Let’s Get Lost

We have no business being in Afghanistan.

Almost ten years in, that’s not a particularly bold statement. Ten years ago, we may have preferred an investigation to an invasion. Eight years ago, we may have preferred keeping our eyes on the prize, instead of diverting our attention to Iraq. If we were a close student of the situation, we might offer any number of substantial reasons why our adventure there is a bust.

But what finally settles our judgment is a simple point: We can’t handle the responsibility.

We, meaning We Americans. That our government can’t handle it was proven years ago.

We wrote over the weekend that we can’t blame Terry Jones for the murders in Afghanistan subsequent to his Koran-burning. And we can’t. As much as we’d love to nail the bastard, we really can’t.

But in explaining why we can’t, we mentioned in passing the example of the Guantanamo Koran-flushing a few years ago — which also led to violent deaths Over There. The American government bore some responsibility for those deaths, we judged, because the American government is occupying Afghanistan.

Upon reflection, this may be too fine a point. After all, it’s all America to them. At least for as long as we pretend to be a democracy.

So let’s review the case again: Under what circumstances might we blame Terry Jones for the events inspired by his action?

And our answer is this: As an American, Terry Jones is to blame for murders committed in his name in an American-occupied Muslim country.

Which is why we have no business being there.

As we heathens and infidels have learned all too well over the past decade, substantial numbers of Muslims take their Book and their Prophet very seriously — so seriously that received insults are a grave matter. For present purposes, we take no issue with this. It’s their faith — and if we’re going to bother with occupying a Muslim country, the least we could do is respect it.

Only we can’t. Because, well, we’re Americans.

And as Americans, one of the freedoms we cherish, one of the freedoms some us hold most dear above all others, one of the freedoms some of us would famously defend to the death, is Freedom of Speech.

Speech that includes being able to say Cock Shit Motherfucker in a public forum without fear of government reprisal. Speech that includes symbolic gestures such as, oh, burning an American flag.

And speech that includes burning a Koran because we’re a fucking asshole.

That’s who we are — as Americans. We’re not polite. We get in each other’s faces. We don’t respect each other’s faiths. Sometimes we get damn nasty about it.

And because of who we are, we have no fucking business occupying a country where we can’t be who we are. If we, as Americans, have to walk on eggshells in Florida or California because somebody might get violently pissed in Kandahar, then it’s time to just back the fuck away.

Terry Jones is still a fucking asshole. But as an American, Terry Jones has every right to be a fucking asshole. As do we all. And if that causes problems with America’s Foreign Entanglements, it’s high time we untangle ourselves.


What Jones did is very similar to screaming “FIRE!” in a crowded theatre. It was a purely malicious act of empty symbolism which he knew would lead to innocent people being murdered. No he didn’t put the gun to anyone’s head and pull the trigger, but he does bear some moral responisbility for what happened, even if on the finer points of U.S. Constitutional law he is protected in doing what he did.

That said, right now it’s only a matter of when, not if, we declare victory in Afghanistan and leave.

Well. Britain, when she had an empire, took great pride in raising up her sons and daughters to assume their rightful places as leaders of native peoples too childlike to govern themselves. Like Canadians. We didn’t pamper our favorite sons, we expected their life blood. And we did no better in Afghanistan. I don’t think it’s a matter of being Americans as such, I think it’s more the matter of being there.

@Benedick is not as stupid as he looks.: I have to give the Brits credit. Instead of calling their adventures in Afghanistan a war, they called it The Great Game. Think how much more support our government would have if Bush had called the entire invasion of southwest Asia The Great Game instead of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We Americans will do just about ANYTHING to avoid losing any kind of contest. If it happens to cost thousands of American lives, we wouldn’t want those lives wasted by not winning.

2001, I would have disagreed with you.

2011, there’s no point anymore.

The only window of opportunity was late 2001/early 2002, but the Great Strategizer fucked it up.

Of course, this will lead to accusations of “Who lost Afghaninam?”


2001, I would have disagreed with you.

2011, there’s no point anymore.

Amen, brother!

@Serolf Divad: Right example, wrong subject: It was Karzai who yelled Fire!

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