The End of Engagement in Afghanistan

07 Other Atrocities, 10 Security, 11 Society, Civil Society, Corruption, Cultural Intelligence, InfoOps (IO), IO Impotency, Military, Misinformation & Propaganda, Peace Intelligence, Strategy
Who, Me?

A War College case study for Col Pfaff:

“This Is not the Beginning of the End for the International Community in Afghanistan — This is the End”

A bit more on that story we brought you earlier about the horrific killings in Afghanistan which followed lunatic Pastor Terry Jones’ Qu’ran-burning stunt.

I wrote this a while back:

Those reactionaries within our own society who are pushing the Clash of Civilizations are mirror-images of the terrorists that inspire their hyperbolic fear; they’re just as xenophobic, just as irrational and, ultimately, are just as great a threat to our security. Both have to be challenged aggressively before they give birth to another, even bloodier generation of culture warriors.

This latest spasm of bloodletting seems like a perfect example. Radical Cleric Terry Jones burns some Qu’rans in an intentional provocation, extremists in Afghanistan kill some people, which ultimately emboldens people like Terry Jones, and so on. A vicious cycle, with the vast majority of people in the middle.

But over at the must-read UN Dispatch, Una Moore, an international development professional based in Afghanistan, says that there’s a lot more going on with this attack:

[This] was different than previous fatal attacks. Very different. The killers were ordinary residents of a city deemed peaceful enough to be one of the first places transferred to the control of Afghan security forces. The men who broke into the UN compound, set fires and killed 8 people weren’t Taliban, or henchmen of a brutal warlord, or members of a criminal gang. They weren’t even armed when the protests began –they took weapons from the UN guards who were their first victims.

[…]

Tonight, the governor of Balkh province, of which Mazar-i-Sharif is the capital, is telling the international media that the men who sacked the UN compound were Taliban infiltrators. That’s rubbish. Local clerics drove around the city with megaphones yesterday, calling residents to protest the actions of a small group of attention-seeking, bigoted Americans. Then, during today’s protest, someone announced that not just one, but hundreds of Korans had been burned in America. A throng of enraged men rushed the gates of the UN compound, determined to draw blood.  Had the attackers been gunmen, they would likely have been killed before they could breach the compound.

[…]

This is not the beginning of the end for the international community in Afghanistan. This is the end. Terry Jones and others will continue to pull anti-Islam stunts and opportunistic extremists here will use those actions to incite attacks against foreigners. Unless we, the internationals, want our guards to fire on unarmed protestors from now on, the day has come for us to leave Afghanistan.

The death toll is still uncertain. Reuters is reporting 20 dead.

By Joshua Holland | Sourced from AlterNet

Posted at April 1, 2011, 1:35 pm

Phi Beta Iota: Penguin is referred to Col Tony Pfaff, author of Resolving Ethical Challenges in an Era of Persistent Conflict (Strategic Studies Institute, 29 March 2011).  The Colonel has a history of thoughtful engagement with tough ethical issues including the application of Just War.  Not yet written is the monograph on how strategic decreptitude (confusing ideology, body counts, and powerpoint briefings with being a strategy) and political decrepitude (selling out the public interest, abandoning the moral high ground) make effective warfighting an impossibility.  In relation to the above, it is worthy of mention that Information Operations (IO) Idiocy is not the sole purview of the government or the military–random morons in the society must be kept in check and dealt with promptly and with great clarity–this is of course neither possible nor desirable when the morons reflect the prevailing policies of the Administration and its persistent military-industrial-congressional complex (MICC).