A U.S. soldier is accused of slaughtering 16 Afghan people. Civilians, we are told. As if all the Afghans and all the Iraqis slaughtered by US bombs, raids, drones, guns, white phosphorous, and torture were something other than civilians.
The US has been waging two simultaneous wars against civilian populations for more than a decade. Some people are labelled "insurgents". Those are the civilians who fight back.
I've heard many Vietnam War veterans tell a story, goes something like this. The platoon leader would count the dead, then say, "Twenty-five dead Viet Kong." "How do you know they're Viet Kong?" "Because we killed them." Shoot first, declare the bodies enemy later.
The White House called this latest incident in Afghanistan "tragic and shocking". It is neither. It is criminal and unsurprising, just like the rest of the war.