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An interesting take on why democracy won't work in Afganistan

http://news.yahoo.com/s/csm/20090820/cm_csm/yjohnsonmason

By Thomas H. Johnson and M. Chris Mason Thomas H. Johnson And M. Chris Mason – Thu Aug 20, 5:00 am ET

Monterey, Calif.; and Washington – As the world watches today's presidential election in Afghanistan, Americans would do well to ponder the lessons of Vietnam.

The similarities are striking. The Republic of South Vietnam also held elections during the US intervention there, despite an ongoing counterinsurgency. Before American troops got involved, both countries had won upset victories over European powers after a decade of fighting, only to slide into another decade of largely north-south civil war.

As historian Eric Bergerud has noted, the United States lost in Vietnam ultimately not because of its deeply flawed approach to counterinsurgency, as damaging as that was, but because South Vietnam never established a government seen as legitimate by a majority of its people. Experts agree that a government that 85 to 90 percent of the population perceives as legitimate is the sine qua non of counterinsurgency success. South Vietnam never came close to achieving such legitimacy, and neither, unfortunately, has post-2001 Afghanistan. In terms of incompetence and endemic corruption, Kabul is Saigon déjà vu.

That's why we shouldn't read too much into today's election. Even if it were to yield a high voter turnout, have relatively few irregularities, and produce a strong majority for the winner, it won't give the new government legitimacy.

The father of modern sociology, Max Weber, pointed out that governments draw their legitimacy from three basic sources: traditional, religious, and legal. The first two are self-explanatory; by "legal," Weber meant Western-style democracies based on popular representation and the rule of law. And in this sense, political failure in Afghanistan was baked into the cake in the 2001 Bonn Process.

In its rush to stand up an overnight democratic success story, the Bush administration overlooked Afghan history. Indeed, it was willfully ahistorical. That's tragic, because Afghan history demonstrates conclusively and beyond dispute that legitimacy of governance there is derived exclusively from Weber's first two sources: traditional (in the form of the monarchy and tribal patriarchies) and religious. Either there has been a king, or religious leadership, or a leader validated by the caliphate (or afterwards by indigenous religious polities).

Often in Afghan history, legitimacy thus derived has been reinforced by other means, usually coercive and often brutal. For example, the rule of Amir Abdur Rahman, "The Iron Amir," (1880-1901) and that of the Taliban (1996-2001) were predicated on accepted sources of legitimacy of governance (dynastic and religious, respectively), but reinforced by totalitarian methods. These two examples make the point that legitimacy should not be conflated with popularity: having the authority to rule is quite distinct from being a popular ruler. American presidents, for example, are always legitimate leaders but not always popular ones.

This historical reality poses a major problem for the US. Democracy is not a coat of paint. A feudal society in which women are still largely treated as property and literacy hovers below 10 percent in rural areas does not magically shortcut 400 years of political development and morph into a democracy in a decade. The current government of Afghanistan's claim to legitimacy is based entirely on a legal source – winning an election. Yet this has no historical basis for legitimizing Afghan rule. The winner of today's election will largely be seen as illegitimate because he is elected.

The tragic mistake, which we warned against, was in eliminating the Afghan monarchy from a ceremonial role in the new Afghan Constitution. Nearly two thirds of the delegates to the loya jirga in 2002 signed a petition to make the aging King Zaher Shah the interim head of state, and only massive US interference behind the scenes in the form of bribes, secret deals, and arm twisting got the US-backed candidate for the job, Hamid Karzai, installed instead.

The same US and UN policymakers then rode shotgun over a constitutional process that eliminated the monarchy entirely. This was the Afghan equivalent of the 1964 Diem Coup in Vietnam: afterward, there was no possibility of creating a stable secular government. While an Afghan king could have conferred legitimacy on an elected leader in Afghanistan, without one, an elected president is on a one-legged stool.

An American cannot declare himself king and be seen as legitimate: monarchy is not a source of legitimacy of governance in America. Similarly, a man cannot be voted president in Afghanistan and be perceived as legitimate. Systems of government normally grow from existing traditions, as they did in the US after the Revolutionary War, for example. In Afghanistan, they were imposed externally. Representative democracy is simply not a source of legitimacy in Afghanistan at this point in its development. This explains in no small measure why a religious source of legitimacy in the form of the hated Taliban is making such a powerful comeback.

