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IUK: Fisk - Brace yourself for Part Two of the War for Civilisation
By Robert Fisk
29/12/2001 1:04 pm Sat
Robert Fisk: Brace yourself for Part Two of the War for Civilisation
'The US air strikes have now killed more Afghans than the hijackers
killed westerners and others'
22 December 2001
It needed my old Irish journalist colleague, Vincent Browne, to
point out the obvious to me. With a headache as big as
Afghanistan, reading through a thousand newspaper reports on the
supposed "aftermath" of the Afghan war, I'd become drugged by
the lies. Afghan women were free at last, "our" peacekeeping force
was on its way, the Taliban were crushed. Anti-American
demonstrations in Pakistan had collapsed - we'll forget my little
brush with some real Afghans there a couple of weeks ago.
Al-Qa'ida was being "smoked out" of its cave. Osama bin Laden
was - well, not captured or even dead; but - well, the Americans
had a videotape, incomprehensible to every Arab I've met, which
"proves" that our latest monster planned the crimes against
humanity on New York and Washington.
So it needed Vincent, breathing like a steam engine as he always
does when he's angry, to point to the papers in Gemma's, my
favourite Dublin newsagents. "What in Christ's sake is going on,
Bob?'' he asked. "Have you seen the headlines of all this shite?''
and he pulled Newsweek from the shelf. The headline: After The
"What is this biblical bollocks?'' Vincent asked me. Osama bin
Laden's overgrained, videotaped face stared from the cover of the
magazine, a dark, devilish image from Dante's circles of hell. When
he captured Berlin, Stalin announced that his troops had entered
"the lair of the fascist beast''. But the Second World War has
nothing on this.
So let's do a "story-so-far". After Arab mass-murderers crashed
four hijacked aircraft into the World Trade Centre, the Pentagon
and Pennsylvania, a crime against humanity which cost more than
4,000 innocent lives, President Bush announced a crusade for
infinite "justice" - later downgraded to infinite freedom - and
bombed Afghanistan. Using the gunmen and murderers of the
discredited Northern Alliance to destroy the gunmen and murderers
of the discredited Taliban, the Americans bombed bin Laden's
cave fortresses and killed hundreds of Afghan and Arab fighters,
not including the prisoners executed after the Anglo-US-Northern
Alliance suppression of the Mazar prison revolt.
The production of the bin Laden videotape - utterly convincing
evidence of his guilt to the world's press, largely, if wilfully,
ignored by the Muslim world - helped to obscure the fact that Mr
Evil, seemed to have disappeared. It also helped to airbrush a few
other facts away. We could forget that US air strikes, according to
statistics compiled by a Chicago University professor, have now
killed more innocent Afghans than the hijackers killed westerners
and others in the World Trade Centre. We could forget that Mullah
Omar, the mysterious leader of the Taliban, has also got away.
We could ignore the fact that, save for a few brave female souls,
almost all Afghan women in Kabul continued to wear the burqa. We
could certainly close our eyes to the massive preponderance of
Northern Alliance killers represented in the new UN-supported,
pro-western Government in Kabul. We could clap our hands when
a mere 50 Royal Marines arrived in Afghanistan this weekend to
support a UN-mandated British-led "peace" force of only a few
thousand men who will need the Kabul government's permission to
operate in the city and which, in numbers, will come to about
one-third of the complement of the British Army destroyed in the
Kabul Gorge in 1842.
The "peace" force thinks it will have to defend humanitarian aid
convoys from robbers and dissident Taliban. In fact, it will have to
fight off the Northern Alliance mafia and drug-growers and
warlords, as well as the vicious guerrillas sent out to strike them by
bin Laden's survivors. If nothing else, the Taliban made the roads
and villages of Afghanistan safe for Afghans and foreigners alike.
Now, you can scarcely drive from Kabul to Jalalabad.
Presumably, the CIA will let us pay the Alliance mobsters for their
war in Afghanistan. One of the untold stories of this conflict is the
huge amount of money handed out to militia leaders to persuade
them to fight for the US. When Taliban members changed sides for
an Alliance payment of $250,000 and then attacked their
benefactors, we all dwelt on their treachery. None of us asked how
the Alliance - which didn't have enough money to pay for bullets
a few weeks earlier - could throw a quarter of a million bucks at
the Taliban in the middle of a fire site. Nor how the Pashtun tribal
leaders of Kandahar province are now riding around in brand-new
four-wheel drives with thousands of dollars to hand out to their
gunmen. I wasn't surprised to read that a Somali warlord is now
offering his cash-for-hire services to the US for the next round of
the War on Civilisation.
Fortunately for us, the civilian victims of America's B52s will
remain unknown in their newly dug graves. Even before the war
ended, around 3,700 of them - not counting Mullah Omar's and
bin Laden's gunmen - had been ripped to pieces in our War for
Civilisation. A few scattered signs of discontent - the crowd that
assaulted me two weeks ago, for example, outraged at the killing of
their families - can be quickly erased from the record.
It is obviously perverse to note that I haven't met a single ordinary Muslim or, indeed many westerners - Pakistani, Afghan, Arab, British, French, American - who actually believe all this guff. Let's just remember that the new Kabul government is as committed to support "Islam, democracy, pluralism (sic) and social justice'' as Mr Bush is to Good (sic) and the Destruction of Evil. Roll on next year, and don't worry about bin Laden - he may be back just in time to participate in Part Two of the War for Civilisation.