After reading this account of our soldiers in Afghanistan, I am reminded that the situation there is no less fucked up than in Iraq.
Fixer at Alternate Brain , who like me, is not one to mince words, posts today that we could have already won in Afghanistan if we would've have been more merciless. I understand the sentiment, really I do, and I always felt that Afghanistan was different from Iraq. I believed they deserved it. Why? Because Osama was there right? He was in charge, with the Taliban, right? Well, whatever. But also, I thought Afghanistan deserved what they got because, if nothing else, they seemed to be celebrating the 9-11 attacks. So, fuck em, right? But years past that knee jerk kill em all feeling- the one that also told me that sending our troops there was justified- I don't seem to believe my simple minded revenge horseshit anymore. Alternate Brain is one of my favorite spots- and I respect Fixer and his opinion on this matter, even though I disagree. He certainly isn't some neocon gasbag postulating emptily on this matter. It's understandable to wish "the enemy" was all dead so our soldiers could come home and get some relief from the never-ending hell that the Republican party has inflicted on them.
Here's a brief excerpt from "Wanna go to war?"-
And thinking about it, I think I should explain.
According to the narrative we've heard since 11 September 2001, the nation of Afghanistan harbored Osama bin Laden and facilitated the attacks on the US. Fine. Why did we go in there saying 'we'll take out the Taliban, but we're gonna go over there and win hearts and minds'?
Let me explain something. You don't go to war worrying about winning hearts and minds. You go to war to break the enemy, pound him far enough so he surrenders. War is ugly, dirty, and a last resort but if you're gonna go, you have to go ugly and dirty. Why in Hell do you think they call it 'war'?
We should have blown Afghanistan to shit, period. Fuck the innocents, fuck everything and kill 'em all. Worry about building hearts and minds later. There should have been a horrible price exacted from them for attacking America. Instead, we have the mess we do now. We have guys in Hindu Kush getting killed using the same tactics the Mujaheddin used against the Russians. You don't go in to a war worrying about offending sensibilities. It's war for crying out loud.
My reply in the comments there:
The sentiment that you can "kill them all" is some Neocon John Wayne Bullshit. You can't kill them all. You could send in fire missions til we run out of bombs, you can kill every civvie you see every day for the next year, and you won't Kill them all. The Afghani people didn't do 9-11. Saudis and Bin Ladin did. Going all Rambo/Ace of Spades wouldn't do anything but make America a genuine Nazi nation, and make us a hell of lot more subject to global ridicule and retaliation. As long as we have the benefit of the doubt, even the barest shred of illusion that we are doing the right thing, we won't be held accountable as much as we would if we went in with a true scorched earth policy. So, sorry, but I think that the notion of killing every woman and child in Afghanistan only does one thing: Gives the psychos their jollies. "Do we get to win this time?" It's pure bullshit. And the soldiers who came back from the mass slaughter of truly innocent villagers this would involve- would be forever fucked in the head. Be careful what you wish for.
(Update: To clarify- the reference to 'gives the psychos their jollies' is in no way directed at Fixer, but at the macho neocon chickenhawks that always use the kill 'em all argument)
And I recalled having posting on the Kill em all mindset before, at the Old House. Here is the full post from that day, July 14 2006 (during Israel's assault on Lebanon)
How many times have you heard your neighbor or co-worker say something along the lines of "We ought to kill them all!" ?
As much as Republicans want to distance themselves from any comparisons to Nazi-like tendencies- GENOCIDE - was a tool used by the Nazis. And to seriously discuss Genocide, as if it were some possibility or tactic- is to court the absolute worst crime of the 20th century and make yourself an easy target for comparisons to the Nazi party.
Since this topic was initiated by my employer, (an Ex Army Officer, veteran of two tours in Viet Nam, a helicopter pilot who was awarded several medals) I will address the genocide solution to Palestinians- whom he was blaming for all terror acts as we watched Israeli shells blowing Lebanon to bits while the Lebanese Army, hopelessly outmatched, stood aside and simply did damage control against the Israeli onslaught.
I noted to him that blowing up innocent civilians, whether you do it with a homemade bomb OR a shell from a tank that America sold Israel- was still an act of terror to the civilian population.
