As a good libertarian, I really HATE the idea of America being the world police. Like Gary Johnson of Team America, I don't WANT the responsibility or the guilt for the inevitable screw-ups.
But as Gary's woman explains, we to some significant extent get stuck with the responsibility like it or not, because we're the main country on Earth with the power to be able to do anything. If we simply refuse to accept the responsibility — as in Darfur — then there's no one to stop some pretty ugly stuff.
Even at that though, maybe not everything in the world is ours to fix. Plus, we can't do EVERYTHING. Unfortunately Darfur has to fend for itself. It's a mean old world.
But we do pretty much HAVE to act sometimes, even just in our own defense. Stupid stuff they do in Muslim countries effects US. Back a couple of years before 9/11, I was thinking strongly that we should make some move to destroy the Taliban in Afghanistan when they blew up the Buddhist statues carved into the mountains. I felt bad on libertarian grounds for thinking that way, but I figured that anyone who would be that determinedly spiteful about these thousand year old religious statues was some dangerous sonsabitches that needed put down. My seemingly evil instinct turned out to be far more right than I even suspected.
Thus, after 9/11 and six years in Afghanistan, I'm not a bit pleased to see reports like this from the Pakistani side of the border region NBC report:
In the middle of the night, someone slipped leaflets under barbershop doors throughout the Bajaur Tribal Agency. The warning was hand-written in Pashto, the language of the Pashtun tribes who inhabit the border regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The leaflets read: "SHAVING BEARDS AND TRIMMING BEARDS IS UN-ISLAMIC AND IS FORBIDDEN. VIOLATORS WILL BE KILLED."
But that’s not all.
This latest threat by local Taliban militants comes on the heels of an announced ban on music — music that is sold in CD shops or even played in somebody’s car. If the Taliban are to be believed, this is one more sin against Islam and a crime punishable by death. It’s one more alarming sign of the so-called Talibanization of Pakistan’s tribal areas.
This has me thinking of mayor Rudy Giuliani's famous "broken windows" crackdown on minor crimes and violations in New York City. Nip it in the bud before it gets out of control – again.
With these radical Muslim types, and certainly the Taliban in particular, it's pretty clear now that letting such things go is bad business for US. These same Taliban schmucks that were blowing up the Buddhist statues were even then running interference for their Al Qaeda brothers as they planned 9/11. Perhaps if we'd smacked them down then, we might have avoided 9/11.
But plans to attack the U.S. continue, even after we've overthrown the Afghan government and spent six years drinking with them. It's a tough part of the world, and these are obviously some of the most determinedly ruthless and malicious jerks on the planet. You kill a bunch of these cockroaches, and another bunch comes scrambling out. But letting it go just isn't a viable option. Otherwise, they'll be back over here again.
I don't know what to do. There just aren't any good, simple and clearcut solutions. But broadly, it seems that we should be cutting a considerably wider swath of destruction to get at as many of these malicious bastards as possible before they come back on US again.
Stuff like this report makes me considerably more impatient with issues of Pakistani sovereignty and fine diplomacy. I would be likely to support direct U.S. attacks on these tribal strongholds of Taliban/Al Qaeda. I'm sympathetic to the precarious position of President Musharraf — but I'm caring about his problems less and less.
We've been extremely patient with his Pakistan government largely on the grounds that if he were killed or overthrown, the next government would be likely far worse. So, we've given him YEARS to try to get a better handle on his Muslim rednecks. But to a large extent, he either can't or won't. It doesn't sound like his government is even pretending to have any authority in this border region. At some point, if Musharraf can't or won't deal with the Al Qaeda/Taliban elements, then WE have to do it ourselves. These are the people who gave us 9/11.
So at this point, I'd be pretty open to smacking these Taliban rednecks even on the nominal Pakistani side of the border. It does not behoove us to let this stuff go, even if it might cause the radicals to come to power in Pakistan. If that happens, we might have do yet some more killing.
Nation building is an extremely difficult enterprise — see Iraq and Afghanistan. But we can easily enough DESTROY a bad government — again, see Iraq and Afghanistan. Perhaps we'll end up needing to kill the next government of Pakistan — rather than letting Taliban types take possession of nuclear weapons. We CAN kill as many people as we need to, and destroy their stuff. That would eventually solve our problem, as rubble doesn't cause trouble.
But even if you have the will, these extremely tribal border areas are notoriously difficult to physically get to and even more difficult to socially penetrate. But you'd think that the likes of some of these oppressed barbers might be persuaded to discreetly help some U.S. special forces types find and eliminate people who are absolutely and seriously threatening their lives.
As logical as that seems though, you gotta know that such a request is going to come off like Team America showing up to assuage our Muslim friends. Oy.
Hey, I know I start sounding like Dr Strangelove talking like this, but I take no glee in considering the advocacy of murder, no matter how necessary it is.
I'd hate to have to just take out whole towns to get at these bastards. We'd be lucky to get at the specific Taliban elements that way, and end up taking out the barbers as well. But then at some point, the possibility of that type of action might be what it takes to motivate people to co-operate.
I don't know how much of what we can do with any finesse. I don't know specifically militarily what to advocate. That's out of my pay scale. I just know we need more and bigger sticks, and more willingness to use them against our enemies.
Otherwise, what are we supposed to do, just wait around for them to come back on US again?
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