Last week in the northern province of Faryab, two more American soldiers were murdered by one of the police officers they are in Afghanistan to train. As my friend Diana West calculates, that brings to 17 the number of U.S. troops killed in just the last four months by the Afghan security forces they are mentoring. The total climbs to 22 when the killings of other Western troops are factored in.
None of this is new. It is just an uptick. This is how it is in a tribal, fundamentalist Muslim society that regards nothing with such hostility as another civilization’s attempt to assert and imprint itself — just ask the Soviets. If our Afghan expedition seems all the more pointless now, nearly a decade after the U.S. invasion, it is because we long ago stopped pursuing the American interests that brought us to that hellhole. We came to dismantle al-Qaeda and its Taliban hosts. We’ve stayed — and stayed, and stayed — to make life better for a population that despises us.
The mounting military casualties do not account for at least seven humanitarian-aid workers also murdered in recent days by rampaging Afghan Muslims — if one may use that double redundancy. The throng of assailants stormed the victims’ U.N. compound in Mazar-e-Sharif after being whipped into the familiar frenzy at Friday prayers. The dead, just like the American soldiers, came to Afghanistan to make life better for Muslims. For their trouble, they were savagely slaughtered, with two treated to decapitation, a jihadist signature.
“When you meet the unbelievers in the battlefield,” instructs Allah, “strike off their heads.” That is from Sura 47:4 of the Koran — or what is so preciously called “the Holy Qur’an” by Gen. David Petraeus, the U.S. commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan. To underscore the point, Sura 8:12 of this same Holy Qur’an finds Allah assuring that if Muslims would just “smite ye above their necks and smite all their fingertips off them,” it would help Him “instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers.”
You’ve got to hand it to Allah: All that smiting and instilling terror works. General Petraeus is so terrified of what rampaging Afghan Muslims might do next that he could not bring himself to utter a word of criticism for their barbarity. Instead, as he offered condolences to the victims’ families, his wrath was targeted at Terry Jones.
Jones is the pastor of an obscure Christian congregation in Gainseville, Fla., where he ceremonially burned a Koran last month. Mind you, it is standard practice to torch Bibles in Muslim countries, where apostasy from Islam is a capital offense and where proselytism of any creed other than Islam is forbidden. About that noxious practice, General Petreaus hasn’t made a peep — which goes a long way toward explaining why our military itself actually confiscated and destroyed Bibles in Afghanistan last year. It’s not Bible burning and Muslim rampage that get our commander’s goat. It’s Terry Jones. “We condemn, in particular, the action of an individual in the United States who recently burned the Holy Qur’an,” Petraeus thundered in a statement issued jointly with Mark Sedwell, the Obama administration’s ambassador to NATO.
Of course, it wasn’t Jones who butchered and beheaded the U.N. workers. It was Afghan Muslims, stoked by the same Islamist ideology that has Afghan security forces killing the Westerners who struggle to civilize them — the ideology that is the mainstream in this cradle of al-Qaeda. In fact, it is not even accurate to say that Jones incited the Afghans. His Koran-torching stunt took place on March 20. The murderous riot did not occur until nearly two weeks later — only after the natives were whipped up not just by the fire-breathing Friday imams but by the inflammatory rhetoric of Afghan president Hamid Karzai.