Afghan Massacre and the Insanity of Catch-22
A U.S. military soldier in Afghanistan allegedly faces the death penalty for the shootings of 16 civilians, including nine children and three women. The soldier allegedly went into their houses to murder them in the middle of the night while they slept. Yet according to Gary Solis, a Georgetown University law professor and expert on war crimes and the military justice system, the soldier's attorneys will likely plead insanity for his defense. Moreover, one justification for the soldier's insanity appears to be the fact that the soldier has repeatedly deployed in war zones.
This odd statement is reminiscent of the twentieth-century phrase known as “Catch-22” developed by Joseph Heller in the book of the same name. The fictional novel followed Captain John Yossarian, a U.S. Army Air Forces B-25 bombardier during World War II. The narrator in the novel explains:
“There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one's safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he were sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn't have to, but if he didn't want to he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and he let out a respectful whistle.” Chapter 5, Catch-22.
For as is now completely clear to me today, only an insane man would willingly re-enlist to stay under the yoke of the military and be re-deployed into a war zone where he is coerced into murdering other human beings.