Avatar
Please consider registering
guest
sp_LogInOut Log In sp_Registration Register
Register | Lost password?
Advanced Search
Forum Scope


Match



Forum Options



Minimum search word length is 3 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters
sp_TopicIcon
Article About Afghanistan
September 20, 2001
6:39 pm
Avatar
janes
New Member
Members
Forum Posts: -1
Member Since:
September 24, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

This was emailed to me by a friend....cause for pause....food for thought.

By: Tamim Ansary (Ansary is a UC Berkeley professor and an Afghani-American writer.)

Dear Friends,
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 camps."
It's not only that the Afghan 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 Taliban.

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 ands, 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?

September 20, 2001
8:44 pm
Avatar
Molly
New Member
Members
Forum Posts: -1
Member Since:
September 30, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I read this letter the other day, and don't have a clue as to what is the best way to deal with it. its such a tangeled web, sometimes I think this whole mess is created for some one's financial benifits, but who ?
Such a sad way for America to recognize patriotrism again, and to bring the world together, at least a big part of the world. I fear that once this boggy man is gotten, there will be another one, then another one, how do we stop it completely?

September 21, 2001
6:39 am
Avatar
janes
New Member
Members
Forum Posts: -1
Member Since:
September 24, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I don't think we do because there is such a gap between haves/have nots and our leadership has, on occasion, used the have nots to reach our own gain.

We have drifted far from who we were when WE were fighting for OUR freedom.

We may never really "win" this war (as we think of winning) ...but if we become smarter, more security minded more compassionate we still won't lose.

One thing that bugs me is how corporations (the airlines right now) can act irresponsibly and then cry for a gov. bailout. Had security been a priority , a true priority then perhaps these hijackers would have had to work harder for those planes.

It is all just so mind boggling.

September 21, 2001
12:57 pm
Avatar
Cici
New Member
Members
Forum Posts: -1
Member Since:
September 24, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Yep, yep and yep again. This is exactly what I'm talking about. I'm thinking of taking a world map and covering up the country names. Now, whenever anyone starts talking about bombing "them", I'll pull out the map and ask them to point out where Afghanistan is. If ya can't ID it, then shut up.

It seems so counterintuitive to take a stand about something, a strong stand, but not know any of the details of the situation. But it's a common problem. Mentally lazy, or afraid?

3 years ago I was on my soapbox, signing petitions and going to rallies because of the human rights violations of the Taliban. The US chose to ignore the country, and allow it to continue the atrocities. Afghanis are more immune to violence than we are. They have public executions still.

I was watching a documentary on bin Laden, and they showed footage of a woman being *torn apart by dogs* before a soccer match on the stadium field. She had been accused of killing her husband. No trial.

One Afghani woman was quoted as saying she hoped the US would bomb Afghanistan, and "destroy this place completely once and for all." Can you imagine saying that about your own country? It must be hell on earth.

September 21, 2001
1:11 pm
Avatar
Molly
New Member
Members
Forum Posts: -1
Member Since:
September 30, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I have heard the women speak of that as well, widows, no food, to think that death would be better, how sad, and how easy for a commun to find comfort in any one who says follow me, and I will bring you what you need.
Like after school sports, who decided that it was a good idea to do the budget cuts there ? I mean its trivial in the context of this conversation, but similar in the security cut backs, or the open gates of immigration, or the out rageous ammounts that were spent on the drug war, arming all of the third world counties under a different agenda.
Again,I think there is a sick table of 12 somewhere, creating and watching all of this, like we are puppets being manipulated.
For so long so many have denied the effect of world events effecting their back yards, and this is one heck of a wake up call. When was the last time you conversed politics with the person behind you at the grocery store ? Just like you Cici, got on my band wagon a few years ago, about protecting our kids from the volunteers at school, thought in the wake of child molesters, etc, why not require finger prints before they are allowed in the classroom, do ya think I could get some one to listen, they were more concearned with the sale at Mervyns. So, despite the horrific tragedy, maybe we will be better people, gotta have hope.

