Thursday, March 30, 2006

What We
Have Wrought

I am very angry about the fact that Afghanistan has become a Sharia state. I have been venting my anger here, and at Infidel Bloggers Alliance, in a series of emotional posts.

Several commenters have thought it important to point out to me that it is better that we rid the world of the Taliban, and that therefore, things are better in Afghanistan because of the our work there.

I agree. Let me be clear, I never said that I regret the war to remove the Taliban. I am lamenting the fact that we have participated in the creation of a new government in Afghanistan, which is still one of the worst human rights abusers on Earth.

Our nation-building project has gone awry. We have not stood by our principles and we ought to be ashamed of ourselves. To simply stand back and say that this is what "Democracy" has created in Afghanistan, because this is the will of the Afghan people, is a pathetically insufficient way to deal with the problems we helped create.

In the aftermath of World War II, we forced our will upon the people of Japan and Germany. We forbade them to continue on with their inhuman policies. Afghanistan still having a law against "apostasy" is the equivalent of the Germans still rounding Jews up and taking them to concentration camps on our watch after WWII.

Think about that. We are allowing this, so, I say, we are creating it, because we are responsible for what is becoming of Afghanistan.

Here's an excerpt from a very thoughtful article from David Warren:

We forget that we are in Afghanistan only secondarily to create a democratic constitutional order. This is a means only, towards the primary end of eliminating Afghanistan as a refuge and staging area for international terrorism. The same end could be achieved, hypothetically, by other means. I don't have the stomach to list them. But according at least to the "Bush doctrine", it would be a lot easier, and ultimately less costly in blood and money, if the country could be made responsibly self-governing.

It is difficult to achieve responsibility in politics, even in the West. Those who argue that, given the violence and fanaticism we are encountering, we should get out of such countries as Afghanistan and Iraq, and leave them to their squalid fate, take an extremely irresponsible position. They must first explain what their alternative would be, to eliminate these countries as hatcheries of terror. They must consider the consequences of leaving elected, pro-Western governments, to be overthrown by ruthless psychopaths. They must justify abandoning the huge numbers of innocents who will be butchered and massacred when our troops withdraw -- including everyone who trusted us. And contemplate the effect this spectacle will have on our remaining allies.

"Cut and run" is the opposite of a moral position. But neither is it a practical position. The bargain it offers, even to us, is less pain now, for more pain later -- as Afghanistan and Iraq shift back from being importers to exporters of jihadis.

Yet among those willing enough, for the moment, to send troops and keep shooting, there is the alternative irresponsibility -- which consists in underestimating the size of the task. You have not won a war until your enemy ceases to be your enemy. And by this standard, we are a long way from victory.