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If you really want to see the kind of impact the United States military has had on the citizens of the Middle East, you should listen to the stories that Afghani mothers tell their children.

If you're mean to your siblings, they admonish, or lie or cheat or steal; if you disrespect your elders or stay out late at night; if you make your parents worry about you or if you don't finish your dinner, The Buzz will get you. You might not think it's coming for you when you hear it, and most of the time it won't be; it will be coming for some other naughty child who didn't listen to her mother, and you'll see, then, you'll see what happens to bad little boys and girls who don't obey.

Jet aircraft patrolling the skies over the Middle East scream and boom; trucks and tanks rumble and shake buildings down to their foundations; helicopter gunships whump the air like they're fighting the very ground to stay airborne. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles buzz.

Maybe we'll bring peace to the Middle East. Maybe we'll sow the seeds of democracy and teach the benefits of self-government emphatically enough to be able to hang the ammo belts in the closet next to the dress uniform that doesn't quite fit anymore. But even if we do that, even if the mission really is accomplished someday, we will have created a new boogeyman, passed on for generations and infused into the underpinnings of a culture. We will have created a story used to terrify children, and while there isn't much about this war that I agree with, I absolutely can't abide by that.


Barry, John and Thomas, Evan. "Up in the Sky, An Unblinking Eye." Newsweek 8 June, 2008: p. 29

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