The brain disease sweeping the West is virulent and vicious, like the golden Staph which haunts many hospitals. Most at risk are Presidents, Prime Ministers, Generals and journalists. The ailment is not triggered by bacteria but by an ideology as old as history, which every so often resurfaces as a new strain, and this one hasn't been named. It's often fatal. Less so to the carriers than those caught in their sights. Let's call it Kabul-sh*t - the propensity to ignore the years of violence inflicted on Afghanistan and to paint the invaders as heroes.
It sometimes seems that the greater the slaughter of civilians, the louder the praise for the mission. This may be due to guilt. Britain's Gordon Brown: We are in Afghanistan to purge terrorism. Australia's Kevin Rudd: Our soldiers are building schools. America's Barack Obama: This is a war of necessity. The Sydney Morning Herald: The mission is to bolster Afghanistan against Al-Qaeda and to support regional stability in Pakistan.
Tosh, the lot of it. The war started as an act of revenge on the perpetrators of the 9/11 tragedy and was not authorized by the United Nations. It took two years and a thousand bloody air strikes before UN Resolution 1510 finally granted the invaders an after-the-fact "legitimacy". Many legal scholars still regard the invasion as illegal under international law.
Since the start of Operation Enduring Freedom in October 2001, how many Afghani civilians have been blown away? Take a guess. It's not widely publicized. Wikipedia puts civilian casualties at roughly between 9,000 and 27,000. This does not include the thousands of maimed children.
All for what? Why are we there? The Taliban were not responsible for 9/11. Yes they are claims the Sydney Morning Herald, they nurtured Al Qaeda. Breast feeding Osama bin Laden, tucking in his little romper suit...? The Herald editorial ignores the role of the CIA in seeding the Taliban, and pouring in cash and weapons for the Mujahideen to kick out the Soviets.
In October 2001, shortly after the US started its own invasion, the Taliban offered to surrender Osama bin Laden to a third country for trial, so long as the bombing was halted and they were shown evidence of his involvement in 9/11. George Bush's reply: "There's no need to discuss innocence or guilt. We know he's guilty."
A perfect example of Kabul-sh*t. If Bush possessed the evidence, why wasn't it divulged? Three years later, in October 2004, a video was delivered to Al Jazeera in which bin Laden claimed responsibility for the 9/11 attacks.
And so, eight years after the invasion, despite what Western Generals keep promising, US and NATO bombs continue to pulverise this unhappy land. It's like a never ending blood sport. Why can't we pull out? Every politician has a different answer. Former Australian Prime Minister, John Howard pithily expressed the fear that lurks in the souls of warmongers: A premature withdrawal would be a blow to the prestige of the West. Remember Prince Harry a few years ago, calling in air strikes on enemy positions, the media thrilled. Hurrah for Western prestige. Never mind that our continued occupation involves aerial assassination on a massive scale, a kind of slow motion genocide look at the record!