Once Upon a Time in NATO-Occupied Afghanistan
These are the similarities between the occupation of France by Nazi Germany and the occupation of Afghanistan By the United States and its allies. This a non ideological comparison, based on actions only.
Anytime a country is invaded by a foreign power, a resistance movement is going to spring up. It is inevitable. If the United States were invaded, would you not resist? The motives of the invading power are irrelevant, they can be completely pure or completely evil, and it wouldn't matter. There will always be a resistance to occupation, no matter how benevolent or malevolent it is.
It is important that we understand why these groups fight, and what they believe.
1. When Germany invaded France in 1940, The French people didn't take to kindly to being invaded by a foreign army. Neither did Afghanistan, when the United States military came rolling in.
These invasions and occupations sparked resistance movements. People were upset that some foreigners had come into their country and changed things around.
Now, I am sure we all agree that the Nazis were an evil regime,and that we are all glad they are no longer in power. I'm pretty sure we can all agree that the Taliban was an oppressive totalitarian regime also.
The Germans invaded and ousted France's democratic government and replaced it with their own hand picked authoritarian Vichy government.
The United States invaded and ousted Afghanistan's totalitarian government, and held democratic elections to install a democratic form of government.
Now like I said earlier It doesn't matter how bad or how good these occupying power's motives are. There will always be people who are upset over the occupation.
2. In France there wasn't simply one group of the resistance, there were hundreds of different groups of different sizes and different ideologies.There were nationalists, anarchists, socialists, communists, French republicans, and even monarchists. They all had different reasons to resist, they all had different political beliefs. But they all fought a common enemy.
In Afghanistan there are hundred of different tribes that have ruled themselves for hundreds of years. Many of these tribes were opposed to the Taliban, and are opposed to the US occupation. Many of them fought the Soviets when they invaded in 1979 and were part of the CIA organized resistance to the Russian occupation. There are insurgent groups that are connected with the Taliban and some sympathetic to the Taliban, but not the majority of them. Not all of the fighters in Afghanistan are part of the Taliban, just like not all of the French resistance were supporters of the French Republic and Charles de Gaulle. There are also warlords and opium growers not aligned with the Taliban, that fight for their own reasons.
3. What happened when a French resistant was caught by the Nazis or the collaborationist Vichy regime? These men and women were taken to prisons, tortured for information and confessions, and many were executed.
In Afghanistan, what happens when someone is caught in combat with US forces or captured for being suspected of being a combatant? They are put in a detention camp(local prisons,US military camps and Guantanamo), tortured for information or confessions (which the US government likes to call "enhanced interrogation"), and now Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has reported that US soldiers are killing captured Afghan fighters.
Mr. Hersh reported that US troops are told that when they capture someone, they must prove in 1 or 2 days that the individual is a member of the Taliban. If they cannot prove that a person is a member, they must set them free. He says, what is happening is that because now they must furnish proof, they are now executing prisoners right after capturing them, so they won't have to go through the process of providing evidence that an individual is a member of the Taliban.
Now I don't think that US soldiers are evil people. I believe that they are good people like you or me, that are just put into a bad situation. Yes, there are some bad apples, but they are not the majority. I do not subscribe to the ideas of the Taliban either,like the Nazi party of Germany and the Communist party of the Soviet Union, they are a totalitarian group that suppressed the inalienable rights of human beings.
But, something is wrong here. We as American citizens should be outraged over our government's conduct in Afghanistan. This war has no end in sight. It has the potential to go on for eternity, it is going to have to end someday with the withdrawal of US troops. But, when is that going to happen? The sooner Americans show our elected leaders that we want this to end, whether it be through voting them out or mass protests, the sooner it will end.
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Tempe, Arizona, United States