Monday, March 30, 2009

Let Them Have Their Damned State! (That'll fix 'em)

On Fareed Zakaria's "GPS" (Global Public Square), a guest correspondent, indignant at the suggestion that America should pull out of Afghanistan, cried out, "What, just leave it to the Taliban?"

Well, they are Afghans; we're not. Besides, what is the alternative? We keep it? And once we've made Afghanistan ours, do we seek out other failed states - say Somalia - to keep? (Can't have the Somali militants running a state, either.) And, after Somalia, what's next? Zimbabwe? Pakistan? Mexico? Just how many failed states can we handle before we finally say, "Okay, you have that one?"

I say, "Let them have their damned state!" (That'll teach them to be careful what they pray for.) They will find running a state is a lot more difficult than destroying one. So, let them have the responsibility for once. Let them be held accountable. IF nothing else, we will know where they are.

And there's the rub: They terrify us because we do not know where they are. Give them a state; pin them down. Of course, they can still cause mischief. But they will think twice before they do, considering they will have more to lose, and will lose it quicker.

Besides, it is not a matter of "giving them a state" so much as it is yielding to a larger paradigm. If a sitting government is indifferent to the needs of its people, then that government exists as a virtual vacuum. When we pose as guarantors of such regimes, we go against the natural order and become part of the problem.

And while we chase the Taliban back and forth across Afghanistan, we might want to stop for a moment and consider who are these people we so desperately want to kill?

The Taliban took control of Afghanistan because the sitting government could not. Certainly, the Taliban were not the most popular of regimes. (They don't exactly party.) But, then, they did not promise their people a party. In many ways, they are a lot more adult than we are. (Compared to the Taliban, we are a bunch of wild-eyed frats looking to get high and get laid.) It was the Taliban that virtually ended the opium trade in Afghanistan. It was America's invasion that brought it back.

The Taliban are not terrorists. They are Muslim fundamentalists who provided safe haven to terrorists. For that, we punished them. If necessary, we can punish them again. But, let's not do it continually, as though we, were caught in some endless nightmare.

Let 'em have their damned state, Mr. President. Then, let them know that if they cause anymore trouble, there will be hell to pay.

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