US defeat won’t be Afghan victory


Ever since US Sergeant Robert Bales surrendered after calmly massacring Afghan women and children, he has been depicted as a man under unusual personal circumstances. A high-ranking US official told the New York Times: “When it all comes out, it will be a combination of stress, alcohol and domestic issues – he just snapped”. Unlike those sentenced to death by drones flying high over Waziristan, Bales will enjoy a thorough investigation. Whisked out of Afghanistan, he may or may not ever be convicted. If convicted, the penalty is unlikely to exceed a few prison years; “good behaviour” may qualify him for an early parole.
Although President Obama and Secretary Clinton habitually apologise to the Afghan people after every such atrocity — of which there is a long list — the fact that they happen is inevitable. Indian troops in Kashmir, and Pakistani soldiers in Balochistan, have not behaved any differently. At the core, the problem is the forcible occupation by an army of another country or people.

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