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Posted by pinksharkmark ( on September 16, 2001 at 01:17:40:

In Reply to: Let me put it another way posted by Todd on September 15, 2001 at 23:19:07:

Todd writes: "Mr. Ansary said "They are not even the government of Afghanistan" referring to the Taliban. Oh? Then who is? Mr. Ansary apparently feels they are not a legitimate government, owing to the method they used to seize power, but let's not confuse the facts...they are the Afghani government at this time."

Says who? They are recognized as the legitimate government of Afghanistan by exactly THREE nations on this planet. Seems like Mr. Ansary is not alone in his view. This goes to the heart of what constitutes a legitimate government. Is it any gang of thugs who manages to occupy the government buildings? It is certain that their self-proclaimed title of "the government" is hotly contested by the Afghani populace, if the attacks on Kabul that were televised Tuesday evening are any indication.

Todd writes: "I'm unaware of any concentration camps in Afghanistan."

In any totalitarian regime, the entire country can be considered a concentration camp.

Todd writes: "I won't lower myself to Mr. Ansary's level and insult women with a statement or implication that they are somehow incapable of action, despite their marital status. The history of this country, and many others, has clearly demonstrated the contributions and sacrifices made by women in wartime, from support to nursing to the front lines."

It's different in Afghanistan. Women are literally not even allowed to step out of their houses without a male escort. Those breaking even the smallest of the inumerable restrictions risk being stoned to death, or buried alive in mass graves. This is not propaganda, it is FACT, as numerous reports from numerous international agencies (Red Cross, Amnesty International, UN Relief agencies, etc.) will attest. It's pretty hard to organize a revolt when one is under de facto house arrest.

Todd writes: "If the citizens of Afghanistan are all the innocent victims Mr. Ansary claims, where does bin Laden get the "billion soldiers" Mr. Ansary claims he has?"

Mr. Ansary does NOT claim that bin Laden has a billion soldiers. Mr. Ansary says 'It might seem ridiculous, but he figures *IF* (emphasis added by me) he can polarize the world into Islam and the West, he's got a billion soldiers.' In other words, bin Laden is delusional.

Todd writes: "Most importantly, Mr. Ansary has succumbed to the most common and most fatal of all argumentive flaws....he has presented a series of supposed arguments bolstering a case he fails to identify and at the same time offers no solutions."

Mr. Ansary STARTS his entire piece by stating. 'I've been hearing a lot of talk about "bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age." ' The entire thrust of his article is that this approach (indiscriminate bombing) will not work. Bombing the entire country is futile.

Todd writes: "What would Mr. Ansary have us do? Nothing? Shall we ignore this act of terrorism and allow bin Laden, the Taliban and their "billions of soldiers" to continue to revel in our tragedy?"

Let me quote Mr. Ansary, now: "So what else is there? What can be done, then? Let me now speak with true fear and trembling. The only way to get Bin Laden is to go in there with ground troops... Let's pull our heads out of the sand. What's actually on the table is Americans dying."

Ansary never suggested we do nothing. HIS solution, one which any military expert will support: troops on the ground. I am sure that the Joint Chiefs recognize that at some point, ground troops WILL be required. This tacit acknowledgement is indicated by their callup of 50,000 reserves.

Todd writes: "Mr. Ansary concluded his diatribe with the following: 'Who has the belly for that? Bin Laden does. Anyone else?' "

I guess you and I interpreted this differently. I took his rhetorical question to mean that IF the US carpet-bombed Afghanistan, then that action could turn into all of Islam against the US and its allies... a true WW III scenario for which no one EXCEPT bin Laden has the belly, because he is a nutcase.

I, for one, think it won't turn out that way, since I cannot believe that the US military leaders would be so incredibly dumb as to try to resolve the situation in such a crude manner. I believe the US military learned a hell of a lot by watching the Soviets flub their Afghanistan incursion. They know full well that bombing will accomplish nothing.

Todd writes: "Neither bin Laden nor any of his followers have ever fought a war....they hide (as they have been since Tuesday) and strike out only under the cover of deceit and darkness. How do you conclude he and they have any belly for anything?"

Not so! Bin Laden and his mujahadeen followers have indeed fought a war. Hell, they kicked the Soviets right out of their country! The Afghani mountain tribes are arguably the toughest, nastiest, most fearless guerilla soldiers the world has ever seen. Just ask the British.

IF the Taliban cannot be persuaded to hand over bin Laden (and they can't be) the BEST we can hope for is that they will at least stand aside and allow US (or coalition) ground troops to go in and get him. Even that is a pretty slender hope. If Bush is serious in eliminating the terrorist threat (unlike some past presidents who either did nothing except threaten, or mounted halfass, incomplete, piecemeal cruise missile raids here and there) then American military personnel will die. A lot of them.

Am I happy about the prospect of more American deaths? Hell no. Is it possible that the death toll of upcoming military operations will exceed that of Tuesday's attacks? Hell yes. But is it the right thing to do?

Hell yes.

I have yet to see anyone propose another solution. Ugly as it is, it is something that MUST be done.

I'm not even an American, but I think anyone who thinks this through for a while will come to the same conclusion, however reluctantly. Mr. Ansary did.


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