Excuse me while I run around the block naked screaming at the top of my lungs. Certainly I’m not the only one being driven crazy by the examples of cognitive dissonance emanating from the various hawks and military megaphones lately.
John McCain and Liz Cheney are all over the tube criticizing President Obama for not sending another 40,000 troops to Afghanistan to “protect America’s interests.” (Whatever the hell that is at this point.)
Meanwhile, the officers in charge of the war are telling news outlets that the new strategy is to win the confidence of the Afghan people so they can learn to protect themselves from the terrorists in their midst. Of course, the “terrorists” are often their cousins, so it’s a bit of a quandry for some of the locals.
Required reading now for U.S. military honchos is “Three Cups of Tea” by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin (2006, Penguin Books.) Mortenson spoke in Clayton, MO, recently and mentioned that certain higher-ups such as Gen. Petraeus are now reading his book. Someone at the Pentagon finally got the message that people don’t like having their family members blown to bits. Well, duh.
Mortenson’s inspiring story is worth the read all by itself. But the screaming crazy part is what we could have done with the billions of dollars we’ve spent killing Aghans and making them hate us even more than they already did. With a tiny portion of that money, Mortenson could have built hundreds (nay, thousands) of schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. His take-home message is that educating the girls in those countries is the key to bringing them into the 21st century. His Central Asia Institute has built over 78 schools in the most remote areas of those countries.
The book’s title comes from a Balti proverb: “The first time you share tea with a Balti, you are a stranger. The second time you take tea, you are an honored guest. The third time you share a cup of tea, you become family…”
President Obama understands that there are better ways to “protect America’s interests” than by scolding and threatening people. But the neo-cons just can’t get their arms around that concept. So they dump all over Obama for being awarded a Nobel Peace Prize while at the same time they are hollering that we need “peace” in Afghanistan so we can move on to the next battleground in the war on terrorism.
Is this batshit crazy or what?