Friday, October 21, 2005

Burn The Dead to Piss Them Off

So now it turns out that American soldiers were caught on video burning the bodies of dead Taliban soldiers in Afghanistan. You remember that war, don't you? Afghanistan is the war we only hear about when something really strange happens, like this video incident. And of course we still haven't heard the one thing from Afghanistan that we were supposed to have heard a few years back, the capture of Osama bin Laden.

Apparently the burning of the bodies was done by an American Psych-Ops unit. They later broadcast a message to the nearby town about what they did. To understand why they did this, it must be understood that cremation is not a usual practice for Islam. Burial is the proper disposal of the dead in the Muslim world (not that different from Christian practices for the most part). They did this to inflame any other Taliban within speaker distance.

I guess you have to be a little psychotic to work in the Psych-Ops units. It would probably be quite revealing to know what goes on in these units on a daily basis. What other odd behaviors are being done in the name of winning a war. We do know that some of the Abu Ghraib torture methods were also performed in Afghan prisons by American captors. We do know that we killed a couple of those prisoners by "accident" from these tortures. The Afghanistan War is the largely unreported war.

If you've read many of my past posts, you know that I felt the Iraq War was wrong and then mismanaged throughout. What you might not know is my feelings about Afghanistan.

Like most Americans I was in a sense of shock following 9/11. My thinking wasn't clear on issues and I was tunnel-visioned on New York City. I was accepting of the rational to attack Afghanistan to get Bin Laden.

But here we are four years later and we still haven't captured Bin Laden. The longer he has eluded capture the more I've second guessed the Afghanistan War. Maybe about two years ago, I realized that we are probably going to "lose" this war. Now I'm not talking losing in a military sense, but losing in the long term political sense much like the former Soviet Union lost in the long term.

We are essentially in the same position they were. The USSR controlled the capitial city Kabul and had installed a communist government that was to follow the mother country, in other words a puppet government. Much of the rest of the country was war against the opposition, an insurgency.

Now, Kabul is controlled by America with a puppet government under the guise of "democracy" and the rest of the country is war with insurgency. Interesting to know is that in general Afghans don't much like their President Karzai, as he fled the country when the Soviet Union came to town. He was considered a coward. Karzai won an election with something like 150 candidates, a plethoria of names where only the few known names had a chance. Democracy by confusion resulted in an American backed president.

What America doesn't get, is that we plain just don't understand other cultures. Like the USSR we think we are the answer to their problems. That our guidance is just what they need. It's not the answer. We have this hipocritical war doctrine going on these days. We violently ursurp the government, give them "democracy" as we militarily occupy them, and say we are giving them self determination.

Afghans are like most people, pragmatic. They know that no occupying force stays forever in their country, you can check the history of Afghanistan and find many invaders eventually leave. They know they might as well go along with the occupying forces decisions until the day they leave. They know that a persistent low grade war wears on those occupiers. The war lords of Afghanistan that have existed for centuries, know to play a sort of game, that change will come.

We show our lack of cultural knowledge by doing the sort of things that turn the people against a puppet government even if you call it democracy. Burning those bodies is just the sort of thing that makes us look like the tyrants that Afghans have endured before. One thing we've proven to Afghans is that our biggest, baddest, military might can't control the entire country. They know that truth, but somehow too many Americans haven't figured that out, yet.

Someday Americans will come to the realization that losing soldiers to death and maiming in a country far away, for a reason that is ever changing, just doesn't make much sense. We will pull out when the day comes that we can't remake a country in our image. We've lost the Afghanistan War, we just haven't decided to declare victory and leave.


Blogger Jessica Klarkson said...

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