For the record, I was 100% against the U.S. attack on Afghanistan in 2001. I could not get rid of the bad taste in my mouth that came from the thought of the Bush regime finally getting to invade a foreign country and flex its muscle in the face of the rest of the world. Now, nine years later I have re-thought my previous position on the war.
Recently, news has come to us that both the Obama administration and Hamid Karzai’s administration have considered sitting down to talks with Mullah Omar, the Taliban’s so called “spiritual leader.” In the last few days the U.S. State Department has stated that Omar has no role to play in the future of Afghanistan. If this is indeed true, then one can only applaud this stance. Quite simply, if Afghanistan is to have any future at all it must be without the Taliban. The use of deadly force is necessary in the mountains and cities of Afghanistan. While the United States fights a war on several fronts, the Taliban continue to bulk up its forces in regions throughout Afghanistan. The war in Iraq was a dangerous and unnecessary distraction from a very real threat to world peace that is growing in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Gore Vidal coined the phrase, “The United States of Amnesia,” and it seems that he was right. Have we forgotten the abuses under the Taliban’s rule in Afghanistan? Let’s, for the moment, put aside the Taliban’s destruction of various world heritage sites throughout the region. The simple fact is that the Taliban has and continues to commit vicious crimes against women. I find Islam, and all other organized religions of the world, anti-women. Although this is another essay for another time, the attitudes towards women by the religions of the world is reprehensible. The Taliban cannot be allowed a seat at the negotiation table while it continues to treat women as sub-human.
Mullah Omar is perhaps one of the most dangerous people on the planet. His influence continues to grow while the rest of the world decide how we should treat him. Although we must take him seriously, I also think that we should use more force to drive the Taliban from Afghanistan for good. We almost did the job in 2001, then the invasion of Iraq happened and now the Taliban may be more influential than ever. The United States cannot hope to achieve a lasting victory (whatever that may be) in Afghanistan as long as the Taliban are a presence and an influence.
I’m not naive enough to think that by simply killing Mullah Omar we will score a victory against the Taliban. By killing Omar another Omar will pop up to take his place. However, we must show the world that while the Taliban remains a presence and an influence in Afghanistan, the U.S. will also remain military presence there. We find ourselves in a no-win situation in Afghanistan. Now that the war is nine years on, we cannot simply pull our troops out and go home. I am disappointed that the Obama administration is not more committed to finishing this war. One gets the sense (and this was true of the Bush administration as well) that this is all some kind of game. Well, the next terrorist attack on American soil may just the thing to remind us that this is not a game.
So, bring me the head of Mullah Omar. Or better yet, let us help start a revolution in Afghanistan led by all of the oppressed against a tyrannical and insane ideology. A nation of women is what’s needed to weed out the treats of the region. Karzai is committed to his own interests, and the Obama administration is interested in sticking to time lines. We cannot win this war if we continue to take the lead. Now is the time to turn that role over to the thousands of oppressed. Let them decapitate the spiritual leader of the Taliban–it will mean so much more.