- Nov 6, 2005
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Originally posted by: Jaskalas
Lemon, you do catch me on a technicality.
Do you suggest as Green Bean does, that we should pursue peace with the Taliban?
I do tend to scoff at the differences between one violent Islamic Supremacist group and the next when both are at war against us. So then maybe you?d like us to treat them differently, is that it? Perhaps the Taliban were a peaceful people minding to themselves until American aggressors attacked them?
First of all we must ask what the taliban is, what it was, what it has become, and what it could become before we ask the is peace possible question.
And also realize that the taliban and US involvement in the region are also linked. But during the periods in which Afghanistan was involved with the struggle to expel the Russians, normal life was rather dangerous, and many Afghani parents with any means choose to send their children out of the country and to various madrases in Pakistan. And they were exposed to an education extolling the virtues of the Islamic faith and its regional history. And before any of us per say condemn that as bad, Islam has its own version of the ten commandments with thou shalt not steal being some of that indoctrination. And some but not all madrases had very little else to offer in the way of an education that covered the sciences and the modern world.
But time waits for no one, soon children become young adults and school is over. And by the time that idealistic young generation returned to Afghanistan, the Russians were gone, the USA had discarded Afghanistan as a no longer needed tool, and Afghanistan was in the grips of a low grade civil war as various former freedom fighters turned on each other in a struggle over whom would control Afghanistan. With various factions stealing everything not nailed down while raising opium for a cash crop to supplement the income they gained by looting any merchandise that moved through their territory. In short doing exactly the things Afghanis had traditionally done even before the time of Alexander the great. It seems the madrases had failed to teach that part of history.
So these idealistic young came back from a relatively civilized country where people did not do these things, back home to a country where it had become the dominant fact. And when you don't like what you are seeing, you go with what you know. And soon they were banding together and with the idealization of the young started to try to construct what would be a better world. Adopting sharia law, empowering a rouge called Mullah Omar to lead them, the movement just grew and was aided by Pakistani backing. On the plus side,
thou shalt not steal became an increasing reality, they greatly curtailed opium production, and broke the power of the thugs and war lords. And as the taliban increased their control, trade goods could move without being looted, commerce became possible, and Pakistan greatly benefited because they could use the trade routes to the West and North.
The the "average" Afghani, it was a mixed bag and a on case by case basis. On one hand they lost the bandits and thugs that controlled them before and got a bunch of religious nuts
that controlled them in exchange. Cross either and you were in a heap of trouble. Normally such religious states have a shelf life of 20-30 years, the young leaders grow up and become jaded, and with no younger generation to spur them on, they gradually become less nutty and more rational. In some ways Iran is in the same boat. But normal shelf life is always extended when some external power is monkeying around in the region. But we also have to remember much of the taliban came from the sons of Afgani parents and the notion they wanted just raw power at the expense of their parents is absurd.
Into the idyllic? paradise came Ossama Bin Laden seeking a place of refuge after the government of Sudan decided he was too hot to handle. And the rest is history after 911.
Now we are fighting only the worst and most virulent elements of the taliban, we have brought back the war lords and the thugs, any trade and commerce is impossible, the Afghani people are as worse off than before and caught between the US and the taliban, and no progress is in sight. As the US makes the sons of Afghani parents into mortal enemies to be shot on sight.
The stupidity is in assuming that what amounts to a home grown movement that brought some good must be totally suppressed. When smarter people harness what is good while gradually reducing what is bad in various movements of this kind. When our baby boomer were young and somewhat idealistic, they called it the establishment co opting them. But all in all, its a highly effective tactic.
But our military leadership seems to think in terms of power and its their way or the highway. And things are 100% black or 100% white.
Of course we should be finding some common ground with the taliban and then working to build on that. Because Palehorse74 and JOS offer us no progress. There is always common ground if you look for it. And modernity offers more to the Afghanis than what they have now. Yet we have built nothing and wonder why they don't regard us as their saviors for bringing back anarchy while taking pot shots at their now estranged sons.