A Modest Proposal — Rethinking Afghanistan and Al Qaeda
Like Jonathan Swift’s essay of the same name, I don’t think this proposal will fly, but I hope it is worthy of consideration.
Afghanistan costs billion$$$ in dollars and hundreds in American lives (AND Canadians, AND Brits, AND Aussies, AND others). Our young kids are dying out there to protect a corrupt regime. Karzai says all the right things, we support his well-coiffed Pashtun robes and provide money that probably ends up in Swiss (or other) bank accounts.
For thousands of years , Afghans have made their living off of the trade that passes through the country, because they produce little except opium.
Why bother to interfere? The Brits tried it and failed more than a hundred years ago. The Soviets failed thirty years ago. We’ve had a modicum of success in the past nine years. Alexander of Macedonia had little more success.
The fact is, Afghans are happy to take money from whomever is passing through this decade or century. They are good at it, and have been for thousands of years.
We have long since eliminated the Al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan that effectively trained folk to blow themselves up over New York. From an Afghan viewpoint, they were simply foreigners that helped them (with US support) to defeat the Soviets. That part is over.
Regarding Afghanistan, we have done our job and we should simply pull out, with no further bribes for an increasingly antagonistic (or self-serving) government. If the Taliban takes over, we can consider whether or not to declare our own Jihad against the most traditional branches of Islam. Make no mistake: stoning of adulterers and homosexuals is quite Old Testament, and the destruction of “graven images” (the beautiful Buddhist images) by artillery is, as well.
Regarding Al Qaeda, it would be nice to find Osama bin Ladin and kill/prosecute him publically. Unfortunately both sides benefit from his continued existence: his followers would like a leader and our government needs an enemy to justify just about everything.
Al Qaeda espouses many things, but even their most vitriolic rhetoric is loosely based on Al Q’ran (The Koran).
I would suggest that the United States of America abandon our more “liberal” precepts and adopt the same precepts as our enemies. Who could object? When an idiot blows himself up, or causes the death of innocents, his family and tribe should be held accountable. Israel understands this (having some acquaintence with the Old Testament), and limits its response to making the family’s home inhabitable. If the US simply swore to eliminate a terrorist’s home and village (most of a tribe), “peer pressure” might dissuade folks from doing stupid things. Of course, we would have to enure ourselves against killing civilians, the natural result of such a policy. This does not seem to be a problem for terrorists. By Koranic standards, this does not seem to be a problem for us, either.