The Colossal Folly of War in Afghanistan

by Ralph Nader

The U.S. war in Afghanistan is testing so much futuristic detect and destroy weaponry that it can be called the most advanced all-seeing invasion in military history. From blanket satellite surveillance to soldiers’ infra-red vision to the remotely guided photographing, killer drones to the latest fused ground-based imagery and electronic signal intercepts, the age of robotic land, sea, and air weaponry is at hand.

U.S. and NATO soldiers and contractors greatly outnumber the Taliban, whose sandals and weapons are from the past century. Still, with the most sophisticated arsenals ever deployed, why are U.S. generals saying that less than 30,000 Taliban fighters, for almost a decade, have fought the U.S. led forces to a draw?

Perhaps one answer can be drawn from a ceremony that could be happening in various places in that tormented country. That is, a Jirga of elders awarding a young fighter the Jirga medal of honor for courage on the battlefield, which often happens to be their village or valley.

The chief elder rose to address a wise circle of villagers. “Today we are presenting our beloved Mursi with the revered Jirga medal of honor for courage beyond the call of duty in rescuing seven of his brother defenders from almost certain destruction. The invaders had surrounded our young brothers at night in the great Helmand gully with their snipers, grenade-launchers and helicopter gunships.

It looked like the end. Until Mursi started a very smoky fire and diverted the enemy with a firebomb that startled several donkeys into braying loudly. In the few seconds absorbed by diverting the foreigners who directed their firepower in that direction, Mursi led his brothers, two of them wounded, through a large rock crevice and down an incline that was hidden from view and into a cave covered with bush. For some reason, the occupiers’ night vision equipment was not working, thanks be to Allah.

The next morning, the enemy had gone away, provably to start another deadly attack elsewhere on our people. Before the Jirga awards you this ancient symbol of resistance, Mursi, in the form of a sculptured shield made of a rare wood, will you say a few words to your tribe?”

Mursi, a thin as a rail twenty year old youth, rose.

I accept this great honor on behalf of my brothers who escaped with their lives that terrible night in Helmand. I was very scared. The enemy has everything and we have nothing. They have planes, helicopters, artillery, many soldiers with equipment that resists bullets, sees in the dark and provides them with food, water and medicine. We only have our old rifles, some grenades and explosives. They can see us all the way from America on screens sitting in cool rooms where they can press buttons and wipe us out without our seeing or hearing anything coming at us. We are all so terrified. Especially the children.

We wonder why they are doing this to us? We never threatened them. They threaten everyone with their bases, ships, planes and missiles. I hear that the foreign soldiers ask themselves why are they here, what are they doing here and for what? But they are paid well to be here, destroying our country year after year, though they boast about building some bridges and digging some water wells. No thank you.

Go back to your families, you will never win because we are fighting to repel you invaders from our ancient tribal lands, our homes,. Fighting to expel the invaders is stronger and more righteous than your weapons and all your military wealth. Even if many of us lose our lives, we will prevail one day. For we will have heaven and they will have hell.

A long knowing silence followed. A rooster crowed in the distance. The chief elder then slowly handed the medal to their brave hero.

Can the most militarily powerful country in the world, many of whose people and soldiers are opposed or have serious doubts about why we are continuing to pursue these senseless undeclared wars of aggression that create more hatred and enemies, look with empathy at what those people, whom we are pummeling, are going through? Will the Pentagon, which doesn’t estimate civilian casualties, let its officials speak publically about the millions of such casualties—deceased, injured and sick—that have afflicted innocent Iraqis, Afghanis and Pakistanis?

Will our current crop of political candidates for Congress and the Presidency ever reflect on the wise words of our past Generals—Dwight Eisenhower, George Marshall and earlier Smedley Butler—about the folly and gore, not the glory of war?

