Bait & Switch from the Anti-Colonial Hearts & Minds

Reading like a classic scene replayed from the vast literature on colonial history, this gem:

In the southern province of Helmand, U.S. Marines have been trying to secure the strategic town of Dahaneh to cut Taliban supply lines and enable the government to open a polling station there.

After two days of fighting, Marines helped Afghan officers raise the Afghan flag over the town Friday after tribal elders assured the Americans there were no Taliban left there.

Soon after the flag-raising ceremony, the Marine base in the town came under small arms, machine gun and rocket-propelled grenade fire, sending Marines running for cover.

Also replayed on more than one occasion: resistance forces executing collaborators. What remains to be seen, assuming it has not already happened already and covered up by the occupiers, is the situation where occupying soldiers reach extreme exasperation from deadly misinformation from locals, and commit a massacre.

In the meantime, seeking to effect divide-and-rule along gender lines, an all-female Marine unit is deployed to interact with women, and a commander boasts about the valuable tips they get from Afghan women: “‘I’ve found you get great intel from the female population,’ said Capt. Zachary Martin, who commands the Golf Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines, stationed in Now Zad. ‘The women don’t want their men out there conducting jihad and getting killed’.” Then Martin all-too-deliberately “informs” the media that the Marines “frequently received tips from women about weapons caches or hidden bombs.” They say this knowing what is printed in the same article in which he is quoted:

“They [the Taliban] look at us through binoculars. They’ll kill anybody who talks to the Americans,” said Abdul Gayom to explain why the villagers were so wary of meeting the patrol.

As the resistance supplies misinformation to lead occupiers into traps, the occupiers return misinformation in the hope of nurturing more suspicion and more killing within the ranks of the resistance. No “hearts and minds” are being won here.

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2 thoughts on “Bait & Switch from the Anti-Colonial Hearts & Minds

  1. M. Jamil Hanifi

    The people of Afghanistan will never, never trust Euro-American occupiers of their land and contaminators of their culture and religion. And when and if the occupiers leave, no matter the terms of their departure, local men, women, and children will, in unison, say “pe plar de la’nat” (Pashto) or “ba padarat la’nat” (Dari)–curse on your father–and spit on the spot the occupier stood. Domination inflicted with violence produces humiliation and humiliation is the well of eternal hatred, disrespect, and contempt for the inflicter by the inflected. To this day people curse and spit when the name of Changaiz is uttered.

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