Korans are burned. Corpses desecrated. Children murdered in their sleep. Limbs lost. Minds shattered. Bodies mutilated. Entire families eviscerated.
A few days ago a US soldier, a 38 year old married father of two, walked off his base and into an Afghan village. He entered three Afghan huts and indiscriminately murdered sixteen innocent civilians including nine children. He then returned to his base where he surrendered to authorities. He was on his third tour. He had suffered a severe brain injury during a previous tour. He was deemed fit for duty.
These are the horrors of war; just a few of the horrific events that have played out in Afghanistan over the past several days.
We don’t like to think about these things. We don’t like to think about the true cost of war. If we have to think of war at all we want to view it as a John Wayne movie; where our heroic troops are victorious and return home to a ticker tape parade.
For most of us war is a 60 second clip on our local news broadcast; sandwiched between a suburban house fire and the weather forecast for our morning commute. We know all the words to “Rolling in the Deep” but most of us could not find Afghanistan on a map.
Civilians are slain by a troubled man gone rogue. Protestors call for the perpetrator’s “assassination”. US soldiers are gunned down by Afghan “allies” in retaliation.
These are the horrors of war.
These are the lessons to be learned. These are the events to be considered as we contemplate Iran, or Syria or Pakistan.
War is not a movie. It is not John Wayne and heroes and ticker tape parades. Lives are lost, people are maimed…
…and sometimes children are murdered in their sleep.