Afghanistan: Friend of U.S. Troops Shoots U.S. Troops

Last Friday an Afghan interpreter shot dead two of his employers, American soldiers serving in Afghanistan. He was able to gain access to them, of course, and to be in their presence, because he had won their trust with his translation work and they let their guard down.

Their trust was misplaced; and they were not the first American soldiers to die in this way and — tragically — likely won’t be the last. This episode yet again illustrates a key but almost completely overlooked difficulty that hamstrings our efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq as well: there is no reliable way to distinguish a peaceful Muslim from a potentially violent jihadist short of elaborate behavioral profiling such as the Israelis do on air travelers.

The U.S. military denies that he was a jihadist at all, saying that he was a “disgruntled employee” angry about pay and treatment. Our military is so awash in political correctness that they — to paraphrase the words of Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey — would think it more tragic if their commitment to “diversity” were damaged than if another massacre such as the Fort Hood murders occurred.

The denial that the Afghanistan bomber wasn’t a jihadi doesn’t ring true, any more than did the official denials that the Fort Hood jihad massacre had anything to do with jihad. I myself once had a job in which I was disgruntled about pay and treatment; perhaps not so oddly, I never opened fire. There is obviously more to this story than is being revealed, and most likely, here again what is being left out has to do with Islamic jihad, and with the impossibility of distinguishing a “moderate” from a “radical” Muslim.

Given the almost universal acceptance of the iron dogma that Islam is a Religion of Peace that has been hijacked by a tiny minority of extremists, this impossibility may come as a surprise. But in reality, there is no mainstream sect of Islam or school of Islamic jurisprudence whose authorities have renounced and rejected violent jihad and Islamic supremacism, and declared that anyone who holds to the idea that Muslims have a collective responsibility to wage war against Infidels and subjugate them under the rule of Islamic law is a heretic.

If there were such a sect or school in Afghanistan or elsewhere where there is an American military presence, one could rely on the peaceful group and shun the group that taught violence. But there is no such group. Contrary to popular belief, not only is the principle of jihad warfare against unbelievers not the province of a “tiny minority of extremists,” but it is taught by every mainstream sect and school of Islam.

The U.S. government, of course, denies this fact and bases numerous policies upon the assumption that the vast majority of Muslims share universally accepted notions of human rights, and abhor jihad terrorism. The deaths of these two soldiers are the fruit of that false assumption — and just as they were not the first casualties caused by this mistaken idea, they will not be the last.

This is not to say, of course, that nothing at all can be done with the locals in Afghanistan. The problem in Afghanistan is not unique to that country: the locals can be paid off to fight, but even then their loyalty is not guaranteed. And once the money flow stops, they will fight for the next paymaster — and when no paymaster is there, they will fight each other. This is a weak reed on which to build a reliable alliance, and has already been shown to have been a spectacular failure in Pakistan, where the U.S. government has showered billions over the years upon the Pakistanis in order to induce them to fight against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, only to see a good amount of that money funneled to those very groups by jihadist ideologues within the Pakistani government. Yet the Pelosi Congress’s solution to this problem was to triple aid to the Pakistanis, without devising any improved mechanism for accountability.

Ultimately, the Obama Administration is going to have to make some hard decisions about the level of access that Muslim employees and collaborators of all kinds are given to U.S. personnel in Afghanistan and elsewhere. But this will require Administration officials to take off their politically correct blinders and face some hard and inconvenient truths. If they do so, these two soldiers who died in Afghanistan will not have died in vain.