Okay, I admit it. I'm going to feed the troll
. It's a very, very bad thing to do, but I can't help myself. I can't help myself for a couple of reasons...a) it's personally satisfying (bad) and b) it's (in this case) so eaaaasy
. Ahem. Note: I am noding this here so as not to litter what I had hoped to be a reasonably rational analysis with the smug, annoying and self-aggrandizing rantings that I will be spewing here. At least, that's what I'm sure they'll be called.
Note: There is one final point to be made. We treasure facts here. Opinion is valued if you've Earned your Bullshit, and if it is a reasoned one presented in rational argument. As a wiser noder told me, and speaking as an E2 Editor, facts and reports on what is happening in the world are more valuable to the database than rhetoric, vitriol, gibberish or what-have you that is rooted in your particular world-view, bias, choice, etc. Does this make me guilty, for this node? Yes, probably; however, I would like to think that I've Earned my Bullshit by now, and I feel a need to present a counterpoint to all such rhetorical rantings as that which I've sniped at below. It is a babble of nothing more than assertions and blatant parroted falsehoods, and as such, deserves what it gets.
Whew. /rant off.
So. Let's go through the latest bit of revanchiste lit'rature, hein? Grab yer seatbelts, yer upchuck bags and yer sarcasmometers and off we go!
(note: original node in italics. My snide responses in plaintext. All errors in italicised text are sic.)
Well, it finally happened. After two weeks of intense negotiation, and placating the Islamic world, America and the British (two of the richest and most powerful countries on earth) launched night time bombing attacks on Afghanistan (the poorest country on earth). The aims of the campaign as laid out by Tony Blair, and George Bush are to:
- Destroy the Afghan Government (currently the Taliban)
- Kill or capture Osama Bin Laden
Hm, let's see. Two weeks of intense negotiation- With who? Certainly not the Taliban, who seemed to spend most of their time ignoring communications, the evidence they kept claiming didn't exist (sucks when it shows up after you've said that) and of course calling for jihad against anyone they could find. Two of the richest and most powerful...heh, you just made Tony Blair's entire year. Moving on. Yup, we did launch strikes. Yup, they were at night. Hmm, the poorest country on earth...I keep trying to figure out why that's relevant here...maybe because the matchup seems so dreadfully unfair. Perhaps we should loan the Taliban some F-16's to keep things on an even keel.
Moving right along. Um, the aims of this campaign are sort of backwards. We really would like to capture or kill Osama bin Laden. Martyrdom's a bitch, so if he dies, we'd probably rather it be at the hands of a local government. I guarantee you that if he walks into United States custody, he'll live to be tried, and if found guilty, file several dozen appeals and/or make backroom deals for his scrawny vacant-staring neck. I am unfortunately not as sanguine about the fates of Westerners who aren't in fact guilty of organizing terror attacks should they fall into the hands of bin Laden's crew or his stooges.
The rest of the espoused goals are rationalisation and rhetoric. The reason the war is being carried out is simply that the USA cannot tolerate negotiating in earnest with Afghanistan to recover Bin Laden, and cannot present evidence to them that he is guilty, or even worth indicting. Otherwise they would have done so, and he would have been handed over.
Bwahaahahaahaaha. Okay. I'll even grant you the first sentence. The second is a winner! Actually, old boy, the reason the war is being carried out is because the Taliban were refusing to answer the phone, and wouldn't admit the existence of evidence which not only has convinced Pakistan (previously one of their only two sovereign state supporters) but Iran as well. But, of course, Iran is definitely a U.S. stooge and should be discounted, oh my yes. Oh, and if we'd done that, he'd have been handed over! Of course! The man who actually controls several thousand better-trained, better-armed maniacs than the Taliban, and according to intercepted telephone calls has been stockpiling chemical and possibly biological warfare agents near Kandahar, would happily come walking back to Kabul if the Taliban asked him to.
I have this nice bridge I think you'd like.
But this isn't really a node about the motivations of the terror attacks against Afghan people, it is about their immediate effects, and long term ramifications.
- More than 2.3 million refugees in the space of the two weeks preceding attacks
Um, okay...they hadn't been bombed yet, so what's your point? That if they'd stayed where they were they'd be better off?
- Civil unrest and killings in neighbouring Pakistan (a US Ally)
Again, um, okay. Civil unrest and killings, yes. By whom? Supporters of the Taliban. BZZZZT, next please.
- An intense militarisation of the region, and worsening relations between the neighbouring countries Pakistan, India, China, and Former Soviet Bloc countries. All of which incidentally have nuclear capability.
