Thursday, December 3, 2009

The War in Afghanistan

In the above response to columnist Tom Friedman, I so appreciated MOHAMMED SAWAF’s rational discussion of the horrifying statistics detailing numbers of lives from the Middle East ruthlessly ended by our bombs and warfare. At the same time, SAWAF also makes sure to state clearly that not all of these deaths were our fault. His rational tone gives his article the weight the horror in these numbers deserves.

I especially appreciated this paragraph: “Contrary to what Friedman thinks, our real problem isn’t a fictitious Muslim “narrative” about America’s role in the region; it is mostly the actual things we have been doing in recent years. To say that in no way justifies anti-American terrorism or absolves other societies of responsibility for their own mistakes or misdeeds. But the self-righteousness on display in Friedman’s op-ed isn’t just simplistic; it is actively harmful. Why? Because whitewashing our own misconduct makes it harder for Americans to figure out why their country is so unpopular and makes us less likely to consider different (and more effective) approaches. ”

Unfortunately President Obama invoked in his Tuesday night war call the same 9/11 fervor that Bush used to bring a football-game sort of adrenalin tone to what would become the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians. Because we have never experienced war on our soil in our lifetime, we so easily deny its realities, and allow our leaders to justify the murder of innocent people who mean to do us no harm. We accept our leaders’ rationalizations that this murder is being done in the name of our “security” when all evidence shows that we are less secure because we are killing so many innocent people, an obvious, common-sense truth.

I haven’t figured out the math, but how many innocent people will have to die for each one of those 3,000 Americans who were killed on 9/11? 30,000? If we kill 30,000 people from the Middle East for each one of the folks who died in 911, does that make any sense whatsoever? Such behavior seems much more “evil” than the actual act committed on 9/11.

In his speech President Obama reminded us that we were going to battle not only for the US but for other allies who experience terrorist attacks from the Taliban. Would that bring the numbers down to 10,000 innocent deaths for each person killed by a terrorist?Is this a moral act?

There is a sort of underlying belief that Presidential candidates have to lie about a few things in order to get elected, and I think most progressives truly thought President Obama was talking tough about Afghanistan to win debates, but that in his heart he knew that bombing countries never makes them stronger.

I think we believed that after he was elected he would settle in to his real intentions and end the war in Iraq and help Afghanistan with humanitarian aid not more war. Now we must realize he is in many ways another puppet, or has been turned into a puppet, for China’s interests because of our debt. It’s obvious that this war has very little to do with security, because our presence there is escalating the recruitment of those who wish to harm us.

If we want to help women and children in Afghanistan, and help prevent more people from joining terrorist organizations, we need to build for them schools, libraries, hospitals and roads and help create jobs. Bombing and maiming hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians in order to capture one hundred Al Quaida leaders is unconscionable, and I hope that we can muster enough outrage to protest loud enough so that our President will hear us and keep himself from committing another unforgivable act in our name.