by Vin Suprynowicz
Dec. 27, 2009
Copyright © Las Vegas Review-Journal
Peace on earth, good will toward men. Fine sentiments. But as citizens of a republic, can we really assume we'll be held forever blameless for the actions of our government?
Barack Obama, who if he were not in office would be applying for a Community Development Block Grant to stage anti-war rallies in Chicago, just authorized sending 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan. But it's OK: He promises to pull them out in 18 months -- soon enough to guarantee they can't actually accomplish anything.
A few hundred of these young American men will be sent home in coffins or with their legs blown off. A few thousand Afghans will get blowed up real good by our Predator drones and newer, follow-up flying robots, in a military enterprise that could only have been dreamed up by someone who's spent too much time playing Dungeons and Dragons in his dormitory basement. Why?
We hear a lot of side-channel whining about how, were we to pull out now, the Taliban would resume power in Afghanistan, at which point these Islamic fiends won't allow girls to go to school any more.
Here's a news flash: Half the globe (and, currently, 95 percent of Afghanistan) is ruled by benighted thugs whose customs and behavior wouldn't pass muster with the EEOC, the EPA, the National Organization for Women or PETA -- though they might find a champion in the North American Man-Boy Love Association. We can't afford to send troops to fix them all. Once the Democrats get done turning the U.S. dollar into rainbow confetti, we won't be able to afford to send them a firm note.
Both by inclination and geography, the hill tribes of Afghanistan have proven singularly resistant to the blandishments of centralized state power. The British and Russians tried to impose our version of "civilization" on this mountainous realm, on and off, for 200 years. No dice. Now Barack Obama, who so far as we know has never field-stripped a battle rifle, never commanded a Boy Scout troop on a 10-mile hike, is going to get the job done in a year and a half with 50,000 troops and some stern rhetoric?
What, precisely, would a strong, centralized welfare/police state offer the average Afghan?
Right now, the average 14-year-old Afghan male is trusted with a rifle and care of his family's fields or flocks. What he does NOT face is an arbitrary and artificial extension of his "childhood" to keep him unmarried and out of the "labor force" till he's at least 18, if not 22.
In America, the average 14-year-old male will return next week to his ongoing 12-year incarceration in the local mandatory government youth propaganda camp, subject to punishment by his union schoolmarms should he show any dangerous signs of testosterone poisoning. This is actually a pretty good training ground for the adult life he can anticipate, forking over half his earnings in permanent enslavement to a massively intrusive welfare/police state that would have appalled any American of 1909, let alone 1776.
Should the Afghans welcome the prospect of a powerful central state on the American model -- and propped up by American mercenary "contractors," shooting up rural wedding parties with robot drones straight out of "The Terminator" -- because it promises to bring them a domestic version of the American IRS, systematically looting half their annual earnings?
Should they embrace our form of government because a simple herdsman, hoping to shift some sand and rock to build a rudimentary retention basin to water his stock, could then look forward to waiting many months for bureaucrats to be dispatched from the capital, conducting "inspections" to certify that his "project" doesn't endanger any delicate archaeological study area, nor the fragile riparian habitat of some heretofore unknown but certainly "endangered" domestic Afghan weed or bug?
Oh, sing hallelujah!
But finally and most important, the Afghans are not idiots. They know that -- should there ever be a strong centralized nation-state headquartered in Kabul -- the first thing that government's "international partners" would prevail upon such a satrapy to do would be to curtail cultivation of opium and hashish, the only two profitable cash crops ever to have taken root in their stony soil (and two of God's finest gifts to a long-suffering mankind, just for the record. Doesn't Genesis instruct us that God gave us "every herb bearing seed, and every tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat"?)
We went to war in Afghanistan because the Taliban had given shelter to al-Qaida. Our best intelligence now tells us the remnants of al-Qaida -- a few hundred souls -- shelter in northwest Pakistan. So why aren't we going to war in Pakistan? (Or are we, and the American people just can't be told?) The notion that we must install a stable modern puppet regime in every land where Osama bin Laden might pop up is a fruitless game of worldwide Whac-a-Mole that could bankrupt us even sooner than Obamacare.
The real reason we're still in Afghanistan is that post-1976 Democrats are viewed, with some cause, as Marxist surrender monkeys.
Barack Obama couldn't very well expect to win a race against an actual combat veteran with the proven manly virtues of John McCain by campaigning on a platform of "turn tail and run, but offer to hold hands with our Muslim brothers, sing kum-ba-ya, and pay them billions in bribes." So he puffed up his chest and did his best impression of Winston Churchill, vowing to fight and win the "really important war" -- Afghanistan.
It was a campaign talking point, for heaven's sake, a domestic political triangulation. For this American boys must bleed to death on some cold foreign mountain?
Peace on earth, good will toward men. Bring the boys home.
Vin Suprynowicz is assistant editorial page editor of the Review-Journal, and author of "Send in the Waco Killers" and the novel "The Black Arrow." See www.vinsuprynowicz.com/ and www.lvrj.com/blogs/vin/.