POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY CLIVE CROOK IN THE FINANCIAL TIMES
I stopped watching Frontline years ago.
There were too many tame programs with no real analysis, the documentary content-equivalent of PBS’s nature specials, as that on apes narrated by Charlie Sheen.
And, several times, more hard-hitting items were removed from their schedule. Shameful.
Since the rise of Newt Gingrich, PBS executives started wetting their pants and reducing the network to fluff. Their anchor news show, the News Hour, was reduced to arguments between political party chairmen saying nothing and tame news coverage.
However the scene you describe, Clive, is strong stuff, and should tell Americans something, but there are none so blind….
Of course, there is the reason why there can be no victory in Afghanistan.
I'm not even sure what the Military-Industrial bureaucrats mean by "victory." Afghanistan reduced to an Illinois suburb with shopping centers and SUVs in the driveways of homes?
The U.S. went there for vengeance, and that is what it got. It killed tens of thousands, including an estimated 50,000 just in Kabul.
It did this with horrible weapons and carpet bombing, and to minimize American casualties on the ground, it let the nasty people in the Northern Alliance do most of the legwork. It also participated in horrible war crimes against Taleban prisoners, as the 3,000 who disappeared, buried in the desert after having been suffocated in vans, a la early Nazi experiments with mass killings.
Once the U.S. had a technical victory - actually nothing but dispersing the Taleban to the hills - it did not know what to do, and it still does not.
Its troops have used brutal techniques - never likely to be shown on Frontline or any other American television. Years of special forces thugs going from village to village, knocking down doors, holding guns on families, and taking away men from households.
And every time it calls an air strike, civilians die.
Now it is spreading its horror into Pakistan, having quietly intimidated the Pakistan government into cooperating in matters that are not really their interests.
I, of course, recall that wonderful achievement of America's during its pointless holocaust in Vietnam of de-stabilizing the neutral government of Cambodia and helping pave the way for the "killing fields" which it did absolutely nothing to stop.
Indeed, when the brave Vietnamese went in and stopped the horror, American bureaucrats stood, arms folded, saying I told you so, it's the domino theory at work.
Colonial wars are not legitimate "policy" in the 21st century, and, as good students of history know, wars generally solve nothing.
The great irony is that the Taleban never attacked anyone, had nothing to do with 9/11, yet the U.S. has made them into an enemy.
They are, of course, a major part of the population of Afghanistan, an absurdly poor and backward place, while the U.S. military with all their shiny G.I Joe equipment are occupiers. No one likes occupiers ever, except those who profit by trading with them, as the prostitutes of Paris in 1941.
Afghanistan is a hopeless disaster of America’s own making, and the soldier you describe, Clive, is a perfect symbol of the hopelessness of the entire crusade.