Hearts and minds

Surely if Americans just keep killing Arab civilians, the people will eventually come to love democracy:

Soldiers Jeremy Morlock and Andrew Holmes had spotted a young farmer working by himself. Gul Mudin, 15 – only four years younger than Holmes – was the only Afghan in sight, had no weapons on him and had a ‘welcoming’ face. Nobody else was around.

Gul walked towards them when called and stopped when asked. Morlock tossed a grenade at him, using the wall as cover, then both soldiers opened fire. Gul fell face down into the ground and there was soon a pool of blood coming out from his head. Morlock screamed over the radio that he had come under attack, but Adam Winfield told his fellow soldier Ashton Moore that it was more likely a staged killing.

Morlock and Holmes told a sergeant that Gul had been about to attack them with a grenade and they therefore had to shoot him, reported the magazine. The story of a lone Taliban fighter, with one grenade attempting to ambush a platoon in broad daylight, seemed unlikely to top officer Captain Patrick Mitchell.

But he told Staff Sergeant Kris Sprague to ‘make sure’ Gul was dead. Sprague fired his rifle twice at the boy.

A local elder working nearby in the poppy fields came over and accused Morlock and Holmes of murder, but he was ignored by the soldiers. This elder was asked to identify the boy, but it tragically turned out that he was his dad. ‘The father was very upset,’ an official Army report noted.

The soldiers followed Army protocol of cutting off the dead boy’s clothes and stripping him naked to check for tattoos, before scanning his iris and fingerprints. But then they began taking photographs of them celebrating the kill, with Holmes posing for the camera by grabbing Gul’s head by the hair as if he was a deer.

One should not be surprised when soldiers, who are trained to kill people, kill people. That’s what soldiers tend to do, regardless of how well they are trained. They are not very effective at tasks that do not involve breaking things and killing people, which is why using them to establish democracy or make foreign populations love America is unlikely to be a successful strategy.