A war for the world

‘Don’t increase the troops to Afghanistan; more troops are needed to train the local army and police; don’t set deadlines on withdrawal; troops can’t be there forever; we need a plan; having a date is premature; you can never win a war against the Taliban; Veitnam déjà vu…’

Regardless of what you otherwise think about Obama, you can’t help pitying this young president when it comes to Afghan policy. The media must be driving him crazy. You read three newspapers and you become a confused man. You don’t know what to do. You start having Vietnam nightmares.

To clear up the debris of critics, another critic is needed here. Somebody who doesn’t have the burden of secularism on his shoulders, or to put it differently, just like how Vinod Mehta wears the tag ‘pseudo-secular’ proudly, this critic would like the tag ‘pseudo-communal’. Or perhaps even ‘communal’, because that’s what the readers of this piece are going to call him.

Here we go.

First things first: Afghan is not Vietnam. The causes were different, the motives were different, and the strategies are different. More importantly it’s a different time. US had to go to war with Afghanistan. Bush may have said he wanted to liberate Muslim women, or his critics may have accused that Bush wanted oil. The real reason was to root out Islamic terrorism. This world could not afford to have a safe haven for this evil.

And now they are not losing this war. If you think that, next time try rebuilding a war-ravaged country full of illiterates where the fanatics and extremists mix and mingle. And also trying to win a war that was being fought so cowardly that all the teachings of Islam that Taliban seems to espouse seems to fall flat on their own face. Unlike what critics love to write, this predicament that the US is in should not be attributed to the weakness of their military might but to the nature of Islamic fundamentalism. The tribal leaders of Taliban are the ones who must be embarrassed about the nature of this war, about why, despite millions of dollars pouring in, they want to continue to keep their citizens on the edge of life, in abject poverty, cultivating opium and teaching Islam by pushing half of their population underground. The religious leaders in Pakistan and Afghanistan should answer the question why they want to keep their believers in perennial insecurity.

They, the Taliban, don’t realise that they are in a terrible conundrum. The US and the UK will be more than happy to leave their land but they can’t leave as long as the Taliban tribes keep fighting their troops.

The world of Islam – which shows astounding might and enviable unity when a wrong cartoon is drawn or a bad book gets written – should unite, show concern, and display their might in ensuring that the chasm between faith and prosperity is restored. When the Islamic world expects the rest of the Europe to rise to their support when a minaret ban is passed in Switzerland, the Islamic world should rise to the need when their brothers are in need. Not rise to their need by supplying arms but by supplying books.

The US and the UK are fighting a lonely war. The war for the world. And the world should gather around in support. If not to battle the Taliban, but at least to battle the critics.