State Secretary Clinton has finally made it to Pakistan to parley with the people whom she should have visited first in her journeys around the world, flying with all the trappings of royalty courtesy of the U.S. Air Force. That didn’t happen, of course, since President Obama made it plain from the start that Richard Holbooke would be the guy to see with regard to both Pakistan and Afghanistan, effectively cutting off his main opponent in the last campaign and leaving her to cool her heels elsewhere...just about everywhere.
Of course, Holbrooke hasn’t done anything worth mentioning so the latest American citizen to represent the president in Afghanistan has been Senator John Kerry, whose profound statement a few years back concerning his belief that the soldiers in Iraq just couldn’t hack it educationally for anything but the military naturally qualified him for important negotiating or whatever else he might get into. He’s now the expert on the Middle East and Hillary will just have to play catch-up. Of course, no American official trusts Afghan president Karzai...and vice versa. There’s no love lost anywhere.
One has to laugh when thinking about Clinton arriving in Pakistan (or anywhere else) in light of her totally fabricated story repeated during the campaign about dodging sniper fire in her 1996 visit to Bosnia as she made her way from the plane to the fifth-grade girl and the Bosnian president waiting to greet her on the very tarmac that was under such fire. That lie was so huge that it automatically qualified her for an important post in government. Entirely predictably, some Pakistanis did celebrate her arrival, however, by bombing the bejesus out of Peshawar, about three hours drive away, and wasting at least 100 people while injuring another 200, with two-thirds of the dead being women and children.
This points up the difference between the “quagmires” of Vietnam 40 years ago and Afghanistan today. Militarily, the U.S. could have prevailed in Vietnam but the Johnson administration decided against prevailing...for whatever reason. In any case, the Vietnamese did not kill women and children. Fellow democrat Obama has declared that the U.S. must prevail in Afghanistan (although a NATO coalition is the actual entity for prevailing), but has little chance of doing so. The reason: When people (okay...men) are willing to indiscriminately kill women and children (of their own race, at that), they can’t lose to a civilized opponent. Sooner or later, the civilized folks will pronounce a plague on all their houses, declare victory and melt away.
This is what’s happening in Iraq. Bush was right when he said the mission was accomplished in May 2003, the mission being the uprooting and eventual hanging of Saddam and destruction of his army. Since then, the people (mostly Iraqis) have made a great thing of killing each other not in battles but in deadly bombings in stores, restaurants, schools and anywhere else people gather, with thousands of Americans as well as thousands of women and children included in the death-deal. One only has to remember the beheadings carried out by al-Qaeda’s assassin-extraordinaire al-Zarqawi in Iraq or the throat-slashing of Daniel Pearl in Pakistan by Guantanamo’s most infamous prisoner, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, to get the picture. Khalid also engineered 9/11, indicating how tender-hearted a Muslim can be when it comes to women and children.
When people justifiably choose to engage monsters, the monsters can be killed but the ancillary murders perpetrated by the monsters (to make their point) on those who just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time ultimately decide the issue. In Iraq, the wholesale bloodletting is already beginning, notwithstanding years of training of both Iraqi policemen and soldiers in behalf of providing protection for whom Christ would label as the “least of these,” the most vulnerable. Vengeance as motivator reaches deep within the police forces and military, making protection virtually impossible.
Add to the mix the abominable sermons/doctrines/theologies of the imams, ayatollahs and mullahs, using the Koran, the Islamic holy book, to justify their perfidious teachings regarding the killing of the infidel and the paradise awaiting the martyr, and the recipe for uncivilized behavior is in place. People in this country don’t understand that, so they can’t cope for long with being a large part of the reason for all the killing. Without question, there will be a humongous religio-civil war in Iraq among the Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds when the Americans are gone no matter when they leave, so there’s little reason to put off the exit.
In Afghanistan, things could get much better once the coalition troops are gone...at least fewer roadside- and suicide/homicide-bombings, thus sparing both civilians and Americans. The notion that a democracy or even a well-trained law enforcement agency is possible is simply out of the question...not in 50 years. The most plaintive scene seen in this corner lately was in a TV newscast the other evening, when an Afghan officer said that only one man in ten in his outfit could read. Imagine trying to form an army or police force when ignorance on that level is pervasive. In other words, these poor people depend on the murderous imams to tell them what their religion teaches and therefore how to live, i.e., kill the infidel and make women and girls into slaves, no matter how unbelievable and uncivilized that is.
Perhaps there’s some hope for a democracy in Iraq. At least three-fourths of the people are supposed to be literate. For Afghanistan, no way...at least not any time soon, and losing American soldiers in that lost cause is not worth the effort. Al Qaeda is no longer the issue, and the Taliban and its ignorant adherents withstood the Russians for some ten years. They can fight – and love it – for a long time. The Russians suffered 11,608 dead and some 454,464 sick, injured and wounded during 1979-89. And...all for nothing! Reprising their mistake is senseless. Dealing with the uncivilized in either place is a waste.