To a war-ravaged, landmine-strewn, impoverished country as Afghanistan – and its downtrodden, war-weary people – kind-hearted do-gooders the world over have, for decades, come to ply their humanitarian trades and offer their labor and skills: Doctors. Dentists. Nurses. Teachers. Social workers.
Tom Little, an optometrist from Delmar, New York, was one. He and his wife had been working there for more than 30 years, raising their three daughters in Kabul, and sticking it out through the Soviet invasion of the 1980?s and a civil war of the 90?s, when Afghan warlords rocketed the city. He supervised a host of hospitals and clinics offering eye disease treatment.
Dr. Thomas Grams, a dentist from Colorado, was another. He left a lucrative practice behind to go and give poor Afghan, Indian, and Nepalese children free dental care.
Dr. Karen Woo relinquished her job at a London clinic to go to work in Afghanistan. Friends say she was planning to leave in a few weeks to marry.
Glen Lapp, a nurse from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, had come to the country two years ago for a limited assignment but ended up staying. “The main thing that ex-pats can do,” he recently wrote, “is to be a presence in the country,…treating people with respect and with love.”
Cheryl Beckett, a 32-year-old from Knoxville, Tennessee, had spent six years in Afghanistan, which was only the latest tour in a young life that had already seen service in Central America and Africa. Her specialties were nutritional gardening and mother-child health.
Tom Little, Dr. Grams, Dr. Woo, Glen Lapp, and Cheryl Beckett will offer their charitable assistance to the Afghan people no more. They were among a group of ten humanitarian volunteers – 6 of them Americans – who were slaughtered by the Taliban last week. Ambushed. Murdered in cold blood.
They had just completed a two-week stay in a remote valley in northern Afghanistan, treating the locals for eye diseases and other ailments. Their caravan was pulled over and, according to the The New York Times, “The gunmen marched them into the forest, stood them in a line and shot them one by one.”
Mercifully – a word that doesn’t seem apropos when describing anything Taliban – their Afghan driver was left unscathed. He told rescuers he was spared solely because he was a Muslim and had recited Islamic holy verses as he begged for his life.
The Taliban unabashedly claimed credit for the deed, accusing the group of being spies and proselytizing Muslims into converting to Christianity. These lies were quickly doused by friends and associates of the murdered:
“Their mission was humanitarian, and they went there to help people.”
“[Woo's] motivation was purely humanitarian. She had no religious or political agenda.”
“[Grams] knew the laws, he knew the religion. He respected them. He was not trying to convert anybody. His goal was to provide dental care and help people.”
The head of a charity called Kids 4 Afghan Kids that builds schools and wells lamented, “The kids had never seen toothbrushes, and Tom [Grams] brought thousands of them. He trained them how to brush their teeth, and you should’ve seen the way they smiled after they learned to brush their teeth.”
“I’ll miss her love for life probably the most,” Woo’s fiancé remarked. “The fact that anybody who met her couldn’t help but smile. The fact that she made people happy. She helped people.”
It can’t be overreaching to speculate that these murders will only discourage others from wanting to venture there in the future. Afghans will be the greatest losers. Humanitarian relief may have been the 11th victim among the blood and sand in the woods that day.
There is only one way in which to deal with these Taliban shits. You kill them. Kill them till they’re dead, dead, wholly dead, and till every last one of their rat nests is extinguished, too.
Our military forces need to be turning captured Taliban – whatever ones that don’t have the good luck to die in combat – over to the Afghan authorities, not to be imprisoned, then eventually let go. Or to have the opportunity at a prison break and escape.
No, these vermin need to be caught, tried, and executed. Every. Last. One. Of. Them.
This is the only way this boil upon society’s ass can logically, realistically be lanced. For those who blanch at the penalty of death, know this, accept this, wrap your minds around this: Evil of this nature cannot co-exist with peace-aspiring, peace-loving peoples, societies, and nations. There are some among us who are so vile, so contemptuous of life, that they will kill to spread their noxious religious and cultural stupidities.
They will blow up cars in crowded marketplaces, ambush innocents – adults and children alike – in their homes and in public places, and kidnap and behead hostages.
You don’t negotiate and make peace with these depraved monsters. You don’t rationalize, hand hold, or try to find common ground with them. You don’t attempt to feel their pain. You make them feel pain.
You take them out. You remove them from this world. You kill them. Before they kill you.
This is the only apparent way we will ever solve the Taliban problem. And as we near the beginning of the tenth year that we’ve been at war against them – ten years – we need to apply this solution. These are not zealots who will soften their extremist, demented views of other people and the world around them. They cannot be pacified, or persuaded toward moderation. Their threat to Afghanistan, and to the world at large, will only dissipate once they are gone. Physically gone.
Not chased into caves and mountains in some no-man’s-land region on the Afghan-Pakistani border -gone. Not allowed to escape and blend in, undetected, among the teeming urban masses in cities like Kandahar or Karachi -gone.
No. Gone. Not a trace to remain of them and their ugly reign of terror save for web pages, news videos, history books, and the receding memories of their victims.
To believe otherwise – to lull ourselves into the notion that these heinous bastards can ever somehow be reformed or rehabilitated – is a fool’s fancy. A deadly one at that.
When you find your home invaded by roaches or mice, you don’t cut a deal to give the vermin the kitchen and the pantry while leaving you the rest of your house.
You exterminate them entirely.
You don’t need some holy scripture, or some religious mantra, to justify executing the Taliban. You need only this: For the sake of permitting men, women, and children who desire to live in peace to do so, you rid that country, that region, and the world of those who are a threat to that peace.
The only justification one needs. No god, no Bible, no Koran, no Talmud, no prayer, invocation, or commandment involved. Just the simple principle that those among us who have no compunction about killing others (and who have done so and would continue to do so) must be removed – permanently – from the general population. No exceptions.
And you don’t hesitate, procrastinate, equivocate, balk, whimper, or dither. No quivering upper lip, no getting squeamish and turning away, no flinching. You do it and move on.
Now we could wait them out till every single one of them dies a slow, natural death from old age (thankfully, for us, the Afghan life expectancy is just 43) and is too feeble to pick up a Kalashnikov rifle, wire a suicide bomb, or toss a grenade. But how many others of their ilk will these vipers spawn in the meantime? How many of their future offspring might take up their fathers’, brothers’, and uncles’ grudges, then take up a gun, then take up a mission to kill? Let’s not wait to find out.
Cheryl Beckett’s grieving family said that the group’s attackers “should feel the utter shame and disgust that humanity feels for them.” Right on.
But ultimately they should also feel the uncomfortable scratchiness of a nylon rope pulled taut around their necks. Or of sharp, hot bullets from a firing squad slamming into and ripping up their torsos. Such would be the justifiable coda to the nefarious lives of these piss-poor excuses of men.
It is the only way that crazy, murderous zealots who claim to have the eye of a god or prophet trained on them – as well his instructions in their hearts – will ever listen to reason. You reason with them by sending them straight to the hell they deserve. Period.