The Afghan Taliban has claimed responsibility for killing 10 medical aid workers, 6 of them American.  These humanitarians provided eye care and other medical services to very remote areas of Afghanistan that can be reached only on pack mule or on foot.

The medical team has been accused of carrying bibles and proselytising.   All ten were shot at close range multiple times.  So much for humanitarian aid.  Where are those daisy cutters (aka commando vaults) when we need them?

Is it time to just let Afghanistan just go the way of the uber third world country?  How many American lives have to be lost and what exactly is our objective again?

32 Thoughts to “Taliban Kills 10 Medical Aid Workers”

  1. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    “Nation-Building” and war just don’t go together. Any time you want to jump up and down on Bush for these two wars, count me in.

  2. Emma

    I’m right there with you, Slow. Those wars are draining and killing our country in so many ways.

  3. I agree…the stars are realigning. I think Bush thought he was doing the right thing in Afghanistan. That’s about as benevolent as I can get.

  4. Morris Davis

    I don’t think I’ve ever said this before, but I agree with Slowpoke. Nation-building has always proven to be a fool’s errand. There are thousands of tribes in Afghanistan and to think we’re going to weave them into a unified country under central leadership is absurd. I believe President Bush was right to go to Afghanistan after 9/11 to hunt for Bin Laden and strike at al Qaeda. It was a mistake to expand that mission and it was mistake (to use as charitable a word as I can) to invade Iraq. Terrorist organizations are not dependent on governments and if we squeeze them in Afghanistan they will move their efforts to Somalia or Yemen or some other place where governments are weak, so unless we’re prepared to nation-build in every failed state on the planet our strategy is a mistake.

  5. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    And now we’ve stumbled upon the biggest weakness of the right….Neo-Cons (constant and pre-empitve war) vs. true conservatives (strong defense, VERY rarely used). Even if folks don’t realize it, that’s the essence of the division on the right. I have no idea who will win, and for all I know, it may kill the right, but we’ve GOT to purge the McCains, the Grahams, and whatever Bushes are still around.

  6. A more disparate group I have never seen in agreement.

    Slowpoke, while you are cleaning up, I would remove the religious right from the pack also…you know…those who want to invade your bedroom.

    Moe, total agreement.

    So how do we extricate ourselves from that region without losing total face? I am still smarting from Vietnam.

  7. We continue to see our country slide into economic chaos while at the same time we continue to see more and more Americans and other NATO forces killed and maimed. June and July were the worst months of this long war–June worst of NATO forces and July worst for Americans.

    Moe and Slowpoke, me and others have been saying that to try to force some sort of collective, central government on the people of Afghanistan is not possible. There have been people in this area of the world for perhaps as much as 50,000 years and certainly tribal units for at least 5,000 years. The Afghans have never trusted strangers or centralized government.

    President Hamid Karzai has told us to stuff it when it comes to investigation of corruption in his government. Hell, he has a brother who is a know drug lord and neighborhodd bully. We are reasonably certain that millions of American dollars are being siphoned off by influential Afghans to offshore accounts.

    We are trying to train more police and a larger army than Afghanistan can support and, in addition, at least 25% of those trained leave either for higher paying jobs or because the Taliban has convinced them to leave. The Taliban continues to grow and to engage in intimidation murders of tribal leaders.

    Can someone tell me what the hell is wrong with this picture?

  8. @Moon-howler
    Proabaly no way we are going to get out without losing a lot of face and butt. This is ultimately going to be Vietnam all over again. Our leaders, civilian and military, keep saying no, but they know damned well we are whizzing in the wind.

  9. e

    i have stated this before, only to be met with derision and ridicule, but the purpose of a military is to kill people and blow things up. if the leadership of a country is unwilling or unable to exercise the political and social will to carry out that purpose, then the ultimate result will be failure

  10. kelly3406

    The consensus after the the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989 was that the United States made a huge mistake by leaving a power vacuum. As noted in the movie Charlie Wilson’s war, “They were glorious and they changed the world… and then we f*** up the endgame. Even if our current nation-building (aka counter-insurgency) effort is not going well, it would be even more disastrous to withdraw.

    Perhaps it is time to consider an aggressive counter-terrorism strategy as suggested by Col. Thomas Snodgrass. The idea would be to assist the locals using CIA/special forces to fight Al Qaeda and the Pashtun Taliban. By staying in the region, we would be in a position to influence the outcome, but without the large expenditure of capital in blood and treasure.

  11. What’s the end game though? I* have never heard a clear objective. I am not willing to spend American money or lives trying to sort out a bunch of tribesmen. I certainly don’t want to do nation-building. We can’t afford it and I don’t think we have the skills or the resources to cross 10 centuries to bring these people up to speed.

