digby quotes Lt. Col. David Kilcullen, who was General Petraeus’ counter-insurgency advisor in Iraq. He says that US aerial attacks on the Afghan-Pakistan border have killed 14 al-Qa’ida leaders, at the expense of more than 700 civilian lives.
Let’s just say that every civilian we kill has, two surviving family members or friends who decide to join al queda to avenge the death of the innocent. That means when we killed those 14 al queda leaders, we created 1400 new al queda recruits. And some of the hawks want to send another 60,000 troops and keep America in Afghanistan for the next five years so we can do more of this.
It reminds me of a scene from The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Mickey is the apprentice of a powerful sorcerer and Mickey creates a broom to do some manual labor for himself, carrying water from a well to a cistern in the sorcerer’s work room. When things go wrong, when the room is flooded with water, Mickey realizes that he can’t stop what he started.
So, Mickey takes an axe to the broom and chops it into a hundred little pieces. Mickey thinks he’s solved the problem, but every one of those slivers turns into another broom. And now Mickey is awash in brooms and over his head with water.
At least Mickey realizes that it wouldn’t be a good idea to take the axe to the brooms and create more. It seems that some of the war hawks want to do just that in Afghanistan. They’re over their heads and they’re flooding the counry with war. What should be remembered is these hawks are simpletons like Mickey. They’re mere apprentices who dream of how powerful they’ll become once they master the sorcery of war.
For every al queda leader we kill, we kill 50 innocent civilians and create a hundred potential new al queda recruits. The sorcerer’s apprentices are over their heads in Afghanistan.