Yesterday I heard a lot of talk about "bombing Afghanistan back to the
Age." Ronn Owens, on KGO Talk Radio allowed that this would mean killing
innocent people, people who had nothing to do with this atrocity, but
at war, we have to accept collateral damage," and he asked, "What else can
we do? What is your suggestion?" Minutes later I heard a TV pundit
discussing whether we "have the belly to do what must be done." And I
thought about these issues especially hard because I am from Afghanistan,
and even though I've lived here for 35 years I've never lost track of
been going on over there. So I want to share a few thoughts with anyone
I speak as one who hates the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden. There is no
in my mind that these people were responsible for the atrocity in New
I fervently wish to see those monsters punished. 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 captured Afghanistan in
1997 and have been holding the country in bondage ever since. Bin Laden is
political criminal with a master plan. When you think Taliban, think
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 love for
to eliminate the Taliban and clear out the rats nest of international
holed up in their country. I guarantee it. Some say, if that's the case,
don't the Afghans rise up and overthrow the Taliban themselves? The answer
is, they're starved, exhausted, damaged, and incapacitated.
A few years ago, the United Nations estimated that there are 500,000
disabled orphans in Afghanistan-a country with no economy, no food.
Millions of Afghans are widows of the approximately two million men killed
during the war with the Soviets. And the Taliban has been executing these
women for being women and have buried some of their opponents alive in
graves. The soil of Afghanistan is littered with land mines and almost all
the farms have been destroyed . The Afghan people have tried to overthrow
the Taliban. They haven't been able to.
We come now to the question of bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age.
The trouble with that scheme is, it has already been done. The Soviets
care of that. Make the Afghans suffer? They're already suffering. Level
their houses? Done. Turn their schools into piles of rubble? Done.
their hospitals? Done. Destroy their infrastructure? There is no
infrastructure. Cut them off from medicine and health care? Too late.
Someone already did all that. New bombs would only land in 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 (they have already, I hear). 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 be making common cause with the
by raping once again the people they've been raping all this time.
So what else 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. I think that when people speak of "having the belly to do what
to be done" many of them are thinking in terms of having the belly to kill
as many as needed. They are thinking about overcoming moral qualms, about
killing innocent people. But it's the belly to die, not kill, that's
actually on the table. Americans will die in a land war to get Bin Laden.
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. To
get any troops to Afghanistan, we'd have to go through Pakistan. Would
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. The invasion
approach is a flirtation with global war between Islam and the West. And
that is Bin Laden's program. That's exactly what he wants and why he did
this thing. Read his speeches and statements. It's all right there.
At the moment, of course, "Islam" as such does not exist. There are
and there are Muslim countries, but no such political entity as Islam. Bin
Laden believes that if he can get a war started, he can constitute this
entity and he'd be running it. He really believes Islam would beat the
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 Muslim lands, that's a billion people with nothing left to
lose, even better from Bin Laden's point of view. He's probably wrong
winning, in the end the West would probably overcome-whatever that
mean in such a war; but the war would last for years and millions would
not just theirs but ours. Who has the belly for that? Bin Laden yes, but
I don't have a solution. But I do believe that suffering and poverty are
soil in which terrorism grows. Bin Laden and his cohorts want to bait us
into creating more such soil, so they and their kind can flourish. We
let him do that. That's my humble opinion.