What’s dead Afghans in the bigger picture of Afghan “liberation”?

The colonial mindset is a shocking thing to see.

Here’s Paula Broadwell, a research associate at the Harvard Center for Public Leadership (her new book is All In: The Education of General David Petraeus) writing glowingly of American fire-power in Afghanistan. A “Destroying the village in order to save it” mentality.

The West deserves to be beaten badly there with this kind of attitude:

On that December visit, Petraeus commended Flynn’s efforts and relayed to MG James Terry, the RC-SOUTH commanding general, to take a similar approach to what 1-320th was doing on a grander scale as it applies to the districts north of Arghandab. Flynn was confident in his unit’s measures: “As of today, more of the local population talks to us and the government than talk to the Taliban, who provide no services to the people,” claimed Flynn. “My goal now is to ensure we rapidly show some evidence of new structures or else the Taliban will nuke us with the ‘information operations gun’ in the spring and we have the potential to face additional fighters unnecessarily.” Reconstruction for a mosque and groundbreaking for a new house begin this month.

On January 1, Flynn spoke with his biggest doubter in the village, “Mohammad,” and re-emphasized that he “will not rest until his village is built.” Mohammad, who in a fit of theatrics had accused Flynn of ruining his life after the demolition, acknowledged as he witnessed the groundbreaking that he did not believe the rebuild would happen until that very moment.

Earlier this week, a GIRoA delegation led by President Karzai’s advisor, Mohammad Sadiq Aziz, said Afghan and foreign forces caused unreasonable damage to homes and orchards and displaced a number of people. Indeed, clearing operations are a necessary evil to weed out the Taliban, and they often leave devastating destruction in the wake. But what Aziz failed to note is the tremendous effort some units, like 1-320th, have made to rebuild his country. As of today, reconstruction efforts are well on track for Tarok Kalache and others in his AO. Mosque construction is underway, the irrigation canals and culverts are being restored, and the local government has been an active participant in the process of assisting the people of the village in rebuilding their homes. Just last week, the district governor, Shah Mohammed, signed land deeds for all 14 landowners of the village which will set the conditions for future land titles to be issued — something that only happens in Kandahar City now. In the coming days, the villagers will be compensated and meet with local contractors approved by the district governor to begin rebuilding the homes.… As Flynn likes to say to his troops, “Time to ‘getterdun.'”

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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