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Friday, December 24, 2010

Blame it on the Russians

“It is not religion but atheism that requires a Darwinian explanation. It seems perplexing why nature would breed a group of people who see no purpose to life or the universe, indeed whose only moral drive seems to be sneering at their fellow human beings who do have a sense of purpose.” — Dinesh D’Souza

On December 24, 1979, the Soviet Union invades Afghanistan, under the pretext of upholding the Soviet-Afghan Friendship Treaty of 1978.

As midnight approached, the Soviets organized a massive military airlift into Kabul, involving an estimated 280 transport aircraft and three divisions of almost 8,500 men each. Within a few days, the Soviets had secured Kabul, deploying a special assault unit against Tajberg Palace. Elements of the Afghan army loyal to Hafizullah Amin put up a fierce, but brief resistance.

On December 27, Babrak Karmal, exiled leader of the Parcham faction of the Marxist People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA), was installed as Afghanistan's new head of government. And Soviet ground forces entered Afghanistan from the north.

The Soviets, however, were met with fierce resistance when they ventured out of their strongholds into the countryside. Resistance fighters, called mujahidin, saw the Christian or atheist Soviets controlling Afghanistan as a defilement of Islam as well as of their traditional culture. Proclaiming a "jihad"(holy war), they gained the support of the Islamic world.

The mujahidin employed guerrilla tactics against the Soviets. They would attack or raid quickly, then disappear into the mountains, causing great destruction without pitched battles. The fighters used whatever weapons they could grab from the Soviets or were given by the United States.

The tide of the war turned with the 1987 introduction of U.S. shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles. The Stingers allowed the mujahidin to shoot down Soviet planes and helicopters on a regular basis.

New Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev decided it was time to get out. Demoralized and with no victory in sight, Soviet forces started withdrawing in 1988. The last Soviet soldier crossed back across the border on February 15, 1989.

It was the first Soviet military expedition beyond the Eastern bloc since World War II and marked the end of a period of improving relations (known as détente) in the Cold War. Subsequently, the SALT II arms treaty was shelved and the U.S. began to re-arm. Fifteen thousand Soviet soldiers were killed.

The long-term impact of the invasion and subsequent war was profound. First, the Soviets never recovered from the public relations and financial losses, which significantly contributed to the fall of the Soviet empire in 1991. Secondly, the war created a breeding ground for terrorism and the rise of Osama bin Laden.

Let us take a look at 31 years of problems that were cast upon us when the Soviet Union decided to invade this mountainous nation nestled in between Iran and Pakistan.

Jimmy Carter was so upset at the Soviet invasion he called for a boycott of the 1980 summer Olympics that was being held in Moscow. In a fit of pique Carter felt betrayed by the Soviets, a country he was attempting to make peace with.

The United States began to dabble in the fight against the Soviets by delivering arms and technical advisers to the Afghan fighters — mujahidin and we learned the meaning of a new word — Jihad.

The Soviet Union boycotted the 1984 summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

We increased our aid to the mujahidin by supplying them with Stinger missiles. We thought we were making friends with the Islamic world.

Osama bin Laden, the son of a billionaire Saudi contractor set up shop in Afghanistan and began pouring money and arms into the fight.

When the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan in 1988 we thought we had beaten the Soviets in a major Cold War battle. Our myopic press shouted with glee how he Soviets had met their Vietnam and lost. The American people did not have the slightest idea who Osama bin Laden was.

The Taliban, who had been forming in Pakistan, took control of the central government in Kabul and began to institute strict Sharia law throughout Afghanistan.

The west begins to notice the brutality and intolerance of the Taliban when destroyed ancient Buddhists statues and instituted strict religious rule for women. They were not allowed an education and were prohibited from working outside of the home. We still heard nothing of Osama bin Laden.

Bin Laden supports the Somalian warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid in his attack on the U.S. forces sent to Mogadishu to secure the delivery of food to the famine sweeping the country. The Americans see U.S. soldiers dragged the streets of Mogadishu (Black Hawk down) and are abhorred. We still don’t know who bin Laden is.

Our embassies are bombed in Kenya and Tanzania. The CIA knows about bin Laden, but there is little mention of the mastermind behind the bombings — Osama bin Laden.

The Taliban begins to execute women in the Kabul soccer stadium for crimes against religious mores. Brandeis University mounts a public relations campaign to bring world attention to this brutality, but can do nothing about it.  They urge peaceful protest against the Taliban and the Taliban tells the world to go fly a kite. Still not too much about bin Laden

On September 11, 2001 nineteen radical Islamists fly planes into the World Trade Center, Pentagon and fail in attempt to hit the Capital when passengers take control of United Flight 93 and crash it into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania — 3,000 American die. Now we know who bin Laden is.

The United States sends troops to Afghanistan to rout the Taliban and kill bin Laden.

Battlefield irregulars are taken to Guantanamo Bay for detention causing vociferous debate and condemnation by the world press and left-wing in the United States.

The United States, along with a coalition of NATO countries invade Iraq on the premise Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction.

George W. Bush’s presidency is plagued by failed policies and strategies fighting he wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Saddam Hussein is removed from power and eventually executed for crimes against the Iraqi people, but the war takes the lives of over 4,000 American soldiers and maims thousands of others.

Hundreds of people are killed in London and Madrid from bombings of the transportation systems. Bin Laden and al Qaida claim responsibility in retaliation for our ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Radical Islam and the War on Terror become major topics in the media causing divisiveness throughout the country.

The United States backed government in Afghanistan is found to be corrupt and the Taliban regains strength.

The war in Iraq draws to a close after a surge of American troops take control of the county.

Christmas day 2009 a radical Islamists attempts to blow up an airliner as it make its approach into the Detroit Airport. This causes new and more stringent airport security measures including body scanners and intrusive body “pat downs”

1,442 U.S. soldiers and Marines die in Afghanistan with no apparent end in sight.

All of the above mentioned happenings can be traced back to the Soviet’s invasion of Afghanistan 31 years ago today.

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