Mamie and Papi,
I wanted to pass this on to you and to hear your comments. We'll talk soon
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Sent: Monday, September 17, 2001 3:42 PM
Subject: Fw: article is by an Afghan-American
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< Sent: Monday, September 17, 2001 9:34 AM
< Subject: article is by an Afghan-American
< < FYI, this article is by an Afghan-American who has lived in the
< < San Francisco Bay area for 35 years. It's something to think about
< < deeply as we determine how to deal with the horrific provocations of
< < week,
< < which may well have been designed to get up our collective blood lust
< < such that we play right into the perpetrators' hands. We must ask,
< < what are their broader aims, beyond showing us the depth of their
< < How can they best be thwarted?
< < Edmund Burke said "the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil
< < is for good people to do nothing". As we figure out what is to be
< < we must show not only that we are stronger, but also wiser,
< < than these monsters who would destroy civilization as we know it.
< < An Afghan-American speaks.
< < You can't bomb us back into the Stone
< < Age. We're already there. But you can
< < start a new world war, and that's
< < exactly what Osama bin Laden wants.
< < - - - - - - - - - - - -
< < By Tamim Ansary
< < Sept. 14, 2001
< < I've been hearing a lot of talk
< < about "bombing Afghanistan back
< < to the Stone Age." Ronn Owens,
< < on San Francisco's KGO Talk Radio,
< < conceded today that this
< < would mean killing innocent people,
< < people who had nothing to do with
< < this atrocity, but "we're at war,
< < we have to accept collateral damage.
< < What else can we do?"
< < Minutes later I heard some TV pundit
< < discussing whether we "have the belly
< < to do what must be done."
< < And I thought about the issues being
< < raised especially hard because I am
< < from Afghanistan, and even though
< < I've lived in the United States for
< < 35 years I've never lost track of
< < what's going on there. So I want to
< < tell anyone who will listen how it
< < all looks from where I'm standing.
< < I speak as one who hates the
< < Taliban and Osama bin Laden.
< < There is no doubt in my mind that
< < these people were responsible for the
< < atrocity in New York. I agree that
< < something must be done about those
< < monsters.
< < But the Taliban and bin Laden are not
< < Afghanistan. They're not even the
< < government of Afghanistan. The
< < Taliban are a cult of ignorant
< < psychotics who took over Afghanistan
< < in 1997. Bin Laden is a political
< < criminal with a plan. When you think
< < Taliban, think Nazis. When you think
< < bin Laden, think Hitler. And when you
< < think "the people of Afghanistan"
< < think "the Jews in the concentration
< < camps." It's not only that the Afghan
< < people had nothing to do with this
< < atrocity. They were the first victims
< < of the perpetrators. They would exult
< < if someone would come in there, take
< < out the Taliban and clear out the
< < rats' nest of international thugs
< < holed up in their country.
< < Some say, why [____] don't the Afghans
< < rise up and overthrow the Taliban?
< < The answer is, they're starved, exhausted,
< < hurt, incapacitated,suffering. A few years
< < ago,the United Nations estimated that
< < there are 500,000 disabled orphans in
< < Afghanistan -- a country with no economy,
< < no food. There are millions of widows.
< < And the Taliban has been burying
< < these widows alive in mass graves.
< < The soil is littered with land mines,
< < the farms were all destroyed by the Soviets.
< < These are a few of the reasons why
< < the Afghan people have not overthrown
< < the Taliban.
< < We come now to the question of bombing
< < Afghanistan back to the Stone Age.
< < Trouble is, that's been done. The Soviets
< < took care of it already. Make the Afghans
< < suffer? They're already suffering.
< < Level their houses? Done. Turn their schools
< < into piles of rubble? Done. Eradicate
< < their hospitals? Done. Destroy their
< < infrastructure? Cut them off from
< < medicine and healthcare? Too late.
< < Someone already did all that. New bombs
< < would only stir the rubble of earlier bombs.
< < Would they at least get the Taliban?
< < Not likely. In today's Afghanistan,
< < only the Taliban eat, only they have
< < the means to move around. They'd slip away
< < and hide. Maybe the bombs would get some of
< < those disabled orphans; they don't
< < move too fast, they don't even have
< < wheelchairs. But flying over Kabul
< < and dropping bombs wouldn't really be
< < a strike against the criminals who
< < did this horrific thing. Actually it
< < would only be making common cause
< < with the Taliban -- by raping once
< < again the people they've been raping
< < all this time.
< < So what else is there? What can be
< < done, then? Let me now speak with
< < true fear and trembling. The only way
< < to get Bin Laden is to go in there
< < with ground troops. When people speak
< < of "having the belly to do what needs
< < to be done" they're thinking in terms
< < of having the belly to kill as many
< < as needed. Having the belly to
< < overcome any moral qualms about
< < killing innocent people. Let's pull
< < our heads out of the sand. What's
< < actually on the table is Americans dying.
< < And not just because some Americans
< < would die fighting their way through
< < Afghanistan to Bin Laden's hideout.
< < It's much bigger than that.
< < Because to get any troops to Afghanistan,
< < we'd have to go through Pakistan.
< < Would they let us? Not likely.
< < The conquest of Pakistan would
< < have to be first. Will other Muslim
< < nations just stand by?
< < You see where I'm going. We're
< < flirting with a world war between
< < Islam and the West.
< < And guess what: That's bin Laden's
< < program. That's exactly what he
< < wants. That's why he did this. Read
< < his speeches and statements. It's all
< < right there. He really believes Islam
< < would beat the West. It might seem
< < ridiculous, but he figures if he can
< < polarize the world into Islam and the
< < West, he's got a billion soldiers. If
< < the West wreaks a holocaust in those
< < lands, that's a billion people with
< < nothing left to lose; that's even
< < better from Bin Laden's point of
< < view. He's probably wrong -- in the
< < end the West would win, whatever that
< < would mean -- but the war would last
< < for years and millions would die, not
< < just theirs but ours.
< < Who has the belly for that? Bin Laden
< < does. Anyone else?
< < - - - - - - - - - - - -
< < About the writer:
< < Tamim Ansary is a writer in San Francisco,
< < and the son of a former Afghani politician.
< < Thank You,
< < Norm Schaaf
< < Resource Dynamics International
< < 203.315.3279
< < email@example.com