I don’t want to dwell on this, since there’s nothing I can personally do – I don’t have the skills and resources needed to pull innocent people out of the ongoing massacre. But watching the catastrophe unfold in Afghanistan, I’m struck with a deeper, endlessly more horrible version of the sickening feeling I got watching Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender. The feeling of, didn’t you ever watch the show? A fanfic writer could have done better!
If this sounds flighty, let me explain.
Writers – good writers, seek to know their subject as well as it can be known. They dig into terrain, economics, characters; anything they can think of to make their stories more real. Some of us are better at it than others, some have access to better sources or an intriguing slant on a situation – but we all do our research.
You didn’t need a degree in military tactics or decades of diplomatic experience to see this coming. All you needed was the internet and a functioning brain.
The Taliban, after all, has never been shy about saying exactly what it wants: an Islamic caliphate, ruled by sharia law. All else follows from this.
If you need an intro to sharia law, and what Muslims will do to establish it, I suggest Robert Spencer’s The Complete Infidel’s Guide to the Koran. Because if you’re not living under sharia law yourself, or if you are but you tolerate anyone around you not doing so, you are an infidel. As far as the Taliban’s concerned, that’s everyone inside Afghanistan who’s not them. Meaning it is completely legit, in their eyes, to bribe, blackmail, or lie to anyone who’s helped Americans or even just helped girls learn to read, lie and tell them they’re safe – as long as the Taliban fully intends to subdue and execute them afterward.
Are you beginning to see the shape of the horror here? The utter and absolute bloodbath, the death of hope as Sharia commands absolute submission, with decapitation, rape, and torture the punishment for “crimes” such as poetry, music, or playing chess?
(Yes, chess. I’m guessing Muhammad wasn’t good at strategy games.)
But let’s pull back from that. Let’s just look at the situation on the ground as it stands (it may change tomorrow) of blood, chaos, and thousands of people trapped trying to get to one airport still partly under our control, suffering gunfire and suicide bombs. That’s horror enough.
Let’s just consider evacuating people from a hostile area. Because no one evacuates a safe area. No one – no one in their right minds – believed that Afghanistan was safe, or that anyone there really liked us. That’s why our brilliant minds at State said we were pulling out, right? Because they didn’t want us there.
People being people, when someone doesn’t want you in a place they may express it in violent terms. Islam being what it is, declaring that infidels are to be treated in ways the ASPCA would arrest a dog-owner for and throw away the key, violence to retreating enemies is a given. Anyone contemplating withdrawal from Afghanistan should have planned out scenarios for “what do we do if they start shooting us before the deadline”.
I am in no way, shape, or form a military expert. But it doesn’t seem like it should take expertise to declare, get the sensitive equipment and papers either removed or destroyed. Get the civilians out first, before you start taking troops out. And for the love of God, don’t give up a secure airport you could hold for one that’s surrounded by a city. First law of urban warfare – concrete and steel eat people.
This is what I mean when I say, a fanfic writer could have done better. Because every writer I know could have come up with a better plan than the complete and utter FUBAR we’re seeing now.
This… fiasco, strikes me as the Hollywood cinematic version of a Plan. “We’ll walk away and the bad guys will just let us, because we are That Awesome.”
Well guess what? The Taliban’s seen what the U.S. is willing to do – and what our politicians aren’t willing to let us do – for 20 years now. They’re not impressed.
I’m not impressed either. I’m angry. This did not have to happen. Yes, people were going to die whenever we pulled out – but this level of horror? Did not have to happen.
And our “brightest minds” in government who made it happen, will probably walk away untouched.
2020 was horrible. 2021 is a waking nightmare – and people are deliberately making it that way. How do we make it stop?