Karzai was once a staunch Talib, after all. And like them, a hard core Sunni-Muslim-Sharia-Pashtunwali-Tribal Pashtun. The Taliban may be a little stricter in their practice of of Sharia Law--cutting off heads instead of hands, and blowing up Buddhas--but they throw no fewer stones at an adulterous woman to get the deadly job done. They represent NOT some invading army--as I'm sure vast numbers of naive Americans believe--but an indigenous political movement borne out of reaction to foreign encroachment, and dedicated, in their militant-insurgent incarnation, to driving the Big-Boy Imperialists out. That's us, no matter how much we try to propagandize otherwise. We kill kids just like the Taliban do.
But let it be said, as ad nauseum I have: the adults aren't worth it in the first place. Not nice people. (I won't repeat it again, but for a refresher-in-microcosm revisit the father-murders-daughter story, DM #176) Our Vietnamese allies had at least entered the nineteenth-century in terms of cultural progress and (almost) social justice. These folk are no more than benighted barbarians emergent from some worm-hole-in-time connected to the fourteenth. Like the rest of the Middle East. Setting aside 9-11, if they weren't connected tangentially to the Great Oil Debacle that IS the Middle East, we would look at the AfPak-Pashtun people, if at all, with little more than scorn or pity.
However, the sins of the fathers must not be visited upon the children. Keep in mind a statistic that I will repeat: WE KILL TWICE AS MANY CIVILIANS as the "enemy" does. Their devious suiciders just can't top infantry operations and air strikes (incl. robo-planes) for killing innocent people. The child pictured above was caught in the latter. There is simply NO WAY to avoid it if the Bush/Cheney approach is followed by President Obama, and it seems to be. A military "solution" will NEVER "gain the loyalty of the people," much less "bring the insurgents to the negotiating table" (last post). How breathtakingly absurd is that direct quote?
If innocent "collaterals" are not killed or wounded willy-nilly from the sky, they're simply gunned-down deliberately. In a New York Times article ignored by other mainstream media, Obama's "man-on-the-ground" General Stanley McChrystal admits as much:
We have shot an amazing number of people, but to my knowledge, none has ever proven to be a threat.Great P.R. The article as redacted by HuffPost (here) continues:
According to the military's own figures, American and NATO troops firing from passing convoys and military checkpoints have killed 30 Afghans and wounded 80 others since last summer, but as McChrystal noted, NONE OF THE VICTIMS PROVED TO BE A DANGER TO THE THE TROOPS. [Called in Vietnam: "taking potshots at the Gooks"]
Despite new rules put in place by McChrystal, aimed at REDUCING [not eliminating] THE KILLING OF INNOCENTS, such shootings have not dropped off. Although fewer than deaths from air-strikes or Special Forces operations, their continuance ... "has led to GROWING RESENTMENT among Afghans fearful of Western troops and angry at what they see as the impunity with which the troops operate--a friction that has TURNED VILLAGES FIRMLY AGAINST THE OCCUPATION."
So ... "Who ya gonna call?" The Taliban, of course. They're "one of us," after all, might reason the Afghan villager who has just lost a little daughter in an air-strike, or heard of Mohammed Yonus, a local teacher whose chest was ripped open by shots fired from a passing military convoy as his two sons sat in the bullet-riddled car (NYT). And the Taliban's WAR CRIMES, he might further think to himself, are no worse than the Americans'.