Carroll approaches this story through his family history: his great grandfather was one of those Irishmen who had joined up with the English in the Great War and was killed fighting for the king in France. The discovery that survivors in his great grandfather's Irish village thought there was nothing traitorous or less than noble in Jim Morrissey's history put Carroll on to thinking about what makes for apparently ancient festering hatreds. Perhaps they derive from concrete crimes of imperial powers ...
And when I read this passage, I can't avoid thinking of what is now unfolding in the U.S. war/occupation in Afghanistan. If you are an Afghan, you very likely have to worry about being killed by both the U.S. and the Taliban. But it's the United States troops that have the most firepower and they are foreign occupiers. It wouldn't be surprising if you hated them.
Rethink Afghanistan filmed Afghans talking about what the war has done to them. This is not easy to watch.
The new U.S. proconsul, General McChrystal, says his forces will "win" the Afghans by avoiding civilian casualties. But how are they going to do that without getting our own grunts killed? And it has become politically untenable to get our own people killed in an imperial war with no discernible endpoint.
Of course one answer is contractors -- mercenaries -- and we've got lots of those. If you really want to encounter disillusionment, you can read their heartfelt accounts of the Afghan war. I don't think this guy and I share any political sympathies, but his account of moving around southern Afghanistan rings true to me.
Read the whole thing for a sympathetic eyewitness account of traveling in that unhappy country.
What was this war for again, President Obama?