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written by Tamim Ansary, Afghani-American writer.


From: MaryAnn Kohl (maryann_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sat Sep 15 2001 - 14:49:16 PDT

  This was written by Tamim Ansary, an Afghani-American writer. It will give
you more insight and knowledge...

I've been hearing a lot of talk about "bombing Afghanistan back 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 collateral damage. What else can we
do?" Minutes later I heard some TV pundit discussing whether we "have the
belly to do what must be done." And I thought about the issues being raised
especially hard because 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 tell anyone 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 the atrocity in New York.
I agree that something must be done about those monsters. But the Taliban
and Ben Laden are not Afghanistan. They're not even the government of
Afghanistan. The Taliban are a cult of ignorant psychotics who took over
Afghanistan in 1997. Bin Laden is a political criminal with a plan. When you
think Taliban, think Nazis. When you think Bin Laden, think Hitler. And when
you think "the people of Afghanistan" think "the Jews in the concentration

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 the Taliban? The answer is, they're starved,
exhausted, hurt, incapacitated, suffering. A few years ago, the United
Nations estimated that there are 500,000 disabled orphans in Afghanistan--a
country with no economy, no food. There are millions of widows. And the
Taliban has been burying these widows alive in mass graves. The soil is
littered with land mines, the farms were all destroyed by the Soviets. These
are a few of the reasons why the Afghan people have not overthrown the

We come now to the question of bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age.
Trouble is, that's been done. The Soviets took care of it already. Make the
Afghans suffer? They're already suffering. Level their houses? Done. Turn
their schools into piles of rubble? Done. Eradicate their hospitals? Done.
Destroy their infrastructure? Cut them off from medicine and health care?
Too late. Someone already did all that. New bombs would only stir the rubble
of earlier bombs. Would they at least get the Taliban? Not likely. In
today's Afghanistan, only the Taliban eat, only they have the means to move
around. They'd slip away and hide. Maybe the bombs would get some of those
disabled orphans, they don't move too fast, they don't even have
wheelchairs. But flying over Kabul and dropping bombs wouldn't really be a
strike against the criminals who did this horrific thing. Actually it would
only be making common cause with the Taliban--by raping once again the
people they've been raping all this time.

So what else is there? What can be done, then? Let me now speak with true
fear and trembling. The only way to get Bin Laden is to 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 because some Americans would die fighting
their way through Afghanistan to Bin Laden's hideout. It's much bigger than
that folks. Because to get any troops to Afghanistan, we'd have to go
through Pakistan. Would they let us? Not likely. The conquest of Pakistan
would have to be first. 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 exactly what he wants.
That's why he did this. Read his speeches and statements. It's all right
there. He really believes Islam would beat the west.

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 would mean, but the war would last
for years and millions would die, not just theirs but ours. Who has the
belly for that? Bin Laden does. Anyone else?