The War in Afghanistan - A Letter to Mr. Bush

The War in Afghanistan - A Letter to Mr. Bush
Dear Misters Elite

Sorry for writing to no one specific. I would have addressed this letter to Mr. Bush, but I wasn?t sure whether to send it to Mr. Bush Sr. or Mr. Bush Jr., or some defense contractor or executive, or someone else entirely. Sometimes it?s hard to tell who?s in charge. Given your response to the al-Qaeda network, it seems you?ve also had this difficulty of trying to figure out who?s in charge.
Which brings me to the subject of this letter. It?s about the War. Which War, you ask? I realize you have a few on the go. It?s not the War on Drugs that?s put millions of people of color in jail and is killing and making refugees of peasants in Colombia and elsewhere. It?s not the War on Iraq that is causing thousands of deaths and horrendous suffering through its sanctions and periodic bombing raids. We can talk about those later (when you reply, we can take those up, and the sanctions against Cuba, and support for Israel?s occupation of Palestine, and various other topics). This letter is about the War in Afghanistan. I have a suggestion for you about that War, which you might actually consider, which I?ll get to in just a second.

I mentioned the al-Qaeda network. You don?t seem to know who?s in charge of it because maybe no one?s in charge. The 19 hijackers who committed the crimes against humanity at the wtc and the Pentagon were from Saudi Arabia and Egypt, not Afghanistan, but you went to war with Afghanistan. You say you know bin Laden?s in charge, but you didn?t produce any evidence. You don?t really know, do you?

It?s okay to be frank with me. I know more than you allow cnn to say.

I know, for example, that your intention in this war wasn?t to destroy al-Qaeda. If it were, why would you attack Afghanistan?s population who really has nothing to do with it?

I also know that it wasn?t to get bin Laden, since if it were, you would have negotiated with the Taliban to at least find out if they were serious about turning him over.

I know the objective wasn?t to reduce terrorism or protect America from it. If it were, you would have set up a free and comprehensive public health system to protect from bioterror and you certainly wouldn?t create more hatred and desperation and thus more potential terrorist recruits by killing civilians with cluster bombs and denying food aid to millions of starving people.

I know your intention wasn?t to solve Afghanistan?s problems by overthrowing that vicious Taliban dictatorship. You never cared about Afghanistan before and now you?re sponsoring the Northern Alliance, who have a record of murder, rape, and looting. You were willing to sacrifice millions of Afghanis to make your point, and you still are.

So, like I said, it?s okay to be frank in your reply. I know the point of this war was to prove that you could still pound a country into the ground with impunity, topple a regime if you like, give or deny food if you want, and that nothing? no other country, no international institution, no international law? can deter you. Nothing can deter you because there?s no military power in the world that?s even close, and your own population, awash in lies and without any confidence in their political strength, gives you their consent and obedience.

Since I?m asking you to be frank, I?ll be frank too. In the world of my dreams, those people? the people of your country, but also the people of Afghanistan and everywhere else? aren?t awash in lies and do have confidence in their power and you are not in charge. Not to worry: your children will be well housed and clothed and fed, paid well for their effort and sacrifice at jobs that give them freedom to be creative as well as a responsible share of the more boring tasks. They won?t have to grow up in refugee camps or worry about landmines or bombs falling from the sky or flying into buildings. They?ll have plenty of say over their own circumstances and in the institutions that govern.

Since I?m still being frank, I?ll go ahead and say that I?m not sure if the same applies to you. You are, after all, responsible for an awful lot of murderous crimes. I can promise you this though: there will be a trial, according to the law, it will be fair, and it will weigh the evidence, and you will be considered innocent until proven guilty rather than wanted dead or alive.

But I?ve strayed. I promised a proposal, didn?t I?

I?m getting to it. The Northern Alliance is in Kabul and the Taliban is on the run. Mullah Omar is on his way to Pakistan and your own troops are on the ground. You?re probably not too surprised. The last time a superpower (Russia) attacked Afghanistan it faced an angry population, and more importantly, it faced another superpower (you) that constrained it, supplied and trained its enemies. This time there?s only one superpower, with the most advanced military in the history of humanity, facing nothing but a devastated and starving population with millions of refugees, millions of landmines, millions more amputated limbs than artificial ones to replace them, and some poorly trained fanatics.

So here?s the proposal: say you won and end the war. You haven?t met the objectives you said were your objectives (getting bin Laden, ending terrorism) but you can do those later. In the meantime, you can pretend your objective was to overthrow the Taliban all along and say you?ve succeeded, and people will believe you for a while. You?ve also met all of your real goals: you?ve proved you?re still in charge, you?ve de-legitimated international law, you?ve proved you cal slaughter civilians without any consequences, topple a regime if you feel like it.

You?re utterly indifferent to the people of Afghanistan, I know, but it?s indifference and not vindictiveness, isn?t it? It?s not that you want them to die in huge numbers, just that you don?t care one way or another? So get out, let the aid in, let them get the trucks of food they need to survive the winter. Pay reparations? take them out of the $40B you appropriated for war or just hang on to some cash you were going to give away in tax breaks, or take it out of missile defense. Find the money somewhere, so they can rebuild. That way they won?t think your intention was genocidal, rather than total indifference. You could also demonstrate your indifference by letting some kind of credible international coalition (not you and the UK, but a real coalition) help the Afghanis create a temporary government until they can solve their own problems.

You have to admit it?s not a bad proposal, and it?s one you can accept, unlike many of the others I have in mind. What do you say?

The War in Afghanistan - A Letter to Mr. Bush 8.8 of 10 on the basis of 4189 Review.