September 21, 2001
1:25 pm
Avatar
Cici
New Member
Members
Forum Posts: -1
Member Since:
September 24, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Did you ever hear the myth of Cassandra, from the story of the fall of Troy? She was sister to Paris, who stole Helen. Legend has it her parents sold her into service to Apollo (thanks mom and dad, ha ha), and when he demanded sexual favors she refused, so he cursed her to forever see and speak the truth, but never be believed.

She lived her life with visions of the death of her family and the fall of her city, but was powerless to stop it.

Heck, in a country where we waste $225 billion on a failed drug war and spend $13 billion on anti-terrorism intelligence, it sure seems like we have our priorities straight.

September 21, 2001
1:32 pm
Avatar
gingerleigh
New Member
Members
Forum Posts: -1
Member Since:
September 30, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

No kidding, Janes. I heard from a friend of mine who's flight was diverted that she was told by the airlines that she had to get her own lodging arrangements because "the airlines were not at fault". They hell they weren't! Where's the bulletproof glass for the cockpit door? We protect our taxi cab drivers with glass shielding, and cabs only carry a maximum of 4 people, let alone hundreds the way that airplanes do. The airlines spend more and more money remodeling planes to make first and business class more cushy, but where's the buttons for pilots and stewardesses to wear on their persons or the biomonitors such that if any of the attendants or pilots die, the cabin gets gassed with sleep aids and the pilots can safely land the plane at the next airport? Where's that technology innovation?

September 21, 2001
2:22 pm
Avatar
Cici
New Member
Members
Forum Posts: -1
Member Since:
September 24, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

70% of the Afghani population is women and children. From Salon.com.

Networks of terror
As television hypes the coming war, the nation watches passively. Stunned by grief, we've shut ourselves up.

- - - - - - - - - - - -
By John Leonard

Sept. 21, 2001 | NEW YORK -- After a couple of days of doing what they do best, which is grief therapy, the television networks and cable channels reverted to what they do worst, which is to represent the normal respiration of democratic intelligence.

Never mind the apocalyptic branding every producer of continuing coverage felt he had to inflict over, under and around the multiple reruns, the endless nightmare feedback loop of jumbo jet, firebomb and towers falling down. Soon enough, "America Under Dastardly Attack" would be succeeded by "The Empire Strikes Back." Nothing less can be expected of a commercial culture with a logo, a patent, a copyright or a trademark on everything from pro athletes and childhood fairy tales to the human genome. (And if there hadn't been a brand, we might have mistaken the video package for just another cheesy TV movie, one of a thousand techno-thrillers and disaster flicks in which New York has been destroyed by asteroids, aliens and apes; androids, insects and plagues; hydrogen bombs, tidal waves, toxic waste and "The Turner Diaries." Something in Hollywood has always hated Manhattan. Something in the pulp unconscious has always wanted to smash our crystal palace. Until now, at least.) What does surprise is that nobody thought of "Infinite Justice" until the Pentagon rolled it out. What a brainstorm.

Still, television was our surrogate: a stunned witness, a black box and also a storybook we needed. This is what it looked like, the Big Pixel, and the mangled steel and broken stone; the brilliant blue, unbearable sorrow, heroes in uniform, stalwart mayor -- and an unmooring and a creepiness, as if a CAT scan had suddenly disclosed anomalies as unreadable as Rorschachs. So not even a girdle of oceans was enough to preserve our innocence. Nor could we flee in our Air Jordan running shoes. And what good were laser-beam defense shields against the guided missiles of our own passenger planes?

We gathered as we usually do in a parenthetical frame of mind, somewhere between the trauma and the stress syndrome. We have been there when we were merely curious: an Oscar or a Super Bowl. And when we have felt compelled: the Watergate hearings or the Berlin Wall. On exalted moments, like a moon shot. On dreadful occasions, like an assassination. It's a fix, and I'm not here to pick and choose among the performance arts of a Rather and a Brokaw and a Jennings. Bad news grays their skin beneath the powder, glooms their eyes staring at the Prompter, slows and thickens their aspect whether they're wearing a jacket or not -- although it often seems that we also see through them, to the pentimento of every other terrible thing that ever happened while they had to sit there like an Easter Island emperor penguin.

