Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The War in Afghanistan: Why We are Not Winning ANY Hearts or Minds

Yeah, I'm gonna go there.  The War in Afghanistan has been going on now for almost 11 years and I am beyond infuriated. Operation "Enduring Freedom" is not obtaining freedom for anyone, let's be real now.

After the September 11th attacks, the United States has been obsessed with dismantling Al-Qaeda and removing the Taliban regime from power. Once again, the United States thinks that it knows everything and that everybody should have a government like we have here. What everyone forgets is that you cannot force a way of life and a way of thinking on people.You just can't. Afghanistan is fundamentally an entirely different country than the United States. Sharia law rules over there and religion is not seen as being separate from the law. Islam is the state law. Already, their entire system is so completely different from ours.

Sadly, I think we are just at a loss now.  Things have escalated over there very quickly in the past few weeks.

1. Last week, five U.S. soldiers were involved in the incineration of a pile of Korans in Afghanistan.  This sparked a week of protests that left 30 Afghans dead. In the past week and a half, there have been six American casualties that are most likely linked to this incident. It was apparently an accident and the Korans were mistaken for garbage. Accident or not, it was a costly accident. Afghans are not going to forget this; in fact, they are demanding that the perpetrators be put on public trial in Islamic court. Soldiers are now being trained how to handle religious materials. Eleven years into the war, and this is just happening....fantastic. We are really winning the hearts and minds of the Afghan people now.

2. Today, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta arrived in southern Afghanistan after the shooting rampage incident.  The shooter, allegedly a U.S. Army staff sergeant, shot and killed 16 Afghans, nine of them children.

These two incidents have angered Afghans beyond belief. We have now really dug ourselves into a hole. With all of this going on, any U.S. negotiations with Karzai for a long-term alliance are not looking likely.

Honestly, it's time to get the fuck out. Obama says that we need to "responsibly" wind down the war in Afghanistan. Hilarious how anything involved with something so nonsensical could be regarded as "responsible." Blows my mind. Love him, but I just don't get it. As soon as we "responsibly" withdraw, things will go back to the way they were in Afghanistan, and we will have ourselves a lovely little 21st century Vietnam. Fabulous.

These incidents are terrible atrocities, and it makes you wonder what we are really trying to do. It is amazing what this country subjects its military to, and then when the veterans get back, we treat them like shit. It makes me sick. One third of all people living on the streets are VETERANS. WTF?! Alas, that is a rant for another day.

This little rant reminds me of the time I gave a speech at an Optimist Club speech competition when I was 13. The topic had something to do with America. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were brand new, and I was already not a fan.  I gave a less-than-optimistic speech about the real reasons why I thought we were at war and I went on a tirade about foreign oil. Needless to say, the 65-80 year old Republican men were not too impressed. My parents' jaws were on the floor. The other two students gave glowingly patriotic speeches about how great everything was. Uh oh. A few of the men approached me afterwards and interrogated me about my views, and I was slightly confused. I think they thought I was a Communist. At 22, not much has changed. I would still give that same speech today, although I might choose to present the speech in a different arena. HA. I got second place in the competition. Not bad for pissing everyone in the room off.

So before you start to hate me and think that I am attacking the military and I am un-American, slow your roll. I am attacking war in general and the politicians that encourage it.


  1. Update: Today, the Taliban announced that it has ceased all peace talks with the U.S.

  2. This is so well written Ashley and I can't believe about the 16 deaths in that shooting. It's so sad and i almost didn't realize it has already been 11 years. It's so sad and I appreciate you writing about such a timely topic even though a tragedy was involved last week


    1. Thank you, Dale! I's seriously sad. 11 years, I know, right? It's crazy. It's nearly record-breakingly long. Sad that we have ruined any chance of having peace talks and negotiations. Hopefully we will be out of there sooner rather than later. Thanks for reading!