“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

New Afghan Army- Brave, Eager, Vicious and Fighting for Their Country.

First, some good news about the Afghan Army:

They are dumb as dirt but fight like hell. Okay, technically the article didn't say the Aghanis are dumb; illiteracy is the biggest problem for 68 US and NATO teams training the 30,000 strong Afghan army. But based on their performance last week when they pulled American chestnuts out of the fire, they will fight.

"The ANA (Afghan National Army soldiers) are vicious, looking at the way they attacked the hill," said Sgt. Joseph Fincher, 24, of Fort Worth, Texas, one of 17 Marines training Afghans at Camp Bermel, a stone's throw from the border with Pakistan. "I'm just excited the ANA is eager to do this. After seeing them in action there's no doubt they're and Fighting for Their Country.fighting for their country."

One Afghan in the fight last week recalled with pride how his fellow soldiers led the attack.

"The ambushed Americans retreated and we rushed in. We were fighting ahead of the Americans," said Mohwad Ghrozi, a 25-year-old from Kunar province who said he saw eight wounded insurgents kill themselves with grenades.

Sgt. David Bowman, a National Guardsman from Portland, Ore., who is training soldiers at Camp Orgun-e, said progress "comes and goes"

"They're eager to fight the enemy," he said. "Sometimes it's to the point of negating the American actions because they're so eager. Sometimes it's like taking a bunch of 9-year-olds to Chuck E. Cheese's."

Capt. Mark Larson of Madison, Wis., said most Afghan soldiers are not literate. "You make progress, but it's frustrating," he said of the training.
It's good to hear that the Afhanis will fight unlike the Iraqis who seem to favor the cut-and-run tactic.

We keep hearing about the Taliban resurgence but the news I read this summer seemed to indicate that the Taliban were getting their rear ends kicked. The Taliban use of al-Qaeda suicide and roadside bomb tactics seem to be a desperation move after a summer of probably heavier than expected losses. They're adjusting tactics in an effort to cow the population into not supporting the infidels. At some point, though, they will have to hold their ground. So far, they haven't been able to do it. We'll see again next spring when the new crop of Muslim jihadis join up with the fellows from Waziristan. Before you get too hopeful for the future of Afghanistan, read on:

Robert Spencer brings us the bad news from Afghanistan:

An Afghan citizen named Abdul Rahman, you may recall, made international news last spring, when his conversion from Islam to Christianity led to his arrest, with the intention of putting him on trial for apostasy. At that time he was spirited away to safety in Italy. Now jihadists in Afghanistan are demanding his return to Afghanistan in exchange for a kidnapped Italian journalist, Gabriele Torsello. “We want this issue resolved before the end of Ramadan,” his captors demanded, but no resolution seemed imminent as the holy month drew to a close.

It is safe to say that if Italian authorities agreed to turn over Abdul Rahman to the kidnappers, the convert would almost certainly be killed for his crime of apostasy from Islam. Yet at the time of Abdul Rahman’s arrest, puzzled Western analysts pointed to what they thought were guarantees of freedom of religion and of conscience in the new Afghan Constitution: after all, didn’t the document pledge “respect” for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? Didn’t it say, “followers of other religions” were “free to exercise their faith and perform their religious rites within the limits of the provisions of law”?
So, a bit of good news gets rained on by the reality that this is one very backwards part of humanity. What do you do with so many millions and millions of religious fanatics who are locked into an 8th century mentality in a dangerously armed 21st century?


  1. There is an article in The Independent about an imbed with the Taliban. He makes this observation about the Afghan Army that is disturbing:

    " Meanwhile, the scale of institutionalised corruption practised by the Afghan National Army is shocking. They demand money at gunpoint from every driver on the main roads in the south. It was to stop just this kind of casual theft that the Taliban was formed in the first place in 1994. For the first time since then, the Taliban are now being paid again to sort out the problem."

    I am sure the level of corruption at all levels of spending in Afghanistan and Iraq is staggering.

  2. whit,

    re: eight wounded insurgents kill themselves with grenades.

    That is convenient for the Afghani army, isn't it? Think about the energy and expense saved in not having to haul their Taliban brothers to medical care and safety. And, no exasperating hours of interrogation or cost of indefinite detainment was saved the Afghan government. Would the Arabs of Iraq were so accommodating.

  3. Deuce & Whit,

    Great posts from both you guys.

    In reading your posts, this morning, one could be tempted to throw in the towel. However, in examining the poor quality of recruits the US has to work with in both Afghanistan and Iraq, one is reminded that both a’Q/Taliban and the various Iraqi warring factions must draw recruits from the same fetid gene pool. Cool, hey? Like modern French poodles, these boys have had the brains and brawn bred out of them.

  4. Quig,

    Come now, of course Islam is the "Religion of Peace", if for no other reason than being the President's incessant mantra for five years. For whatever it is worth, starting yesterday, the President stopped referring to Democrats as the "cut and run" party. This leaves us with a president unable to distinguish fantasy from fact.