  12. Are we agreeing or disagreeing? I cant even tell.

  13. Big Dog

    The primary reason for invading Afghanistan was to kill the people who
    planned, financed and ordered the 9-11 attacks so they wouldn’t do
    it again. That was and is a clear vital mission – cut the head off the snake
    before it crawls back into our home. This “nation building” BS
    won’t work there and has cost lives and treasure with the real mission
    still unaccomplished after nearly a decade. It is time to expel the media,
    take the white gloves off and teach the Taliban a lesson in terms they will
    understand. We need to stop sending fine young people to war with
    one hand tied behind their back. Just leaving isn’t an option unless you
    want to support America’s suicide. Muslim extremist started this nearly a
    decade ago and they will attack the “far enemy” again and again until
    they are punished harshly. We need a Harry Truman in the WH to take
    this conflict to the next level and end it – with America victory and the
    viper with its head chopped off and covered with rubble. It is us or them
    – there is no other outcome.

  14. @e
    You don’t have a clue. I don’t know what your background is but reading your statement says you don’t know S**t from Shinola when it comes to the role of the military.

  15. @Big Dog
    Russia tried what you are advocating and it didn’t work after 10 years. I agree about the nationbuilding BS–has not and will not work in Afghanistan. I have very mixed emotions about Islam–on the one hand we say we are a nation built on religious tolerance, but on the other hand we seem to be allowing a religion to exist that would destroy the very thing that allows it to exist in this nation. I cannot say it is the only religion that has been interested in world dominance–the Roman Catholic church killed millions of people trying to wipe out Jews and Muslims and anyone else who did not see the world as they did.

    To do what you advocate would perhaps mean laying nuclear waste to a most all of the Middle East and Malaysia and a shoot to kill policy for any remaining Muslims–men, women and children. Take no prisoners. This could mean your next door neighbor.

  16. Slowpoke Rodriguez


    Can’t argue there. Goldwater wasn’t too fond of the hard religious right, and I don’t care for them too much either.

  17. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    George S. Harris :
    You don’t have a clue. I don’t know what your background is but reading your statement says you don’t know S**t from Shinola when it comes to the role of the military.

    Speaking of which……when was the last time anyone even SAW a can of shin-o-la???

  18. I never realized that shin-o-la really was something. Is it shoe polish?

  19. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    Moon-howler :
    I never realized that shin-o-la really was something. Is it shoe polish?

    Shoe polish from the WWII era.

  20. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    So these folks were allegedly proselytizing, huh? I have to say, a pushy zealot witnessing to you can make visions of murder pop into one’s head.

  21. Morris Davis

    George – I started to reply to the same post and found myself a couple of paragraphs into a discussion on national security strategy and the role the military plays as just one of many levers of national power that may be used in extreme instances to defend our vital national interests. I finally hit delete when I concluded the effort would be futile. I think you probably summed up in one sentence what I was trying to say in several paragraphs. Moon and Elena – George’s comment illustrates the boot remark I made last week in a different forum … take a lesson. @George S. Harris

  22. Big Dog

    George S. Harris-

    My suggestion is not to declare war on all of Islam, but to crush
    with extreme prejudice those radical groups who have shown the
    desire and ability to kill Americans by the thousands. Our
    current tactics are PC, but, not working and costing us far too many
    lives and resources. We are engaged in a combat style that
    meets their objectives, not ours.

    There are no good options – we can only select the best of a bad lot.

    And your choice is …?

  23. The aid workers were not a proselytizing group, but were known Christians. The Taliban needs no excuse. And actually, my first thought was that this was done by corrupt Afghani Army or police, since they ransacked the vehicles and searched everyone first.

    The purpose of the military is to exert the national will upon a declared enemy, including breaking things and killing people. Nation building does work. However, we don’t have the political will to do it properly anymore. The original national organizations or values must be eradicated and western democratic value put into place. Imperial Japan was NOT a democratic nation and had never had those traditions. A very alien culture. Germany did have western democratic ideals, once. But other values prevented that from taking hold.

    Iraq is a partially successful example. However, our presence was the only thing that allowed what little democracy there was to take hold.

    Afghanistan first has to BECOME a nation before you can build one. It is a collection of tribes. Identity is to one’s religion and tribe, first. Then to Afghanistan. If you ask an Afghani WHAT he is, you will probably get his tribe. If you ask him WHERE he lives, then you will get Afghanistan.

    We are not willing to fight this war as needed. None within the western world seems to want to do what is needed. And I don’t mean tactics. I mean strategy. They have to decide on a strategic goal. Is it to defeat Islamic terrorism, to make it too expensive to conduct? Is it to defeat the Taliban only? Is it to make Afghanistan a “viable” (by western definitions) country? No one wants to decide on a strategic goal. I think that this is true because it would commit them to long term war with no options. And I think that if you follow any strategic goal you come to the conclusion that Shariah and fundamental Islam, or Islamism is fundamentally anathema to western values. One cannot only defeat Muslim terrorism through the military. The world must engage it on all fronts and in any variations and accept that the Islamists want to dominate the world. Except they have the patience to win their war within HUNDREDS of years and use the West’s existing freedoms to subvert that very freedom.