The eighteenth century words of the Scottish poet, Robert Burns, rings so true. He wrote:

And would some Power the small gift give us.
To see ourselves as others see us!
It would from many a blunder free us”

3 thoughts on “The Colossal Folly of War in Afghanistan”

  1. I will not be critical of Ralph Nader due to the fact that he has always tried to do good! I must say, that if the Russians had not left Afghanistan the worl would not have the present terrible situations it has! If the Americans had not supplied the Afghans with modern rockets and 50 calibers, there would have not been the Talibans! Mr. Nader come from the same generation therefore I will be politely blunt! The United States has gotten into the world problems it has today because we did not stay in Vietnam, and keep a cheap DRAFT, in the Military! The need to keep an Army in the field was just shown to Mr. Nader! The exact week, that the last 16000 men left Iraq, they went back to sectarian civil war! It does not cost our nation a dime if the reparation act is enforced! The oil in Iraq is the property of the US taxpayer but our own government does not enforce the protection of the citizens assets! It will become necessary to bomb Iran, very soon to make a point. The Israeli’s can not afford to allow a mortal enemy like Iran to possess nuclear weapons, and Iran is much to stupid to understand that Israel has 168 top light bombers ready to fly at 30 minutes notice! The f-4 Phantom was the best and fastest light fighter ever built. The Israelis have re-tuned them all for 2011-12 standards, and retooled the engines so that they attack at 17oo miles per hour! Each plane carries 4 tactical nuclear weapons, which are enough to kill 10 million people, in and around every city in Iran! Iran has no Navy and still we have to listen to it’s balony. The 5th fleet has enough fire power to also destroy Iran with it’s nuclear weapons! I would like Mr. Nader to stop being a lover of non-agression for a non-agression obsessionist point of view! The World would be a far better place if Mr. Clinton had landed troops in Africa, but that boat has sailed! The Russians must start being our partner as the Worlds policeman, and all arms must be stopped being shipped to the third world! Give the third world only 30 year old weapons and maybe it will slow these violent civil wars down! And yes, Mr. Nader, I have a little experience with weapons and world travel! I hate violence because I was a professional and violence is the last thing anyone should do! I am very unfortunitely serious that it is the lack of violence that has brought the world to the brink! It has been my professional experience that a weak nation or even peoples, who are allowed to continue down a path of violence become a worse problem than if the bigger entity had just killed them immediately! All we have left in Afghanistan is a fact that Karsi is being allowed to loot the American Funds and the White Heroin has never been cheaper. Afghan White use to be $90,000 a kilo in the 1970’s. It is less than $30,000.00 right now on the streets of New York at a kilo weight multi sale selling price. That is pure also! When America puts it’s own citizens above the rights of all foreigners, America will rise again! This comment is not critical but is meant to enlighten you! You have done a few nice things in America, and so have I. You are better known than I am and many people feel a former gangster like myself should not be so out spoken! I disagree. I have more street knowledge than most entire Federal Agencies! I lived the life as Meyer Lansky’s last enforcer. My father was not only Meyer’s fixer, but Nelson Rockefellers bag man and fixer in the New York State Supreme Court. I grew up in political corruption and knowledge! I am what I lives from childhood! You are a kind man and an intelligent man but your good name is not being used to benefit the Americas’! I would always sit down with you and talk. You are always welcome to email me and talk! I liked your good work but you must use that high IQ to understand that the third world nations can not be allowed to flurish on their own, any way they like! I will stop for now. Feel Free to email me if PULSE gives you the address! Much Luck and I could use you in a New York Political Event! Sincerely bigmikecraft (Dr. Mike Craft Sr. D.D.)

    1. Well Dr. Mike you’ve truly enlightened us with what intellect a street thug can accumulate in the limited realm of the street world, what Mr. R. Nader has generously put as a draw in Afghanistan is but a shameful defeat for the americans and its allies, moreover it’ll take much more than just ten years of a so called “green zone” in Kabul and some military bases to take over a nation. The concerns that Mr. Nader is trying to throw light upon seems an extremely far fetched idea for you to grasp, even if the prisms through which you are shown the situation on ground are colluded you simply don’t get it. you have no moral grounds of occupying another country, this in-turn would come to bite you, and if not by those occupied than by those whom you send to do your dirty work, because intellect begets respect and obedience until and unless it has that higher MORAL ground my friend…you need to think a lot more and a lot deeper than just blurting out whatever…..

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