With these guys on patrol all over Afghanistan, and not a few of them coming back to Dover in the middle of the night, it’s good to remember that to many people, green has nothing to do with eco-anything or money and the parts it fools fools it parts from, except within the idea of protecting the liberty inherent to those conceits.
Their official motto, De Oppresso Liber, to liberate the oppressed, is truly something to contemplate. It gets complicated when you begin to unravel all of the absolutes necessary to project force with the tender skin and bones of actual men across the globe. Belief goes beyond believing, and into the land reserved for religion and reverence. And craven beings that we are, we can’t help but corrupt the selflessness of the display with all manner of politics and nationalism, righteousness and relativism that surely crushes most missions to liberate the oppressed. It’s almost impossible, but our war-making sanction, which we mistake for nature, animates so many elements of public policy that we put ourselves at the mercy of our warrior impulses. Oppressed by these very tendencies, how might we be liberated?
So while I can revel in the fact that our mighty militaristic capabilities may indeed build some bridges out of the energy morass, we shouldn’t forget those young guys, bearded against regulation but for their own protection, walking around villages and laying wait in poppy fields – scared, nervous, confident, well-armed, lost, found, known, unsure, fit, tired and certain in the face of but one of our every-present, shadowy enemies. Go ahead and try harder than them to do something impossible.