And they’re there to kill us.
by Andrew C. McCarthy
April 9, 2011 4:00 A.M.
Last week in the northern province of Faryab, two more American soldiers were murdered by one of the police officers they are in Afghanistan to train. As my friend Diana West calculates, that brings to 17 the number of U.S. troops killed in just the last four months by the Afghan security forces they are mentoring. The total climbs to 22 when the killings of other Western troops are factored in.
None of this is new. It is just an uptick. This is how it is in a tribal, fundamentalist Muslim society that regards nothing with such hostility as another civilization’s attempt to assert and imprint itself — just ask the Soviets. If our Afghan expedition seems all the more pointless now, nearly a decade after the U.S. invasion, it is because we long ago stopped pursuing the American interests that brought us to that hellhole. We came to dismantle al-Qaeda and its Taliban hosts. We’ve stayed — and stayed, and stayed — to make life better for a population that despises us.
The mounting military casualties do not account for at least seven humanitarian-aid workers also murdered in recent days by rampaging Afghan Muslims — if one may use that double redundancy. The throng of assailants stormed the victims’ U.N. compound in Mazar-e-Sharif after being whipped into the familiar frenzy at Friday prayers. The dead, just like the American soldiers, came to Afghanistan to make life better for Muslims. For their trouble, they were savagely slaughtered, with two treated to decapitation, a jihadist signature.
“When you meet the unbelievers in the battlefield,” instructs Allah, “strike off their heads.” That is from Sura 47:4 of the Koran — or what is so preciously called “the Holy Qur’an” by Gen. David Petraeus, the U.S. commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan. To underscore the point, Sura 8:12 of this same Holy Qur’an finds Allah assuring that if Muslims would just “smite ye above their necks and smite all their fingertips off them,” it would help Him “instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers.”
You’ve got to hand it to Allah: All that smiting and instilling terror works. General Petraeus is so terrified of what rampaging Afghan Muslims might do next that he could not bring himself to utter a word of criticism for their barbarity. Instead, as he offered condolences to the victims’ families, his wrath was targeted at Terry Jones.
Jones is the pastor of an obscure Christian congregation in Gainseville, Fla., where he ceremonially burned a Koran last month. Mind you, it is standard practice to torch Bibles in Muslim countries, where apostasy from Islam is a capital offense and where proselytism of any creed other than Islam is forbidden. About that noxious practice, General Petreaus hasn’t made a peep — which goes a long way toward explaining why our military itself actually confiscated and destroyed Bibles in Afghanistan last year. It’s not Bible burning and Muslim rampage that get our commander’s goat. It’s Terry Jones. “We condemn, in particular, the action of an individual in the United States who recently burned the Holy Qur’an,” Petraeus thundered in a statement issued jointly with Mark Sedwell, the Obama administration’s ambassador to NATO.
Of course, it wasn’t Jones who butchered and beheaded the U.N. workers. It was Afghan Muslims, stoked by the same Islamist ideology that has Afghan security forces killing the Westerners who struggle to civilize them — the ideology that is the mainstream in this cradle of al-Qaeda. In fact, it is not even accurate to say that Jones incited the Afghans. His Koran-torching stunt took place on March 20. The murderous riot did not occur until nearly two weeks later — only after the natives were whipped up not just by the fire-breathing Friday imams but by the inflammatory rhetoric of Afghan president Hamid Karzai.
Karzai is no fool. The U.S.-backed corruptocrat has surveyed the field and found that the only hope for clinging to power in a rabidly anti-American country is to bash Americans. He has no intention of finding himself tossed under Obama’s bus along with former “valuable allies” like Hosni Mubarak and Moammar Qaddafi. Better to be a “reformer,” the title reverently bestowed on Syria’s ruthless dictator, Basher Assad, by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. If you want the promise of President Obama’s “mutual respect” and coveted platforms like Columbia University, better to lead the “Death to America” chorus like Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. That way, your share of the “mutual” respect never has to be paid.
Karzai also knows he has the perfect foil in Petraeus. The general is reliably mum on the nexus between Juma prayers and Juma decapitations, between mainstream Islamic teachings and jihadist attacks on Western forces. He is captive to the progressive fantasy that such atrocities are inherently anti-Islamic, that the Koran couldn’t possibly mean what it says, that mainstream clerics who tout its combustible suras couldn’t possibly be right, and therefore that Muslim savagery must be rooted in some other cause, such as Gitmo — which the general has called a “lingering reminder” of the many American “missteps or mistakes in our activity since 9/11.”
When Petraeus rushed to follow the bien-pensant crowd in absurdly citing an American’s burning of a book as the cause of, rather than a pretext for, the Mazar-e-Sharif massacre, it wasn’t the first time. In June 2009, as his new commander-in-chief was announcing “a new beginning” in America’s relationship with the ummah, Petraeus was right there to help with the spadework. On cue, he chimed that the Bush-era United States had taken “steps that have violated the Geneva Conventions.” It was now “important again to live our values.”
Except they’re not “our values.” They’re the pieties of the “international community” with which the general identifies. Swallowing whole its narrative — a narrative that recent Middle East unrest has left in tatters — Petraeus next blamed America’s problems in the region on “enduring hostilities between Israel and some of its neighbors” and the “anti-American sentiment” created by “a perception of U.S. favoritism for Israel.” The message was clear: Let’s not choose sides between an authentic Western-style democracy that has been a faithful friend to the United States and the virulently anti-Western sharia-philes bent on Israel’s destruction. God forbid our values should bear some vague resemblance to our principles.
General Petraeus is the standard-bearer of what critics — myself included — have alternatively called the Islamic “democracy project” and “nation building.” Both labels are misnomers, though. The exercise in Afghanistan is actually post-nation building, and it’s got little to do with democracy in the Western sense. To the contrary, the final product is meant to reflect the image of its midwife, the craven, morally vacant international community. For principled democracies to form a community with totalitarians and rogues, they have to check their principles at the door. Once that decision is made, how easy it becomes to betray those principles — freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, economic liberty, personal privacy, equality before the law — in a culturally neutral indulgence of Islamist depravity.
So, the architects build a post-nation where Islamists — who want to replace nation-states with a global caliphate — declare Islam the dominant religion and install freedom-killing sharia as their fundamental law. They frame the West, its bygone principles, and the pursuit of its interests as affronts to the international community. That community’s vanguard, like the Islamist vanguard with which it partners, has little use for the nation-state, aspiring to replace national sovereignty with international humanitarian law — an organic, increasingly sharia-friendly corpus that is said to override any mere nation’s constitution and democratically enacted laws. It is for the Islamist post-nation that American soldiers die while American taxpayers foot the bill.
General Petraeus and Ambassador Sedwell ended their castigation of Terry Jones with the inevitable please-love-us entreaty: “We further hope the Afghan people understand that the actions of a small number of individuals, who have been extremely disrespectful to the Holy Qur’an, are not representative of any of the countries in the international community who are in Afghanistan to help the Afghan people.”
No, by no means let us be disrespectful toward the “Holy Qur’an,” which is so kindly disposed toward us. And surely, with Petraeus’s predecessor, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, having pronounced that Afghanistan is not our war, and with the Obama administration now paying tens of millions of dollars to underwrite Karzai’s peace talks with the Taliban (the enemy we were told we needed to escalate troops to repel), it is abundantly clear that our troops are in Afghanistan primarily “to help the Afghan people.”
But that raises two questions. First, why should we give a damn about the Afghan people? And second, why are we sacrificing American blood and American treasure to build an Islamist post-nation that hates America?
— Andrew C. McCarthy, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, is the author, most recently, of The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America.