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Wisdom is Like Cool Water

Posted by parhad on September 17, 2001 at 08:57:53:

> By: Tamim Ansary
> I've been hearing a lot of talk about "bombing Afghanistan back to
> the
> Stone Age." Ronn Owens, on KGO Talk Radio today, 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.
> What else
> can we do?" Minutes later I heard some TV pundit discussing whether
> we
> "have the belly to do what must be done."
> And I thought about the issues being raised 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 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 Ben 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, take out 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, no food. There are
> millions of widows. And the Taliban has been burying these widows
> alive in
> mass graves. The soil is littered with land mines, the farms were all
> destroyed by the Soviets. These are a few of the reasons why the
> Afghan
> people have not
> overthrown the Taliban.
> We come now to the question of bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone
> Age.
> 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. Someone already did all that. New bombs would only stir 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. 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
> only be making common cause with the Taliban--by raping once again
> the
> people they've been raping all this time.
> So what else is there? What 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. 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 polarise the world into Islam
> and the
> West, he's got a billion soldiers. If the west wreaks 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. He's probably wrong, in the
> end the
> west would win, whatever that would mean, but the war would last for
> years
> and millions would die, not just theirs but ours.
> Who has the belly for that? Bin Laden does. Anyone else?
> Tamim Ansary

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