Tom Bethell's article 'Why Are We In Afghanistan'
American Spectator March 2010
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.
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.
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.
culminates shortly after this illustration of how idiotic our whole
approach to these dramatically important things - Islamic
fundamentalist madness - is:
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
That's it. They have martyrs, we have critical-incident stress-management sessions.
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.
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.
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.
'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!!!
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.
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
No. They are not guiding, not leading. The are not knowing, they are not aware.
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....