Do We Have A Scapegoat?
by James Glaser
“On the runway of the airport about 12 miles from the city, local warlords were drinking tea and smoking hashish as they traded rumors of the Taliban's surrender.” ~ Dispatch of Hugh Barnes, Kandahar Airport, Afghanistan
Allies, Mercenaries, Northern Alliance, Scapegoat, whatever you want to call them, they are what we have wanted in every war we have been involved in for the last 50 years. Did something go really wrong? “It was those guys over there.”
Have some prisoners that we would rather not have? “Those guys over there killed them.” Looking for someone to set up the new government? “Those freedom fighters over there are what this country needs.”
It is so much easier when you have a “fall guy” waiting to take the blame. Sure it takes some money and a bunch of military supplies, but for that price, we can't go wrong.
Sometimes it can be a bit embarrassing, when people start to talk about opium and heroin, but it is really hard to find people without some baggage. This is part of their culture and after the new government is formed, poppy planting will be a thing of the past.
“You say the Taliban stopped opium production and we paid them to”? “I think you must be mistaken, we wouldn't deal with the likes of them.” These Northern Alliance fighters are really hard workers, just look at their eyes and you can see that they have been up for days fighting. “Oh no, that hashish is for religious ceremonies; they don't get high with it; after all they are Muslims.”
“You know that Marines are highly trained and would never think of trading anything for that stuff.” “Those reports about troops in other wars doing drugs were grossly over emphasized.” “These troops are all volunteers and are better trained.”
Some wars just go better than others, but it is always nice to have a few indigenous people around who don't speak your language, when you have to talk to the people back home.
Jim Glaser [send him mail] is a Vietnam vet and a volunteer in veterans hospitals.
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