"One of these days, we're going to- have to kill them all, kill all of these ... Palestinians. Don't you think?" He asked, probably a little less forcefully than normal because he knows I have intricate opinions on world politics. Now I suppose the standard Texan's response is "Hell yes. Kill them before they kill us." But that's simplistic propaganda of the lowest common denominator.
I replied that I didn't think we can eradicate a "people". It's just not possible. And if it was, the results would be horrendous and America WOULD be considered the new Nazis around the globe. He quickly changed the subject to the price of oil, spiking during Israel's invasion. It was the end of the day and nothing more was discussed about it.
Later I thought about all the times I have seen some otherwise humane and thoughtful American spouting Genocidal nonsense as if it WERE A SOLUTION. It is not.
But, since this idea is constantly running through the backs of so many Americans' minds- let's take a look at the simple realities of those who supposedly love freedom and democracy to entertain the mass murder of millions:
"They all want to kill us". No. They don't. There are 1.5 billion adherents to Islam on the planet- If they all wanted to kill us, there would be MUCH MUCH More strife than what we see. Those jihadists, like American genocidists, are very much in the minority. And it's a good thing- because it is insanity to believe you can destroy billions of people in their entirety.
If we want to eradicate all the worshippers of Islam- that's a lot of killing. Short of a massive nuclear war that would kill more than two thirds of the people on the planet, it's NOT going to happen. And if you want it to, you belong in a loony bin.
Okay, you say, you're not advocating killing ALL the muslims- that's crazy. You KNOW that- but killing all the terrorists- Yeah, that's the ticket. Well, who are the terrorists? They are NOT Entire nations. We cannot label every Palestinian a jew-hating terrorist just like we can't label every Israeli a Haji-hating terrorist. I know pro-peace movement people on both sides- who have the hardest job of all- convincing their own people that the solution to unending violence is Not More Violence. Sounds like a no-brainer, but the hate stops brains from working properly.
Well, okay- I get it- but still, the Palestinians MAINLY hate us all and so we should kill them all, man,woman, and child. Then there would be no terror.
Okay- well let's examine it. Let's say in a joint Israeli/American operation we do just that. We kill every Palestinian in Israel/Palestine. Well that's 5.3 million. How we are expected to just kill them all, I will leave the details to the vivid imaginations of the Genocidists. Gas chambers perhaps? But after those 5 million are dead, theres another 4 million in other countries. I suppose we can root them out with the aid of the other countries.
Now once we have killed those 9 million "terrorists" we're good, right? That will solve everything? Do you think that the 1,491,000,000 muslims left in the global population would stand by and let America commit genocide? Would Christians stand by as 9 million of their people were systematically slaughtered?
No one would- The world would rise together, aghast, as we did in response to WWII and America would be finished as a world power.
So, please - PLEASE - put away your scorched earth armchair quarterback fantasies- because that mentality can lead to the ruin of America. And more to the point- this type of mentality allows the American people to tacitly approve of other evil useless insanity such as torture and secret prisons. This mindset is THAT OF THE JIHADISTS. Do you hate EVERYTHING the terrorists believe in and what they stand for? Then stop supporting it, in the guise of supporting America. It's wrong.
The only solution is diplomacy, peace and empathy. Oh you damn hippies!
That notion doesn't sit well with the scorched earth crowd who say that No peace-spouter ever solved anything. Is that true? Really?
Ghandi didn't? Jesus didn't? Jesus is a prophet to Muslims as well as christians. Bet the average christian doesn't know that. You might as well throw your bible away if you aren't going to at least attempt to follow Jesus' teachings. Countless others have fought against taking the easy path, to War- and persevered.
So if we can't kill everyone who disagrees with us, can we work to GET ALONG?
It's not as hard as some of the haters want you to believe.
Can't you stop bleeding from your bowels and start bleeding with your heart like some of us who realize the answer is PEACE?
We have seen the alternative in Ireland, in Palestine, In Iraq. In every country on the planet at one time or another. PEACE is the ONLY solution.
UPDATE: Taibbi has more on McCain and America's love of "the good wars"