"Abhorrent," "tragic," "callous," "unforgivable." Those are all apt words for the bloody rampage by one US soldier in Afghanistan.
But the question is: why do they only apply to these 16 civilian deaths?
Why don't David Cameron and Barack Obama have similar words for the tens, possibly hundreds of thousands of Afghans bombed, shot and burned to death during the decade-long invasion and occupation of their country?
The shootings "were in no way part of authorised Isaf military activity," said Nato's top brass, as if that were any consolation to the civilians killed in droves by troops acting under orders. As if the laughably named International Security Assistance Force were a shining beacon of human rights rather than a blood-soaked mob of torturers and killers.
And Cameron's spokesman spoke of "sticking to our course" - as if this purposeless killing spree were a deviation from Nato's course rather than a perfect model of it.
One word, Obama's "shocking," was not so apt given the occupiers' shameful record.
Officially and unofficially, with orders and without, in US-run prisons and in air strikes on wedding parties, Nato troops have slaughtered countless innocent Afghans to no purpose whatsoever.
They've failed to bring anything resembling democracy. They've failed to liberate the women whose Taliban-era oppression has been so often claimed as a justification for the war. Just this weekend Afghan women marked International Women's Day by speaking out against the Karzai government's attacks on their rights.
They've failed in their original mission to find Osama bin Laden, who was eventually hunted down in a different country altogether.
And they've failed to prevent Islamism returning just as strong as ever - partly as a backlash against the brutality of a Western "war on terror" that resembles nothing so much as a war on the world's Muslims.
The Afghan war should never have been launched. It's long past time it was ended.
In the wake of this latest horror the US and British public seem to be waking up to the truth - that Afghanistan has been a conflict every bit as brutal and pointless as Vietnam.
The only consolation to draw from the Kandahar killings is the hope that mounting public pressure could bring the troops home ahead of the scheduled 2014 withdrawal.
That's still years too late for the 404 British dead, the near-2,000 US casualties and the - scandalously uncounted - thousands of Afghan victims.
It's too late for the survivors who will be forever scarred physically and mentally and the loved ones and societies that will, as with Vietnam, continue to pay the cost of this madness for decades to come.
It's too late for the millions killed, maimed and brutalised in the global "war on terror" which the Afghan war heralded - the torture victims in Guantanamo, the dead in Iraq, the innocent casualties of drone strikes across the Middle East and north Africa, the Westerners falling foul of increasingly repressive laws.
But it's not too late to start working to repair that damage. To bring the troops home from all our overseas adventures. To restore the rule of domestic and international law and renounce torture and assassination-by-drone.
To declare that there will be no more wars for oil and empire, and that this bloody 10-year nightmare is at an end.
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