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Lindsay Perigo: After the Bombing, What Next?

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LINDSAY PERIGO

After the Bombing, What Next?

Thus far, Bush Jr seems to be doing better than his father in comparable circumstances. He is waging a war not of his choosing with greater resolve & moral self-assurance than the man who balked at finishing the job against Saddam Hussein. He has also acknowledged that this war should not be used as an excuse arbitrarily to expand the powers of government at home. He seems to be aware that, in order to get rid of the Taleban he must not expediently align himself with forces just as bad, that such an alignment would come back to haunt him - witness the fact that U.S. raids have pointedly ignored Taleban strongholds whose removal would allow the ragbag Northern Alliance to march on Kabul with alacrity. But his biggest test is yet to come.

When everything that should be bombed has been bombed, what then? When/if bid Laden & his cohorts are surrendered or rounded up, what then? In my view, the matter cannot be allowed to rest there. The outcome of a just war should be the unashamed conquest of the wrong side by the right side. That in this instance the Taleban are the wrong side & America the right side is beyond reasonable doubt. Moreover, America did not seek war with or declare war on Afghanistan; bin Laden, & by extension, Afghanistan, declared war on America, in a manner most foul & unambiguous. Afghanistan must now be conquered in the fullest sense of the term. It should be occupied by western ground forces & taken over outright. It should be declared the 51st state of America.

Yes, there would be screams of outrage from all over, but screams do not an argument make & they would die down soon enough as the reality set in. That which is apparently of paramount importance to the wretched indigenes, pro-Taleban & anti-Taleban alike - freedom to practise their silly religion - would be constitutionally protected. They would NOT be free to wage war on each other in the name of this or that variant of their silly religion. They would be free to elect their own state government. They would be free to discard their veils & their shackles if they wished. They would be free to play cards, to watch videos, to shave their beards, to use soap & toilet paper if they wished. They would be free to avail themselves of the evil creature comforts & mod-cons with which the Great Satan would tempt them, if they wished. If they chose instead to stagnate in stone-age squalor, they would be free to do that also; they would NOT be free to try to impose it on the rest of the world.

What Bush mustn't do is allow an interim government of a different bunch of fanatics who will wage war on him further down the track. At the very least, whatever administration is instated in place of the Taleban must be western-dominated for the indefinite future, & outright colonisation by the United States would be the best, the most just & most appropriate means of ensuring that.

Does Bush have the stomach for this? Probably not, & even if he did he would be told it's simply not feasible in the world of "realpolitik" as it is. But this is his chance to change that world, once & for all, incalculably for the better.

Next stop - Iraq.

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