The True Cost of the Afghan War and the Colonial Mindset Featured

“I prefer land to niggers” Cecil Rhodes

There is constant talk of evolution as the answer to the age-old question: what is the purpose of life on Planet Earth. The answer points to the conclusion of a purposeless life - we are another breed of species that follows the same cyclical pattern of birth, consumption, growth, procreation and death. Do the animals also ponder on the meaning of life and subjects like the beauty of art? I leave that to the evolutionists. The fact is, unlike the animal kingdom, human society is in a state of flux; our thoughts, ideas, values, and the food we harvest, deliver and consume using various modes of transport and the means of production are constantly changing.

However, does this change or evolution constitute progress? For example, our ability to kill thousands using high powered technology, and the last century has been the bloodiest in human history; even a feeble soldier can zap an entire town with his forefinger. We hail the internet to communicate and engage in global trade with ease, yet, it is also used to disseminate porn, making up 15 to 30% of the web traffic that includes child porn (abuse) and violent rape and other unspeakable things.

Many of us wish the dated colonial mindset of the Western establishment would evolve in line with the remarkable technological progress made over the last 100 years. A recent article in The Independent newspaper stated the cost of the Afghan war in financial terms of £40bn; that is the cost to the British tax payer, and listed the number of British soldiers killed and maimed, with no mention of the cost to the Afghans. Do they even matter? To date, I do not know the names of any of the Afghan families killed. Even after the recent conviction of the American perpetrator of the gruesome attack that cause the death of a defenceless Afghan family, and the shooting of women and children at point blank range, none of us know what they even looked like. There was no attempt to paint the soldier as a terrorist, who was certainly ‘radicalised’ enough to commit such a barbaric act.

Apart from the direct cost in terms of money and human casualties, what about the indirect cost to surviving grieving families that will linger on for decades. And the cost in terms of lost opportunities, had they been alive and the infrastructure of the country not destroyed, maybe they would have made substantial contribution and produce exceptional individuals to steer the country in a different direction. Nobody asks - why the ordinary innocent Afghans are still paying the price when no attack was launched from there against any British subjects and long after Al-Qaeda has vanished. The simple answer is – security that translates to tribal Afghans not yet having evolved enough to become like the stable and prosperous Western democracies; and only the Taliban are preventing this inevitable path to salvation.

The issue of Afghanistan came to the surface with the killing of Lee Rigby on the streets of London, when the killer and his supporters made references to it subsequently. We all condemned the murder without reservation; with the exception of the fringe radicals who claim state benefits and reside in the kebab shops and the council flats paid for by British taxpayers. One would also include the far right groups, the EDL (English Defence League), BNP (British National Party) and UKIP; they see vindication of their opposition to British foreign policy, and an example of the foreign ‘violent’ Jihadists attacking ‘non-violent’ soldiers. I wonder why these far right groups did not show such anger and resolve towards Irish terrorism that killed and maimed far more on the UK mainland.

It perplexes me that the media and politicians looking for scientific data to demonstrate the link between the violent British foreign policy and violent reaction to that. Is it not commonsense that one should expect some form of violent response, when you invade, bomb, kill, and humiliate a nation selectively? According to colonial Blair, who seems like a reincarnated Cecil Rhodes or Winston Churchill (who was involved in the Siege of Malakand in 1897), speak of civilising the natives as the solution to all the perceived problems, de-radicalise them, so that they see the world like we do.

Yamin Zakaria (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
Published on 13/06/2013
London, UK

Last modified on Thursday, 13 June 2013 20:54

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