Militarization? You mean beyond what it's already reached? Well, the U.S. is going to have some more hardware in the area, that's true. You yourself mentioned that the Afghan people had suffered untold years of war. The past ten or fifteen have been fighting with themselves, and the country is awash in weapons. Pakistan and India are militarized at each other. The FSSRs aren't significant; they have much, much better things to spend their dollars, rubles and kopecks on than guns; especially if they think they have a shot at NATO membership and/or reciprocal favors from the U.S., who they are hosting for this party. Nuclear capability. Er, so what? They've all had that for twenty years at least. How has this suddenly changed things? I would remind you that it is, in fact, Pakistan and India which have been the biggest movers and shakers on the Atomic Doomsday Clock these past fifteen years or so. Both 'blocs' spent a lot of time trying to ensure they didn't toss them at each other over a dispute which (for a change!) has nothing to do with the U.S., the terrorism campaign we're discussing, and especially NATO.
- A humanitarian catastrophe at a greater scale than the famines in Mozambique and Ethiopia combined. (See 1)
Ah. Well. The plight of the Afghan people seems to have been, according to all the aid officials and staff who were there before the September 11th attacks, grave enough. This was due mostly to the fact that in addition to living in a fairly inhospitable part of the world, the country of Afghanistan seems to have a love affair with internal, internecine tribal warfare. It's very, very hard to maintain a tech base or even a non-subsistence agricultural base when you spend most of your time shooting at your neighbors. It's even harder when half your available work force aren't allowed to work, school, or even show their faces.
- Retreat of military forces in Afghanistan to safe hideouts in the mountains, to booby trap and await land forces. Leaving only civilians out in the open to defend themselves against bombing attacks.
And that's our fault? Funny, I had thought the original purpose of militaries was to protect the civilians of their country. Silly me. So you're saying that we are to blame because the crew with the guns here are venal, self-interested and ruthless? Ah. I see. Besides, if they do that, maybe they'll wait forever because we don't chase them. Wouldn't that be a preferable outcome for you?
- The alienation of most of the Islamic World
I think that alienation of most of the Islamic World from the west is bin Laden's goal. Left to pursue his oh so benign plan of knitting tea-cosies and having a Tupperware party, wouldn't that be exactly what he would then try to do? What's your point? Also, if reacting to the sudden violent death of
5,500~3,000 people in my country 'alienates' someone, then I'm really not going to worry about being bumped off their gift list. Our fight isn't with the 'rest of the Islamic world,' and we're not bombing them, because (to the best of our knowledge) they weren't responsible for this. Excuse us for having a discriminatory response! Next time, we'll make sure to bomb everyone.
- The creation of the greatest Anti-War movements across the globe since the Vietnam War
Bwahaahahaha. Those same alienated Islamic movements aren't calling for 'anti-war.' They're calling for 'anti-U.S. bombing' at the same time that they're calling for 'death to America.' Seems they're actually calling for 'anti-war-on-us-but-our-cause-is-just.' Can't have it both ways.
- The censorship of world media in the West, namely USA and Europe, to prevent a fair and balanced udnerstanding of both the effects of War, and also opposing points of view.
...as compared, of course, to Afghanistan and the Middle East, with 'zero to one' news outlet per nation, run by the government? The Taliban had outlawed listening to anything other than their official news broadcast. That's not censorship, I forgot, that's just religious freedom...oh yeah...and we're definitely not broadcasting opposing points of view! No, no, all those Americans and Europeans you see marching with anti-war slogans, placards and speeches on Western television, they're a FIENDISH PLOT, really, and are all PRO-WAR but DON'T WANT YOU TO KNOW IT fnord.
- The re-militarisation of the Northern Alliance, a rebel group opposing the rulers of Afghanistan that have recently been forced into peace by the Taliban.
Thank you for playing! You are the weakest link. First of all, they hadn't been 'forced into peace,' they'd been 'driven into strongholds.' Big difference. Secondly, they were never de-militarized. Thirdly, the U.S. hasn't been giving the Northern Alliance diddly; they have in fact been getting arms from Russia for the most part. Oh, wait, but Russia is an American stooge, I forgot...
- The cutback of existing food relief to Afghans in order to provide "stationary" (read books, and pencils) to starving Afghans which is being dropped from the sky as propaganda from the West.
The cutback of existing food relief happened actually because the Taliban had starting arresting, detaining and beating relief workers, and it happened before the bombing. After that, yes, the relief workers had an aversion to being bombed, beaten or arrested. Can't really blame 'em.