As was the case in Vietnam after the Diem Coup, there is little likelihood today of establishing a strong central government in Kabul which is genuinely seen as legitimate in the eyes of the Afghan people and which has significant public support across the country's ethno-sectarian divides. As a revision of the Afghan Constitution to restore a ceremonial monarchy is now highly unlikely, the only remaining option is to move away from counterproductive efforts to "extend the reach of the central government," which further undermine traditional sources of local legitimacy and resistance to the Taliban, and work instead to re-empower legitimate local authorities in a more decentralized state.

Thomas H. Johnson is a research professor at the Department of National Security Affairs and director of the Program for Culture and Conflict Studies at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif. M. Chris Mason is a retired foreign service officer who served in 2005 as a political officer on the provincial reconstruction team in Afghanistan's Paktika Province. He's currently a senior fellow at the Program for Culture and Conflict Studies and at the Center for Advanced Defense Studies in Washington.
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Old 08-24-2009, 05:51 AM
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Old 08-24-2009, 06:04 AM
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Theres a war in Afghanistan?? Who woulda thunk?? I guess the media forgot about it.

Oh wait, it's Obamas war, so it's all hush hush. Never mind....
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Old 08-24-2009, 06:22 AM
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Oh wait, it's Obamas war, so it's all hush hush......
Exactly.
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Old 08-24-2009, 06:23 AM
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This article is supposed to reveal something NEW?

Afgans Monarch is usually chosen by the Heads of the Tribes or Clans. He wields little power and his main function is to settle disputes. Agan is a notoriously decentalized country, where the norm are feuds and local disputes. The only time the Afgans unite in a common cause is to defeat an invader. After the invader is expelled they go back to the old ways.

The US did it right when we sent in less than 200 troops/CIA operatives. We bribed and availed the Northern Alliance the use of Airpower. The Taliban as is custom was allowed by the Agans to melt away. Bribery works well in Afgan.

The West including Russia don't really understand the dynamics of the place. Pouring more troops into Afgan at some point is going to appear to be an invading army. The Brits lost 2 whole armies in Afgan during the 19th century and the USSR got their behinds sent back to Moscow. The Afgans style of warfare is guerrilia to begin with. Hit and run, peck away until your enemy collapses.

Petraus as commander of SOCOM is a bright guy should understand this. Afgan is not a modern country, with a established civil service. However will Obama, and now Afgasn is his tar baby.
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Old 08-24-2009, 06:25 AM
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Let's see, we have "borders" established by external governments. You have people that are little more than tribesmen. They do not care about a "nation" only about their family, clan and village.

Yeah, this is gonna be a cinch
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Old 08-24-2009, 07:24 AM
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Answer me this:

1. Why are we there again? The world's #1 superpower is afraid of these framers with that live in dirt floor shacks?

2. Why can't we kick their azz? We have remote contol drones, B-52's, A-10s, F-16s, A1-M1 tanks, Super carriers, smart bombs, and the best equipped and brightest troops on the ground. They have Ak-47s and bombs made from crap the Russians left behind 20 years ago.

Reality check please.
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Old 08-24-2009, 07:57 AM
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Answer me this:

1. Why are we there again? The world's #1 superpower is afraid of these framers with that live in dirt floor shacks?

2. Why can't we kick their azz?
Why should we kick their azzes?
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NATO is going to lose the war in A-stan.
Old 08-24-2009, 08:13 AM
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Answer me this:

1. Why are we there again? The world's #1 superpower is afraid of these framers with that live in dirt floor shacks?

2. Why can't we kick their azz? We have remote contol drones, B-52's, A-10s, F-16s, A1-M1 tanks, Super carriers, smart bombs, and the best equipped and brightest troops on the ground. They have Ak-47s and bombs made from crap the Russians left behind 20 years ago.

Reality check please.
They beat the Mongols, Brits(twice), and the Russians.

Why exactly is it that you think we'll do any better?
Old 08-24-2009, 08:14 AM
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Why should we kick their azzes?
We SHOULD because we are able to if you look at thier toys vs our toys.
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Old 08-24-2009, 09:27 AM
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Why exactly is it that you think we'll do any better?
It not what "I" think, it's that Washington thinks we can do better.
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Old 08-24-2009, 09:28 AM
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We SHOULD because we are able to if you look at thier toys vs our toys.
That viewpoint has caused more instability, death and destruction than anything short of religion. Unless you are speaking about totally depopulating a county via WMD, there is no technology available that will allow us to win in the long term.

