I’m hiding in Honduras
I’m a desperate man
Send lawyers, guns and money
The shit has hit the fan ~Lawyers, guns and money; Warren Zevon
The stock argument for our current involvement in Afghanistan is that we must prevent the country from becoming a training haven, as it was in 2001, for al-Qaeda operatives.
This argument no longer holds water. And when we look at the actual situation in 2001, we can see why a full scale invasion was not needed.
Here, in President George Bush’s speech to Congress in 2001, he lays out the US’ demands of the Taliban government. The Taliban is never asked to leave power; only to hand over terrorists, allow the US access for inspection and close training camps.
Women are not allowed to attend school. You can be jailed for owning a television. Religion can be practiced only as their leaders dictate. A man can be jailed in Afghanistan if his beard is not long enough. The United States respects the people of Afghanistan — after all, we are currently its largest source of humanitarian aid — but we condemn the Taliban regime.
It is not only repressing its own people, it is threatening people everywhere by sponsoring and sheltering and supplying terrorists.
By aiding and abetting murder, the Taliban regime is committing murder. And tonight the United States of America makes the following demands on the Taliban:
— Deliver to United States authorities all of the leaders of Al Qaeda who hide in your land.
— Release all foreign nationals, including American citizens you have unjustly imprisoned.
— Protect foreign journalists, diplomats and aid workers in your country.
— Close immediately and permanently every terrorist training camp in Afghanistan. And hand over every terrorist and every person and their support structure to appropriate authorities.
— Give the United States full access to terrorist training camps, so we can make sure they are no longer operating.
These demands are not open to negotiation or discussion.
The Taliban must act and act immediately.
They will hand over the terrorists or they will share in their fate. I also want to speak tonight directly to Muslims throughout the world. We respect your faith. It’s practiced freely by many millions of Americans and by millions more in countries that America counts as friends. Its teachings are good and peaceful, and those who commit evil in the name of Allah blaspheme the name of Allah.
That was then. Al-Qaeda no longer needs open ground training camps at which to film its propaganda. Indeed, armed drones have made such terror play grounds an anachronism. What al-Qaeda needs is people, money and hate.
Terrorists training for large scale attacks in remote caves is a myth. The modern terrorist must be computer savvy, and blend in with a targeted populace. Major Hasan was only able to kill 13 US soldiers on a military base because he was one of them. The most dangerous jihadists are educated people, not those wielding rusty Kalashnikovs and sporting 3rd grade reading abilities.
The very event that spurred the invasion of Afghanistan–The 9-11 attacks–was carried out primarily by jihadists who trained and planned the attacks in Western countries. The Hamburg Cell, led by Muhammed Atta, met, discussed jihadist motivations and made contact wth al-Qaeda, all while German intelligence surveilled their two-bedroom apartment on Marienstrasse. Atta received his education at an American university in Cairo,Egypt. Bin Laden chose the bulk of the hijackers from a group of usual suspects: Unmarried, young, poorly educated. All but one hailed from Saudi Arabia. These men did not need to think–they only needed to wield box cutters, then die. They did train for a period in Afghanistan, but they employed no serious technical skills gained in this training.
According to the 9-11 Comission Report, between $400,000 and $500,000 was spent training and preparing for the 9-11 attacks. The majority of this training was carried out in Western countries,using Western institutions. In other words, we need only follow the money.
President Obama should seriously reconsider the poor arguments made for continuing or escalating the war in Afghanistan. The war is not “Over There”. It’s right here.