11 thoughts on “The difference between the good guys and the bad guys”

  1. I love the sentiment behind this quote. I totally agree that traditionally there is a difference between American forces, which have been known to give their lives protecting civilians, versus some of these militias and rebel units which have been known to use women and children as shields, and use children in combat, hoping the Americans won’t fire on them.

    The only problem I have is this: “Would anybody be shooting at that guy if we weren’t there?”

    The thing is, Afghanistan is NOT a simple issue.

    I fully support our being in Afghanistan. Two years before 9/11, I was telling people that we need to go in there. At that time, thousands of Afghans were fleeing to Pakistan, and some brave reporters went there and interviewed people about why they were leaving. I read report after report on what the Taliban were doing to their people.

    Mind you, I don’t hate “The Taliban”. Not all Taliban are evil people. The Taliban started as a bunch of university students who one day saw what was then an all-too-common sight: a hijacker was pulling a man from his truck in order to steal it. They decided that they’d had enough of the criminals running rampant over their country so they went over, dragged the hijacker from the truck, beat him senseless and gave the truck back to the owner. They then formed a kind of vigilante group hoping to restore order to Afghanistan. Some of these Taliban were former Mujahideen who fought the Russians.

    The problem was when the movement was hijacked by violent radicals.

    These vicious criminals, drunk on their own power, destroyed the Afghan museum. They destroyed the Afghan seed bank. They shut down the schools for girls. They grabbed people on the streets late at night and took them to an athletic field in Kabul where, in front of a crowd, they drugged them, charged them with various crimes, and then hacked off hands and feet in a circus reminiscent of The Terror of revolutionary France. They used to kidnap children for their own sport and amusement.

    Mind you, Mullah Omar, who IS a dangerous radical, was NOT one of those involved with kidnapping children. On the contrary, he got his start by freeing child slaves.

    People made a big deal over the Taliban who destroyed the Bamiyan Buddhas. I read an interesting interview with the man on why he did it. He didn’t do it just to destroy “idols”. He did it because a bunch of westerners came wanting to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to preserve and protect the statues, and he said “They’ve been standing for a couple thousand years. They can wait. We need roads. We need schools. Our children go hungry in the winter, and we need food and clothing. We need new bridges. If you want to spend money on something, why not spend some of that money to help the people?” The westerners said “I’m sorry. We’ve only got money for the statues.” So he blew them up and said “Now, let’s talk about those roads and schools.” I don’t agree with what he did. He destroyed a thing that can’t be brought back. But you have to understand that culturally, those statues weren’t important to the Afghans. They have bigger problems.

    What I’m trying to say is that not all Taliban were evil, and Afghanistan had many problems. The biggest problem, though, were these evil men who took over Afghanistan, and used to beat women in the streets for not wearing a burqa or for walking alone. We NEED to be there. Look at pictures of Kabul before the Soviets and then look at pictures under the Taliban and you’ll see what I mean. We’re doing the people of Afghanistan a FAVOR by preventing their country from being ruled by radicals. That said: I don’t like Karzai. He was a poor choice, not so different from Ngo Vien Diem. He was Afghan, but had spent so much time away, and being an oil exec: he’s tried hard, but Afghanistan needs a better leader.

    Now, another problem with us being there is this:
    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-kill-team-20110327

    Now, this is a case of a dozen soldiers involved in murder out of more than 90,000 people. Even if a hundred times that number were involved in murder, you’d still be talking about 1200 people out of 90,000, or just over 1 percent of total forces there. Considering the rate of atrocities committed by the largely undisciplined forces in Afghanistan before we arrived, I’d say that we’re in the higher percentiles on “civilized conduct during war”. However, this behavior shames us as a nation.

    • Jeez, Crispy…wander from the point often?

      Just kidding. I agree with the sentiment of the photo and your dissertation on global conflicts (i.e., the Taliban – v.1 and v.2), but it’s a bit of a winded response to a photo, isn’t it?

      I’m not trying to get on anybody’s bad side here, but really…was it important to post a term paper on the subject?

      As for the point you made regarding the “dozen soldiers involved in murder”. Yes, unfortunately some things like that happen. I hope those involved are punished to the full extent of the law (Afghan, not UCMJ – which, most likely, won’t sentence them to death), but we both know that won’t happen. But, what’s that got to do with the picture?

      Anyway…

      • Lol, eyeball. I was so conflicted about this thing, agreeing and disagreeing at the same time, and my self-conflict just snowballed all out of control. It’s just not simple. Plus, I do tend to ramble.

        • Jeez Crispy, sometimes you make me wish you had a blog (y’know, in your SPARE time LOL). You always have a really interesting point of view, and your job and location often give a unique perspective. I found your response fascinating. We don’t have enough good rambles around here anymore! 🙂

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