I thought about the issues being raised especially hard
because I am from Afghanistan, and even though I've
lived here 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.
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.
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
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?
Done. Cut them off from medicine and health care? Too
late. Someone already did all that.
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
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.
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 folks.
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?
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
has the belly for that? Bin Laden does. Anyone else?
2001 Tamin Ansary
of Afghani child injured by landmine courtesy Revolutionary
Association of Women of Aghanistan
Ansary is an Afghan-American writer who lives in San Francisco.
is the author of several children's books and
Afghanistan: Fighting for Freedom.
page was published on September 15, 2001 and
last revised on September 22, 2001.