I thought Atlas readers would benefit from an "on the ground" take from a righteous Marine officer stationed in south Afghanistan, with whom I correspond from time to time. Illuminating in many ways.
I emailed you some time ago my praise for your work. I do so again. Currently I am deployed with my Marine infantry battalion to Helmand, AFG. Daily I get to see what the country offers: subjugation of women, abuse of children, stagnation of minds, industry and hope… wasted lives. In a word: Islam.
I have had some poignant moments over the last many months in Afghanistan. They have shaped my view of this place and Islam. The other day I was walking from a compound to our vehicles with a group of elders, when off about 60 feet away I notice a woman of probably 20 or 25 walking towards us with her little daughter. She was in the full body black cloth coffin, moving like a wispy wraith. Every movement was fear. When she got to about 20 paces away from us, she moved off the road, next to the canal, and squatted down, back towards us. Her little daughter did the same. Later I asked one of our interpreters why she did that and he said because she did not want to “bring dishonor.” I asked him rhetorically, “Do you realize how absolutely screwed up that is?” Of course he didn’t.
A few days later, we walked next to some compounds in an area the Marines had never been to before. As we patrolled and secured, a group of little boys came out and watched us. In a nation with no literacy, Marines are a week’s worth of excitement and gossip. I had some candies in a bag so I passed some out as we talked with the kids about foreigners, Taliban, and peace. At that moment, 2 of the cutest little girls you have ever seen came out peeked out of the compound and immediately the little boys flew into a rage and chased them with sticks, throwing them and hitting one girl square in the back. I immediately chastened the boys and told them that what they did was not wrong, it was evil. The boys shouted back that they were “just girls!”
Two days ago, one of the linguists I work with was sitting looking like a man broken-hearted. I asked what was wrong and his friends, all full of vacant eyed smiles, said, “His fiancé killed herself!” as they all laughed except for the broken hearted one. I didn’t believe them at first because humans do not respond to tragedy in triumphant laughter. I again asked what the matter was and they again reiterated that his girl had killed herself. At this he looked up mournfully and nodded. Her parents tried to force her into a marriage with another man and she resisted. They forced, so she took poison. His friends went on to explain that it was OK because “she was just a girl and there are many others.” I stopped them as only an angry Marine can. I described to them in very insensitive language that they are all jacked up and their mood represents why their country is in the Stone Age, that this place has no heart and their souls are dead. I told them that they need to get through their heads that a woman’s life is just as important as a man’s and when a woman dies it is just as tragic as when a man dies. They looked at me as though I was explaining to them a deep secret and two of them even started nodding. Maybe there is hope. I wished the linguist affected well and was done with them.
I am growing increasingly upset with the culture of Islam here. I am growing increasingly vocal. In a meeting the other day as local elders were discussing ways to improve this place, I announced that the reality of the situation is that the men have screwed this place up so bad it’s time to arm the women with machine guns and give them a turn. A few laughed; I didn’t. Soon, no one laughed when they realized I was serious. What I have learned is that Islam is pain and human suffering. For the rest of my life I will fight it wherever it creeps. Even the Northern Afghanis who fight with us against the Taliban and their much more open minded (think New York Catholic) view of Islam (who say the only solution is to genocide the south and start over) lack an element of humanity, that righteous desire to “defend the defenseless.” I have attached an unclassified intelligence report that sheds some light on what Islam in it’s pure form does to civilizations.
I have seen the face of Islam and I do not care what Charles Johnson or Ibrahim Hooper say: social, economic, and religious systems must be judged by their fruits. The same standard by which I reject socialism, communism, and Nazism is what I use when I reject Islam. That standard is human happiness.
You are a righteous woman, Pamela, and I love what you stand for and what you do. Fight that fight against the harbingers of death stateside while we bring the fight to the enemy here. The next time I am in New York I’ll drop you a line. We can go counter protest some Neanderthals, or whatever it is that nice Jewish girls do.
Stay safe, hero.