Wednesday, August 27, 2008


On my way home from school today I heard a story on NPR about civilian casualities during a strike led by the U.S. in Afghanistan. Apparently, the U.N. believes there is evidence to support the strike killed at least 90 civilians, approximately 60 of whom were children.

The attack took place during a memorial service, and it seems that faulty intelligence led to the unfortunate decision to strike that particular spot at that particular moment.

What caught me and has hung around my heart since hearing the original story was the experience of one of the men from that area. He is a member of the Afghan police force and was out on duty at the time of attack. He came home to find all of his children and wife dead. And he is now planning to quit the police force, unsure what to do with himself, as he carries with him a scrap of the dress his daughter was wearing on the day she died.

I know such mistakes are not intentional on the part of our country or those serving in Afghanistan (or Iraq)... but I can also understand the despair, and rage, and urge to retaliate when so much is lost in a single, misguided act. How difficult it must be to find forgiveness; how hard not to vilify or cry out against.

It has always struck me how war necessitates dehumanization of the enemy... and yet, in its wake, we are inevitably inundated with the inhumanity of violence, the frailty of our humanness, and the frightening presence of our mortality.

1 comment:

plaidshoes said...

Beautifully stated. I remember when we first "went to war" with Afghanistan. All I could think about were the children whose lives would be forever changed - all the people who would lose their loved ones. As a parent, the thought of losing a child, or hearing of another losing theirs, is almost unbearable. My heart breaks everytime I hear a story like this.