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  • Freeman/Pavey

    Freeman/Pavey Sept. 18, 2001, 4:15 p.m. (Message 27409)

    Afghan opinion

    This is a copy of a long email from an Afghan American. Those tired of,
    or annoyed with, political comments on the Strathspey List should delete
    it. However, I offer it with no apologies. I thought it to be extremely
    interesting and thought provoking.
    Dear Friends,    
    Yesterday I heard a lot of talk about "bombing Afghanistan back to the
    Stone Age." Ronn Owens, on KGO Talk Radio allowed that this would mean
    killing innocent people, people who had nothing  to do with this
    atrocity, but "we're at war, we have to accept  collateral damage," and
    he asked, "What else can we do? What is your suggestion?"  Minutes later
    I heard a TV pundit discussing whether we "have the belly to do what
    must be done."    And I thought about these issues especially hard
    because I am from Afghanistan, and even though I've lived here for 35
    years I've never lost track of what's been going on over there. So I 
    want to share a few thoughts with anyone who will listen.    
    I speak as one who hates the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden. There is no
    doubt in my mind that these people were responsible for the atrocity in
    New York.  I fervently wish to see those monsters punished.    But the
    Taliban and Ben Laden are not Afghanistan.  They're not even the
    government of Afghanistan.  The Taliban are a cult of ignorant
    psychotics who captured Afghanistan in 1997 and have been holding the
    country in bondage ever since. Bin Laden is a political criminal with a
    master plan.  When you think Taliban, think Nazis. When you think Bin
    Laden, think Hitler.  And when you think "the people of Afghanistan"
    think "the Jews in the concentration camps."  It's not only that the
    Afghan people had nothing to do with this atrocity. They were the first
    victims of he perpetrators. They would love for someone to eliminate the
    Taliban and clear out the rat's nest of international thugs holed up in
    their country. I guarantee it.    
    Some say, if that's the case, why don't the Afghans rise up and
    overthrown the Taliban themselves? The answer is, they're starved,
    exhausted, damaged, and incapacitated.  A few years ago, the United
    Nations estimated that there are 500,000 disabled orphans in
    Afghanistan--a country with no economy, no food.  Millions of Afghans
    are widows of the approximately two million men killed during the war
    with the Soviets.  And the Taliban has been executing these women for
    being women and have buried some of their opponents alive in mass
    graves.  The soil of Afghanistan is littered with land mines and almost
    all the farms have been destroyed. The Afghan people have tried to
    overthrow the Taliban. They haven't been able to.    We come now to the
    question of bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age.  Trouble with
    that scheme is, it's already been done. The Soviets took care of it. 
    Make the Afghans suffer?  They're already suffering. Level their houses?
    Done. Turn their  schools into piles of rubble? Done.  Eradicate their
    hospitals?  Done.  Destroy their infrastructure?  There is no
    infrastructure.  Cut them off from medicine and health care?  Too late. 
    Someone already did all that.    
    New bombs would only land in the rubble of earlier bombs.  Would  they
    at least get the Taliban? Not likely. In today's Afghanistan, only the
    Taliban eat, only they have the means to move around.  They'd slip away
    and hide.  (They have already, I hear.)  Maybe the bombs would get some
    of those disabled orphans, they don't move too fast, they don't even
    have wheelchairs. But flying over Kabul and dropping bombs wouldn't
    really be a strike against the criminals who did this horrific thing.
    Actually it would be making common cause with the Taliban--by raping
    once again the people they've been raping all this time.  So, what else
    can be done, then? Let me now speak with true fear and trembling. The
    only way to get Bin Laden is to go in there with ground troops. 
    I think that when people speak of "having the belly to do what needs to
    be done" many of them are thinking in terms of having the belly to kill
    as many as needed.  They are thinking about overcoming moral qualms
    about killing innocent people. But it's the belly to die not kill that's
    actually on the table.  Americans will die in a land war to get Bin
    Laden.  And not just because some Americans would die fighting their way
    through Afghanistan to Bin Laden's hideout.  It's much bigger than that,
    folks. To get any troops to Afghanistan, we'd have to go through
    Pakistan. Would they let us?  Not likely. The conquest of Pakistan would
    have to be first. Will other Muslim nations just stand by? You see where
    I'm going. The invasion approach is a flirtation with global war between
    Islam and the West.    And that is Bin Laden's program. That's exactly
    what he wants and  why he did this thing.  Read his speeches and
    statements.  It's all right there.  
    At the moment, of course, "Islam" as such does not exist. There are
    Muslims and there are Muslim countries, but no such political entity as
    Islam.  Bin Laden believes that if he can get a war started, he can
    constitute this entity and he'd be running it.  He really believes Islam
    would beat the west. It might seem ridiculous, but he figures if he can
    polarize the world into Islam and the West, he's got a billion
    soldiers.  If the West wreaks a holocaust in Muslim lands, that's a
    billion people with nothing left to lose, even better from Bin Laden's
    point of view.  He's probably wrong about winning, in the end the west
    would probably overcome--whatever that would mean in such a war; but the
    war would last for years and millions would die, not just theirs but
    ours. Who has the belly for that? Bin Laden yes, but anyone else?    I
    don't have a solution. But I do believe that suffering and poverty are
    the soil in which terrorism grows. Bin Laden and his cohorts want to
    bait us into creating more such soil, so they and their kind can
    flourish. We can't let him do that. That's my humble opinion.  
    Tamim Ansary

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