by Ed Farnan – US guards at a prison holding dangerous combatants in Afghanistan discovered that defaced Korans had been used to pass information amongst the prisoners. Evidently the soldiers hadn’t gotten the latest Fatwa regarding proper disposal of defaced Korans, and ended up burning them in a small bonfire.
The innocent burnings of these books has sparked religious outrage and caused the murder and injury of US troops throughout this country. For 6 days all hell has broken loose in this land, as if a floodgate had been thrown open.
But is this just symptomatic of something far greater than the burnings of a few books? How many Korans have been destroyed and burned by Taliban strikes on the people of Afghanistan, and yet we saw no mass demonstrations by the native population against these acts.
Of course in a different time, the United States waged war to win war, we (and our allies) won a world war in less than four years in the 1940’s. In World War II, as American forces entered Germany, if they were fired upon, artillery opened up on the village the gunfire came from and flattened it. That put a quick end to resistance as folks learned there would be consequences, especially with American Generals like Patton in command. The German people soon sought out, and exposed or killed, those amongst them who wanted to continue the war. Resistance to American presence and our help soon ceased. America stayed in Germany to help rebuild the country into the economic powerhouse it is today and also to guard against Soviet expansion.
Afghanistan has proven to be a totally different sort of war. After 10 years of “winning hearts and minds” it appears it is still a dangerous, violent country, ready to explode at any sort of spark, like one from a burning Koran.
Should we have used more Patton and less patent leather to conduct our “war”?
The biggest cash crop in Afghanistan is still the opium poppy, which is the basis for the heroin imported into Europe and the United States. Afghanistan produces 90% of the world’s opium and production has been on the rise since the U.S. occupation started in 2001. Opium is also one of the main sources of money for the Taliban who are killing our troops. Why are these opium farms still allowed to flourish while Afghanistan is supposedly under our military control?
Furthermore, after all of this blood and sacrifice by US forces, it was discovered that Afghanistan signed an oil extraction agreement with China in 2011 that lets China exploit Afghan resources. Who is in charge of our foreign policy?
The Afghan people are exotic, you can see they bear resemblance to all of the past invaders of their country who tried and failed to rule this wild land. Alexander the Great with his Greek Army, Arab Muslims, Genghis Khan and his Mongols, the British and the Russians, all eventually were defeated and forced to leave.
Afghanistan has been chewing up and spitting out foreign invaders for over two thousand years. America has been in this country for 10 years and it seems there is no end in sight, unless a severe policy change comes into effect and that doesn’t seem likely.
When we see our soldiers getting shot because a book was burned, when we see Afghanistan as the biggest producer of opium in the world and when we see China slipping in and signing trade agreements with this government including oil rights, right under our noses…. we wonder what the blood, toil, and tears are for?
Ed Farnan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org