Re: Aid for Afghanistan

From: Kai Becker (
Date: Tue Jan 01 2002 - 04:39:50 MST

The fundamental mistake number 1 of this discussion is IMO to call for
"facts", like statistics, etc. These "facts" are the least important thing
for your enemies, i.e. "terrorist" groups all over the world. They have a
picture of the USA and the US people, and this picture is so strong that it
obviously even survives years of living in the USA. So, those here calling
for "facts" or drawing plans solely based on these "facts" only show that
they haven't got the whole picture, yet.

Facts that really matter are: Those people feel their country, their
religion and their culture exploitet, devastetet and betrayed by the USA
and you won't convince them with statistical data. The attitude "we never
did anything wrong" won't help you, but instead add fuel to the anti-US
groups. So much for the terrorists.

You also won't convince the afghan people - remember the farmer with the
sack of wheat - with US style infrastructure made by US companies without
integration of the people there at all levels. You have to take these
people and their view serious or you will achieve nothing at all.
Fundamental mistake number 2 is to ignore the cultural background of other
people. Peanut butter in food packets for example, with written
instructions in several western languages. (1) Afghans don't know peanut
butter, nor is it a usefull food for starving people. (2) 48% of the men
and 78% of the women are illiterate. (3) There're a dozen or so different
languages in that country.

Am Montag, 31. Dezember 2001 12:21 schrieb Robert J. Bradbury:
> The USA has made significant efforts to only target members
> of Al Qa'ida and Taliban and I believe in most cases has
> been successful in that effort. I believe that most people
> would agree that although there have been some errors the
> civilian casualties have been minimal.

Only few people actually question the necessity of the war against the
Taliban and Al'Quaeda. What seems to be difficult to communicate is that a
long chain of unwise behaviour of the US (and other countries) in the past
has led to the hate and the hostility of many people against the western
countries and especially the USA.

We can't withdraw from the global political game at will. We are all
confronted with the results of the mistakes of our fathers and former
leaders in the past. The politics of the cold war has left many open
accounts everywhere in the world: Vietnam, Cuba, Israel, Irak, Afghanistan,
many countries in Africa and South America. We can either take the
responsibility or ignore it and be the surprised victims of the
counter-strikes. It is the ignorance that led to this no-alternative
situation and if we don't actively try to solve the problems we have
caused, the next crises are just behind the corner.

Not even the USA will be able to really protect themselves against hundreds
of groups like Al'Quaeda. We cannot simply shut the doors. We need global
trade, resources, etc. Not even the USA will be able to bomb every country
where people think they are the victims of US politics.

> The "ethics" of people with "fundamentalist" perspectives
> are drastically different from those of the America. Grossly simplified
> they are "If you believe what we believe, then we will tolerate you --
> otherwise we want to destroy you" in contrast to something along the
> lines of "We will try to understand you and accept you, even if your
> beliefs are quite different from our own".

Then, from my point of view, american foreign policy in the last hundred
years was indeed "fundamentalist". Good intentions often produce bad
results because of poor wisdom.


== Kai M. Becker == == Bremen, Germany ==
"Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced"

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