I will say that Aaron Brown on CNN was the man I wanted standing on my roof, from whom I'd even buy insurance, while Bill O'Reilly factoring on Fox was a guy I wouldn't let in to check the Con Ed meter. But then CNN also still has foreign bureaus in those inconvenient places where the strangest people behave as though they have a purchase on history, too -- like Kabul, from which only Nic Robertson was seen to be reporting, as only Peter Arnett had reported before him from Baghdad during the Gulf War. On the other hand, there was Larry King, who has never met a ninny who couldn't wow him. Fruit bats fly into one of his ears and out the other as though there's nothing there but ether.

But we needed the rapture of the feed. We needed the shadow on the scan. And then the reversion. Before you could say Holy War, the screen filled with the usual pols, and their hierophants and sycophants. Bad enough that we had to listen on every channel to the same spin doctors explaining the same behaviors of a Flying Dutchman president. But we also had to listen to the pols we had booted out of office in previous elections, like the disgraced former dictators in García Márquez's "Autumn of the Patriarch" waving at the sea as it sails by their retirement home: one last photo op for James Baker, Madeleine Albright, Richard Holbrooke and Dr. Kissinger himself. What we didn't see -- or at least I didn't, and I have more eyes than most flies -- was any meaningful dissent from the tom-toms. End of dialogue.

We are apparently supposed to shut up and eat our spinach. Asking questions, proposing alternatives, making distinctions, arguing analogies, remembering history or criticizing our stand-tall president is for the moment unpatriotic and maybe even unmanly. Wave that flag, stuff that qualm. The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that even such "peacenik" leftovers from the Vietnam era as Lee Weiner, one of the Chicago 7, and Stew Alpert, an original Yippie, were all of a sudden in favor of retaliatory violence and "surgical" military strikes. Grace Paley, on the other wonderful hand, suggests in the same article that we bomb Afghanistan with three tons of wheat, rye and rice, since they are starving: "If we do it with a vicious attitude, maybe that will be enough for some people."

I want to say something about Afghanistan, but in a minute. First this incantation: There can be no grievance that excuses the killing of innocents, either by terrorism or state violence, its Siamese twin. Any cause that does so is corrupt. The murder of children in Belfast, Sarajevo, Rwanda, Beirut or anywhere else is beyond extenuation. Some of the West's best writers, from Dostoevsky and Conrad and Malraux to Mary McCarthy, Heinrich Boll, Doris Lessing, Alberto Moravia, Nadine Gordimer and Gabriel García Márquez, have tried to read the minds of what Don DeLillo in "Mao II" called "men in small rooms." All they've done is make those minds seem almost as interesting as their own, which of course they aren't. The kamikazes of Kingdom Come -- the skyjackers, land-miners, thumbscrewers, militia-men, death squads and ethnic cleansers; the bombers of department stores, greengrocers and abortion clinics; the Pol Pots, Shining Paths and Talibans -- have stupefied themselves.

That said, our intellectual responsibility is to read our own minds. We are, we are told, at war. In wartime in America, civil liberties go out the window. Abe Lincoln suspended habeas corpus during the Civil War. During World War I, Woodrow Wilson's attorney general pushed an Espionage Act through Congress that kicked socialists out of state legislatures and sent Eugene V. Debs to prison. During World War II, Franklin D. Roosevelt wasn't at all troubled by the internment of thousands of Americans guilty of nothing else but Japanese descent. Even the Cold War was hard on radical schoolteachers and those government workers who could be blackmailed because they were homosexuals. And the war on drugs has long since undermined constitutional protections against searches and seizures and a dozen other niceties of due process.

Let's hope a war on Osama bin Laden and his cancer cells is more successful than the war on coke and smack, although the difficulties seem at least as onerous and the prosecution is likely to last even longer. ("Infinite Justice," indeed. Well, to "rid the world of evil" takes a while. And perhaps one should be grateful we stopped calling it a Crusade.) But already 115 individuals are being held by federal authorities under the notoriously permissive gunslinger bylaws of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, without charges, bail or even lawyers. (When in recent history have we seen so few lawyers, fetishizing an antiquated Bill of Rights?)