The Greeks, Romans, Italians, Germans, French, British, Dutch and the US (and many others), have tried to impose the will again and again against people who are willing to wage a guerrilla war. All have failed in the end.

There has not been a single instance of a successful long term win for the invading army. The British (the supposed experts in guerrilla warfare have had the most "success" (short term only) and in almost all cases they committed very small numbers of advisers/experts and pulled out in very short time-frames.

The reason we are in Afghanistan is revenge. That has a very poor success rate though out history. It does not solve problems, it creates still more problems.

If we want to keep a country destabilized, nothing works better than supporting an guerrilla insurgency (note: you support guerrilla actions by being for or against them).

This course of action is doomed to failure. The US was in Vietnam for only a few years more than we have been in Afghanistan.
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Old 08-24-2009, 10:00 AM
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That article made me laugh. Three sources of government and two of them rely on brutal treatment of the populace to maintain control. Traditional and religious both require a strong heel, so to me, they are one and the same.

Maybe we should learn from the success that is India. We should treat the Afghans worse than the Brits treated the Indians and wait until they realize that the only way to send us home is to protest peacefully. Should only take a few thousand years I'm guessing.
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Old 08-24-2009, 10:18 AM
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The reason we are in Afghanistan is revenge. That has a very poor success rate though out history. It does not solve problems, it creates still more problems.



.

BS...

1. The US could not let Osma operate with impunity. His sanctuary had to be taken away from him so that he could not operate in the open.

2. As the Shadow Minister of defense to the UK said in a speech before parliament after 911. "The US has been the guarantor of global security since the end of WW2. If America fails to act global security will fail." This was the psychological component of having to prove America still had the will to fight a war. After all Osma said, "Americans don't have the balls to fight anymore." or something to that effect.
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Old 08-24-2009, 10:26 AM
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To those with very, very short memories:
Afganistan is home to the taliban.
The taliban invited Al Qaeda into their country, and helped them set up and run terrorist training camps to teach terrorists how to attack the west. That's us.
These terrorists killed us. Thousands of us. And they were only getting started. Remember now? Those are facts, not opinion.

We went over there to kill the terrorists and those who were helping the terrorists before they could kill us. Starting to come back to you yet?

I suppose if members of your family were among ther dead from any one of the following attacks you'd remember.

Terrorist Acts Suspected of or Inspired by al-Qaeda
The following list includes the date, target of attacks, and casualties of attacks by the terrorist goup al-Qaeda.

