Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Gun Control: Afghan Style

 At the end of the fight is a tombstone white with the name of the late deceased.  And the epitaph drear, a fool lies here who tried to hustle the east--Rudyard Kipling

     After a mere eleven years, the empire has so worn out its welcome in Afghanistan that the Pentagon is now warning that our allies there have become as deadly dangerous as our enemies.
    We recruit and train Afghans for the police and army we created for them to better make war on their fellow citizens. Then, instead of thanking us, a rising number of them are turning their weapons on our troops. In a typical incident, an Afghan trainee shot two American soldiers with the assault rifle they had just presented to him for being a good Talib (i.e., student).
    In the Pentagon some say these attacks are the work of Taliban (i.e., students) infiltrators, and some label them as fallout from personal and cultural misunderstandings. The notion that they might be normal expressions of patriotism by a people under a cruel occupation is ignored because we cannot accept that the not-so-great would be anything but delighted at being ruled by the greatest.
   In any event, Pentagon correspondents report that our military leaders have come up with some practical solutions.  One is for our troops to be always armed, locked and loaded in the presence of their Afghan acolytes.  Another is that “guardian angels” be inconspicuously present whenever Americans and Afghans interact. If a raghead makes a funny move, like reaching for his hash pipe, the ‘angels’ could plug him on the spot.
    This, of course, raises the question of whether the learning environment might be compromised with both teachers and students constantly scared of being instantly offed. How can you run a proper class in, say, Torture 101 with everyone watching their back instead of the live demonstration?
    Such are the timeless vexations of imperial warfare. Back in the good old days of the Raj, Indian troops called Sepoys rose in bloody revolt against their British masters. Such outbreaks persisted until the Brits finally gave up their whips and left India to the Indians.
    No doubt, Afghanistan will be left to its inhabitants sooner or or later. And we American will promptly forget that the place exists. Without such an instant memory loss, we might be bothered by the fact that ours, the world’s most powerful, not to say expensive, military was unable in its longest war ever to defeat a ragtag bunch of medieval tribesmen.