Sunday, October 23, 2005


I'm not entirely sure what "pro-" and "anti-war" mean. The latter phrase at least has one useful definition: It means you oppose fighting any war, any place, at any time. The phrase "pro-war" is a little trickier. Does it mean you support fighting every possible war, everywhere, all the time?

It can't, of course, mean that. I don't think it can mean anything other than support for a specific war. So it's with that meaning that I use it now.

I'm pro-war. I've been pro-war since September 11th, 2001. Pres. Bush wants us to forget this, but on that day and in the days immediately afterward, he spoke about the attack in terms of criminality. That's not how we thought about it in New York.

I knew, on that day, not that war had been declared, but that war had begun. The only question was whether and how we would fight back.

Right now, it seems pretty clear to the world that the Iraq war has been Pres. Bush's biggest mistake. But I wonder whether history -- and future events -- might not render Pres. Bush's biggest mistake as the failure to wage war in Afghanistan. Larry Johnson reports on upcoming revelations that Bush was essentially lying when he said the U.S. didn't know whether Osama bin Laden was at Tora Bora when the U.S. turned over the operation to local (and not-necessarily-loyal) forces.

I wanted the war in Afghanistan. Because that's where the guy who started the war with us was. I supported the war. I supported Pres. Bush for waging it. But somewhere along the line, Pres. Bush stopped expressing my motive for waging it -- to get the person and the organization waging war on us -- and started expressing a different motive: Democratization.

As the U.S. military-fatality count in Iraq approaches 2000 (the media love their round numbers), and as the numbers come in on Iraq's vote, the media's neglect of Aghanistan will only intensify. (Can neglect intensify? You know what I mean.)

Pres. Bush's failure to wage an actual war in Afghanistan -- due in part to his obscene zeal to go to Iraq -- has led to failure there. Yes, there's a democratically elected government there. But so, if I may venture some skepticism, the fuck what? The fact that a government is democratically elected can be meaningless if the voters are ignorant or stupid or evil.

Hundreds of Americans died in Afghanistan, without being allowed to get bin Laden. What did they die for, then, according to Pres. Bush? These Americans, including a rich young man who had no use for religion, gave their lives so that the people of Afghanistan could:

Establish a government that doesn't " equality."
Elect former warlords and members of the Taliban.
Elect to parliament the former Taliban governor who oversaw the demolition of 1,500-year-old cultural artifacts.
Do business with Iran's largest bank.
Establish laws punishing people for saying anything deemed un-Islamic.
Prosecute a journalist for the crime of blasphemy because the magazine he edits dared to question the legal practice of stoning women for adultery and dared to suggest that giving up Islam should not be a crime.

This is not the Taliban we're talking about. This is the democratically elected government that Pres. Bush told us was worth American lives to establish. And according to recent reports, even if the Afghanistan government wants to, it may simply not have the resources it needs to prevent Afghanist from becoming another...Afghanistan.

(Note: The story about the editor accused of blasphemy is out of date. I saw that piece before this weekend, when the story took on a new development. The editor has been convicted of blasphemy. Our ally, the government made possible with American sacrifice, has sentenced the editor to two years in prison.)

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