I am reading Robert Fisk's book, 'The Great War for Civilisation' at the moment. I am enjoying it, and learning a great deal from it. Unfortunate that it is so big a book, but I suppose it is an enormous subject, and indeed Fisk's life's work in effect. Afghanistan, Iran and now I am onto Iraq. The main lesson is the obvious one, Islamic societies do not want to be told what to do by the west! They desire decent treatment, and independence. Extremists like Bin Laden are not the problem, that is the misuse and misunderstanding of the culture by those that think they can push the world around.
There are many failings in the societies of the middle east, far too many! Cruel savagery is not uncommon. Savagery of a kind not seen in the west since, well, the last time it was seen. Human beings are all the same underneath after all! The British, French, Russian and U.S. empires have all made promises they would not keep, and used and abused the area for their own ends. They still do! It is remarkable how many mistakes have been made in the past and now are being repeated because experts, and ignorant leaders, either do not know of them, or for some obscure reason, imagine that 'This time it will be different.' How wrong they are.
What to do? Good question, I hope you have the answer! I don't.
We could say Jesus is in control and working out his plan. True, but we see it as in a very dark mirror. Many suffer and die if the troops remain, and many will suffer and die if they leave. Oil, the main point for Bush, will keep the interest ongoing. Terrorist strikes may also keep troops there. But again, can you win a war in Afghanistan? The British didn't, the Russians with great power failed miserably, and it is hundreds of years since anyone conquered that land. Will a few thousand, well trained, troops win now? No is the answer. If Pakistan helps out they might. Pakistan cannot help more than she is doing, the people would turn on the leaders. The Al-Quedah (you spell it!) threat may not be as great now as it was. many other groups working alone may be more of a danger. Instead of fighting, maybe dealing with Muslims would be a better, long term idea. However, I have no idea how it would work. Did you notice me going round in circles here?