Left Justified: How to win the war in Afghanistan
By Stanley Campbell
You can’t win the war in Afghanistan.
Now, before you turn away, please hear me out.
I thought it was extraordinary how our CIA and Defense Department allied themselves with various warlords and quickly rolled over the Taliban government. Too bad they couldn’t catch Osama bin Laden, but our leaders were already too busy eyeing Iraq.
We should have, and could have, followed former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s suggestion of taking a different, non-military tack. Our country, so wounded, yet never stronger in the eyes of the world, might have hammered together a plan to end terrorism once and for all, use economic (not military) means, setting up an international force to police the world.
Fat chance. Too bad.
Our new young black president, instead of staying in Afghanistan, should have announced we’ll capture bin Laden, then leave. Hell, the Taliban might have served Osama up to us.
And we might have been able to finally bring the troops home. But our leaders have a different idea—more war.
When in Vietnam, I heard of a plan for winning that foolish war: Round up all the natives who support the U.S., and put them on boats. Then, flatten the country, even using nuclear weapons. Then, sink the boats. A sick joke, but that was a sick war. Unfortunately, the same could be said of Afghanistan.
Yes, we could try to build up the government, or build schools all over the countryside, or have three cups of tea with every village elder. But the military can’t do that.
Our warriors can kick anybody’s butt, but they should not be expected to occupy another’s country, unless we teach our troops Pashtun (and every other language in that region), convert them all to Islam, and move their families there as well.
You want to occupy Afghanistan, Iraq and even Iran? Fine, you move there. Happy Holy Daze.
Stanley Campbell is executive director of Rockford Urban Ministries and spokesman for Rockford Peace & Justice.
From the Dec. 22-28, 2010 issue