This blog contains material I wrote and posted on multiply.com between the years 2005 and 2011 only. It does not contain any new material. For newer writing, please check my main blog (Bill the Butcher).
Monday, 26 November 2012
The Mother Of All Farces
From Nov 2009, when I accurately predicted Afghan "green on blue" attacks:
I could almost say it would be funny. No – I’d say it would be a farce so outrageous that nobody could believe a word of it if they read it in a novel or saw it in the movies.
And it would be funny, if only people weren’t dying because of it.
Let’s begin, because one has to begin somewhere, from the beginning, all right? Let’s imagine there are two big countries at loggerheads; let’s call them the Reds and the Blues. Despite their differences, these two are really more alike each other than different; they both think they’re modern and free, they both think they know best about anything and everything, and they both think they have some kind of mission to coerce the rest of the world to become “free”, if necessary, at the point of a gun.
So, the Reds and Blues are at conflict; but they’re so strong that fighting each other directly would destroy them both, so they prefer to fight a series of proxy battles in different parts of the world, using other nations and groups to do the dirty work. Some of these proxy battles are huge and go on for many years.
Now there’s a medium-sized, utterly primitive landlocked nation that has only recently thrown off a feudal monarchy, and which is mostly rural and still, culturally, stuck somewhere in the Middle Ages. The new government of this nation is ideologically affiliated to the Reds and begins a programme of reforms meant to drag the country into the modern world, whether it likes it or not.
Not unnaturally – most people resent good being done to them by force against their own desires – the largely rural nation resents and resists the tide of forcible modernisation, which includes such innovations as women going to school and driving cars, not to mention secular laws and institutions. A sizable part of this resistance comprises the rural Muslim fundamentalists, led by mullahs, who, like clerics everywhere, fear that modernism will erode their authority. Right. You’d think the Reds and Blues would be united in the belief that the nation needs modernisation?
Well, not exactly.
The Blues, seeing a chance to embarrass the Reds, begin funding, training, arming and in every way possible, supporting those mullah-led fundamentalists who fear modernisation. The Red-allied government, unnerved by the fundie upsurge, asks for military assistance from the Reds, who pour in soldiers, try and build roads and universities and so on while at the same time fighting the Blue-supported fundies, who by this time have attracted support from fundamentalist Muslims all over the world. The Blues arm and train the fundamentalists until they are a military force so formidable that they eject the Reds and then overthrow the Red-allied modernist government. This is made easier by the fact that the people of that nation have a millennia-old habit of fighting off foreign invaders. They have often been defeated but never, ever, conquered. Resistance is in their genes.
Then what happens?
What happens is that all those various Muslim fundamentalist warlords, now trained and armed to the teeth, begin fighting each other tooth and nail for power. The Blues, Reds ejected, ignore the country and allow it to fall apart into anarchy, utter and complete. And in reaction to all the violence, a new force of fundies, who are so fundamentalist that they make the warlords look like positive bleeding-heart liberals, begins a campaign that drives the squabbling warlords out of most of the country and then go on to install a regime that makes the world gasp in shock and awe.
Fine so far? What happens next?
Remember all those Muslim fundamentalists the Blues trained, armed and funded? Well, being Muslim fundamentalists, they weren’t any more enthused about the Blues than they were about the Reds (the Reds and Blues being identical in most features, differing only in economic ideology). So these characters find a home with all the ultra-fundamentalists running the nation. (Strikes me we ought to give that nation a name. Let’s call it...um...Afghanistan? OK?) And they begin a campaign against the Blues, since they now occupy large swathes of Muslim land and support corrupt and evil kings and dictators. And in the course of that campaign, which is being carried out by the foreign Muslims and not by the indigenous arch-fundies, someone attacks and destroys a couple of large buildings in a major Blue city and murders some thousand people. In response, the Blues invade Afghanistan, “overthrow” the regime in power with the aid of the warlords, and install one of their own puppets, a former gas company employee, as President.
So what do the Blues do now? They claim they are there to build the nation, so they begin a course of “modernisation”, building roads and schools and encouraging women to attend colleges and drive cars. Um...remember what the Reds, whom the Blues were fighting against, were trying to do? Build roads and schools and encourage women to attend universities and drive cars!
And this is only the beginning of the farce.
All right, I suppose we might as well drop the fancy stuff. We know what the hell we’re talking about and we know who the Reds and Blues are and we know that Afghanistan is a real nation (if you want to call it a nation) and unless you’re blind and deaf you know what has been happening there in recent days, so I’m not going to go over it again here. I’ve spent enough time over it in the past and I’m sure I’ll be writing about it again and again in the coming year. Afghanistan is an, uh, interesting place.
Well, to get to the latest part of the ongoing farce. You all are acquainted, I take it, with the US strategy of “training Afghan security forces to take over responsibility”? You’re acquainted with the doctrine of winning hearts and minds? While that is, on the face of it, another farce of almost mind-boggling dimensions, once you realise how the US military is bombing Afghan civilians and digging in for the long haul in Afghanistan, with bases that resemble forts set to last centuries...while getting its ass whacked by goatherds.
And, in the meantime, the Afghan “President”, who was a UNOCAL employee parachuted into the Presidential palace in Kabul, and who has to be protected by US mercenaries because bodyguards from his own nation can’t be trusted not to shoot him to fragments, happens to have a brother (Ahmed Wali Karzai) who is (a) a drug warlord and (b) on the CIA payroll. This “President” also happens to preside over probably the most corrupt government on the planet, and one which has in legislation outdone its Taliban predecessors in fundamentalism by legitimising marital rape. And this “President” happens to have so blatantly rigged an election for a second term that when his foreign backers compelled him to order a run-off, his opponent withdrew because the result was a foregone and fixed conclusion. Which was followed by a chorus of congratulations from around the world.
And now this “President” promises the world that he will run a clean government, while simultaneously declaring that “corrupt” ministers won’t be removed. Right. You’d really believe he’s going to move against his own brother, are you? You believe in Santa Claus too, I assume?
Farce, piled on farce.
Right, now to get back to the thing I mentioned, about the training Afghan security forces to take over the war, which, in any case, isn't a war any more but a train wreck in slow motion. I don’t know how many of you have noticed the little episode a few days ago where an Afghan policeman shot dead five British soldiers and then survived to successfully defect to the Taliban, who allegedly welcomed him with garlands (hold on – are garlands Islamic by Taliban standards? I’m not sure). So we have this little situation where you’re training police and soldiers whom you can’t trust not to shoot you in the back as soon as they get a chance. I don’t know – maybe you can arm them with dummy guns; you’re already making them train with dummy guns. But with dummy guns they can’t really provide an awful lot of security, can they?
I can just about see a joint operation involving the New Afghan Army and the occupation forces, where half the occupation forces are pointing their guns at their Afghan allies instead of the Taliban because that’s the only guarantee they have against being killed.
Then there was the incident in Fort Hood where a Muslim psychiatrist went berserk and fragged 13 other troops besides putting about 30 more in hospital, a fair share of whom, it would be logical to presume, have had their military careers traumatically and prematurely terminated. This sort of thing is very common in conflict situations where stress rates are high, and as conditions worsen for the occupiers, more and more, they’re going to have to devote resources to protecting themselves from themselves.
How does that grab you, then? A joint operation where half the occupation forces have their guns trained on their Afghan “allies” and the other half have their guns pointed at each other?
I think a lot of more photos like this one will have to be banned from being shown in future: As I said, if people weren’t getting killed, this would be the mother of all farces.