Written on September 15, 2001 by Bryn Pryor
And for what? To bomb poor Afghanistan? Let me insert a few paragraphs from Afghan writer and political analyst Tamim Ansary.
“I’ve been hearing 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 who had nothing to do with this atrocity, but “we’re at war, we have to accept collateral damage. What else can we do?” Even though I’ve lived here for 35 years I’ve never lost track of what’s going on there. So I want to tell anyone who will listen how it all looks from where I’m standing. 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 agree that something must be done about those monsters.
But the Taliban and Bin Laden are not Afghanistan. They’re not even the government of Afghanistan. The Taliban are a cult of ignorant psychotics who took over Afghanistan in 1997. Bin Laden is a political criminal with a 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 the perpetrators. They would exult if someone would come in there, destroy the Taliban and clear out the rats nest of international thugs holed up in their country.
Some say, why don’t the Afghans rise up and overthrow the Taliban? The answer is, they’re starved, exhausted, hurt, incapacitated, suffering. A few years ago, the United Nations estimated that there are 500,000 disabled orphans in Afghanistan, a country with no economy and no food. The soil is littered with land mines, the farms were all destroyed by the Soviets.
As for bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age, well, the trouble is, that’s been done. The Soviets took care of it already. 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? Cut them off from medicine and health care? Too late. 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.
So what else is there? What can be done? Let me now speak with true fear. The only way to get Bin Laden is to go in with ground troops. When people speak of “having the belly to do what needs to be done” they’re thinking in terms of having the belly to kill as many as needed. Having the belly to overcome any moral qualms about killing innocent people.
Let’s pull our heads out of the sand. What’s actually on the table is Americans dying. 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. Because 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. We’re flirting with a world war between Islam and the West.
And guess what: that’s Bin Laden’s program. That’s exactly what he wants. That’s why he did this. Read his speeches and statements. It’s all right there. 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 unleashes a holocaust in those lands, that’s a billion people with nothing left to lose, that’s even better from Bin Laden’s point of view.”
But our leaders like war. It means money, votes, popularity. It means power, control, and the prospect of modern imperialism. So beware of “impromptu” choruses of God Bless America sung by politicians desperate to get their piece of any photo op on the Capitol steps. In his last address to the nation, Dwight Eisenhower warned against the power of this monetary influence. He said “In the councils of government we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will exist. We should take nothing for granted.”
This was the President speaking to the nation on television. Can you imagine such a thing today? Too bad no one listened. In the days and weeks to come, mourn the dead, have sympathy for those who grieve, but cast a wary eye on your government as they drive the nation fervently towards war, and encourage your friends to do the same. Remember that like so many other zealots and dictators who’ve risen to prominence in the past sixty years, we created Osama Bin Laden. He was trained in terrorist tactics by the CIA to fight against the Soviets. He’s doing what we taught him, only he’s doing it against us.
Be angry. Be angry at the terrorists. But be equally angry at the policy makers who have given much reason for the rest of the world to hate.
I’m going to close with some paragraphs from Michael Moore’s newsletters of late. Many of you know me to have radical politics and ideals. Michael, however, is often the voice of pure reason, and has a lot of interesting things to say. Particularly interesting is his snippets of possible news tacked on at the end. I’ve been saying since Tuesday morning that we must have shot down Flight 93, the one that crashed in PA. Apparently, I’m not alone.
Read the rest. Move on. Be well.