I've been hearing a lot of talk about "bombing Afghanistanback 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 collateraldamage. What else can we do?" Minutes later I heard some TV punditdiscussing whether we "have the belly to do what must be done."And I thought about the issues being raised especially hardbecause 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 tellanyone 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 theatrocity in New York. I agree that something must be done about thosemonsters.But the Taliban and Ben Laden are not Afghanistan. They'renot even the government of Afghanistan. The Taliban are a cult of ignorant psychotics who took over Afghanistan in 1997. Bin Laden isa political criminal with a plan. When you think Taliban, think Nazis.When you think Bin Laden, think Hitler. And when you think "the peopleof 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 theTaliban? The answer is, they're starved, exhausted, hurt, incapacitated,suffering. A few years ago, the United Nations estimated that there are500,000 disabled orphans in Afghanistan--a country with no economy,no food. There are millions of widows. And the Taliban has been buryingthese widows alive in mass graves. The soil is littered with landmines, the farms were all destroyed by the Soviets. These are a fewof the reasons why the Afghan people have not overthrown the Taliban.We come now to the question of bombing Afghanistan back tothe Stone Age. Trouble is, that's been done. The Soviets took care ofit already. Make the Afghans suffer? They're already suffering. Leveltheir houses? Done. Turn their schools into piles of rubble? Done.Eradicatetheir hospitals? Done. Destroy their infrastructure? Cut them offfrom medicine and health care? Too late. Someone already did allthat.New bombs would only stir the rubble of earlier bombs. Wouldthey at least get the Taliban? Not likely. In today's Afghanistan,only the Taliban eat, only they have the means to move around. They'dslip away and hide. Maybe the bombs would get some of those disabledorphans, they don't move too fast, they don't even have wheelchairs. Butflying over Kabul and dropping bombs wouldn't really be a strike againstthe criminals who did this horrific thing. Actually it would onlybe making common cause with the Taliban--by raping once again the peoplethey've been raping all this timeSo what else is there? What can be done, then? Let me nowspeak with true fear and trembling. The only way to get Bin Laden isto 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 becausesome Americans would die fighting their way through Afghanistanto Bin Laden's hideout. It's much bigger than that folks. Becauseto get any troops to Afghanistan, we'd have to go through Pakistan. Wouldthey let us? Not likely. The conquest of Pakistan would have to befirst. 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 exactlywhat he wants. That's why he did this. Read his speeches and statements.It's all right there. He really believes Islam would beat theWest. 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 wouldmean, but the war would last for years and millions would die, not justtheirs but ours. Who has the belly for that? Bin Laden does. Anyone else?
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