2. The Love Affair of the Past
In the case of Osama Bin Laden, there was a time when his violence against an enemy and his ability to raise money around sympathetic members of his circle was an asset to this nation’s agenda. When “Operation Cyclone” was put into effect in order to create a Vietnam-like atmosphere for Russia inside Afghanistan, Bin Laden was heralded as a freedom fighter. His belief in an extremely conservative version of Islam was of no consequence; the methods used to kill Russians by Mujahideen fighters, unquestioned. It was a guerrilla war, in which victory would come slowly and at a very high cost to the people of Afghanistan. Only one thing mattered: killing and punishing the enemy.
I often thought of that, especially when I was in Afghanistan. I glanced over mass graveyards full of green flags and wondered what these people were told they were fighting for. Was it their duty as Muslims to repel the invasion of a people whose government didn’t believe in organized religion? On the flipside, sitting inside a tank outside of Kabul broken and deformed by war, I thought of the Russian troops who died in it. I’m sure these kids didn’t want to go to war, they didn’t ask to go; much like our soldiers, they were simply following orders. I’m sure their death left a hole in their mother’s heart, the same kind of hole that is left in an American mothers heart who is told that her son or daughter has perished in Basra or Khandahar. And yet there are people who thought that it was worth it, that the might of Communism, the threat of it was so great that no expense should be spared and that the allies used in this war would be given free range.
The religious fanatics and their antics were of no concern for the advisors to President Jimmy Carter. Some were scarred by memories of Russia’s Imperialist ambition (disguised as Communism at the time) and called for a slow bleeding of the USSR. Afghanistan was chosen to be the cutting tool. They would pay the ultimate price as their methods of war came to life in the ignorance they brewed and inhumanity they praised to gain their objective. So, now, the question becomes, what methods of inhumane deeds, what torture that we have overlooked waits to face us in the future? What rotting half cooked dead body have we made someone cry over and then excuse with a date rape phrase like “collateral damage”? Who is waiting for revenge in the future for the 9/11 that we have visited upon their lives.
After the collapse of the Dr. Najibullah’s regime, the loss of countless Afghan lives and over 20,000 Russian soldiers, Usāmah bin Muhammad bin Awad bin Lādin became another unpronounceable name that, to be quite honest and veer from the formal manner of journalism, nobody here gave a fuck about in 1989. The U.S. and its allies will downplay his roll, saying he just raised money, that he was not a great fighter. But he was a link, and a recognizable one that was considered as an asset to the CIA and to other intelligence services like the Pakistani ISI. In other words, he did to the Russians what we would call terrorism if it were done to us now.
However, we are left with a question. What is a terrorist exactly? Is it a person who commits random acts of violence against civilians or military personnel in order to push forth a political agenda? If that is the case, then when people playing a real video game in some military office fire a drone at a target and kill civilians, are they terrorists? How often do we actually employ people like this in The Middle East, in Latin America, Asian or Africa to affect results? Forgive me, I have left you with more questions than information, but maybe now you at least understand my sincerity. I do not wish to spoon feed you a story, but only to make you think for a moment.