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Reply to Ansary - page 3 of 5

(continued from previous page)

"Some say, why don't the Afghans rise up and overthrow the Taliban?  The answer is, they're starved, exhausted, hurt, incapacitated, suffering."

Why have they not joined the Northern Afghan resistance?  Mr. Ansary is closing his eyes to the fact that there are large numbers of Afghans who support the Taliban; who support bin Laden; and who hate America.  Ignoring that fact does the author no credit.

One could have wished that he would have discussed the tribal nature of much of Afghanistan instead of presenting us with this distorted picture.  A TRUE understanding of Afghan society, of its fragmentation, of a considerable anti-Americanism and the reasons for it, would have served him better than his misguided attempt to minimize the influence of those whom he justly despises.

"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 Taliban."

Were millions of Cambodians slaughtered in the killing fields following the fall of the Cambodian government and the rise of Pol Pot?  Yes.  Was there an effective resistance?  No, not for some time.  Did the Kamerouge have large numbers of Cambodian supporters?  Yes.  Just as did Mao's heinous Cultural Revolution.  Do large numbers of Afghans oppose the Taliban?  Probably.  However, the author prefers to ignore the fact that, just as in Cambodia and China, in Afghanistan there are also large numbers of Afghans who support the Taliban.

I'll say it again:  Mir Tamim Ansary would have served himself and his audience better by presenting a realistic picture of Afghanistan instead of attempting to belittle the influence of the enemy.  Self-imposed blindness, for whatever reason, is a sure prescription for defeat.

"We come now to the question of bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age."

I for one hope that is NOT even a consideration.

"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?  Cut them off from medicine and health care?  Too late.  Someone already did all that.

"New 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."

Who would hide them?  Afghans?  Of course.  Were we to take the picture he presents seriously, we'd have to wonder why these few were not the assassinated rather than the assassins?