We'd just be taking revenge upon other victims

Wednesday, September 19, 2001 at 1:00am

I've been hearing a lot of talk about "bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age." Ronn Owens, on KGO Talk Radio, allowed that this would mean killing innocent people, but "we're at war; we have to accept collateral damage. What else can we do?" Minutes later I heard some TV pundit discussing whether we "have the belly to do what must be done."

I thought about these statements especially hard because I am from Afghanistan. Even though I've lived in the United States for 35 years, I've never lost track of what's going on there. Regardless, I speak as one who hates the Taliban and Osama bin Laden. There is no doubt in my mind that these people were responsible for the atrocity in New York. I agree that something must be done about those monsters.

But the Taliban and bin Laden are not Afghanistan. They're not even the government of Afghanistan. The Taliban are a cult of ignorant psychotics who took over Afghanistan in 1997. When you think Taliban, think Nazis. When you think bin Laden, think Hitler. And when you think of the people of Afghanistan, think Jews in the concentration camps.

It's not only that the Afghan people had nothing to do with this atrocity; they were the first victims of the perpetrators. Afghans would exult if someone would come in there and take out the Taliban.

Is bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age the answer? Truth is, that has already been done. The Soviets took care of it already. Make the Afghans suffer? They're already suffering. Level their houses? Done. Turn their schools into piles of rubble? Done. Eradicate their hospitals? Done. Destroy their infrastructure? Cut them off from medicine and health care? We

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