Barring a few odd newspaper reports, the recent killing of 16 Afghan civilians, including 9 children, by an American soldier in Afghanistan has not received much attention in the Indian press. Looking at the horrific pictures of the children’s bodies being taken for burial, I can’t help but notice the number of explanations being offered by the international press for what led American sergeant Robert Bales to carry out that cold-blooded act. Bales was “drunk”, “under stress” because of money troubles and repeated tours, had marriage problems and a harrowing brain injury…So on and so forth.
Yet when Muslims in Afghanistan carry out such acts against American soldiers it’s seen as plain terrorism. Never mind the reasons these groups repeatedly offer – the repeated drone attacks which have killed countless civilians or other acts of aggression. Their acts are evil; plain and pure terrorism. The same understanding applied to Sergeant Bales is glaringly absent when it comes to the other side.