Feb 26, 2008

Can't kill everybody

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.

full article

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"


deuddersun said...

Okay, I see your point, but I don't think Fixer actually meant we have to kill every man, woman and child in Afghanistan, anymore than I do at my place.

The bottom line is, you can't worry about hearts and minds when you are in a fight to the finish. First win the fight, then worry about hearts and minds. His other point, which I support, is this, we should have stayed in Afghanistan instead of going to Iraq and we may have actually gotten the sob who attacked us.

Here is my second comment on that post:

Listen, the last time we fought a war to win it was 60 fucking years ago and ended when we dropped the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Anybody sorry about that? I sure as shit ain't! I got relatives beneath the sea at Pearl Harbor and when they apologize for that and Bataan, then maybe I'll reconsider.

Anybody sorry we turned Dresden into a blast furnace? How about Berlin? Lots of "collateral damage". It's called "winning".

Sure 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi's and if I had my way they would pay dearly for that. Shit, Bush's boy Baker defended them against lawsuits by those who lost people in the Trade Towers. The fact remains tho, that Bin Laden was based in Afghanistan, had the support of the Taliban, ran training camps there for the hijackers and other operatives and has now reconstituted Al Queda and is supposedly stronger than ever. And where the fuck do you think he is? Brooklyn?


And what do we have there, at the tip of the spear, in the hottest AO in the country?

One company of Regular Army! One!

Let's do this right. Pull the troops out of Iraq and cut the Marines loose in Afghanistan. And if we have to go into Pakistan to get this prick, so be it.

That was the fucking mission, wasn't it?

I suggest that everyone read the entire article, then post your comments.

Look, I'm all for peace but I am not anti-war, just anti -stupid, illegal war.

I'm going to post a link to you, however, with a quote, in my post on the subject, because I think all sides need to be heard in this.


Fade said...

I don't know where Osama is- personally I think he's holed up in Saudi Arabia, under the protection of his family, along with the complicity of the Bush family. I doubt he's still in Afghanistan. Or if he is, Maybe that' why we only have one company there.

Its all a bitter joke, and a fool's errand meant to empower the Karzais and the big Oil scumbags who could care less how many soldiers have to be put in the ground as long as we get the pipeline protected and they can build their infrastructure. And you know what? The longer the conflict ISN'T over, the easier it is for them to funnel govt money into their little projects, in Afghanistan AND Iraq. You want a war? Find an army and defeat it. And then fucking leave. This aint war. This is a half-ass occupation, organized just enough to fail miserably- on purpose. The end result of the NeoCon "Strategery" is endless conflict- endless war- endless U.S. troops'blood watering the sands of the middle east for a tidy profit in the pockets of scumbags like Dubya, Cheney and the rest of the motherfuckers.

We won Afghanistan in 20 days. It was fucking over. They could have funneled that money into building some real infrastructure and bringing those people out of the stone age. But fuck that. They outsourced it all to Exxon Mobil and meanwhile play games with our troops lives' in this meaningless game of Afghani warlords. There Ain't No war to win in Afghanistan-that's the long and short of it.

Fade said...

And just to distinguish, my thoughts in the black from the original 2006 post aren't directed at Fixer.

deuddersun said...

When you speak about the Neocons you're preaching to the choir. I know why we didn't get Bin Laden, so do you.

But here's something-else. Because of those very same half-assed methods you described, we have allowed the Taliban and Al Queda to reconstitute. That makes them legitimate targets in my mind and I believe we must do all we can to kill them.

I'm not the kind of guy who will just sit by and let a threat grow stronger. If I know someone had attacked me once and would love to do so again, I'm not going to sit by and give him a "Time-out" to get his shit together while hoping he won't attack again. I am going to kill him.

Please don't confuse me with those on the AlwaysWrongRight who are fearmongering their fucked up bullshit on the American people. I am, rather, a reality-based Marine Corps veteran who knows the difference between a real threat and a bullshit excuse for the wrong war.

Anyway, I posted part of your post as an addendum of sorts to mine , with links back here, so it should be interesting to read the comments.


Fade said...

Thanks for the link, and the comments- D.

C.J. said...

Damn fine post, Fade. Damn fine.

From everything I have read, the Taliban is stronger than ever in Afghanistan. So, all we did there in the first place was kill. We didn't get bin laden. We didn't stop the Taliban. All we've done is create more hatred of us and help them recruit more terrorists.

Peace IS the only solution. The majority of our john wayne loving country is never going to see it that way though.

Fixer said...

I left a comment at my post on the Brain, but the gist of it was that I don't mean kill every last one of 'em, but put a hurt on 'em. Afghanistan would have been a good place for a real 'shock and awe' campaign. Bomb the crap out of 'em (think Linebacker I and II), kill a hundred thousand or so, and pack it up and get out. We shoulda been gone from Afghanistan 6 months after we went in.

And of course, I was, in my post, disregarding completely the real reasons we went into Afghanistan. For the oil pipeline and to get our country on a war footing to make the invasion of Iraq more palatable. There was never any will on the part of the Chimp to 'win' Afghanistan.

Fixer said...

Also, there had to be a price exacted for 9/11, the amount of force necessary to convince them never to harbor terrorists again. That hasn't happened and won't so long as we play this piddly game with these people. Waziristan especially should be a smoking ruin, on both sides of the Pakistani border.

