File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0109, message 76

Date: Sun, 16 Sep 2001 15:13:18 +0100
Subject: A view from Afghanistan


I recieved this from the CSL list...

> 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 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?
> Tamim Ansary


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