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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Consequences of Stupid

In Afghanistan recently a NATO commander from Germany unwisely called in an air strike to demolish two filled fuel trucks that had been hijacked from a NATO convoy by the Taliban. The trucks had been spotted mired down in a place called Kunduz, but Intelligence had not also informed the Colonel that the people swarming around it were not Taliban fighters but were instead local villagers who had been told by the Taliban to come get all the fuel that they could drain, free. As a result, when the rockets hit and blew up the trucks, a large number of civilians died.

But that wasn't the only tragic after-effect of the Tale of the Two Trucks.

A British journalist named Farrell thought it was worth the gamble to go into that Taliban-controlled area to check out things, despite the fact that he was quite definitely warned not to, not only by the western military but also by the local village elders. Just as predicted, he and his interpreter, a man named Muradi, were promptly grabbed. Negotiations followed and seemed to be going well, but then NATO special forces thought it was worth the risk to try a rescue. And they did rescue Farrell, but at the too high cost of four fatalities, including Muradi, whose body had to be left behind, plus a British paratrooper and two others who presumably were Taliban because they were not named in the news report.

Now in Britain indignant voices are being raised about the wisdom of the operation, and in defence one NATO source said, "Being stupid does not give you a death sentence."

But in a place like Afghanistan it very definitely does. And not only that but also it was questionable for GWBush to go in there in the first place, and just as B. Obama is running the strong risk of being accused of acting in the same way if he fails to hit on an excuse to get out of there with some dispatch, after B. Clinton had much more prudently satisfied himself with zinging in a few Tomahawk shots and then leaving well enough alone, and just as historically it's been incredibly stupid for the British to go into Afghanistan time and time again over several centuries, only to be evicted each time, usually at a high expenditure of lives.

And then there were the Russians.

That was why the Russians, the victors in the greatest and most sweeping military campaign ever fought, in their expulsion of the Nazis from their land in the Second World War, found it so expedient to get out of what should've been much easier Afghanistan after having mounted expeditions there for about eight years. The Russians finally saw that the place was giving their forces far too many opportunities to act stupidly.


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