How Do You Solve a Problem Like Afghanistan?
There seems to be no question about the facts of what happened on the night of 11 March. Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales left his base and went on a rampage. He slaughtered 16 people - 9 of them children - then returned to his base and requested a lawyer. No question. He has admitted to it. But that one, terrible act has left a lot of questions in its wake.
I've been feeling hesitant to rhyme the awful news.
Wasn't really certain the direction of my views.
Clearly it's a tragedy; no less for Sergeant Bales...
But - for the Afghanis - the imagination fails.
When the news was first released, I thought that we should leave.
Give that broken nation time and space they need to grieve.
After all the killing and the rotten things we've done
Thought that we should find the exits, grab our stuff, and run.
Now, I'm not as sure as once I was that we should go.
We've made lots of promises to women there, you know.
If we simply stampede for the exits they are screwed.
(Sorry for the language there. I'm usually not lewd.)
Too much blood and honor gone to only cut and run.
Think we have to stay until some guarantee is won
That the price so many paid was worth the dreadful cost
('though I can't see how we will regain the ground we've lost).
President Obama says our policy won't change;
We will stay until, somehow, our soldiers can arrange
For the local forces to attain some competence...
It's not looking awfully good right now, though. Very tense.
I wish I knew what we should do...
I remain very concerned that the majority of Afghans no longer view us as an Army of Liberation but, instead, as an Army of Occupation. And that, my friends - in the long history of Afghanistan - is never, ever a healthy thing to be.