Out of Afghanistan
by Rev. Frank Julian Gelli
‘Do not treat your enemies too well: you will sadden your friends’ Chinese Proverb
Rewarding your enemies. The West’s cunning new strategy in Afghanistan. Decided at the London Conference last week. Stroke of genius. Buying off the Taliban. To stop them fighting and killing NATO soldiers. Amazingly clever. Why did not anyone think of it before? It has worked in the past. A few million dirty spondulicks in exchange for your young men’s precious lives – looks like a bargain!
Not all Afghans will be happy. The hitherto friendly ones, for instance. The law-abiding wallahs who never shot or blew up Western soldiers. They won’t get any cash, whereas the jihadists will rejoice in fat wads of dollars. ‘Why didn’t we join the insurrection?’ they might wonder. ‘Now we’d have enough money to buy a few sheep. Or a car. Being a loyal friend gets you nowhere with the Whiteys. The Taliban catch all. Wallahi! Verily, with these infidels the world is upside down.’ Could you blame them?
Throwing money at your enemies. To buy them off. Hmmm…Might it not also excite the Talib’s cupidity? Incline them to resume the killing spree after a while? ‘There must be more from where this comes from…’
Prospective fighters might follow a similar reasoning. The tribute may wet their appetite. ‘Let us get a few pot shots at the infidels. Blow up their armoured tracks. Then we will rake in enough money…’ you get the picture.
The idea could be extended to other areas. Like here in Britain. Why not hand out cash to chaps like burglars, thieves and bank robbers? The crime rate would fall dramatically.
Edward Gibbon’s celebrated Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire tells how the Romans of the decadence also hit on the idea of buying off the barbarians. The warring race of Scipio and Caesar had become a soft, effete, pleasure-loving bunch. So they started paying the Goths a handsome tribute. The barbarians got four thousand pounds of gold, as ‘a subsidy’. The savage Goths were turned into ‘friends’. So indeed the peace of Italy was bought – for a while. But the Empire and its treasures were too irresistible a lure. Eventually Alaric, the Gothic king, led his hordes against the Eternal City. By then the degenerate Romans had forgotten how to fight. So in AD 410 the former mistress of the world was stormed and sacked. I suppose Rome’s bought friends were not quite friendly enough.
Specious analogy? Unlike the Goths, the Taliban are not at Europe’s gates. They only desire Afghanistan. And Pakistan. Their own countries. And NATO is armed to the teeth. Missiles, drones, copters…Western armoury and firepower are awesome. British and American soldiers are not effete. But have their folks back home the stomach for supporting the war? They seem too sensitive to casualties. No war can be fought for long if every time a soldier dies the media show funerals, grieving parents and so on. The pressure on governments mounts. There are elections to be won…
Let us speak the truth. The West has already lost in Afghanistan. So, save lives and money now. Just get out. Afghanistan for the Afghans…Actually, the worst possible scenario is that Obama and Brown will keep up their shameful pretence. Not to be seen as losers. So the stupid, pointless bloodshed will go on. That’s Realpolitik for you.
Everybody has a price, cynics insist, even the Taliban…Wait a minute. That’s not always the case. Take Humman Al Balawi. The Jordanian doctor who blew himself up inside a US military base in Afghanistan, killing seven top CIA operatives. He was supposed to inform on the Taliban. Instead he double-crossed his Western paymasters. In a video message from the grave, he speaks next to Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud. ‘The Americans offered me million of dollars to work for them and spy on the Taliban. But I believe in Allah, Iman (Faith) and Taqwa (devotion). Instead I went to the Mujahedin and planned this attack. We never forget our martyrs. Our Jihad will continue until the will of Allah prevails.’ His Jordanian father declared he was proud of his son. Here is an enemy who could not be bought, never mind the shining pots of gold he was promised.
In reporting the event, BBC television edited reference to those three key Islamic values - Allah, Faith and Devotion. The values for which Al Balawi did his suicidal act. Of course, as the official, fanatical voices of Western secularism BBC newscasters are under orders always systematically to doctor out references to religion, even when they stare at you in the face. The intense faith of militant Islam is the motor of the resistance to NATO but the BBC deliberately chooses to ignore it. Psychological explanations are tricky but let me have a go. What’s the BBC afraid of? To stir up Muslims back home? Maybe. Islam is a universal religion. Every Muslim feels part of a worldwide Umma, the community of faith. Do BBC bosses deep down perceive their own emptiness? The paucity of their disvalues, the void, the nothingness within? Does its own vacuum frighten them? I bet. Horror vacui all right.
What is the West fighting for in Afghanistan? Its own, neglected ancestral faith? The Cross? Don’t make me laugh. The word ‘crusade’ strikes infinite terror into the faint hearts of Western rulers. Democracy and human rights? But corrupt President Karzai, our Kabul friend, is as democratic as Babrak Kamal, the Soviets’ old puppet ruler in the Afghanistan they once controlled. (Hope Karzai’s fate won’t be like Kamal’s. The victorious Taliban executed him most gruesomely.) Sending Afghan girls to school? Laudable aim but…Kamal’s regime did that and the West never gave a damn. The poor Afghan women are just a political football – may God help them!
The priest has this bright idea. If the West is to reward its enemies, let us go the whole hog. No half measures. Let us throw open the doors. Invite the Taliban to settle in Britain, like the Roman Empire did with the Goths. Surely such generosity will win them over. An offer no Afghan could refuse, eh? Correction. I remember someone who did. A simple man who could have claimed asylum here after a hijacking but chose to return home. His reasons for turning Britain down were: ‘It is an infidel country. It is cold. And the food is awful’.
He was right on each count.