And when you think "the people of Afghanistan" think "the Jews in the concentration camps."
September 14, 2001 5:25 PM   Subscribe

And when you think "the people of Afghanistan" think "the Jews in the concentration camps." Despite the barrage, I think this is worth posting. It's a post from the DaveNet mailing list, by an Afghan American writer (via Mark at boing boing) I don't know if I would trust the opinions on military actions in the second part - but the first part is well worth reading. I know many MeFiers are knowledgeable about world affairs, but this is a nice concise account for those who don't know about Afghanistan - or perhaps to pass along.
posted by sixdifferentways (20 comments total)

 
That is the best fucking thing I've read since Tuesday. Everything is 100% correct.
posted by raaka at 5:36 PM on September 14, 2001


so how do we get this in front of the president, the national security counsel, the CIA and the Pentagon?
posted by rebeccablood at 5:41 PM on September 14, 2001


This is an important thing to remember. Not sure if what the author says about Pakistan's likely response is true, but the Taliban certainly seems defiant. They seem to be readying their followers for war, according to reports. The alliance, if it comes to that, may bomb, but experience seems to show that bombs aren't effective against these targets.

I recall once reading about the Afghani war between the proto-Taliban rebels and the Soviets, a largely guerilla coflict. It was considered to be the USSR's Vietnam.
posted by Charmian at 5:47 PM on September 14, 2001


Does the president read what emails we send him ??
posted by adnanbwp at 5:47 PM on September 14, 2001


here's some stuff on the afghan opposition leader, the latest news is he's still alive. i dunno, do you think the CIA are in contact?
posted by kliuless at 5:47 PM on September 14, 2001


The article does a great job of getting the reader to consider the tough case where innocent people are "in harm's way" if we try to strike back at our enemies.

But don't think it's anything new. This is a well-understood concern.

We certainly want to identify who our enemies are and try to strike at only them. That said, it is just not possible to do that cleanly. Also, the more we try to limit "collateral damage" (dead innocents), the more that means dead U.S. soldiers.

Our will, as a nation, to tolerate dead U.S. soldiers is probably relatively high right now. But Afghanistan is a shitty place for ground operations. The U.S.S.R. fared terribly there, and everyone still fears another Vietnam.

So, again, we have no perfect solution. Such is life.
posted by marknau at 5:51 PM on September 14, 2001


We certainly want to identify who our enemies are and try to strike at only them.

"We" may just be a few thousand concerned folks. From what I've seen from press conferences the US wants a grand counter attack and soon. Fire to fight fire. Terror to fight terror.

I'm hoping things won't turn out that way, but the US has a pretty lousy track record.
posted by skallas at 6:10 PM on September 14, 2001


pretty much the best comment on this I've seen so far:

"...from his perspective, the best outcome for this whole tragedy would come from dropping several million Real Goods catalogs on Afghanistan, each with a gift certificate attached."
posted by rebeccablood at 6:19 PM on September 14, 2001


that'd be like paying "dane gold."
posted by kliuless at 6:29 PM on September 14, 2001


here's some stuff on the afghan opposition leader, the latest news is he's still alive.

not any more, according to some reports.

I remember listening to the BBC World Service over the weeks when the Taliban closed in on Kabul. Amnesty's report on the transition of power, in which both sides turned rape and torture into an everyday occurrence is pretty damning.

kliuless: you really oughtn't base your reading of English history on Slashdot. And the developed world has been paying off the developing world to fight its strategic battles for the past thirty years.
posted by holgate at 6:40 PM on September 14, 2001


holgate: you're right i have no idea about its veracity or historical accuracy. it's the first i've heard of it and it sounded like an interesting idea similar to what rebecca posted about the catalogs. it reminded me of a suggestion by milton friedman (oddly enough) who suggested that a "social wage" would be a more cost effective way to reduce crime.
posted by kliuless at 6:55 PM on September 14, 2001


My fear is, as many high up in Washington understand the situation in Afganistan, many citizens are still very bent on revenge. What task would prove more difficult?: Appeasing the vast bloodthirsty right in this country, murdering untold numbers of innocents? Or. . . Finding bin Laden, "bringing him to justice" and attempting to still appease those who think many more of "them" should still die? 'Cause what's fair is fair, right?

