Stirring the Afghan Pot
Feeds on Murdered Taliban
By Jim Kinser
30 November 2001
Apart from their disturbing religious medievalism,
the deranged hijackers who introduced fear and vulnerability
to the contemporary
American psyche on September 11, 2001, had one other common
characteristic: their young age. The oldest of them, Egyptian-born
Mohammed Atta, had celebrated his 33rd birthday ten days
prior to his suicide. Almost all of the remaining 18 hijackers,
including Saudi pilots Marwan Al Shehhi and Abdulaziz Alomari,
were born after 1974.
As any FBI criminal psychologist will
confirm, a suspect's age is key to understanding their
criminal mentality. In
this case, the young age of the hijackers can lead one
to useful conclusions regarding their political convictions,
which led them to their voluntary deaths.
Think about it:
at the age of 14 or 15, when these young men were beginning
to comprehend the world around them through
the eyes of an adult, Muslim societies were being stunned
by the deliberate US-led extermination of the people of
Iraq. Instrumental in this extermination -which, due to the
embargo, has by now assumed biblical proportions- was the
unwillingness of Western military and civilian leaders
to distinguish between the megalomaniac dictator Saddam Hussein
and the people enslaved under his murderous reign.
of this lack of US strategic insight would have been hilarious,
if it wasn't so traumatic for people on the
ground: the US nurtured and supported Hussein's Ba'ath
party throughout its rule, and even during the conflict with
It was at this time that Iraqi democrats were willing and
indeed able to overthrow Hussein and his cronies. Yet the
US blatantly ignored them. On top of that, during the 1980s,
US-made weapons were used to murder tens of thousands of
freethinking Kurds and Iraqis who needed Western assistance
more than ever before, or even since. Then, once Hussein's
policies turned against US interests in the area, Iraqi
citizens -not Saddam Hussein- became indiscriminate targets
tons of US bombs. The latter killed nearly 200,000 people
and crippled the country's civilian infrastructure.
involved in the Gulf War got anything out of it. The Iraqis
had their country destroyed; the Israelis saw
their sworn enemies in the area multiply; the Iranians
were swamped with refugees, while the Saudis and Kuwaitis
to foot the bill for Desert Storm. From a US point of view,
the Gulf War was a strategic failure. Saddam Hussein's
imperialistic plans for the unification of the Middle East
dominance were restrained, but his political might inside
Iraq was anything but. In addition, despite asserting,
for the first time, its military dominance in the oil-infested
Middle East, the US did not solve its long-term energy
Had it done so, American men and women would not be dying
in the desert mountain steppes of Afghanistan today.
importantly, the US and UK-sponsored Iraqi genocide served
to rejuvenate Islamic fundamentalism primarily in
the Middle East and, gradually, in North Africa, the Caucasus
and South Asia. This increase was not only in numbers,
but also in brainpower: the plight of the Iraqis pushed anti-Western
and anti-American ideology into the Saudi, Egyptian and
Muslim middle classes. In turn, this brought into the movement
much-needed young and educated men, who were wealthy enough
to contribute significantly to the financial repository
of militant organizations and skilled enough to empower the
technological armory of armed factions, such as Al Quaida.
The 19 men who terrorized the US on September 11 were characteristic
examples of this new generation of militants that have
about the escalation of large scale, indiscriminate attacks
against Western targets throughout the 1990s.
The Gulf War
was not the first time that US and Western involvement in
the Arab and Muslim worlds helped reproduce armies of
Mujahedeen -literal translation "holy warriors"-
who then targeted Western military personnel and civilians.
The pro-Israeli stance of the US during the 1967 Six Day
war and later during the 1973 Yom Kippur war nurtured successive
generations of Muslim fundamentalists who terrorized the
US up until the end of the Reaganite period. In 1988, the
USS Vincennes shot down an Iran Air passenger plane over
the Persian Gulf, killing all 290 passengers on board. This
served as justification for a series of anti-American attacks
carried out by Muslim militants in later years.
US involvement in Afghanistan shows that we are about to
witness the same exact series of events. The unimaginative
Cold Warriors in charge of the US Foreign and Defense Departments
are faithfully following the Gulf War recipe: (a) risk
few, if any, US lives so that voters at home won't lose their
cool; (b) carpet-bomb large masses of land killing anything
that moves; (c) demoralize the local population in the
that desperation will somehow get them on our side; and
(d) let local mercenaries commit the war crimes and crimes
humanity that our forces are too civilized to carry out.
tactic is merciless enough to offer limited immediate gains.
Yet, in the long term, it will produce another generation
of deranged and hate-filled militants who will be terrorizing
our communities in the years to come. The merciless US
offenses against the civilian populations of Kabul, Kandahar,
Khanabad and many other Afghan towns and cities will not
contribute toward the stability and security of the American
nation and the American people. The mass extermination
of prisoners of war in Quala-i-Jhangi and Mazar-i-Sharif,
the silent agreement of US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
and in the presence of US troops, will not help heal the
wounds of September 11. The illegal and indiscriminate
executions by Northern Alliance militants of hundreds of
Kunduz will not make Muslims and Arabs more sympathetic
to US doctrines and policies.
A new generation of fundamentalist
militants is in the making. At this very time, stunned teenagers
throughout the Muslim
world are taking the decision to follow the example of Atta,
Alomari and their collaborators in driving a spear through
the heart of "the godless sons of Satan". Our immature
and thoughtless actions in Afghanistan have made sure that,
sooner or later, they will.
© The News Insider 2001 Jim
Kinser is a News Insider Assistant Editor.
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