Thursday, January 24, 2013

Afghan Tragedy

After meetings with Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Friday, President Obama said this weekend that the U.S. is speeding up the schedules for pulling American forces out of Afghanistan and for ending most unilateral combat operations. Tragically, that’s too late for Joseph Griffin.

Just before Christmas an Afghan policewoman slipped through “security checks” with a hidden pistol and shot the 49-year-old American adviser from Mansfield, Georgia at the Kabul police headquarters in the first green-on-blue slaying by a woman. Joseph Griffin was a U.S. military veteran who had served in various U.S.-based law enforcement positions over the years as well as in support of global training and mentoring programs. He was under contract to the NATO military command to advise the Afghan police force in Kabul.

After the murder, the Deputy Police Chief at first said, laughably, that it had yet to be determined whether the killing was intentional or accidental. Subsequent investigation revealed that Sgt. Nargas, a native Iranian with “no known links to militants,” moved to Afghanistan ten years ago after her Iranian husband obtained fake documents enabling her to live and work there. She joined the police five years ago and had a clean record. But after attending a “training course” in Egypt, Afghan authorities were alerted to what they called her “unstable” behavior. During her interrogation, she revealed that she had plans to kill either the Kabul governor or the city police chief, but when she realized that the security would be too difficult to penetrate, she turned her weapon on “a foreigner.”

And so Joseph Griffin became yet another sacrificial lamb in our pathetic, Sisyphean strategy to win Afghan hearts-and-minds; to train their half-hearted, incompetent local security forces to try to stand up to the Taliban without us; and to create a functioning nation-state out of a tribal patchwork in the most God-forsaken rockpile on the planet.

Last year alone, dozens of such lethal insider attacks by Taliban sympathizers posing as government security forces or soldiers have increasingly plagued coalition forces in Afghanistan. The Obama administration would sooner be stoned to death than speak of Islam in a negative context and admit that it has anything to do with the locals’ resistance to our efforts there. They won’t concede that “jihad” might explain why an Iranian woman falsely obtained work there and received mysterious “special training” in Egypt just prior to her attack. So naturally our senior military officials have placed the blame for the green-on-blue murders on everything from the strain of Ramadan fasting, to summer heat, and most recently, to our troops’ own “ignorance of, or lack of empathy for Muslim and/or Afghan cultural norms.”

Thus, if our soldiers don’t demonstrate sufficient cultural sensitivity to, as Diana West lists, pederasty, dog torture, desertion, and drug use, as well as refrain from making derogatory comments about the Taliban (wasn’t there a time when we were supposed to be killing the Taliban?), we can expect to be targeted for it by the very barbarians we’re supposed to be civilizing, and then be blamed for our own murders. Perhaps the Obama administration should just take the logical next step in multicultural respect and require that our troops and advisers in Afghanistan convert to Islam.

By contrast, the Afghans aren’t expected to demonstrate any respect or cultural sensitivity in return, not to mention gratitude that we’re spending $8 billion per month and continuing to sacrifice lives on their behalf.

Afghanistan is still considered by the left to be Bush’s mess. As the war grew to become the longest in United States history, the opposition raged against Bush about it – until Obama replaced him. Seventy-two percent of our casualties there have occurred on Obama’s watch, but the left is more disturbed by civilian deaths from Obama’s drone attacks than those figures and the green-on-blue murders of our soldiers in Afghanistan; our own government doesn’t even talk about those deaths except to write them off as a “necessary risk.” Journalist Diana West notes that the official silence about the ongoing murders is a travesty and should be considered the scandal of 2013.

NATO responded to Joseph Griffin’s murder with the claim that “temporary, prudent measures” might be put into place to lessen exposure of their personnel to such assaults – but the training of Afghan police would not be stopped. That’s too bad, because it is precisely that practice which is exposing our people to ambush by assassins.

How about this for a prudent measure, and a permanent one at that? Abandon the country to its own willful barbarism. There is a reason Afghanistan is called the “graveyard of empires” – forces as formidable as Alexander the Great’s army and the Soviet Union failed to conquer its expansive wasteland. Our mission there should only ever have been to find bin Laden and eradicate the Taliban to the last man; we turned up empty on the former, and if we’re not going to follow through with the latter, then the least we can do is quit setting up our own soldiers and advisers for eradication at the hands of the Taliban and friends.

DynCorp International said of its employee, the murdered Joseph Griffin: “Joe spent his career helping people all over the world, most recently working to help the Afghan people secure a better future.” Tragically, our futile strategy there is proving to be an obscene waste of money and of the lives of good Americans like Joe Griffin. “Have we achieved everything that some might have imagined us achieving in the best of scenarios?” Obama asked rhetorically last weekend. “Probably not. This is a human enterprise and you fall short of the ideal.” What a bloodless way to describe it.

(This article originally appeared here on FrontPage Mag, 1/16/13)