Indeed, what is to be done of the zealots on both sides?
posted by crasspastor at 7:12 PM on September 14, 2001


round them up, unfairly imprison them, make sure they'r eadequately fed and clothed, and force them to do aid work for the severely disadvantaged on the other side.

enforced love.
posted by rebeccablood at 7:24 PM on September 14, 2001


The talk from those who are regarded as experts in such matters suggest that The Taliban at this point protect Ben Laden and are not about to give him up. But then the Taliban are really dep[endent at this point upon Pakistan and Pakistan really is the key. Pakistan must be persuaded that it is in their interest to convince the Taliban to give up Bin Laden, averting any direct action (a waste of time let alone lives) up Afghanistan.
But this is all fine and dandy except it leaves out an important element: Bush and co. talk about terrorist throughout the world. And today's reports (via Druge, I believe) suggest that we have identifdied some 39 countries that have cells of terrorists. And we know of at least 4 countries that are protecting terrorists. Do we bomb them all? Convince them to dump terrorist, or what--I am taling about Lybia, Iran, Iraq, Syria for starters.
The Bush policy, he says, is to rid the world of terror groups and those countries protecting them. Not just Ben Laden.
posted by Postroad at 8:05 PM on September 14, 2001


in a press conference yesterday, colin powell was asked if he was surprised that only one of the seven countries known to host terrorists had not sent any condolences. (i believe the countries are iraq, iran, libya, syria, pakistan, afghanistan, and possibly palestine? clarification would be welcome, though.)

anyhow, powell's vehement response was that he was not at all surprised that we had not heard from iraq, and that he doubted if saddam hussein had a drop of human kindness running through his veins.

from the look on his face, i have no doubt that he'd have no trouble going after saddam one more time.
posted by sara_k03 at 9:25 PM on September 14, 2001


round them up, unfairly imprison them
I hope this is sarcasm.
posted by darukaru at 10:16 PM on September 14, 2001


Palestine has sent condolences.
posted by arielmeadow at 10:51 PM on September 14, 2001


Day late and several dollars short, but I wanted to let it be known that Pakistan has pledged cooperation, including the presence of outside military within their borders:

http://www.usatoday.com/aponline/2001091511/2001091511502100.htm

This moots much of the wider war speculation in this article. It is a uniquely valuable insight into the condition of the Afghan people, but it does not describe the current political situation.
posted by NortonDC at 9:24 AM on September 15, 2001


powell's vehement response was that he was not at all surprised that we had not heard from iraq, and that he doubted if saddam hussein had a drop of human kindness running through his veins.

from the look on his face, i have no doubt that he'd have no trouble going after saddam one more time


But our relationship with Iraq is inevitably a trifle strained.
(link chosen because it connects to a lot of stuff)

Given that sanctions over the last ten years have cost an estimated one and a half million lives (including many children) and that we have continued bombing Iraq during that time, it is hopefully fair to say that a) we've never stopped "going after Saddam" and b) we shouldn't really be surprised (or indeed offended) if Iraq fails to express condolences to the United States. Drop of human kindness or not, it might be a bit much to expect sympathy.

This isn't to say that our relation to Iraq justifies anything more heinous than Saddam refusing to send a message of concern to the White House. But I do think it justifies that.
posted by Grangousier at 10:03 AM on September 15, 2001


The government of Pakistan has pledged cooperation, though from what I understand the people don't support the government and are very much against any Western military presence there. So much so that one commentator said such a move would probably topple the government.
posted by sixdifferentways at 9:18 PM on September 15, 2001


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