Fade said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Liberality said...

this is one hell of a fine post Fade and you do a good job of teasing apart the various reasons why people here support war and how that comes back to bite us on the ass. I found a dvd at a bookstore about 9/11 (which I am kind of obsessed with and for good reason) that discusses how we let Bin Laden walk out of Afganistan not once but several times. People in the military and CIA who were privy to what was happening were tearing their hair out in frustration. I think that Bin Laden may be a double agent of the CIA and hell no they don't want to kill their own tool. The name of the dvd is: "9/11: Press for Truth" and it is worth watching in my opinion.

Fixer said...

liberality - I was with Air Force SOCOM when we'd deliver 'packages' to white people in Pakistan back in the '80s. Osama was on the payroll then and I don't think they ever gave him 'severance' either. There are just too many questions about 9/11.

Fixer said...

oops ...

That said, we are in Afghanistan to exact vengeance for 9/11. The reality of it is that our guys are fighting an dying with little support from home, be it personnel or supplies. If we weren't going to fight the war properly (overwhelmiing force), we should never have gone. War (by its very nature) cannot be fought half-assed and on the cheap. You will lose every time. We will lose in Afghanistan just as we will be run out of Iraq. War is all or nothing, not some shitty 'police action'. Grunts and Marines aren't cops.

deuddersun said...

Grunts and Marines aren't cops.

Amen to that. It is just as ridiculous to ask highly trained and motivated assault troops to act as policemen as it is to ask your local precinct to "arrest" Bin Laden.

You can jabber on all you want about the value and sanctity of "human" life as long and as loud as you want. While I don't necessarily believe in hitting first I most certainly believe in hitting back - hard.

If people like me and Fixer and Gordon weren't willing to do the "dirty" work, this country wouldn't even exist.

Bin Laden must die. And if Bush won't do it, we must make sure the next President does. Hell, even Clinton took a shot at him in '98.
Wake up and smell the coffee.

On another note, it's a good thing to have this discussion. Afghanistan has become, if not the Forgotten War, the overlooked war. We are all in agreement that we need to get out of Iraq, that it was wrong to go in there in the first place. It's time to pay attention to the real War, the Right War, (imo), and either give these guys what they need to overwhelm and dominate or get them the hell out. As someone who was trained to overwhelm and dominate, you know which course of action I prefer.



Comrade Kevin said...

Violence begets violence. War begets war. It's a fallacy, albeit a tempting one to suggest we ought to just bomb our problems away into oblivion. That is hardly a solution.

It doesn't solve anything and it creates major blowback and a ripple effect through the entire world.

navyswan said...

Afghanistan never attacked us. Supposedly, a single mastermind or group did. But we sure did get our pipeline finished and the poppies are flourishing.

navyswan said...

If a group of Americans not associated with the government decided to go to another country and blow something up, would any of you support that country blowing the shit out of American citizens as retribution.

Actually, in the case of Afghanistan, it would be more like a Canadian terrorist that happened to be residing in America who blew something up in Norway and Norway blowing up US citizens as retribution. Does that make sense? Or is it ok in our situation because the US is always right and Afghans are unpeople?

Fade said...

True, Swan. We've nothing to fear from the likes of Afghanis, Iraqis, or Iranians if we could just stay out of THEIR damn countries.

Fixer said...


Not residing, but actively training in camps around the country with the full knowledge of the government. Osama wasn't just kicking back in his cave, with his HD/Satellite TV, watching old Bollywood movies with his buds, believe me.

It would be the same as giving your Canadian terrorist several of our military bases to train and recruit followers for jihad. We would most certainly culpable then.

deuddersun said...

Comrade Kevin, spoken like one who has never known and will never know jackshit about war. Got a quarter, call someone who gives a shit, with your flowery prose and other bullshit.

Navyswan, folks like you make me glad I was a Marine. Now shut up and drive the boat.


Fade said...

Fixer, deudderson- here's an interesting old article about Carter's response/lack of response and the failed mission at that time...


Fade said...

Well, Believe it or not D- there is a balance between both sides- just being gungho and going apeshit doesn't seem to have done us much good in Iraq.

deuddersun said...

Not to insult yer intelligence, but do you even know what "gung ho" means?

It's from the China Marines and it means "work together", band of the hand, five fingers, one fist.

Look, there's right and there's wrong. It was wrong to invade Iraq. It was justice to invade Afghanistan.


Look, get rid of that stupid word verification thing, ok? It's fucking annoying. Have you really been assaulted by that many bots that you have to have that?

Navyswan's husband said...

"Navyswan, folks like you make me glad I was a Marine. Now shut up and drive the boat."

Watch your mouth grunt. That's 'shut up and drive the boat, Sir.'

Nice post, Fade.

deuddersun said...

Navyswan's husband said,

"Watch your mouth grunt. That's 'shut up and drive the boat, Sir.'"

Sir? Oh. Right. Anchor clankers. Shoulda guessed. My bad.


Semper Fi!


Fade said...

Deud, I feel your pain on the goddamn word verfication thing, my fumble-fingered typing usually has me typing that shit at least twice before I get the shit right- but its got two purposes-

One- it keeps off the spambots- and Two- it slows down the trolls

and uh, thanks for the knowledge about Gung ho. I -did-not-know-that