In the wake of a United States marine viciously slaying 16 unarmed Afghan civilians in a "blind berserk rampage" the citizenry of Afghanistan has abruptly withdrawn their dwindling support for the presence of the United States' military personnel's presence in their country which is, by the day, resembling a post-apocalyptic world.
The Afghan message to the US has been simple all along: let us control our country and decide what is best for it. The US' message back to them has been, "you want and need democracy and you require our assistance to steady yourselves in order to make a successful and non-corrupt country." It's a message that rings true all the American ideals: liberty, freedom, prosperity and equality, but completely ignores the religious and ethnic differences and complexities of a country seeped in a history so long, deep and convoluted that our country's age pales in comparison.
While the latest anti-American demonstrations are reminiscent of those that have been occurring for years, they are intensifying; but what is important to note is that they are not so much violent as they are steadfast and vehement toward opposing America's rhetoric of "you need our help!"
They need the opportunity to stand up for themselves, and the demonstrations in the streets serve nothing save distractions from the true upcoming difficulties the "new" country will face in the coming decades. Especially the most glaring one which no United States military presence can delay: inevitably there will be a civil war.
With so many dissenting viewpoints and oppositional religious sects all neighboring one another in such close proximity there is sure to be hatred and eventually bloodshed. The United States, as a beacon of liberty and tolerance, will be powerless, despite a large number of troops, to stop the war from ensuing, and in a way a civil war will be "beneficial" for the country.
Hear me out here. I'm not advocating war or supposing that the Afghan military should begin slaying civilians who oppose the decrees and fiats of the newly appointed/elected officials. I am, however, asserting that this country, whose own aggressions due to differences have been stymied for the past decade by the presence of United States military personnel, needs an opportunity to "find" and "correct" itself. Guerrilla warfare, car bombings, and terrorist activities have gone on despite our troops' presence, but I believe it is only the tip of the iceberg. We're in for rioting in the streets, the blighting of cities, and the eradication of beliefs or even whole sects of people.
Read again my point above: war will be "beneficial" to the country, not to the people in the country, but neither is history. History is always "beneficial" to those more power, to those who survive and prosper long enough to record their victories. The same rings true in today's modern society; and no matter how much we might want to pretend that this bloodshed we see on the news everyday is a "new" and horrible thing, it is in actuality an "old" and terrible thing, which occurs cyclically and will continue to for generations after we have perished.
Look at the "nearby" countries of Syria and Libya. Their governments have been challenged or have failed and the citizenry has rebelled, causing small "civil" wars. The rioting in the streets, blighting of cities and eradication of people is leading them toward an eventual calming, or a "civil peace" as Chinua Achebe wrote. This explosion of aggression is tantamount to the pressure generated when one shakes a soda with the cap on.
Afghanistan is similar to this, and the retreat of US troops in Afghanistan is tantamount to unscrewing the cap. However, we have, metaphorically speaking, been slowly unscrewing the cap for the past decade, and since we have already committed ourselves to the "shaking" and have begun to already "unscrew" the top, we must, inevitably, allow the overflow or explosion. It is inevitable and ultimately necessary for the country to regain its footing and its stability. A country with deep divisions, no leadership and too many differing opinions is a country that is doomed to fail no matter how you slice it. It is impossible for any country to exist without a government or leadership, a vast majority in support of the leaders, and opinions that have found some type of common ground.
And recently it seems that the common ground in Afghanistan is hating the United States. We have done little to popularize ourselves, and have done little to convince the population that the are better off with our presence. Their infrastructure, government and future all seems oh, so much better than it did prior to the United States' entering. Any true student of history knows that the people in a tyrannical or theological society figure out ways to endure even if they do not agree with everything that is occurring; but in this "new" country we've handed them, they are certainly faced with a grim reality and future, perhaps one even worse than the one we tried to correct.
We are also in fact attempting to victimize our soldiers (on their local television stations!) by stating that we have had to "endure" the hardships of war, the whole time without acknowledging that these people "endure" the hardships of war as a way of life. It is not a career they sign up for but rather a reality and role they are born into and have to accept if they wish to live.
The population has asserted that: their country was better before the United States' intervention and "forced war" and that they do not believe the United States soldiers have it worse off than their own soldiers or their own civilian population. But I digress back to my point...
So, is the answer to this all to withdraw our troops immediately, or should we, rushing back to the metaphor, consider sending large swaths of troops to Syria and Libya?
I don't have these answers, nor do I want the responsibility of making these decisions. I do, however, embrace and support a people who are striving to find their own ideas of what "freedom" means, who want a country they have made, not one that has been manufactured for them from overseas, and a people whose idea of utopia might just be a farm and a "civil peace" with their neighbors, not an iPod, a democratic president, and a future dreamed up by people who look and think very little like them.