War in Afghanistan; A new perspective

War in Afghanistan; A new perspective David Wissel ‘12 President Obama’s recent apology letter to the Afghani president, Hamid Karzai, has sparked a great deal of controversy in the media lately. The letter detailed a sincere apology from the President over the recent accidental burnings of copies of the Islamic holy book, the Qur’an, which took place on a US military base in Afghanistan during garbage disposal. Local workers who witnessed the burnings got the word out and before long, major protests were taking place resulting in the deaths of forty people. Many among the GOP are ripping Obama’s apology including former speaker of the house and current presidential candidate, Newt Gingrich. “There seems to be nothing that radical Islamists can do to get Barack Obama’s attention in a negative way and he is consistently apologizing to people who do not deserve the apology” ( Source Dailymail.uk) I would have to wholeheartedly disagree with Mr.Gingrich’s statement. The people of Afghanistan deserve an apology for what has occurred. While I do not believe violence should be used to solve political and social problems, I understand the people of Afghanistan’s anger with America. Many Americans are of the mindset that the unrest in Afghanistan is simply a result of the violent culture of the nation. This could not be farther from the truth. You have to look at it from their perspective; a whole generation of Afghanis has known nothing but violence, bloodshed and war brought upon them from foreign armies. For the past 33 years, Afghanistan has been a battleground for the interests of people from lands far wealthier than they are. A brief history of recent events in Afghanistan: 1978 – A communist coup d’état backed by the Soviet Union overthrows the Republic of Afghanistan and places a puppet communist government in its place. 1979 – In support of the revolution, the Soviet Union invades Afghanistan. The Russians wage an all-out war against Afghanistan, attacking civilians and combatants alike. Over the next nine years, roughly 2.5 million Afghani people are killed. In response, the Mujahidin, an Afghan guerrilla group is formed to repel the invasion and oust the Soviets. The Mujahidin is trained and equipped by none other than the American CIA. 1989 – After almost ten years of war in Afghanistan, the Soviets withdraw and the puppet communist government is dissolved, leaving the behind anarchy. The Mujahidin and a new guerilla group contend for power. A seven year civil war follows in which hundreds of thousands more die. 1996- The Taliban defeat the Mujahideen and the anarchy that gripped the country ceases. 2001- The United States invades under the pretext of bringing democracy to Afghanistan and capturing terrorist Osama Bin Laden. About 70 thousand more die in the ensuing conflicts. 2009- It is discovered that roughly $1 Trillion dollars worth of untapped mineral resources are in Afghanistan’s mountainous regions. Some key minerals are gold and lithium (used in batteries). The point of all this is the hope that Americans will understand the situation that Afghanistan faces. Foreign nations have imposed their will on this country for the past 33 years and have caused meaningless wars that have killed millions. A whole generation has known nothing but death and destruction. Quite honestly, their anger is somewhat justified. While I do not believe we should have invaded Afghanistan in 2001, the past cannot be changed and the fact remains that we are a now a part of the conflict. The fact that the country has a trillion dollars worth of mineral resources also leaves me somewhat skeptical that the War in Afghanistan is truly a war fought in the name of peace and democracy and not just a way to secure scarce natural resources. We have stirred up the situation in the country by removing the Taliban and it is not morally acceptable to walk away from this and leave the country to anarchy. If we did, we would be no better than the Soviet Union. The Afghanis are definitely not completely justified in their actions, but their point of view needs to be better represented in the media. Disclaimer: I fully support the brave men and women who fight in the United States military overseas. None of this article is meant to be an insult to them or to what they fight for.