Already Congress is falling all over itself to give Attorney General John Ashcroft most of what he wants in roving wiretap legislation (cellphones having complicated the warrant-getting process), e-mail and other Internet peeping rights, detention and deportation of aliens based on secret evidence, and a gutting of statutes of limitation, not to mention the unleashing of the CIA to hire its own gang of thugs and to resume assassinating foreign leaders we don't like.

And already the cry goes up for a technological deliverance from our grief and insecurity by the "biometrics" of fingerprinting, voice recognition, retinal scans and racial profiling, not only at airports, but at train stations, sports stadiums, parks, schools and reservoirs. Plus of course a national electronic ID "smart" card, capable of tracking our criminal history, our bodily motions, our financial transactions, and our driving speed. Previous "wartime" abridgements of freedom have been temporary, but will Infinite Justice mean Permanent Surveillance? Somebody besides Congresswoman Barbara Lee must ask these questions. And why haven't I see her on network or cable television?

Now about Afghanistan: Readers of Salon, in particular, and surfers of the Web, in general, know a lot more about the subject than watchers of television, unless the TV watchers happened to catch a sympathetic segment on "CBS News Sunday Morning." But on Friday, Sept. 14, Tamim Ansary, an Afghan writer of delightful children's books who happens to live in Berkeley, Calif., posted a cri de coeur that has since been published in Salon and forwarded to tens of thousands of e-mail sites. He hates bin Laden and the Taliban equally. But he argues that a bombing attack will only kill women and children, including 500,000 orphans from all the previous wars. How then to snuff the mastermind? Ground troops, obviously. But these would have to advance from Pakistan, where bin Laden's sort of fundamentalists are perhaps stronger than the government. Which in turn could mean a fight to the death between Islam and the West, exactly what bin Laden lusts for.

Imagine Tamim Ansary talking to Larry King.

There are indications that Secretary of State Colin Powell, if not any of the talking heads on television, may share these apprehensions. But even as I type, two dozen heavy bombers are circling what we think of as the crime scene and the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, with 70 attack planes, has left Virginia for an undisclosed location. I wish each pilot could read not only Ansary's anguished essay but also a Sept. 15 Internet communiqué from RAWA, the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan, the underground feminist organization that has braved the wrath of the Taliban by teaching its own children and by smuggling out videotapes of executions to Western news outlets. RAWA asks us, please, to differentiate between the people of Afghanistan (70 percent women and children) and "a handful of fundamentalist terrorists."

But that's impossible, from an aircraft carrier or a bomber or the little blue fox full of Bill O'Reilly. It's especially impossible if nobody talks straight to us in the mainstream media. It's almost as though we don't need any legislation to curtail our dangerous civil liberties. Stunned by grief, we've shut ourselves up. If the ultimate contemptuous purpose of terrorism is to dominate and humiliate -- to turn citizens into lab rats and cities into mazes -- then bin Laden may have already won this round, because we seem to have acquiesced into playing his favorite game: bloodbath.

- - - - - - - - - - - -

About the writer
John Leonard is the Culture Watch columnist for the Nation, media critic for "CBS Sunday Morning" and television critic for New York magazine.

September 21, 2001
5:38 pm
Avatar
janes
New Member
Members
Forum Posts: -1
Member Since:
September 24, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Cici...how articulate, how indepth, how wonderful to "know" someone like you.

Thanks

Love

j-

Forum Timezone: UTC -8
Most Users Ever Online: 247
Currently Online:
28
Guest(s)
Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)
Top Posters:
onedaythiswillpass: 1134
zarathustra: 562
StronginHim77: 453
free: 433
2013ways: 431
curious64: 408
Member Stats:
Guest Posters: 49
Members: 110920
Moderators: 5
Admins: 3
Forum Stats:
Groups: 8
Forums: 74
Topics: 38536
Posts: 714201
Newest Members:
kevinkovalsky, izzy39, RoyFollman, kevin021, Fice1990, KyleGallegos
Moderators: arochaIB: 1, devadmin: 9, Tincho: 0, Donn Gruta: 0, Germain Palacios: 0
Administrators: admin: 21, ShiningLight: 572, emily430: 29

Copyright © 2019 MH Sub I, LLC. All rights reserved. Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Policy | Health Disclaimer