Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Generation Gone to Hell and Back

“This is not who we are,” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says after seeing pictures of U.S. soldiers defiling enemy bodies in Afghanistan.

True, but isn’t it what young Americans are in danger of becoming after a dirty, murky, endless war with nothing to show for it when they come home but coarsened sensitivity to human life and cases of post-traumatic stress disorder?

As headlines savor a few horny Secret Servicemen in South America, misbehavior by American troops keeps mounting in Afghanistan with little public reaction. The President insists those responsible will be “held accountable,” but no one in authority will go beyond the few-bad-apples explanation.

Last month, a Staff Sergeant was whisked out of the country after, apparently with no provocation, killing 16 civilians, including nine children and three women, in small villages in Kandahar. He will be tried in Kansas, not where the murders took place.

This follows pictures of U.S. Marines urinating on the bodies of dead Afghan fighters and a barn fire of Qurans by soldiers at an airbase, each incident followed by profuse American apologies that fail to quell the anger of local “allies.”

Isn’t it past time to admit the true price of pouring American blood and treasure into an enterprise guaranteed to end badly, even as we play Russian roulette with Iran and North Korea?

If there ever was an issue that should be soberly debated in an election campaign, surely this is it.

Any odds on whether it will be?

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