    Until we decide who the enemy is and what we want to do to the enemy, we will continue to flounder about in the dark.

  24. Wolverine

    I see a great deal of belief on this blog that Afghanistan under current circumstances is no place for externally motivated nation building and, given its history, may well never be. I cannot say that I disagree with that view at this point. I am sadly seeing what George Harris has described in his #7. Even with our military present in considerable numbers, I do not detect a sufficiently large and dedicated group of selfless Afghans willing to go tooth and nail after the Taliban. I see continued corruption and tribal vice national loyalties and I especially see an inability to create a strong, effective, and thoroughly loyal military and police force able to sustain itself through recruitment and retention. And imagine how fast many of these people might cave if we are no longer there. Bad news for certain. Indeed, not unlike South Vietnam in 1972-1975 I would think.

    So, let us suppose for purposes of argument that the views expressed here became official policy. In order to cut our losses in blood and treasure for a cause deemed to be uncertain at best, American and NATO fighting forces are largely withdrawn. We, in effect, abandon the field of our own volition. I would be interested in seeing here some thoughts as to what might subsequently happen in both Afghanistan and Pakistan as a result of our withdrawal. And just how would we readjust our counterterrorist policy in an effort to continue combatting al-Qaeda in all its forms, both a central leadership possibly relieved of the military pressure under which it now finds itself and the currently operationally independent components in such places as North Africa, Yemen, Somalia, and elsewhere, especially if they are able to re-engage in a meaningful way with that central leadership. As George Peppard would have said in his A-Team role: “We need a plan.”

  25. Would it be fair to say that nation building works much better after defeating the enemy?

    Germany and Japan come to mind. I also am thinking how different this country might be if the concept of nation-building had been practiced after the Civil War, rather than punishment. But that’s a story for another day, I suppose.

    And speaking of Japan, today is the 65th anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki. It took fire-bombing 10’s of cities, nuking Hiroshima and devasting losses on dump islands like Iwo Jima and Okinaka to get the Japanese to surrender. Nagasaki finally made believers out of them. The point? Enemies and be stubborn, especially when the leaders simply don’t see the civilians and rank and file as anything more than collatoral damage.

  26. Brian Carderelli of Harrisonburg who was a JMU grad was one of the Ameridans killed by the Taliban. That sort of sits too close to home. Hopefully, they will be hunted down and killed.

  27. Big Dog

    Germany and Japan had a strong sense of national identity, a large
    segment of their population was literate and they were ready to
    rebuild as democratic nations after their total defeat. One of the
    great triumphs of the Greatest Generation was to beat two strong
    foes in a horrible bloody war and then turn around and help rebuild
    them into something far better. The atomic bombings to end the
    war Japan started were terrible, but the alternative was?

    In Afghanistan we are dealing with a primitive tribal culture that hasn’t
    progressed, except in warfare, for over a thousand years. They are nasty
    and brutish and don’t want us there even less than we want to be there.

  28. marinm

    I agree with Cargo to the extent that the war should’ve been waged to destroy and not mearly to incapacitate. When the countries back had been broken we could’ve looked at rebuilding it – if it was our pleasure to do so.

    I’m not a neo-con by any stretch. I do believe in national defense but I believe that when we’ve made the decision to use force that force should be executed as quickly and as painfully as possible. War is not something to be enjoyed but if we are to wage it in our own defense then we must be certain to crush the enemy and destroy his resolve. Anything less than that leaves us vulnerable to terrorism and counter-attack.

    The issue 2 years into our new presidency is that there are two people that can shut off this war (Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Obama) and both seem inclined to continue to wage war. You don’t hear much from Code Pink now that Mr. Bush is gone but they – in the two years of our current administration – cannot hang out a Mission Accomplished banner as of yet.

    Wolverine, my chief concern living in the NVA area is sleeper cells.

  29. I heard Code Pink screeching on TV today. They are still out there in full force. They just aren’t being used by the media for political theater as often.

  30. Big Dog

    Interesting article in today’s WaPo on Vietnam’s move to have closer
    ties with the USA to counter China’s growing power in SE Asia.
    Such is the path of history.

  31. Vietnam has been burned by almost everyone in the world.

  32. Interesting fact….China actually had a 29 day military conflict with Vietnam during starting Feb 1979. They invaded to “chastise” Vietnam for alleged crimes against Chinese. They….um….declared victory …..and left. Quickly.

    I think that, handled delicately and intelligently, Vietnam and the US could reach many agreements….oh, wait….delicately and intelligently……never mind.

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