The other day our media revealed a disturbing story from Afghanistan. Swedish military officers were said to be present in an operations center where targets for drone bombings were chosen. The officers allegedly took part in a â€œvoting procedureâ€ in which drone victims were selected. The story was (naturally) denied by the Defense department, and media cooperated by quickly dropping further inquiries.
Swedes in general are probably not aware that they live in a belligerent nation. We are at war for the first time in 200 years, and few people really care at all, if they even know. When Sweden offered its services to the United States after the violent retaliation following 9/11, which happened to hit the innocent Afghan people, it was assigned a relatively quiet area to the north of Afghanistan (the â€œpeace-loving Swedesâ€ were probably shown special consideration).
A lot of people here most likely think that we are engaged in some kind of peace-keeping operation under UN auspices, like the many in Africa and elsewhere we have been engaged in through the years. But this is real war. We are in Afghanistan as combatants, and our troops have suffered casualties. Itâ€™s not a game.
Different terrorist groups have mentioned Sweden as a possible object for attacks, motivated by our participation in the war. Apart from that we are subject to the laws of war, which means that Afghan troops are allowed to hit military targets on our soil. The government, for instance, as the highest responsible body for the war efforts, must be considered a legitimate military target.
Thus if an Afghan combatant trigger a bomb in the governmentâ€™s meeting room during its regular Thursday session, blowing up the Prime Minister and his entire cabinet, it must be seen as a military operation. If captured the Afghan cannot be hurt or even interrogated. According to the laws of war he may reveal his name and rank, nothing else, and must be protected as a prisoner of war. Well none of these events are very probable (least of all the POW treatment).
We are so utterly pathetic in our naÃ¯ve sense of superiority and our despicable self-adulation. We canâ€™t even imagine that these poor people we are waging a war at should have even the slightest right to direct weapons at us as we do at them. And if it would enter our minds that they have some right, we feel entirely safe in the conviction that they have no means of really harming us.
We in the western world use all kinds of prestige words when we describe our ethics on the globalÂ scene: democracy, human rights, freedom of expression, etc. Yet our rotten moral can be unmasked by a ten year old.