THE WISDOM FUND: News & Views
Release Date: November 15, 2001
Eric Margolis, c/o Editorial Department, The Toronto Sun
333 King St. East, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5A 3X5
Fax: (416) 960-4803 -- Press Contact: Eric Margolis

A Quick Guide to Afghan Politics

by Eric Margolis

Afghanistan can be a very confusing place. Here's a quick guide to help keep track of all the players in President Bush's crusade against terrorism.

Taliban - Very BAD Afghans. These dour 11th century rustics wear turbans, don't shave, and cover up their womenfolk. They have defied the US by refusing to hand over guest Osama bin Laden, a national hero of the war against the Soviets. Nations that defy Uncle Sam get carpet bombed.

These wicked Talibs run a state based on Islamic law, an outrage in our modern age - except, of course, in the case of Israel, whose people say they were given their nation by GOD, and that's GOOD, except for troublemaking local inhabitants, called Palestinians, who are terrorists and BAD. George Bush says he draws instruction from the bible, and this is GOOD, but when Taliban's Mullah Omar follows the Koran, that's EVIL.

The Northern Alliance - GOOD Afghans, even though they run the opium trade and are led by war criminals. They make nice parades and vow to crush Taliban - provided the US does most of the fighting. Their arms come from Russia, money from CIA. You can easily spot them because they wear baggy Iranian uniforms and caps, not turbans. They cover up their women, just like those insensitive Taliban brutes.

Pakistan. On 10 September Pakistan was branded by the US as a borderline terrorist state run by a BAD military dictator, Gen. Musharraf, who backed Taliban and had lots of EVIL Islamic friends. By 12 September, however, Pakistan had become a heroic ally in the crusade against terrorism. Pakistan shamelessly ditched old ally Taliban, and handed over the country for use by the US military. Musharraf, now GOOD, is hailed in the west for courage and vision, though a big percentage of his people seem to heartily disagree. Before getting somewhat elected, President Bush couldn't even name Pakistan's leader when asked by a reporter. Now, Bush and Musharraf are new best friends.

The USA - GOOD, minding its own business, totally innocent victim of evil Islamic-Nazi forces, according to the well-read Bush, a former business partner of the bin Laden family. Just because the US has gone to war against Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Libya, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, and Afghanistan is no reason to believe it has anything against Muslims. Some of the US's best friends - like the Shah of Iran, Saddam Hussein, and the enlightened royal families of Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and the Gulf - have been Muslims. And just because the Israelis use US-made tanks and helicopters to crush the Palestinian uprising and assassinate its leaders - a GOOD act of counter-terrorism - that's no reason for anyone to get mad at the US of A. Washington has even thoughtfully got the media to censor itself so Americans won't be upset by TV footage of dead Afghan children.

Russia - Big winner in this unfolding mess. Clever leader Putin talks Bush into backing Russia's barbaric repression of Chechens as `anti-terrorism.' American cash flows to the Kremlin. The Ruskis are pressing the US to crush Taliban, saving them the nasty, expensive job. Ditto for Israel, trying hard to get US crusaders to go B-52 Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Yemen, Syria, and Iran.

Saudi Arabia - Main financier of extremist Islamic groups - provided they stay far away from the oil kingdom - backed Taliban and extremist Wahabis in Afghanistan in a covert war against hated foe, Iran. US troops based in Saudi Arabia prevent its people from overthrowing their beloved royal family. The Saudis - aka `our Arabs' - used to be GOOD, but now, because of their reluctance to help kill large numbers of fellow Muslims, they are being rebranded by the US media as BAD.

Iran - VERY BAD ULTRA TERRORISTS until 11 Sept. Iran has been stirring the Afghan pot for 20 years. Tehran's mullahs hate Taliban's mullahs and Pakistan. Being much cleverer than Arabs, whom Iranians also hate, Iran's slippery mullahs are playing footsie with the US, and jointly backed the GOOD Northern Alliance against the BAD Taliban. Previous US claims Iran was a `rogue state,' and guilty of the bombing of a US military bases in Saudi Arabia, have been quietly dropped. Iran is now PRETTY GOOD.

Terrorists - Last week, Tamil `terrorists' staged bloody suicide attacks in Sri Lanka; Basque `terrorists' murdered a Spanish judge and exploded a powerful car bomb in Madrid; the IRA shot of a car bomb in Britain. Not a peep came from Washington. Terrorism, in the American definition, boils down to acts of violence only against American interests.

ULTRA BAD Osama bin Laden - Still alive and frothing after a month of being a bull's eye for America's vast military might. Calls Muslims to launch a jihad against the west, when what Muslims really need is a jihad against their own rotten societies that make them a helpless prey to western political and economic exploitation. Brother Osama increasingly seen in the Third World as a saintly figure, thanks to demonization by the US media. Many Osama wanna-be's waiting in the wings.

US Strategy - Carpet bomb'em back to the 4th century, waste bin Laden, and get the hell out before the BAD GUYS in turbans win.

[Eric Margolis is a syndicated foreign affairs columnist and broadcaster, and author of the just released War at the Top of the World - The Struggle for Afghanistan, Kashmir, and Tibet which was reviewed in The Economist, May 13, 2000]

Copyright © 2001 Eric Margolis - All Rights Reserved
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