Afghanistan: Connecting the government to the people

One of the ways in which America is trying to get out of Afghanistan is to get the government to work with the people.

The Washington Post had an article that the US Army is now deploying the Abrams M1 tank for the first time in the Afghan war. And with no sense of irony an officer commented on the shock and awe:

“The tanks bring awe, shock and firepower,” the officer said. “It’s pretty significant.”

We know how that shock and awe thingy worked out in Iraq.

And in another mirror world of irony reflecting all the way back to the Vietnam era of “Pacification” (which just meant destroying villages – at the time one officer in Vietnam was quoted as saying “We had to destroy the village in order to save it.”) the Post story at the end quotes another officer on how well America is “connecting” the Afghan people to the government:

In another recent operation in the Zhari district, U.S. soldiers fired more than a dozen mine-clearing line charges in a day. Each one creates a clear path that is 100 yards long and wide enough for a truck. Anything that is in the way – trees, crops, huts – is demolished.

“Why do you have to blow up so many of our fields and homes?” a farmer from the Arghandab district asked a top NATO general at a recent community meeting.

Although military officials are apologetic in public, they maintain privately that the tactic has a benefit beyond the elimination of insurgent bombs. By making people travel to the district governor’s office to submit a claim for damaged property, “in effect, you’re connecting the government to the people,” the senior officer said.

Err… yeah: “We had to destroy their homes in order to connect the government with the people.”

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>