“Where were you, and your civilisation, when my friend became depressed? When people began to die 20 years ago, in the war that you supported. Where was your civilisation when women were raped and tortured, when kids were kept from school, when libraries were burned down?”
(Quote from an interesting and powerfully emotive interview with Nelofer Pazira, star of the film Kandahar.)
This is why I call this a “bait-and-switch” war. We sent forces there to hunt down alleged criminals. This was in itself a bad idea. What’s worse, though, is trying to retro-fit this new motivation for being there: that we must “liberate” the Afghani people.
In my more cynical moments, I can’t help wondering if this was the real original reason for attacking Afganistan. Before September 11, President Bush surely must have known about the state of the Taliban government in Afghanistan. He must have known that they were relatively weak. This is information the CIA and allied intelligence agencies collect and collate as a matter of course. However, he had no immediate reason to use this knowledge.
Then, when September 11 happened. Bush needed to do something. He knew that he’d not easily find the masterminds behind the attacks. But suddenly his knowledge of the Taliban’s position is useful. He can move in his forces under the guise of tracking down Osama Bin Laden, but with the hidden purpose of toppling the Taliban. What a glorious media victory that could be! What right-thinking Westerner does not want to see such an oppresive regime being overthrown?
Never mind the fact that the terrorists still haven’t been found. And there is enough righteous anger in America to blind the masses to the bombing of innocents. With this war, President Bush will gain two fantastically useful political goals: he will gain massive public support for acting so “decisively”, and he can choose a more US-friendly government for Afghanistan when he’s done.
And if the rest of the world is unhappy about his actions, why should he care? He hasn’t shown any consideration in the past (Kyoto, Strategic Missile Defense, Bioweapons), and see how well he’s doing now!
This is exactly why the attacks of September 11 happened in the first place.