As the anniversary of 9/11 approaches, I’m looking for interesting articles from that time. I previously recommended Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts’ column from the 12th.
Another good one is Afghan-American Tamin Ansary’s widely-circulated article in Salon a few days later:
We come now to the question of bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age. Trouble is, that’s been done. The Soviets took care of it already. Make the Afghans suffer? They’re already suffering. Level their houses? Done. Turn their schools into piles of rubble? Done. Eradicate their hospitals? Done. Destroy their infrastructure? Cut them off from medicine and healthcare? Too late. Someone already did all that. New bombs would only stir the rubble of earlier bombs. Would they at least get the Taliban? Not likely. In today’s Afghanistan, only the Taliban eat, only they have the means to move around. They’d slip away and hide.
Which was a pretty good point. It’s exactly what they did do.
So what else is there? What can be done, then? Let me now speak with true fear and trembling. The only way to get Bin Laden is to go in there with ground troops.
Which is exactly what we did. (Yes, we also dropped bombs, but this was in support of ground troops, not the sort of indiscriminate “kill them all” bombing that some overly-emotional people were talking about in the days after the attack.)
Ansary was wrong about a few things, but not in a bad way:
Because to get any troops to Afghanistan, we’d have to go through Pakistan. Would they let us? Not likely.
Here’s my favorite part, from near the beginning of the piece:
…It’s not only that the Afghan people had nothing to do with this atrocity. They were the first victims of the perpetrators. They would exult if someone would come in there, take out the Taliban and clear out the rats’ nest of international thugs holed up in their country.
Yeah, I’d say that was exultation we saw when Kabul fell.
Leonard Pitts predicted that our response would be determined and decisive. Ansary asked us all to make sure we focused on the true enemy. America came through. In response to a monstrous terrorist act, we liberated millions.