1993 (Feb.): Bombing of World Trade Center (WTC); 6 killed.
1993 (Oct.): Killing of U.S. soldiers in Somalia.
1996 (June): Truck bombing at Khobar Towers barracks in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, killed 19 Americans.
1998 (Aug.): Bombing of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania; 224 killed, including 12 Americans.
1999 (Dec.): Plot to bomb millennium celebrations in Seattle foiled when customs agents arrest an Algerian smuggling explosives into the U.S.
2000 (Oct.): Bombing of the USS Cole in port in Yemen; 17 U.S. sailors killed.
2001 (Sept.): Destruction of WTC; attack on Pentagon. Total dead 2,992.
2001 (Dec.): Man tried to denote shoe bomb on flight from Paris to Miami.
2002 (April): Explosion at historic synagogue in Tunisia left 21 dead, including 11 German tourists.
2002 (May): Car exploded outside hotel in Karachi, Pakistan, killing 14, including 11 French citizens.
2002 (June): Bomb exploded outside American consulate in Karachi, Pakistan, killing 12.
2002 (Oct.): Boat crashed into oil tanker off Yemen coast, killing 1.
2002 (Oct.): Nightclub bombings in Bali, Indonesia, killed 202, mostly Australian citizens.
2002 (Nov.): Suicide attack on a hotel in Mombasa, Kenya, killed 16.
2003 (May): Suicide bombers killed 34, including 8 Americans, at housing compounds for Westerners in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
2003 (May): 4 bombs killed 33 people targeting Jewish, Spanish, and Belgian sites in Casablanca, Morocco.
2003 (Aug.): Suicide car-bomb killed 12, injured 150 at Marriott Hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia.
2003 (Nov.): Explosions rocked a Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, housing compound, killing 17.
2003 (Nov.): Suicide car-bombers simultaneously attacked 2 synagogues in Istanbul, Turkey, killing 25 and injuring hundreds.
2003 (Nov.): Truck bombs detonated at London bank and British consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, killing 26.
2004 (March): 10 bombs on 4 trains exploded almost simultaneously during the morning rush hour in Madrid, Spain, killing 191 and injuring more than 1,500.
2004 (May): Terrorists attacked Saudi oil company offices in Khobar, Saudi Arabia, killing 22.
2004 (June): Terrorists kidnapped and executed American Paul Johnson, Jr., in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
2004 (Sept.): Car bomb outside the Australian embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, killed 9.
2004 (Dec.): Terrorists entered the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, killing 9 (including 4 attackers).
2005 (July): Bombs exploded on 3 trains and a bus in London, England, killing 52.
2005 (Oct.): 22 killed by 3 suicide bombs in Bali, Indonesia.
2005 (Nov.): 57 killed at 3 American hotels in Amman, Jordan.
2006 (Jan.): Two suicide bombers carrying police badges blow themselves up near a celebration at the Police Academy in Baghdad, killing nearly 20 police officers. Al-Qaeda in Iraq takes responsibility.
2006 (Aug.): Police arrest 24 British-born Muslims, most of whom have ties to Pakistan, who had allegedly plotted to blow up as many as 10 planes using liquid explosives. Officials say details of the plan were similar to other schemes devised by al-Qaeda.
2007 (April): Suicide bombers attack a government building in Algeria's capital, Algiers, killing 35 and wounding hundreds more. Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb claims responsibility.
2007 (April): Eight people, including two Iraqi legislators, die when a suicide bomber strikes inside the Parliament building in Baghdad. An organization that includes al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia claims responsibility. In another attack, the Sarafiya Bridge that spans the Tigris River is destroyed.
2007 (June): British police find car bombs in two vehicles in London. The attackers reportedly tried to detonate the bombs using cell phones but failed. Government officials say al-Qaeda is linked to the attempted attack. The following day, an SUV carrying bombs bursts into flames after it slams into an entrance to Glasgow Airport. Officials say the attacks are connected.
2007 (December): As many as 60 people are killed in two suicide attacks near United Nations offices and government buildings in Algiers, Algeria. The bombings occur within minutes of each other. Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, formerly called the Salafist Group for Preaching, claims responsibility. It's the worst attack in the Algeria in more than 10 years.
2008 (January): In the worst attack in Iraq in months, a suicide bomber kills 30 people at a home where mourners were paying their respects to the family of a man killed in a car bomb. The Iraqi military blames the attack on al-Qaeda in Iraq.
2008 (February): Nearly 100 people die when two women suicide bombers, who are believed to be mentally impaired, attack crowded pet markets in eastern Baghdad. The U.S. military says al-Qaeda in Iraq has been recruiting female patients at psychiatric hospitals to become suicide bombers.
2008 (April): A suicide bomber attacks the funeral for two nephews of a prominent Sunni tribal leader, Sheik Kareem Kamil al-Azawi, killing 30 people in Iraq's Diyala Province.
2008 (April): A suicide car bomber kills 40 people in Baquba, the capital of Diyala Province in Iraq.
2008 (April): Thirty-five people die and 62 are injured when a woman detonates explosives that she was carrying under her dress in a busy shopping district in Iraq’s Diyala Province.
2008 (May): At least 12 worshipers are killed and 44 more injured when a bomb explodes in the Bin Salman mosque near Sana, Yemen.
2008 (May): An al-Qaeda suicide bomber detonates explosives in Hit, a city in the Anbar Province of Iraq, killing six policemen and four civilians, and injuring 12 other people.
2008 (June): A car bomb explodes outside the Danish Embassy in Pakistan, killing six people and injuring dozens. Al-Qaeda claims responsibility, saying the attack was retaliation for the 2006 publication of political cartoons in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten that depicted the Islamic prophet Muhammad.
2008 (June): A female suicide bomber kills 15 and wounds 40 others, including seven Iraqi policemen, near a courthouse in Baquba, Iraq.
2008 (June): A suicide bomber kills at least 20 people at a meeting between sheiks and Americans in Karmah, a town west of Baghdad.
2008 (August): About two dozens worshippers are killed in three separate attacks as they make their way toward Karbala to celebrate the birthday of 9th-century imam Muhammad al-Mahdi. Iraqi officials blame al-Qaeda in Iraq for the attacks.
2008 (August): A bomb left on the street explodes and tears through a bus carrying Lebanese troops, killing 15 people, nine of them soldiers. No one claims responsibility for the attack, but in 2007, the army fought an al-Qaeda linked Islamist group in Tripoli.
2008 (August): At least 43 people are killed when a suicide bomber drives an explosives-laden car into a police academy in Issers, a town in northern Algeria.
2008 (August): Two car bombs explode at a military command and a hotel in Bouira, killing a dozen people. No group takes responsibility for either attack, Algerian officials said they suspect al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb is behind the bombings.
2008 (September): In its first acknowledged ground attack inside Pakistan, U.S. commandos raid a village that is home to al-Qaeda militants in the tribal region near the border with Afghanistan. The number of casualties is unclear.
2008 (September): A car bomb and a rocket strike the U.S. embassy in Yemen as staff arrived to work, killing 16 people, including 4 civilians. At least 25 suspected al-Qaeda militants are arrested for the attack.
2008 (November): at least 28 people die and over 60 more are injured when three bombs explode minutes apart in Baghdad, Iraq. Officials suspect the explosions are linked to al-Qaeda.

