Friday, May 25, 2018

Hearts and Minds

During the discussion with Terence O'Rourke a citizen rose to challenge him on his assertion the United States military had no business in the Middle East fighting undeclared wars.
"But what about all the good we did in Afghanistan? The Taliban was horrible. Women had no rights. Girls could not even go to school!"
Terence O'Rourke

Before Mr. O'Rourke had a chance to respond, another citizen challenged the first, citing the widespread and never denied reports that Afghan military officers and police, who were often on the same military bases as American soldiers and marines, rounded up village boys and raped them, often chaining them to beds in the barracks and American soldiers and Marines had to endure the screams coming from the Afghan barracks all night long.

When American soldiers protested to their superiors, they were told to show some cultural sensitivity and not to interfere with what was a cultural practice.
Dan Quinn

When Dan Quinn, an American green beret finally could stand it no longer and beat up one of the Afghan officer rapists Quinn was disciplined and his career virtually ended.

So how much good were we really doing over there, in that setting, in that culture?

"We always were taught we were the guys in the white hats," O'Rourke said of his time commanding troops as they did sweeps through Iraqi villages. "Well, to those Iraqis we were not wearing white hats. We were invaders"
From the NY Times:
Rampant sexual abuse of children has long been a problem in Afghanistan, particularly among armed commanders who dominate much of the rural landscape and can bully the population. The practice is called bacha bazi, literally “boy play,” and American soldiers and Marines have been instructed not to intervene — in some cases, not even when their Afghan allies have abused boys on military bases, according to interviews and court records.
The policy has endured as American forces have recruited and organized Afghan militias to help hold territory against the Taliban. But soldiers and Marines have been increasingly troubled that instead of weeding out pedophiles, the American military was arming them in some cases and placing them as the commanders of villages — and doing little when they began abusing children.
“The reason we were here is because we heard the terrible things the Taliban were doing to people, how they were taking away human rights,” said Dan Quinn, a former Special Forces captain who beat up an American-backed militia commander for keeping a boy chained to his bed as a sex slave. “But we were putting people into power who would do things that were worse than the Taliban did — that was something village elders voiced to me.”
The policy of instructing soldiers to ignore child sexual abuse by their Afghan allies is coming under new scrutiny, particularly as it emerges that service members like Captain Quinn have faced discipline, even career ruin, for disobeying it.
Such is the power of the American propaganda machine that many otherwise informed American citizens still believe we were the agents of a benign order swooping in and laying a little civilization on those Afghan villagers.

As we learned in Vietnam, we do not change hearts and minds. What hubris. The Jolly Green giants bringing enlightenment to the local savages.

And don't even get me started on "The Spirit Seizes You and You Fall Down."

No comments:

Post a Comment