Tom Bethell's article 'Why Are We In Afghanistan'   American Spectator March 2010

The utter madness of our whole Western World approach is beautifully illustrated in this little article by Tom Bethell from a March 2010  issue of 'American Spectator'.  Or perhaps not the whole 'western world' approach, but the USA approach and, because we are slavish in our following, the Australian approach.

It appears to the casual observer such as myself that being in Afghanistan is pure madness from start to finish.  Doesn't it?  At first glance it is like Vietnam - fighting a war with an unidentified enemy who only has to pick up a gun to become an enemy soldier, or throw a grenade, or trigger a bomb, and only has to put it down again or walk away to become a 'non combatant', 'friendly' once more. You can't beat that. We've learned that, surely?

But investigate further and it doesn't become more sensible, it becomes less.  The next 'deepest' insight is that Afghanistan is a patchwork of feuding tribal territories.  Doesn't that inevitably make it impossible?  Then we learn a little history - how empires have foundered against the barren rocks of Afghanistan.  Then a little sociology perhaps, if that's the right word: how the Afghanis are fiercely proud of their own nation and hate anyone else trying to lord it over them.  So what room does that give us or anyone else?  No matter what, they want everyone out. Simple Afghani fact.

Then talk to some Afghanis.  I talked to some. No problem, the difficult, entangled, politically intricate question of the Afghani troubles were simple to them: it is tribal, with the numerically superior Pashtun tribes trying to exert their power and influence over everyone else. Simple as that.

Then go back and look at Afghanistan again and learn - slow, no-specialist, average-man, observer - that it is a Muslim country - that it is a war of religious intolerance again, another one. They are Islamic fundamentalists, the Taliban. Whoever, wherever, whenever was such a war won?  It means they are not fighting us in any case. We, the occupying 'police force' are a sideshow. The war is for the hearts and minds of the people via the religious aspect of people's hearts and minds.

And, god almighty, where's the sense and reason and hope there?  Religion is organised non-sense. I don't know about the others but the Christian religion clearly says as much when it bangs on about faith being so very, very necessary - because the Christian 'must' believe in things that can't be proved, can't be demonstrated, can't be shown.  The whole test of Christianity often is simply that:  Do you believe in something that can't be proved?  Like those people that come to our doors and want to talk religion and convert us to their religion and start by saying 'Do you believe that the Bible is the Word of God'?

Testing how irrational we are prepared to be before they even start.

Anyway, Tom Bethel is a better man to talk about it all.  Read his article.

To provide a couple of extracts, it starts like this:
Over the years I have heard 10 or more reasons, but not one that is convincing. "This will not end well," George Will wrote, and I agree with that. Yes, President Obama inherited the Afghanistan war, but he has dug himself in deeper, and as they say he owns it now. It will be hard for him either to win it or to extricate us.

and goes on via this interesting thought, interesting indeed.  
Incidentally, we can't rule out the possibility that bin Laden is dead, as Angelo Codevilla has argued (see TAS, March 2009). The CIA, surely, has too readily accepted recordings of "his" voice as genuine. Why not insist on video before accepting anything? The national security establishment may want to preserve a formidable foe, just as the WHO loves a new flu virus. Some may recall that the CIA grossly exaggerated Soviet GNP -- by a factor of 10, I believe -- right up to the fall of the Berlin Wall. Analysts may be playing the same game now with bin Laden.

and culminates shortly after this illustration of how idiotic our whole approach to these dramatically important things - Islamic fundamentalist madness -  is:

Consider the Islamic traitor at Fort Hood, who shot and killed 12 soldiers in November. The response? Chaplains moved promptly to "comfort" the "larger army community," which was itself "struggling to make sense of what happened." It made perfect sense, however, to those engaged in Islamic jihad -- and to those who understand that that is their intention. It made no sense only to those who think that the world consists of liberals-at-heart, some of whom suffer from too much "stress." A lieutenant colonel on the base said that the Fort Hood "community" responded like this: They were holding "critical-incident stress-management sessions."

That's it. They have martyrs, we have critical-incident stress-management sessions.

The point of it all, from the perspective of this website, is that nothing is 'True' about the Afghanistan thing.  We think we know the truth, we think we know what we are doing but we don't know the truth and we don't know what we are doing.

'Knowing the truth' and 'Doing' are, of course, by proxy.  We expect our politicians, perhaps even our journalists, perhaps our 'intellectuals', to know the truths and to know what we are doing. We believe our world is  being run rationally by those whose business it is to do it.

The people we elect to do it.  The people we pay to do it.  The people we assume have always done it.

We think our world is under control and is driven sensibly and clearly from rational place to rational place.

Observation seems to indicate it is not.

It is not under rational control. No one apparently knows 'the truth' , no one seems to know what we are doing or why we are doing it.

The current situation is not understand by anyone, the current direction we are progressing in is not planned by anyone and no one knows what it will lead to. And the 'truths' we are told about it all are not truths.

The 'global financial meltdown' was a beautiful illustration of this. Consider it.  It effected our whol world, still does: our financial institutions are still very much the same. All the systems, controls, practices are still the same. Banks made record profits during and after and at this moment.  There's currently a class action in Australia against the banks for their practice of simply charging excessive and improper fees whenever they want. Banking is allowed to 'lend' money they don't have. Banks never retain enough money to be able to pay out their depositors is they had a run on the bank.  And on and on.......

We thought our world, our rich and high and mighty sounding financiers, financial advisors, stock market gurus, CEO's of big companies - the whole paraphanalia of 'upper class' , 'successful', 'powerful' people, the top strata that dictates everything that happens - how much we pay for our mortgages, how much work we get and what we get paid for it, what taxes we pay, even how we are allowed to entertain and enjoy ourselves - this whole strata lying on top of us we assumed knew what it was doing and the nature of reality. Particularly - IN PARTICULAR - the financial and economic reality for this is all they ever talk about, this is what they say the whole world is about, this is what they've introduced - 'economic rationalism' and 'market forces' - as the guiding light and driving force for our whole society - it IS the politican 'ism' of today shared by all parties.

They, in fact, claim to 'know it all' and act aloofly as though that were true. CEO's claim salaries of millions of dollars on that basis.

Yet the 'financial meltdown' showed that NONE OF THEM KNEW ANYTHING AT ALL!!!

So we shouldn't be too surprised to find that NO ONE KNOWS ANYTHING AT ALL!  If you see what I mean. None of our 'leaders', 'gurus' or whatever, tells any kind of truth about any thing. Falsehood and half-truth abound, they are the sea within which we live.

We cannot close our eyes and assume our world is under control, being directed, being steered, being driven by 'masters', 'benevolent masters' that have all the money and all the power and direct our lives and under whose sway we live our humble lives and deserve to be humble and overlorded and directed because they - 'they' - are demonstrably superior to us in every way, having more money and more power and more privilege simply because they are more knowledgeable, more powerful, more elevated beings........

No. They are simple, weak, normal, fallible human beings - often times less knowledgeable, less reasonable, less sensible, less learned than the ordinaary man or woman in the street - because weakened by long exposure to their own positions of privilege.

They are gazing fatuously into the mirror... entranced by themselves;;;;;; while they world, our world, goes spinning out of control and the people in that world massacre and torture and murder each other... and in the midst of this madness continue to pay homage and privilege to these supposed guides and leaders.

No. They are not guiding, not leading.  The are not knowing, they are not aware.

The world needs to be led by us. US.  We, the millions, need to rear up and take notice and see the truths for ourselves. Ascertain the truth, tell the truth, demonstrate the truth. Help each other. Decide the way to go, understand why we go this way or that....