Wente Watch

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Exterminate the brutes

Last week Wente posited that Canada is too "nice" in Afghanistan.

Wente loves to sit on a high horse and sneer at anyone who has a sense of compassion towards their fellow human beings. We're too nice, apparently. Presumably, we should bomb villages indiscriminately and massacre anyone who looks like a terrorist in order to prevent another 9/11.

Is brute force was the only thing the brute Afghans understand? The Soviet Communists certainly thought so. The Red Army committed massacres on a nationwide scale. Villagers were bombed, shelled, gassed, or bayoneted one by one. Suspected mujahdeen rebels were tortured; among the favourite techniques were electric shocks, slow pulling out of fingernails, and hanging women by their arms and beating their legs. Perhaps most hideously of all, the country was dotted with land mines disguised as toys, with the deliberate aim of luring young children to death or dismemberment.

Afghanistan had 15 million people in 1978; a decade later it was down to 10 million. Fully half of the world's refugee population - four million people - was Afghan.

And did all this savagery win the war with the Islamist rebels? Quite obviously not. The Soviet Union no longer exists, in no small part due to its Afghan misadventure, but the Islamists are still there. Wente's own column has the answer to why: killing off civilians is bound to alienate the locals. Islamic extremism became as powerful as it is in no small part in fury at the viciousness of the infidel invaders of the day. Years later, Osama bin Laden would boast that, having taken down one superpower, he was ready to go for the other one.

Wente has on occasion pontificated on how the Soviet Union showed that state intervention in the economy doesn't work. Would that she paid as much attention to its lessons in counterinsurgency.


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