Afghan protests continue

February 24th, 2012

International relations professor Michael Corgan is a specialist in international security with extensive service in political and military planning, especially NATO. He offers the following comment on the continuing protests in Afghanistan over the burning of Qurans at a U.S. military base:

“This one isn’t going away. I think this act fatally compromises our efforts in Afghanistan.

“The burnings immediately put at greater risk all the Americans who were doing good things in Afghanistan building and restoring infrastructure, feeding people, etc. It is, figuratively and literally, an inflammatory act that ordinary people who are just trying to stay out of harm’s way can relate to. For all their depredations, the Taliban never burned Quarans.

“Obama’s apology has to have been directed, implicitly, to all the Muslim world who would be offended by this burning. That’s a lot of people. Remember that the Boston ‘massacre’ in 1770 was still a rallying point five years later when the war actually began.

“If we can’t bring in some Islamic entity (Turkey?) to help us out, then we better pull out sooner rather than later. The folks in that region are used to making necessary accommodations and the heavens will not fall if we go. A mess left behind, yes.

“On a personal note, I was advisor to the Vietnamese Naval Academy, Nha Trang, in 1971 when we had a DOD civilian ‘expert’ come over and tell us how to upgrade our curriculum. On his second day he was heard to refer to the Vietnamese as ‘these monkeys.’ Word got around the base in less than half an hour. A few days later I was invited to see the Chief of Naval Staff in Saigon. Our visit was polite chitchat until I noted in a conspicuously placed trash can the expert’s final document. End of interview. Message received. The Afghanistan episode is infinitely worse.”

Contact Corgan at 617-353-3553; mcorgan@bu.edu

Post Your Comment