Below are some extracts from West's excellent article:
This wasn't supposed to happen. Anti-U.S., anti-infidel violence just wasn't supposed to erupt in Garmsir, Afghanistan, of all places. But it did. And some eight Afghans died in this Helmand province district in rioting this week inspired by rumors that U.S. troops had roughed up a Koran.
According to the New York Times, "several thousand" Afghans converged on the central bazaar in response to these rumors. "The Taliban were provoking the people," an Afghan police official told the Times. "The Taliban were telling the people, 'This is jihad; you should sacrifice yourselves.' "
Jihad? What's jihad? Among see-no-Islam Western policymakers, Islamic war doctrine is a cipher, a taboo, so policy is made in ignorance. But thousands of uneducated Afghans knew exactly what the Taliban meant. And what's more, they acted on it...
Garmsir, first in U.S. hands, then British, and now U.S. hands again, was more than a Taliban battleground. It was a proving ground for the infidel-Islamic "interaction" strategy of giving away stuff.
British gifts to Garmsir include new roads, wells, ditches, pumps, and a 70-ton bridge (built in body armor and helmets) across the main canal. If I'm not mistaken, this same bridge gave rioters easy access to the central bazaar -- the same bazaar where last summer, the New York Times Magazine reports, McChrystal asked every Afghan he met: "What do you need?"
His subordinates followed up -- "unfailingly polite, even deferential" -- at a council meeting where the agenda "was to decide on a list of development projects, which the Americans would pay for."
First choice (since they already had a bridge)? Repairs to the irrigation system "built by American aid workers in the 1950s [and] badly in need of repair." Yes, as readers of this column know, we are on our second prolonged stint of nation building in Afghanistan, and no, the first one didn't work, either.
They still like our stuff. But it somehow doesn't fortify local yokels -- even U.S.-secured ones -- against a call to "jihad" over a simplistic lie about Koran abuse.
Why? You won't get an answer from on high where Islam is verboten in formulating policy.
Maybe a new recreation center for Garmsir would do the trick -- eh, general?