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, 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


Anonymous said...

You can't win a war with half-assed measures. You can't win a war where they hate you for giving them freedom. There is only one major issue that everyone is forgetting, the only voices you hear are the haters, the ignorant uneducated men and the disingenuous politicians. I wonder if the women of Afghanistan and the Christians of Iraq are glad to see us leave? Somehow I don't think so and as has been proven in Iraq it is devastating for some to see the USA leave.

Anonymous said...

This should have been a police action, not an invasion. Clinton told W the biggest problem W faced was Bin Ladin, but W's people just laughed and talked about their "new paradigm," and ignored the problem until it blew up.

Nobody is ever going to "pacify" Afghanistan. There's a reason it is called "the graveyard of empires," going all the way back to Alexander the Great. The Brits and the Russians didn't have much luck there either.

As for Iraq, they were probably better off under Saddam. Better fed, better housed, clean water, regular and modern utilities and a decent economy. But no - we had "better ideas." Yeah, right.

Anonymous said...

Spilled blood,,,and the onlookers we attempted to help laugh at a culture they can't comprehend. This has been going on since the beginning of civilization. We enjoy and hold with reverence the freedoms our nations heros died for. I can not respect the leaders of our nation that bow and prostrate themselves leaders of other nations, as they kill our soldiers. There was a time, and still should be, revered. A worldwide, even dreamed about best known sentence still drives me on. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness". We who still breath citizen or soldier, continue to celebrate a moral standard, one in which is under attack by our very leaders, and America is beginning to awaken to the threat that has as a cancer eaten from the inside. I thank you Rob, for your voice, your effort, the very fact I can read it. Godspeed, and Bless God.

Michal said...

Well I keep coming to this blog as it keeps winning the WoW award, which I stumbled upon through another blog.

What amazes me is how the author is capable of creating such long thesis on why All Muslims Are Evil, without knowing anything about what he writes.

1. Obama apologised because the Koran burnings have been carried out by members of the national army, presumably acting on orders from above.
If you're in someone's house, you act politely. The Americans are guests in Afghanistan, albeit they're trying their best to be helpful (well, some of them). If you're a guest, you do not burn the house owner's holy book, pee on dead bodies in the neighbourhood or molest the local children. That's right, what you won't hear anything about is that some members of ISAF forces have been outed on national television as molesting Afghan children just some time before this.
Now ask yourself: what would be the response of American rednecks, or even Americans in general, had this been going on in the good ol' America? Possibly, the response would be violent. This is universal human response that hasn't got much to do with a particular religion.

I think it was right of Obama to aplogise for the book burning. It offended the sensibilites of the locals, so why not.

2. Karzai has in fact condemned the subsequent attack on US forces.

You can't get angry on the Afghans while ignoring pretty much everything that's going on, save for USA USA USA heroic exploits.

The breach of trust and understanding between US and Afghans goes much deeper than recent events however, and I wish to encourage everyone to educate themselves on what has actually happened in Afghanistan over the recent ten years.

I do not particularly care if my post offends the sensibilites of readers of this blog or its owner, but hopefully that will only help him understand the Afghans better. It's just a blog, just an electronic version of a book, am I right?

PacRim Jim said...

Restrained attacks on Muslim countries are like throwing pebbles in a pond. As soon as you stop, the pond resumes the status quo ante.
Unless you throw a big enough pebble, that is.
Germany and Japan could not be stopped until the general pain was so intense they had no other choice.
Until the U.S. inflicts intolerable pain on Iran, Pakistan, and other countries that dispatch murderers, not much will change, other than sacrificing American lives for a few moments of pebble-throwing.

Rob said...

Well, I seemed to have attracted a few bricks and a few rose garlands for this one! Let me expand on a few things, just for the record:

Anonymous, I don't like the term 'police action'. You either have a onetime offensive strike ala' Reagan's attack on Libya or you have a war, declared by Congress just as our Founders decreed.(oh, and BTW, Alexander did pacify what was then Afghanistan. So did the Timurids)

Readers of this site will know that while I have consistently chronicled and been amazed at our warriors victories there, I have long criticized the entire idea of our going into Afghanistan as strategy. Or, as I put it in another piece, one genius of a president decided to send an army and billions of dollars worth of equipment into a landlocked country surrounded by hostile territory and an even bigger genius of a president decided to double down to keep from looking like an idiot because of prolonged campaign rhetoric about something he knew absolutely nothing about.

Also, whatever his other failings, blaming President Bush because President Bill refused three times to take out OBL an dleft him an indistinct memo is just as silly as rationalizing the mass graves and rape rooms of Saddam Hussein as people being 'better off'.

Michal, A few points. We were not 'guests' in Afghanistan as I make clear. We invaded it because they were harboring people whom had murdered Americans. Nor is it a 'country' in the way we in the West think of it. As such, if we had to go there at all, we're whom should be in charge. The fact that we decided not to be is a large part of our problems there.

Also, since Muslims dispose of Q'urans by burning them, what was the problem again about our troops burning them, since they had been defaced by jihadi prisoners already? And what gives people the right to murder others who were not involved because of it, strictly because they're non-Muslims?

As for the accusation of my supposed 'all Muslims are evil ' meme,(something you have absolutely no concrete evidence for , BTW) I find it amusing that you would say that and then use the term 'rednecks in good ol' America' in the same comment.Your own racism and bigotry and dislike of Americans and America is duly noted.

There are differences in cultures, and only a blind man would fail to notice them. All men are created equal, but it's obvious all cultures are not.