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Old 08-24-2009, 11:11 AM
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It not what "I" think, it's that Washington thinks we can do better.
Washington has been consumed with delusions of grandeur for decades.
Old 08-24-2009, 11:15 AM
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That viewpoint has caused more instability, death and destruction than anything short of religion. Unless you are speaking about totally depopulating a county via WMD, there is no technology available that will allow us to win in the long term.

The Greeks, Romans, Italians, Germans, French, British, Dutch and the US (and many others), have tried to impose the will again and again against people who are willing to wage a guerrilla war. All have failed in the end.

There has not been a single instance of a successful long term win for the invading army. The British (the supposed experts in guerrilla warfare have had the most "success" (short term only) and in almost all cases they committed very small numbers of advisers/experts and pulled out in very short time-frames.

The reason we are in Afghanistan is revenge. That has a very poor success rate though out history. It does not solve problems, it creates still more problems.

If we want to keep a country destabilized, nothing works better than supporting an guerrilla insurgency (note: you support guerrilla actions by being for or against them).

This course of action is doomed to failure. The US was in Vietnam for only a few years more than we have been in Afghanistan.
As much as it pains me, i am in complete agreement with the frenchie.

The correct course of action in A-stan is a minimal on the ground specops footprint bolstered by massive air power to keep the central govt perpetually destabilized and to deny the terrorists a safe haven to export their operations.

We could do that for decades for minimal cost.

Which is exactly what Bay-rack is NOT doing. All "the one's" current strategy is going to do is accelerate our defeat.

Last edited by m21sniper; 08-24-2009 at 11:24 AM..
Old 08-24-2009, 11:18 AM
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"YOU FOOL! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders. The most famous is never get involved in a land war in Asia, but only slightly less well known is this: 'Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line'"

There is no rational tie to any war fought in Afghanistan prior to our efforts there.

I will make no judgments concerning whether we should be there or not since it matters not...there are boots on the ground there now as all of us hover above our keyboards, ready to strike.

The differences in execution of the campaigns, as I know them and studied them, are striking but tragically similar.

Guerrilla insurgencies (note: you support guerrilla actions by being for or against them - thanks RPSQ) require sanctuary. The creation of persistent UAS presence has been a revelation in warfare, not a panacea, but certainly carving out huge swaths of sanctuary where the business of guerrilla warfare is organized.

Warfare 24 hours a day was impossible during every failed campaign in Afghanistan; but our ability to wage it, to keep the pressure on, has been, in fact, one of the singular aspects in every debrief of captured guerrillas: "it never stopped."

Will it work?

Yes, from a strictly military standpoint, from those who, like McNamara, count things.

Otherwise, no. Our military is great at so many things we tend to assign it roles and missions they are neither qualified for or particularly good at at the macro level.

