Thursday, March 01, 2012
Afghanistan - 'You Knew I was A Snake When You Picked Me Up'
There has been a great deal of anger expressed by average Americans over the riots in Afghanistan over the burning of Qu'rans - paid for by American taxpayers, I might add - that Taliban prisoners used to send messages to each other. The Afghan's reaction has been typical...hysterical rage expressed in violence towards people who had nothing to do with the matter at hand except that they were infidels and ferenghi.
At least four American soldiers have been killed, two of them American officers murdered inside the Interior Ministry building in a highly secured area, possibly by an Afghan security officer and two other American soldiers were shot to death by a member of the Afghan Army at a base in eastern Afghanistan. A number of others, both military and civilian UN and NATO personnel have been injured. An even larger death toll was avoided when an Afghan cook at Bagram Air Force base was caught attempting to poison food scheduled to be served to American personnel at the base.
After a successful car bombing in front of Jalalabad airport that killed nine and injured nineteen Afghan civilians and law enforcement officers and four NATO soldiers (Jalalabad is used exclusively by NATO forces and the military) NATO Commander General John Allen ordered all NATO military and civilian personnel to leave the Interior ministry and a number of other strategic locations in Kabul and go into what amounts to virtual lockdown.
General Allen is obviously aware that the chief danger comes from our Afghan 'allies' . He issued orders for Americans to stay clear of their Afghan counterparts until 'tensions die down'.
Both General Allen and of course, President Barack Hussein Obama promptly issued what amounted to groveling apologies to President Hamid Karzai and the Afghan people for the Q'uran burnings. As I or anyone else familiar with the kind of mindset we're dealing with could have told them, the apologies only made matters worse and caused the violence to spike.
The feelings of many Americans are pretty much captured in the Michael Ramirez cartoon above. Charles Krauthammer, Andrew McCarthy and others were quick to point out that Hamid Karzai never apologized for the murder of our troops...any more than he apologized for the murder of eight UN aid workers last April, who were butchered when a crazed mob overran a base in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif after an American pastor from a small church in Florida deliberately burned a copy of the Q'uran. At least two of them were decapitated, and the only worker in the office who lived survived because he managed to convince the mob he was a Muslim.
General David Petraeus, who was then the NATO commander if Afghanistan and NATO Ambassador Mark Sedwill issued a particularly servile statement after that atrocity, apologizing humbly and condemning any disrespect for what they termed 'the Holy Q'uran'.
Karzai did not apologize or condemn the murders then or now for a very good reason. In his culture, apologizing is almost never done, because it's considered a sign of weakness and dishonor. In fact, that's true of Islam in general, especially when kuffars, non-believers are concerned. That should give you some insight into how Karzai, most Afghans and indeed a lot of Muslims feel about our representatives, our military commanders, and of course, our commander-in-chief at this point.
Another attitude not overly present in Muslim societies is that of gratitude, particularly when it comes to foreigners and infidels. Those of you whom were watching closely may have noticed a singular lack of it when our forces left Iraq.
After freeing the Shi'ite majority from the murderous Saddam Hussein, putting them in control of the country, saving their oil fields after Saddam set them on fire, seeing to it they had their first free elections and spending 4,000 precious lives and over a trillion dollars to rebuild their country,not a single Iraqi dignitary bothered to attend the final ceremony where our flag was lowered and we officially turned over all authority to the Iraqis, and Iraq's leader Maliki made a fairly harsh speech on Iraqi television that wasn't reported here on how happy the Iraqis were to finally rid themselves of foreign 'occupation' and see the back of us.
Some noted at the time the lack of a ticker tape parade in New York or a national celebration to welcome home the American troops returning from Iraq. Yet, the occasion was not without its public celebrations. A picture of one of them can be seen below, as hundreds of Shi'ites in Falluja celebrate our final withdrawal. And it wasn't just in Falluja.
That picture literally is worth a thousand words. Or more accurately, a trillion dollars and over 4,000 lives.
The home made Israeli flag in the picture is no accident. As our warriors who were there will tell you, many Iraqis, especially in Baghdad habitually referred colloquially to American troops as 'the Jews' as in 'you can't get there that way - the Jews have a roadblock there.'
Of course, there are no Jews in Iraq any more, but the Americans were seen in exactly that way by the majority of Iraqis, as despised infidels and farenghi albeit rich, gullible and powerful ones. They put up with us for a while to get what they wanted out of us, but eventually it was always going to be a case of `thank you very much for your time and money, infidels..now leave, so we can bond with our Shi'ite jihadi brothers in Iran.' I caught a fair amount of flak when I wrote that over five years ago, but the way the wind was blowing was obvious to anyone looking honestly at the situation. When the Iraqi leader you're propping up with your military hangs out with your worst enemy in the region and smiles and nods when you're referred to as 'unwanted guests' the message is fairly easy to read.