This last point really gets me, it is like raping a little child in a back alley somewhere, and then tossing it a sweet as you are leaving the scene of the crime.
I would laugh hysterically at this point if I weren't weeping at the realization that you may actually believe this. Gee, okay! If reducing food drops and adding propaganda is like raping a little child (interesting metaphor choice, by the way. Something you'd like to tell us?) Then what is the sudden violent killing of
5,500+~3,000 people, some of whom were little children? Also, if you're trying to incite sympathy and not to dehumanize the victim, it's customary to refer to the raped child as 'him' or 'her' as opposed to 'it.'
These are the current and immediate affects of this war.
The long term effects are likely to include:
A vast upsurge in the number of terrorist attacks in the near future
Slaughter of civilians in the fighting between American, Northern Alliance, and Afghan fighters.
Hundreds of thousands dying because of lack of food and provision caused by the refugee crisis.
American occupation of Afghanistan.
Loss of thousands of American lives in the protracted conflict that will ensue after American occupation.
Reduced cooperation from Middle Eastern Countries in achieving a lasting peace process for the region.
Increased funding for terrorist groups throughout the world
A more aggressive Foreign Policy by China
De-stabilisation of Pakistan, a nuclear power.
A severe loss of civil liberties in the West and Europe justified by the need for War on Terrorism
A rise in the levels of racism in both America and Europe
A vast upsurge... As opposed to what would have happened if we had just said 'oh, okay, that was naughty' and not otherwise responded?
Slaughter of civilians... Hate to break this to you, but Afghanistan has managed to kill on the order of a million plus of its own citizens all by its lonesome happy independent self. Even if we take the Taliban's numbers for civilian casualties from airstrikes so far, they're a few hundred at max. Damn, the past fifteen years make airstrikes look downright safe, especially if the Taliban and the Northern Alliance hunker down and rest up during them.
...the refugee crisis... yeah, yeah, you've been over that. Obviously their own wars have nothing whatsoever to do with this. I haven't seen one (one!) instance of the Taliban feeding anybody. Beating? Arresting? Shooting? Yup. Feeding? Nope. Makes even our pathetic propagandist attempts look inviting.
American occupation of Afghanistan Ha! Really? I'll bet you anything you care to on that one. Occupy it? Why? We did watch the Soviets pretty carefully. Besides, there's nothing there we want...except bin Laden and company. Further, we've so far heard of around 2,000 U.S. ground troops being deployed. Oh, sure, that'll do ya fine to occupy Afghanistan.
Reduced cooperation... Actually, cooperation levels have been higher since this all started. A bunch of nations (Islamic and otherwise) seem very anxious to disassociate themselves from these people.
Increased funding for terrorist groups... Really? Cool, we can seize more cash. Maybe we can buy another aircraft carrier with it. Seriously, funding leaves footprints. Sure, let them all leave more traces. I'm for that.
A more aggressive foreign policy by China... Really? What's your thought process here? Doesn't look like it so far...they're keeping pretty damn quiet. After all, if we get caught up over there, great; they can get what they want without being as aggressive. Maybe we'll even give in if they agree to support us with rhetoric! And anyway, against who? Japan? Unlikely. Korea? The same. Taiwan? Maybe, but I really can't see what happens in Afghanistan affecting the PRC/Taiwan conflict.
Loss of civil liberties... All right, now you've got one I can get behind. Absolutely this is a danger at the moment (the U.S. Senate just passed that damn bill 96-1...can anyone hear Minipax and Miniluv coming?); however, it has nothing to do with what happens in Afghanistan. It's a domestic reaction. And, unlike many nations around the world, we have checks, balances and means of recourse. That way we can settle up internal stuff without guns, unlike certain countries we could name.
A rise in racism...Well, yeah. This is a problem. However, its's something that we're trying to work out amongst ourselves, and this isn't going to increase any; just, at worst, make existing prejudices deeper and more visible.
The engineering details of the slaughter of innocents in Afghanistan will no doubt be noded elsewhere, but it is important to reflect on the context of this military action and not get carried away by examining the numbers on the sides of the killing machines that will commit atrocities in the coming weeks and months.
The 'context of this military action.' Yes it is. I think of it every time I look at the skyline of my hometown and have to put up with that blithering idiot on T.V. instead of something nice and fun like, say, Trek or Farscape. Killing machines that will commit atrocities? I love this. Taking down office buildings with civilian airliners isn't an atrocity, but bombing a SAM site and killing the folks camping next to it is. How very fluid your system is. I wish you well in the global arena.