judgment of the outgoing British ambassador to Afghanistan, Sir William Patey, whose interview with the Sunday Telegraph
, ironically, appeared only today.
To be fair, US president Barack Obama is getting the message that this western occupation of Afghanistan must end and the sooner it happens, the better. Amidst the cacophony over the situation around Iran and Syria, not many would have noticed Obama’s remarks — and his tone
— when asked about Afghanistan in his press conference last Tuesday.
Obama stressed that the “combat role” of the NATO troops will end in 2014. He acknowledged that Karzai is “eager for more responsibility” to be handed over to the Afghan side. He said a “mechanism” will be found “whereby Afghans understand their sovereignty is being respected”. Obama pledged: “We are not interested in staying there [Afghanistan] any longer than is necessary to assure that al-Qaeda is not operating there, and that there is sufficient stability that it does not end up being a free-for-all.”
Mind you, he was replying to a couple of sharp questions on the recent Koran burning incident and the violent eruption of anger that followed.There was no passion in Obama’s voice — no conviction or faith. Just plain, unspeakable relief that it is ending, finally, and he can hope to put it all behind him, like Iraq.
The soldier in the remote base in Kandahar understands that he is going home in humiliation — and lying on his bed staring into the night around him, unable to sleep and to forget, he wondered why his friends and colleagues had to die in vain in a faraway inhospitable country. He decided to settle scores by himself.