Most Iraqis have no understanding of freedom or democracy as we see it, nor do they wish to. What they understand is the strong horse, power and retribution, as Iraq's Christians and Sunnis have already found out. While there are always individual exceptions, by and large expecting gratitude or even friendship from such people is a particularly forlorn hope.As with most things, the Q'uran is the final authority on that*.
The same holds true in Afghanistan.Unless they happened to be female, most of the Afghans, and particularly the Pashtuns who form the majority of the population were perfectly at home living in the barbaric 7th century Islamo-Disneyland the Taliban created there. The rides weren't much to brag about, but it was theirs, it was what Allah told them they should have and it suited them. And they never asked us to come in and change it for them.
After 9/11, we found out that the Taliban were sheltering Osama bin-Laden, and President Bush gave Mullah Omar an ultimatum to turn him over to us or else. Since bi-Laden was a guest of the Taliban and under their protection for Mullah Omar to do that would have violated pashtunwalli, an ancient code of conduct in Afghanistan that predates Islam. Not only that,but regardless of whom he was to us, to the Taliban, Osama bin-Laden was a war hero because of his combat record against the Russians.
Either President Bush knew very well that they were never going to turn him over to us, or he operated out of ignorance. In the end it really doesn't matter.
It was far easier to go after the subcontractors of jihad rather than the leaders, enablers and funders of it, which after all would have meant being honest about what and whom we were fighting rather than calling it a 'war on terror'. So President Bush made the brilliant decision to send an army and billions of dollars worth of equipment into a landlocked country surrounded by hostile territory.His successor President Obama made the even more brilliant decision to double down and send more even more troops and equipment there to back up his genuinely clueless campaign rhetoric about Afghanistan being 'the good war' where President Bush 'took his eye off the ball'. You can only truly appreciate how ironic this was if you look at how Senator Obama, like many members of his party did his very best to sabotage our military effort both in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The American people were sold on Afghanistan because they were told that it was necessary to prevent it from becoming a failed state and a haven for terrorist attacks.And they were told that also meant we had to engage in an expensive adventure in nation building, just as we did in Iraq.
How utterly that failed in both places on all accounts can be seen by what's happened in Iraq and Afghanistan since. Osama bin-Laden simply moved from Afghanistan to another failed state right next door - another Muslim 'ally' of ours - with their full knowledge and assistance and hunkered down comfortably in the nice villa they provided for him next door to the country's military academy.
There's no sense in being frustrated by any of this. Directing our anger at the Iraqis, Malii, Hamid Karzai or the Afghans is is senseless, and changes nothing. That is simply whom these people are. And if we thought we were going to change them, we were kidding ourselves.
You can take a rattlesnake into your home as a pet, feed it, and treat with kindness and decency, and it's still a rattler who at some point is going to revert to its basic nature and sink its fangs into you. You knew that when you picked it up...or you should have.
Afghanistan as a strategic objective in the war we actually ought to be fighting is worth about as much as the urine a few Marines sprinkled over some Taliban corpses a few weeks ago.
And I don't say that lightly, since I like to think think I have a better idea than average about some of the amazing things our warriors have accomplished there and what it cost. The fault is not with them, but with politicians who are more concerned with appeasing the Muslim world than with victory over our enemies and who handcuffed them at every turn with unworkable strategies and rules of engagement that would have had their grandfathers who won WWII shaking their heads in disbelief.
Iraq, had it been properly handled was at least an opportunity. If we had put it under military governorship for several years as we did with Japan and Germany, used Iraq's oil to pay for the occupation, helped our Kurdish allies put together an independent Kurdistan and used the Persh Merga to double our troop strength there overnight, and had we fought the war there ruthlessly the way it should have been fought, Iraq might truly have emerged as a US ally and a democracy.
Afghanistan was never an opportunity for that at all. It was a diversion. At one point, when the Afghans still respected us as warriors, we could have perhaps made an arrangement with the Pashtun chiefs to safeguard some of our interests for a retainer, just as we paid off the Sunni chiefs in Iraq who were part of the Awakening. The British kept the Afghans quiet for almost a century using exactly those methods, and only had to send troops into what was largely a futile conflict once Parliament cut the subsidies. Such an arrangement is no longer possible, nor perhaps even desirable and it's time we realized that there's nothing we're going to attain there using the current tactics we seem wedded to that's worth a single dollar or a drop of American blood.
*See surahs 4:101, 5:51, 9:12 and 9:27 among many others for further details