Time is an armies greatest enemy since it stretches logistics and tactics...the Afghans measure time in way we do not understand: if they are for us we will meet a measure of success. If not...
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Old 08-24-2009, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by sammyg2 View Post
To those with very, very short memories:
Afganistan is home to the taliban.
The taliban invited Al Qaeda into their country, and helped them set up and run terrorist training camps to teach terrorists how to attack the west. That's us.
These terrorists killed us. Thousands of us. And they were only getting started. Remember now? Those are facts, not opinion.

We went over there to kill the terrorists and those who were helping the terrorists before they could kill us. Starting to come back to you yet?

I suppose if members of your family were among ther dead from any one of the following attacks you'd remember.

Terrorist Acts Suspected of or Inspired by al-Qaeda
The following list includes the date, target of attacks, and casualties of attacks by the terrorist goup al-Qaeda.

1993 (Feb.): Bombing of World Trade Center (WTC); 6 killed.
1993 (Oct.): Killing of U.S. soldiers in Somalia.
1996 (June): Truck bombing at Khobar Towers barracks in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, killed 19 Americans.
1998 (Aug.): Bombing of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania; 224 killed, including 12 Americans.
1999 (Dec.): Plot to bomb millennium celebrations in Seattle foiled when customs agents arrest an Algerian smuggling explosives into the U.S.
2000 (Oct.): Bombing of the USS Cole in port in Yemen; 17 U.S. sailors killed.
2001 (Sept.): Destruction of WTC; attack on Pentagon. Total dead 2,992.
2001 (Dec.): Man tried to denote shoe bomb on flight from Paris to Miami.
2002 (April): Explosion at historic synagogue in Tunisia left 21 dead, including 11 German tourists.
2002 (May): Car exploded outside hotel in Karachi, Pakistan, killing 14, including 11 French citizens.
2002 (June): Bomb exploded outside American consulate in Karachi, Pakistan, killing 12.
2002 (Oct.): Boat crashed into oil tanker off Yemen coast, killing 1.
2002 (Oct.): Nightclub bombings in Bali, Indonesia, killed 202, mostly Australian citizens.
2002 (Nov.): Suicide attack on a hotel in Mombasa, Kenya, killed 16.
2003 (May): Suicide bombers killed 34, including 8 Americans, at housing compounds for Westerners in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
2003 (May): 4 bombs killed 33 people targeting Jewish, Spanish, and Belgian sites in Casablanca, Morocco.
2003 (Aug.): Suicide car-bomb killed 12, injured 150 at Marriott Hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia.
2003 (Nov.): Explosions rocked a Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, housing compound, killing 17.
2003 (Nov.): Suicide car-bombers simultaneously attacked 2 synagogues in Istanbul, Turkey, killing 25 and injuring hundreds.
2003 (Nov.): Truck bombs detonated at London bank and British consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, killing 26.
2004 (March): 10 bombs on 4 trains exploded almost simultaneously during the morning rush hour in Madrid, Spain, killing 191 and injuring more than 1,500.
2004 (May): Terrorists attacked Saudi oil company offices in Khobar, Saudi Arabia, killing 22.
2004 (June): Terrorists kidnapped and executed American Paul Johnson, Jr., in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
2004 (Sept.): Car bomb outside the Australian embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, killed 9.
2004 (Dec.): Terrorists entered the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, killing 9 (including 4 attackers).
2005 (July): Bombs exploded on 3 trains and a bus in London, England, killing 52.
2005 (Oct.): 22 killed by 3 suicide bombs in Bali, Indonesia.
2005 (Nov.): 57 killed at 3 American hotels in Amman, Jordan.
2006 (Jan.): Two suicide bombers carrying police badges blow themselves up near a celebration at the Police Academy in Baghdad, killing nearly 20 police officers. Al-Qaeda in Iraq takes responsibility.
2006 (Aug.): Police arrest 24 British-born Muslims, most of whom have ties to Pakistan, who had allegedly plotted to blow up as many as 10 planes using liquid explosives. Officials say details of the plan were similar to other schemes devised by al-Qaeda.
2007 (April): Suicide bombers attack a government building in Algeria's capital, Algiers, killing 35 and wounding hundreds more. Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb claims responsibility.
