Posted by: Christian | November 16, 2009

Modern Warfare versus Afghanistan

This says it all, via flick user agentvladimir:

modern warfare afghanistan

This reminds me of another picture from a couple of years ago:


Must be frustrating to be deployed and to know that outside your circle of family and friends, nobody really cares. Living in the US from 1998-2008, I never saw a country at war. And I’m not just talking about the college towns I lived in. As for those places, well, they are different. I once made the mistake of mentioning at a grad student gathering (2004-2005ish) that my brother was deployed to Al Anbar with the 24th MEU. Big mistake. It was if I said that Hitler was a great guy. One historian who focuses on the Muslim world told me that my brother will “hopefully suffer some mental anguish from killing all those innocent people.” That’s the extreme. The regular and more mundane is people just not noticing or caring at all.

Note added: see comment below re: Xbox numbers.


  1. If political will were essential to wage war, then we would wage far fewer of them. I think it would be a case of only waging war when it was too late, versus our current tendency to wage it too prematurely. Which is worse? I’ll take the latter. On my deployments, I never lost any sleep over the thought that people didn’t care about the war. I was more concerned about the people who cared too much – like the grad student you mentioned.

  2. The comment thread for the infographic on Flickr reveals that only 1 million people were playing MW2. The author was mistaken since it was actually the first time 2 million people were connected to XBox Live. He admits as much in the comments.

  3. Though I don’t think the impact of the graphic is reduced much by the actual numbers.

  4. Well, that’s depressing.

  5. Ahh, you’re just not seeing the opportunity here. Sell cut-price Xboxes to the Taliban and watch their number of active fighters drop!

  6. I’d say that the argument is a bit one-sided and bitter. Speaking as a student with many issues with the conduct of the Iraq war, even if I don’t support a war I don’t have too many problems with a soldier provided that they follow basic laws and try to be a relatively good person.

  7. Grant I think you just proved his point. “I don’t have too many problems with a soldier provided that they follow basic laws and try to be a relatively good person” – what kind of statement is that about the people who serve in the armed forces? I’m not trying to make a call to patriotism, but simply pointing out how thinly veiled your contempt (or apathy?) is.

  8. In re. to longley, I have the exact same thing to say about every single human on the planet. If someone attempts to follow their laws and try to be a good person then I have no immediate reason to dislike them. On the other hand if I saw someone breaking the laws and not trying to be a good person I would not hesitate to call the police, not even if it were my parents. If a soldier breaks laws I see no reason to support them simply because they are a soldier. I certainly don’t expect soldiers to steal or murder. If they do then are they somehow excused because they are soldiers? If that is the case then what is the point of a military court?
    As a hypothetical, I currently have a brother serving in the navy. If he hypothetically went into someone’s house and shot them for personal reasons I would not hesitate to report this. On the other hand, if he had entered a smoke-filled school building amid a firefight and a figure suddenly appeared in the smoke, I could accept that an accidental shooting of a civilian in those circumstances would not be necessary to prosecute, though it would be necessary to report it.

  9. I don’t see how my argument is one-sided or bitter. I clearly said that the history student who went all 1970 on me was the extreme.

    As for the apathy, I thought that was just a given.

    Even the anti-war crowd is apathetic. My last university had Vietnam era protests that had over 10,000 people. I think the peak when I was there was about 20-30.

  10. In re. to Christian: Sorry, didn’t the last line of your post closely so the entire statement seemed confusing.

  11. I have no personal connections to the current wars (although both of my grandfathers are veterans), but I do feel a strong sense of pride in those that serve this country and defend its ideals.

    I tend to agree that people have become far too apathetic about the wars, but the same can be said for politics in general. It is unfortunate to see people simply tune out for a period, erupt when someone manufactures mock outrage, and then slip back into their uncaring rigamarole.

    Perhaps this is a result of the detachment between the people and institutions of the nation. We have not been asked to invest in or sacrifice for our country or our armed forces. Instead, people have gone and invested in the market. The less people feel connected to and in control of their government and its actions, the less likely they are to care what it does, especially in far away lands, to far away people.

    While I would like to say that the government must turn this around, it is likely too late for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They were sold to us once already. It is time for President Obama to do whatever is necessary to clean up the mess and get our troops out of there in a timely fashion. From there, perhaps we can rebuild the true sense of nationalism and pride that once pervaded the people of this country.

  12. […] it. (Liked it in that way you keep pressing a bruise even though you know it’s painful.) Via Christian at GOA, from flickr user […]


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