File spoon-archives/baudrillard.archive/baudrillard_2001/baudrillard.0109, message 27

Date: Mon, 17 Sep 2001 11:02:55 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: War

I thought this was good, fairly free from political/philosophical bullshit
and abstractions, so I'm sharing it:

>This was written by Tamim Ansary, a writer and columnist in San
>Francisco, who comes from Afghanistan.

>      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
>      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
>      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
>      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
>      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 polarize 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?

Mark O'Connell


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