Posted by: bkivey | 14 January 2012

Pissing On Perspective

A video surfaced a few days ago showing US Marines urinating on the bodies of Taliban fighters. While this wasn’t the Corps finest day, the official reaction from the US and others has been well over the top. Words like ‘disgusting’, ‘shocking’, and ‘horrifying’, have been thrown around with reckless abandon. In the brouhaha, Secretary of State Clinton has been the relative voice of reason and appropriate language. If one didn’t know that officials are playing to their Afghan audience, one might think that those in the West have very low standards for reprehensible behaviour. Among certain Western political factions, that may even be true.

As ludicrous as the government and journalistic reactions have been, the Taliban reaction is beyond sane. When viewed in light of Taliban history, it strains credulity that anyone would take them seriously. From the New York Times story, we have Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid saying:

“This is not the first time we have seen such brutality”

Indeed, this statement is true; just not about Americans:

  • In January 2001, Taliban forces captured the town of Yakaolang and executed at least 170 civilians.

  • In May 2000, the Taliban systematically executed as many as 100 ethnic Uzbek prisoners in Samagan province.

  • In the August 1998 fight for Mazar-I-Sharif, Taliban forces summarily executed ethnic Hazara, Jajik, and Uzbek civilians. There are also reports that women and girls were raped and abducted.

  • In the January 2001 attack on Yakaolang, eyewitnesses reported rocket attacks on a mosque where women, children and elderly had taken shelter. Dozens were killed in the mosque. (Source)

Another Taliban press release states:

“We strongly condemn the inhuman act of wild American soldiers, as ever, and consider this act in contradiction with all human and ethical norms,”

  • In August-September 2000, Taliban’s indiscriminate bombardment of the town of Taloqan forced tens of thousand of civilians to flee their homes. Reportedly, during the fighting the Taliban bombarded a nearby village, burned all the houses and killed some of the villagers.

  • In May 2001, Taliban decreed (but have not yet enforced) Hindus wearing distinguishing identification on their clothing. In September 1999, the Taliban forbade non-Muslims from building places of worship.

  • Taliban religious police beat individuals on the streets for infractions of rules on dress, or the prohibition of women being with unrelated men. (Source)

Lest one think these are isolated incidents:

 

Under the Taliban regime, Sharia law was interpreted to forbid a wide variety of previously lawful activities in Afghanistan. One Taliban list of prohibitions included: pork, pig, pig oil, anything made from human hair, satellite dishes, cinematography, and equipment that produces the joy of music, pool tables, chess, masks, alcohol, tapes, computers, VCRs, television, anything that propagates sex and is full of music, wine, lobster, nail polish, firecrackers, statues, sewing catalogs, pictures, Christmas cards.They also got rid of employment, education, and sports for all women, dancing, clapping during sports events, kite flying, and characterizations of living things, no matter if they were drawings, paintings, photographs, stuffed animals, or dolls. Men had to have a fist size beard at the bottom of their chin. Conversely, they had to wear their head hair short. Men had to wear a head covering.

I’m not defending the Marine’s actions, but I understand the motivation. Foolish and stupid the act may have been, but not as stupid as recording it. I sincerely hope that the overblown protestations coming from official US sources are mere posturing for the ignorant and cancerous Taliban. Because if not, that would be the greatest tragedy of all.

 

 

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