By Cari Oleskewicz

We’ve dropped bombs, and yet we have not captured or killed Osama bin Laden.

We’re dismantling the Taliban’s forces, and yet he is still out there, somewhere.

We’ve invaded the country of Afghanistan with ground troops, hoping to find him, but there are still terrorist threats coming in fast and furious.

The Al-Queda network has suffered, "sources" say. Sorry about those Red Cross warehouses and that hospital we blew away. But you know, this is war, and those things happen.

When he isn’t pitching baseballs, President Bush is somberly telling us that this could take years.

But don’t worry.

Apparently, the President and his Secretary of Defense have discovered what will work.

Apparently, we need to fund the Northern Alliance, a group of rebels who have been working without our support to overthrow the Taliban regime for quite some time. It seems we need to give them money and guns and supplies and bombs and anything else they might need.

For any of us who have never heard of the Taliban until now, they have been around for a while. They did not just pop up in time to harbor terrorists who kill Americans. No, the Taliban have been torturing the women of Afghanistan for years. Children there have grown up frightened and deprived. Last year, they happily demolished a centuries-old Buddhist landmark because it defied their twisted views on what Allah wants. These little things might have been offensive to us before now. But no, none of that bothered the United States of America. What really pisses us off is when they won’t hand over a terrorist we want.

But let’s get back to the Northern Alliance. We have suddenly decided they’re the good guys. Because of their leaders? No. Because of their vision of an ideal state? No. Because they’re pro-democracy? Nope. Simply because we believe they can get rid of the Taliban and help us get the Evil One.

If thousands of people had not died here in our country, it might be amusing.

We used to think just as fondly of the present bad guys. The United States is dangerously arbitrary when it comes to who we befriend. We used to like Iraq a lot, for example. And when Iraq was at war with Iran, we introduced them to the joys of a little biological weapon called Anthrax. Hmm...

Back in the day, when they were fighting the Soviet Union, we couldn’t hand over arms and money to Afghanistan fast enough (After ten years, Afghanistan managed to defeat the Soviets, by the way).

Does anybody actually KNOW ANYTHING about the Northern Alliance? What kind of government do they envision? Who are their friends? What do they think about women learning to spell? What is motivating them to overthrow the Taliban? Are they religious? Are they kind? What did they think of America and the world before September 11? Will they still be playing nice in 20 years, or will we again be reducing Afghanistan to dust? Do their ambitions spread to other countries, like Pakistan or India?

These are the questions we should address before we eagerly count them as allies.

But we likely will not. We prefer to arm and destroy first and ask questions later.

When will we learn?

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