But "The United States of America does not quit, once it starts on something ... " said the President. Neither do these redoubtable fellows pictured at right, Pashtuns ready to turnabout and give a good sniping to their British ALLIES (against the Russians once again) ... ONE HUNDRED YEARS AGO. (See DM #197--love this painting. They are as staunch and immovable as the ancient boulder next to them.) The watchwords have forever been "keep the foreign bastards the hell outta here" (in Pashto), no matter who, and with whomever business is being done at the time. So it goes, still, in this Graveyard of Empires.
And yet we stay. For the "Afghan" people? No such thing, not even geographically. The Pashtuns themselves spill over into the implacable borderlands of AfPak and beyond. Occupying other areas are such ethnic groups as the Uzbeks and Tajiks (and more) with their own sub-multiplicity of tribes, and centuries-old tribal laws and traditions. The Pashtuns have simply outnumbered them historically within the artificial, surveyor-tape boundaries of what we now call Afghanistan. What has kept peace amongst them is their bedrock hatred of outsiders--unless trader-types just passing through on the ancient Silk/Opium Road. Nevertheless, the President would have his troops believe that
If this REGION slides backwards ... if the Taliban retakes this COUNTRY , the al-Qaida can operate with impunity; then more American lives will be at stake; the AFGHAN PEOPLE will lose their opportunity for PROGRESS AND PROSPERITY; and the world will be significantly less secure. As long as I'm your commander in chief, I'm not going to let that happen. (AP story again)After several moments of stunned silence, the assembled troops burst into a mixture of jeers, razzberries, and hearty guffaws, while some were seen putting sidearms to their heads and clicking away furiously. Or running for the exits. It's April 1 ... but don't I wish.
As reported, the other pressing reason for Obama's visit was to drag President Karzai to the woodshed and give him a few retributive licks for the CORRUPTION and FRAUD (like in elections) blighting his puppet government. In the true tradition of Vietnam. Well, "Prosperity is just fine with us, Mista Obama, but progress?" To dysquote the string-puller. The woodshed dialogue might have continued thus:
Listen, when you leave, and if we're still standing, fuhgeddabout this democracy shit [a Pashto word] you've imposed on us. We'll always be governed by our ancient, pre-Islamic "Pashtunwali," the tribal code-of-life, now merged with Sharia law and adopted by even the non-Pashtuns under our control. What's a little fraud, to preserve these sacred principles? Besides, they're your rules, not ours. One more thing: stay away from our women, or we'll kill them.And so for all this, the war escalates and the death-toll rises. "The number of U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan has roughly doubled in the first three months of 2010, compared to same period last year," according to Pentagon figures, and we can expect a further increases in the dead and wounded--a very high rate for the latter because of IED's and the SNIPING that the Pashtuns, no matter whose side they're on at the time, have had so many years to perfect--a natural result 30,000 more troops yet to come. (AP story here)
So it follows--guess what--that the militants, to make a point, might just want to kill and maim as many more of the new guys as they can! No kidding, this is how one Pentagon spokesman tries euphemistically to describe the coming mayhem: "a reaction by an enemy to a new force presence." The soon-to-be-dead Americans have a space already assigned on his clipboard. (more)