We Don't Belong There
Amidst riots spreading throughout Afghanistan, four American soldiers have been shot dead -- two by a uniformed Afghan soldier and two by an Afghan Interior Ministry official assigned to work with those Americans. Four dozen Afghanis are also dead, while scores of Afghans, as well as American and NATO troops have been injured. Tens of thousands of Afghanis are outraged over the unintentional burning of four copies of the Koran -- but they've ignored an important fact. These once-Holy books, which they so publicly cherish, had already been defiled. Not by Americans, but by fellow Muslims.
The BBC reports that four desecrated copies of the Koran were being used by captured Muslim terrorists to pass messages among fellow prisoners. The Washington Times confirmed this, reporting that defiled copies of the Koran contained extremist messages and inscriptions. These radical Muslim prisoners ignored the prohibition on even touching the Koran without first purifying themselves, perverting Holy texts into tools of propaganda.
Yet the Afghan-in-the-street crowds are not protesting the acts of those Muslim terrorists who defiled their own Holy books. The Karzai government is also ignoring the acts of the incarcerated Muslim terrorists, who had no compunction about violating the purity of their own sacred Koran. They've gotten a "free pass" for their acts of desecration while all blame -- both official and unofficial -- is heaped on Americans.
As soon as American officials realized what had been done, our commanding General -- then the President himself -- admitted our unintended mistake and credibly apologized to the Afghan people.
The response of officials in Afghanistan says everything we need to know about our so-called Allies.
- Reuters and the Washington Post report that Afghan Prime Minister Karzai is demanding NATO put the troops who burned the Koran on public trial and bring them to justice, while Muslim clerics are demanding harsh retribution.
- BusinessWeek reports that, according to Karzai's spokesman, NATO officials have promised to prosecute perpetrators of the burning "through an open trial, as soon as possible."
These official Afghani responses to the unintentional Koran burning, and our President's official apology -- responses which too closely parallel recent anti-American actions of our supposed allies in Pakistan, Iraq and Egypt -- should also tell America everything we need to know about what we really ought to be doing in the Islamic world.
We are not dealing with "allied leaders" who are making rational decisions, at least not as we in the West define rational. Because those "allies" choose to ignore our apology, oppose our interests and go so far as to demand prosecution of our troops -- who risk their lives to protect their country and government -- our only option is to get out of Afghanistan, now, quickly, before any more Americans die in a cause that, because we chose not to win, has been a lost cause from Day One.
In the aftermath of World War II, we chose to impose our will on our conquered enemies. Nearly 70 years later, those enemies -- Italy, Germany and Japan -- remain among our staunchest allies. However, after we deposed the hostile regimes in both Afghanistan and Iraq -- rather than imposing our will on these conquered lands -- we chose to see these replacement governments, the ones we put in power, as regimes we could "deal with," treating them as "allies."
But Karzai's official response makes it clear that our so-called allies are not people we can deal with. After pouring a decade's worth of blood and treasure down a rat-hole in their defense, Afghanis have not been turned into real allies, and never will be.
Without imposing our will on Afghanistan, or Iraq, we are not going to build rational democracies in the Muslim world, not the way we did among our conquered enemies after World War II. Instead, our Muslim "allies" have officially ignored a Presidential apology, and have demanded the right to prosecute and punish soldiers who risk their lives to preserve Afghanistan.
It's time to get out. Not because we were wrong to depose the Taliban, but because the regime we created to replace the Taliban is not going to join us in an alliance of equals who share our rational values.
We can stay in Afghanistan, watching Afghanis kill our troops and mock our country. Or we can cut our losses and allow a people who've got no intention of becoming our allies -- let alone creating a functional democracy -- instead create their own fate. The fate they deserve.
"Muslims revere the Koran more than anything else in this world; we do not even touch it without being ritually pure. Destroying the text is the ultimate act of disrespect to the faithful." Washington Post blog, 2/23/12, posted by Dr. Muqtedar Khan, Associate Professor, University of Delaware; Fellow, Institute for Social Policy and Understanding.
Ned Barnett is CEO of Barnett Marketing Communications in Las Vegas. The author of nine books, and an adjunct professor at two universities, Barnett has managed strategy and media for three Presidential campaigns -- in South Carolina and Nevada -- and in 2010, he served as Communications Director of both the Clark County/Las Vegas and Nevada Republican Parties.