To the shock of President Hamid Karzai's aides, Gen. David H. Petraeus suggested Sunday at the presidential palace that Afghans caught up in a coalition attack in northeastern Afghanistan might have burned their own children to exaggerate claims of civilian casualties, according to two participants at the meeting. The exact language Petraeus used in the closed-door session is not known, and neither is the precise message he meant to convey. But his remarks about the deadly U.S. military operation in Konar province were deemed deeply offensive by some in the room. They spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the private discussions.
They said Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, dismissed allegations by Karzai's office and the provincial governor that civilians were killed and said residents had invented stories, or even injured their children, to pin the blame on U.S. forces and force an end to the operation.
Here's my question: What the fuck would tell you to get the fuck out more, Afghanis lying about American ordinance injuring their children or Afghani parents injuring their children for propaganda purposes?"I was dizzy. My head was spinning," said one participant, referring to Petraeus's remarks. "This was shocking. Would any father do this to his children? This is really absurd."
And if the latter is true, what monster presents that as moral justification to stay? Though that is, of course, the self-justification the monster uses to stay.
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- History swallowed whole.
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- My future hell.
- Silliman's always generous lit-links.
- Hermeneutic hem and haw.
- This week's new releases w/MP3.
- Oblivio Agitatum.
- Three hours of Crass.
- A voice and message so beautiful.
POEM WITH WISTERIA GROWING ALONG ITS MARGIN
The five cool stars above this town look down upon the main drag & the bar where a guy once fired four bullets into a biker who said nothing to the man, who had just laughed too loud & at an inappropriate moment. The first shot sounded like the break of an eight-ball rack, but louder more resonant. The subsequent squeezes of the trigger--redundant, more resounding as they mixed with the shrieks of beer-drinkers. Hysteria speading among them like wisteria along a garden fence; its occasional balloons of violet flowering vividly in the green mesh of its leaves. I remember lying in such a garden. remember the lush cologne of pollen & the garnet bees buzzing their cargo routes between blossoms & a distant apiary.˜ I had thought there was nobody else in that place, so I was surprised then, when walking its paths later, to hear weeping. I was amazed by how sudden & communicable sadness can be-- and how embarrassed the woman became when she glanced up to see me standing there, the white heart of a wisteria blossom barely beating in my extended hand. She shook her head & smiled. Her face so fragile I thought she'd shatter. ˜ Consider the ordinance of griefs: should one begin with the phenomenal or the ordinary? I count them on the threads of my shirt and on the gem-like sparkling of dust in the slide of light that entrusts itself to my vision. Then I lose track, distracted by a concert of ambulances & police cruisers: their cacophonic call-and-response.˜ The next morning I heard how the biker's wife insisted --insisted was the paper's word--it was all her fault: she had wanted to go out that night. And her husband, because he loved her and because it was a lovely October evening & he knew soon he'd have to stow the Harleys away for winter, because of these things he agreed, although it was a weeknight and there'd be an early morning the next day, driving a propane truck. The jukebox was shaking AC/DC's "Shook Me All Night Long" and he had just gotten up for another round . . . She never mentions the expression on his face, mouth agape, suddenly soundless. Then the remaining patrons screaming. After the questioning and after the gunman took his position in a squad car's back seat & shrank to two dimensions with its slamming door, the officers let the bartender back inside and the owners. The three men sat at a table while one of them poured whiskey into tall tumblers cored with ice. Nobody spoke. When they finished their drinks they simultaneously stood, and, still speechless, went about cleaning up: one of them counting the till; the others filling buckets with rags & suds to start removing blood from the walls & carpet-- a task they knew to be futile but necessary like this poem, in the end, whatever its message.˜ Weeks passed & still his bike, a 67 Roadster, stood outside the bar, reverent as a statue. Then it was gone although nobody knew where it went or who took it. But I last saw it parked there beneath a thin skin of fresh powder and the splayed glove of light from the bar's bay window. Inside: a small splatter of what may have been blood blemished the pool table felt like a location on a map you can't return to, & the new barman polished the heavy glass mugs with a rag. Outside the snow wafted scattershot like blossoms on a dark wall of ivy.