US government contractors in Afghanistan who commit crimes overseas often enjoy protected treatment unseen by local citizens or Americans who commit crimes at home.
Two former Blackwater, now known as Xi, contractors were convicted of involuntary manslaughter for the murder of an Afghani and acquitted of another murder. The two face eight years in prison in Afghanistan. Acts like this often lead many to ponder what shapes the US image abroad.
Seton Motley, the president of Less Government argued it has less to do with specific actions and more to do with jealousy over America’s position in the world.
“It’s what I call the high school quarterback treatment. Very few people in high school like the high school quarterback. He’s the big man on campus,” he explained. “The United States is the big man on campus. There’s some envy, there’s some jealousy.
Motley said across Afghanistan there are thousands of American and NATO soldiers fighting militants who wish to kill innocent Afghanis.
“If they want to focus on the two contractors who got convicted of involuntary manslaughter versus the thousands of soldiers that are defending innocent Muslims from jihadists; if they want to choose to focus on those two instead of those tens of thousands that’s their choice but I’m not going to lose any sleep at night thinking they don’t like me, because they are looking at the world through that prism,” he said.
Iraq War Veteran and anti-war activist Michael Prysner argued however the world’s view of America has nothing to do with jealousy, and everything to do with US actions abroad, including the War in Afghanistan.
“This high school quarterback analogy is a little ridicules,” he said. “The reason that most people in the world dislike the United States is because of the actions of the United States around the world. Because of all the countries they have dropped bombs on, invaded, occupied, overthrown democratically elected leaders.”
Motley argued he was against nation building form the beginning, and said the US should have gone in and removed the Taliban, left and allowed Afghanistan to rebuild itself. Nevertheless, nation building did occur and is ongoing.
As nation building ensues a number of American nations were sent to work in Afghanistan and some committed crimes like the former Blackwater contractors.
“They were supposed to stick to the rules. They didn’t. They got tried and convicted,” said Motley. “They weren’t living by a separate set of rules than anybody else. And again I say that’s two, or five or seven incidents where contractors behaved improperly versus the tens of thousands of both military and non-military civilian personnel that are over there defending innocent Afghanis against attacks from other Muslims. If you want to focus on two, or five or seven versus tens of thousands you can do that too, I just think you’re mistaken.”
The symbolism behind the incidents, argued Prysner, outweighs the numbers. The message it sends impacts the views of America immensely and must be addressed.