Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

The Wedding Present

The procession had finally reached its goal.

Ayda, the bride, and her new husband

turned to say good bye to their escort.

Almost every able-bodied resident

of Ayda’s village had made the ten-mile trip.

It was the biggest procession in fifty years.

Her father had a huge smile on his face.

Her mother was just as pleased.

It had turned out to be a glorious May day.

The most beautiful day all spring

Ayda was ecstatic.

The ceremony was perfect.

The whole village attended.

Even some of the boys

who had joined the fighters

returned to celebrate with their clan.

Ayda was amazed that so many people

would walk all that way

to wish the newlyweds a good wedding.

And yet, here they were,

with the return trip still ahead,

shouting out their good wishes.

Some of the young men added to the din

by firing their guns into the air.

Dawud was puffed up with pride.

He had just married the most

desirable woman in the next village.

His parents were pleased.

The envy on the other men’s faces

was proof of his success.

Life was good.

He beamed at the crowd.

That’s when the first bomb hit.

Three more followed in quick succession.

When the dust settled,

the roadway was a mass of bleeding,

moaning, crying, screaming,

and silent humanity.

The wedding present came with a signed card.

It read, “Mr & Mrs Taxpayer – Heartland, U.S.A.”


  1. I want to make caveats that “this is not what anyone intends” – and aside from perhaps a handful of maniacs it is entirely true – but it really doesn’t change anything.  This is the trap we all find ourselves in and Ayda and Dawud pay the price.

    As a civilian who allows others to take the chances and make the decisions for me in martial matters, I accept extra responsibility for all the Aydas and Dawuds as one of the pitifully small gestures I can make.  Don’t blame the soldiers, Ayda, they are acting in good faith in a story they didn’t write.  If you have to blame anyone, blame me.

  2. spacemanspiff

    My captors harbored many delusions about Westerners. But I also saw how some of the consequences of Washington’s antiterrorism policies had galvanized the Taliban. Commanders fixated on the deaths of Afghan, Iraqi and Palestinian civilians in military airstrikes, as well as the American detention of Muslim prisoners who had been held for years without being charged. America, Europe and Israel preached democracy, human rights and impartial justice to the Muslim world, they said, but failed to follow those principles themselves.

    Awesome read.

    Over at Salon Greenwald makes a similiar point while talking about Rohde’s column.

    Note, too, the vast gap between how Americans perceive of their actions (mere “aberrations”) and how so much of the rest of the world perceives of it, especially those in the targeted regions.  So much of this disparity is explained by a basic lack of empathy:  imagine if every American spent just a day contemplating how they’d react if some foreign army from a Muslim nation invaded and bombed the U.S., occupied the country for the next several years with 60,000 soldiers, killed tens of thousands of citizens here, set up secret prisons where they disappeared Americans for years without charges or even contact with the outside world, imposed sanctions that blockaded food and medicine and killed countless children, invaded and ransacked our homes at will, abducted Americans and shipped them halfway around the world to island-prisons, instituted a worldwide torture regime, armed their allies for attacks on other Western nations, and threatened still other invasions.  

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