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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

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.
their hospitals? Done. Destroy their infrastructure? Cut them off
from medicine and health care? Too late. Someone already did all

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?
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