2007 (April): Eight people, including two Iraqi legislators, die when a suicide bomber strikes inside the Parliament building in Baghdad. An organization that includes al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia claims responsibility. In another attack, the Sarafiya Bridge that spans the Tigris River is destroyed.
2007 (June): British police find car bombs in two vehicles in London. The attackers reportedly tried to detonate the bombs using cell phones but failed. Government officials say al-Qaeda is linked to the attempted attack. The following day, an SUV carrying bombs bursts into flames after it slams into an entrance to Glasgow Airport. Officials say the attacks are connected.
2007 (December): As many as 60 people are killed in two suicide attacks near United Nations offices and government buildings in Algiers, Algeria. The bombings occur within minutes of each other. Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, formerly called the Salafist Group for Preaching, claims responsibility. It's the worst attack in the Algeria in more than 10 years.
2008 (January): In the worst attack in Iraq in months, a suicide bomber kills 30 people at a home where mourners were paying their respects to the family of a man killed in a car bomb. The Iraqi military blames the attack on al-Qaeda in Iraq.
2008 (February): Nearly 100 people die when two women suicide bombers, who are believed to be mentally impaired, attack crowded pet markets in eastern Baghdad. The U.S. military says al-Qaeda in Iraq has been recruiting female patients at psychiatric hospitals to become suicide bombers.
2008 (April): A suicide bomber attacks the funeral for two nephews of a prominent Sunni tribal leader, Sheik Kareem Kamil al-Azawi, killing 30 people in Iraq's Diyala Province.
2008 (April): A suicide car bomber kills 40 people in Baquba, the capital of Diyala Province in Iraq.
2008 (April): Thirty-five people die and 62 are injured when a woman detonates explosives that she was carrying under her dress in a busy shopping district in Iraq’s Diyala Province.
2008 (May): At least 12 worshipers are killed and 44 more injured when a bomb explodes in the Bin Salman mosque near Sana, Yemen.
2008 (May): An al-Qaeda suicide bomber detonates explosives in Hit, a city in the Anbar Province of Iraq, killing six policemen and four civilians, and injuring 12 other people.
2008 (June): A car bomb explodes outside the Danish Embassy in Pakistan, killing six people and injuring dozens. Al-Qaeda claims responsibility, saying the attack was retaliation for the 2006 publication of political cartoons in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten that depicted the Islamic prophet Muhammad.
2008 (June): A female suicide bomber kills 15 and wounds 40 others, including seven Iraqi policemen, near a courthouse in Baquba, Iraq.
2008 (June): A suicide bomber kills at least 20 people at a meeting between sheiks and Americans in Karmah, a town west of Baghdad.
2008 (August): About two dozens worshippers are killed in three separate attacks as they make their way toward Karbala to celebrate the birthday of 9th-century imam Muhammad al-Mahdi. Iraqi officials blame al-Qaeda in Iraq for the attacks.
2008 (August): A bomb left on the street explodes and tears through a bus carrying Lebanese troops, killing 15 people, nine of them soldiers. No one claims responsibility for the attack, but in 2007, the army fought an al-Qaeda linked Islamist group in Tripoli.
2008 (August): At least 43 people are killed when a suicide bomber drives an explosives-laden car into a police academy in Issers, a town in northern Algeria.
2008 (August): Two car bombs explode at a military command and a hotel in Bouira, killing a dozen people. No group takes responsibility for either attack, Algerian officials said they suspect al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb is behind the bombings.
2008 (September): In its first acknowledged ground attack inside Pakistan, U.S. commandos raid a village that is home to al-Qaeda militants in the tribal region near the border with Afghanistan. The number of casualties is unclear.
2008 (September): A car bomb and a rocket strike the U.S. embassy in Yemen as staff arrived to work, killing 16 people, including 4 civilians. At least 25 suspected al-Qaeda militants are arrested for the attack.
2008 (November): at least 28 people die and over 60 more are injured when three bombs explode minutes apart in Baghdad, Iraq. Officials suspect the explosions are linked to al-Qaeda.
Oh, now don't get me wrong, I remember all the above for sure. But my God, we are the USA, why can't we beat some farmers with AK-47s riding on donkeys?
__________________
Paul Woodbury
Temple Terrace. Florida
See my Rennport Reunion and old IMSA pictures here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ury914/
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