Sometimes armies lose war without actually facing the real enemy. The defeated nation then fails to make out as to what led to their rout in the battlefield. We had a very glaring example of one such decimation of mammoth army at the hands of non-existing or one can say invisible opponents. This incident took place some 50-51 days before the birth of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be with him). A huge army of Christian king of Yemen, Abraha, proceeded towards Makkah to invade and capture it. He in fact wanted to (God forbid) get rid of the centrality of this Holy City, built by Prophet Abraham.
Mounted on elephants the army neared the city. The Quaraish of Makkah – no match to the enemy’s army – who had never seen any elephant in their life fled the battlefield and took shelter in the highland around the city. They prayed to Allah to save Bait-ul-Allah from the enemy’s scourge.
In Surah Al-Fil we find mention of how the Christian army of Abraha was decimated by a flock of birds which flew overhead and dropped pebbles, which they carried in their beaks. These apparently small stones worked like nuclear weapons and reduced the huge army into haystack.
But Abraha is not the last Christian ruler to dream of invading Makkah. Today there is no dearth of Evangelist Christians in the United States, who repeatedly make their feeling known in this regard. In 2003 one of their journals carried a piece quoting an ardent Evangelist who wrote that Makkah should be bombed with atomic bomb. Recently, one of the presidential candidates of that country called for the invasion of Makkah. After all the all-winning US army is in the vicinity of Saudi Arabia and apparently it is not very difficult to capture it. The Zionist state of Israel too was created by the Christian masters for this very purpose.
It would not be appropriate to stretch the example of Abraha too much. But recent reports appearing in international media suggest that an invisible enemy is wreaking havoc in the rank and file of US army, navy and air forces. Though the matter is extremely serious yet it is not getting the publicity it deserves because of obvious reasons. As high as 17 – and even more – US soldiers who are back from Iraq and Afghanistan are committing suicide every day. The weekly toll is 120 and the annual more than 6,000. According to a survey done by CBS 6,256 US army personnel committed suicide in just one year – 2005. Even if the rate of suicide remains the same – in fact it is increasing – then in the last four and a half to five years of stay in Afghanistan and Iraq the Americans have lost about 25,000 soldiers, almost two divisions, without fighting. Though the actual figure of death and injuries sustained by the US army in these two countries are not known yet the ‘suicide epidemic’, as it is being termed, is causing a devastating impact on the US society as such.
Though the US establishment is alarmed at this rate of suicide of one of the finest well-trained, young and disciplined men and women of the society, efforts are constantly being made to underplay the phenomenon. Psycho-analysts are at the loss of words to explain the reason for this sheer frustration of these young men and women back from the ‘victorious’ war. In fact, they think that the soldiers should be proud of their country’s victory in these two wars.
Keeping an army deployed for too long in the civilian areas – of Iraq and Afghanistan in this case – where actual and regular battle is not taking place, often proves harmful and has detrimental impact on the psyche of the occupying soldiers. The crimes in which these occupying soldiers get involved do not actually get highlighted. But once back from the ‘peaceful’ war-zones of these two countries guilt feeling starts gripping them. The army needs to be told and convinced about the purpose of the occupation.
The constant stress and tension in which these army personnel had to live in far-off enemy countries – where not regular but guerrilla war is on – cannot be overcome by just counselling. After all Dale Carnegie, the man who wrote so much on counselling, encouragement, psychological behaviour and personality build-up, committed suicide. The battle within the heart and mind of George Bush’s own army has not been won – in fact it is losing.