There is that old cliche that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Few of the worst deeds in history have been carried out with intentions that were purely evil. The perceived goodness of intentions being subjective, nothing is usually more dangerous than destructive force armed with moral certitude. In The Irony of American History, theologian Reinhold Neibhur wrote:
“Our moral perils are not those of concsious malice or the explicit lust for power. They are the perils which can be understood only if we realize the ironic tendency of virtues to turn into vices when too complacently relied on; and of power to become vexatious if the wisdom which directs it is trusted too confidently.”
As Tom Hayden had recently pointed out one of Pentagon’s leading backers in its war on Afghanistan has been the Feminist Majority. Having signed an earlier FM petition against the Taliban, Hayden belatedly came to see the ironies of their position:
But I had no idea then that I was joining The Feminist Majority in a coalition with the Pentagon to invade and occupy Afghanistan. Given the respect I have for Ellie Smeal and Kathy Spillar, among others, it’s still hard to believe that they think Afghan women can be liberated by an invading, bombing, imprisoning American army. It’s hard to believe that Predators, drones, Special Forces, detention camps and foreign occupiers are solutions to Taliban fundamentalism….In northern areas under Western occupation, the UN report found that in 39 percent of rapes “that perpetrators were directly linked to power brokers who are, effectively, above the law and enjoy immunity from arrest as well as immunity from social condemnation.”
So it didn’t come entirely as a surprise today to find out that alongside familiar neocon names such as Fred and Kimberley Kagan, one of the people advising the new commander of US forces in Afghanistan is none other than feminist humanitarian Sarah Chayes, formerly of NPR. We can surmise what advice McChrystal might be receiving since about leaving Afghanistan, Chayes had this to say: ‘I don’t think that we can afford to leave this region alone to fester’.
Likewise I notice that in his otherwise excellent piece, Chalmers Johnson also references Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould whose book is full of similar warm feeling for the noble savages who would be so grateful to their Western benefactors if it weren’t for those scheming Pakistanis. (In an interview with Huffington Post, they said all Afghans are happy with the occupation except those in the Pashtun areas. Which is like saying all Iraqis are happy with the occupation except in the Arab areas).