Bloody Confusion In Afghanistan
When you think of the Islamic State, you think of atrocities. It is rightfully so. The Islamic State (or ISIS or ISIL or whatever you prefer to say in order to avoid saying “Islamic State) is infamous for its brutality. So, it is commonly said that the Islamic State must be stopped “by any means necessary” – a phrase that is shorthand for war, and all the horrible things that go along with war.
Bombing a hospital would fit right in with the kind of atrocities the Islamic State has become known for. Just imagine Islamic State fighters bombing a hospital for an entire hour, until the patients are burned alive… and there are children inside. It makes the blood go cold, doesn’t it?
Now, imagine your own country bombing a hospital for an hour, despite calls from desperate hospital staff to NATO headquarters pleading for them to stop the attack, as patients are burned alive, including the children. That’s what appears to have happened in Afghanistan. Some journalists are using the euphemism of “airstrike”, but what seems to have happened is that the United States military bombed a hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan for an hour, dropping bombs at least 20 times.
Why? The United States is still at war in Afghanistan. The United States, after 14 years, is still trying to defeat the Taliban. The hospital bombing was part of an attack designed to drive Taliban fighters out of Kunduz. The Taliban, after all, are terrible people, who do terrible things… like bombing hospitals.
It doesn’t get much airplay here in the United States, but groups like the Taliban and the Islamic State run the same kind of pro-war propaganda that we hear from our own political leaders. They point to American atrocities, such as this week’s bombing of a hospital, or the Abu Ghraib prison torture, or Guantanamo, and say, “We must never forget these brutalities. We must drive out the United States by any means necessary.”
So, by any means necessary becomes the low standard by which both sides go to war. It’s all in a good cause, both sides say, to bring peace, and to defeat the evildoers.
Can we admit, after 14 years of fighting in Afghanistan, and 24 years of fighting in Iraq, that this strategy isn’t working?