Here’s the deal. American troops will not defeat the Taliban. For one, we’re a two-hundred-year-old democracy fighting a 1400-year-old religion. We stand for the Enlightenment’s progressive notions of individual freedom. They stand for the Koran’s notion of a cohesive clan obeying the one true God. But the biggest reason we will not defeat them is they live there. One day, we leave. And Afghanistan people, on the whole, are fine with the Taliban and their Koranic foibles. So calling them evil and us good is simply missing the point. They are traditional and we are modern. And to my calculations, modernity does not equal goodness. Truth dig.com will take it from here:
Bush’s religious statements constantly reflected a conviction that good is identified with the United States and evil with its enemies. His final speech to the nation said: “America must maintain our moral clarity. I have often spoken to you about good and evil. This has made some uncomfortable. But good and evil are present in the world and between the two there can be no compromise.”
Barack Obama doesn’t like the Taliban because they oppress women and attack American invaders. I don’t know what the theologians would make of justice in all this, but it strikes me as a huge, mutually culturally ignorant, self-righteous, fanatically nationalist and ideological clash of societies, instead of any war between good and evil.
True enough in principle, but there is in this a trace of something of which any good Christian should be aware, the parable of the Pharisee and the poor man. The poor man took his place in the back of the synagogue, said to God that he was a sinner, and asked forgiveness. The Pharisee placed himself in the front row and reminded God of all the good things he had done, and his rich gifts to the temple, saying that he thanked God that he was not like other men.
Both Obama and Bush were saying in different ways that we Americans are good and Taliban or jihadists are bad. But the reason we are good is that we are we, and we are justified in punishing them because they are they. But the practicalities of the matter are a little different. Americans are the avengers of the fact that the Taliban before 2001 gave hospitality to Osama bin Laden and his people, who had been driven out of Sudan by American demands on the Sudan governmentThe Taliban government in Afghanistan had no grievances against the United States until Washington attacked Afghanistan in 2001 because the Taliban were observing what they considered their code of honor, to give hospitality and protection. Today they are trying to seize back control of their country from the rival Tajik people (of the old Northern Alliance), to whom the United States in 2002 had awarded Afghanistan, in return for their help in taking it away from the Taliban.Barack Obama doesn’t like the Taliban because they oppress women and attack American invaders. I don’t know what the theologians would make of justice in all this, but it strikes me as a huge, mutually culturally ignorant, self-righteous, fanatically nationalist and ideological clash of societies, instead of any war between good and evil.