It’s sometimes necessary, and this is really such a case. The Pakistani Army is likely to expand its offensive into Waziristan. So what else would the Taliban do but take busloads of teenaged students hostage — possibly hundreds of them — in advance of the attack? The WSJ suggests this is a maneuver to lure the army into North Waziristan and out of the Swat Valley. Either way, it’s clarifying to remember that these are murderers who have no problem holding children hostage. That doesn’t mean we have a moral pass to go apeshit on the Taliban and sink to their levels, as these sorts of aren’t-they-wretched posts by pundits are often designed to manipulatively suggest. But it does mean, simply and plainly, that their monstrosity is on display. We didn’t cause it. We may not be able to end it. But whatever our sins are, and they’re numerous, they don’t expiate this basic fact. Sermon over.

Spencer Ackerman

Spencer Ackerman