[News] Turning the Tables in Afghanistan - the Humiliation of Can-Do American Boys
news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Oct 4 12:31:53 EDT 2012
October 04, 2012
Turning the Tables in Afghanistan
The Humiliation of Can-Do American Boys
by WILLIAM BLUM
In Afghanistan, the US military has tried training sessions, embedded
cultural advisers, recommended reading lists, and even a video game
designed to school American troops in local custom. But 11 years into
the war, NATO troops and Afghan soldiers are still beset by a dangerous
lack of cultural awareness, officials say, contributing to a string of
attacks by Afghan police and soldiers against their military partners.
Fifty-one coalition troops have been killed this year by their Afghan
counterparts. While some insider attacks have been attributed to Taliban
infiltrators, military officials say the majority stem from personal
disputes and misunderstandings.
So the Afghan army is trying something new, most likely with American
input: a guide to the strange ways of the American soldier. The goal is
to convince Afghan troops that when their Western counterparts do
something deeply insulting, it's likely a product of cultural ignorance
and not worthy of revenge. The pamphlet they've produced includes the
"Please do not get offended if you see a NATO member blowing his/her
nose in front of you."
"When Coalition members get excited, they may show their excitement
by patting one another on the back or the behind. They may even do
this to you if they are proud of the job you've done. Once again,
they don't mean to offend you."
"When someone feels comfortable in your presence, they may even put
their feet on their own desk while speaking with you. They are by no
means trying to offend you. They simply don't know or have forgotten
the Afghan custom." (Pointing the soles of one's shoes at someone is
considered a grievous insult in Afghanistan.)
The guide also warns Afghan soldiers that Western troops might wink
at them or inquire about their female relatives or expose their
private parts while showering --- all inappropriate actions by
Hmmm. I wonder if the manual advises telling Afghan soldiers that
urinating on dead Afghan bodies, cutting off fingers, and burning the
Koran are all nothing more than good ol' Yankee customs, meaning no
offense of course.
And does it point out that no Afghan should be insulted by being
tortured in an American military prison since the same is done at home
to American prisoners.
Most importantly, the Afghan people must be made to understand that
bombing them, invading them, and occupying them for 11 years are all for
their own good. It's called "freedom and democracy".
I almost feel sorry for the American military in Afghanistan. They're
"can-do" Americans, accustomed to getting their way, habituated to
thinking of themselves as the best, expecting the world to share that
sentiment, and they're frustrated as hell, unable to figure out "why
they hate us", why we can't win them over, why we can't at least wipe
them out. Don't they want freedom and democracy? ... They're can-do
Americans, using good ol' American know-how and Madison Avenue savvy,
sales campaigns, public relations, advertising, selling the US brand,
just like they do it back home; employing media experts, psychologists,
even anthropologists ... and nothing helps. And how can it if the
product you're selling is toxic, inherently, from birth, if you're
ruining your customers' lives, with no regard for any kind of law or
morality, health or environment. They're can-do Americans, used to
playing by the rules --- theirs; and they're frustrated as hell.
/*William Blum* is the author of Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA
Interventions Since World War II
Rogue State: a guide to the World's Only Super Power
West-Bloc Dissident: a Cold War Political Memoir
can be reached at: BBlum6 at aol.com <mailto:%20BBlum6 at aol.com>/
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the News