My thoughts on the war in Afghanistan

In making the case for continued American military involvement in Afghanistan, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California argued on Sunday’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos that it’s all about the women:

Feinstein then broke out the latest trendy, new-for-fall reason why we need to up the ante in Afghanistan — it’s all about the women. “I particularly worry about women in Afghanistan,” Feinstein said, “acid in the face of children, girl children who go to school, women who can’t work when they’re widowed, huddled on the streets, begging, women beaten and shot in stadiums, you know, Sharia law with all of its violence.”

While Sen. Feinstein’s argument certainly pulls at the hearstrings and merits concern, it’s important to remember that “Sharia law with all of its violence” has just been made the law of the land by President Karzai, America’s hand-picked president of Afghanistan. Among the provisions of the Sharia Personal Status Law, which was signed by Karzai and became operational in July: custody rights are granted to fathers and grandfathers, women can work only with the permission of their husbands, and husbands can withhold food from wives who don’t want to have sex with them. However, there is a bright side to Afghanistan’s Sharia Personal Status Law: if a man rapes a mentally ill woman or child, he must pay a fine.

The fact is, we’ve committed American servicemen and servicewomen in Afghanistan when it’s not entirely clear what exactly we’re doing there. We’ve thrown billions upon billions of dollars into Afghanistan, and the nation isn’t substantially better than when we first invaded. As I write this, only 4 percent of girls in Afghanistan make it to the 10th grade, and up to 80 percent of Afghani women are subjected to domestic violence.

What’s worse, in focusing our time, money, and military might in Afghanistan, we’ve only pushed the Taliban and their supporters into Pakistan, in the process destabilizing a country that has nuclear capabilities. Perhaps it’s time to rethink our military strategy in Afghanistan, lest our actions in that nation give the Taliban and their supporters the nuclear capabilities they’ve been hoping for.


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7 thoughts on “My thoughts on the war in Afghanistan

  1. You are mistaken, Zach. The Afghan War was a ‘good’ war and it is not over. It isn’t over until the good and decent people have a stable government. It isn’t over until the good and decent people are safe from Taliban theocracy, insurgent troops, and Al Qaeda.
    We,in America, are looking at Afghanistan and we say: it costs too much money,they hate us, Afghanistan is another Vietnam,and Afghanistan is the graveyard of Empires. I say that we are a moral nation and as a moral nation that is in control of Afghanistan we cannot leave honorable and decent humna beings to a certain fate of religious and political oppression.
    Iraq was the wrong war. Afghanistan is the right one.
    Number 1: There are decent Muslim people in Afghanistan that are raising families and are glad that the Taliban yoke is off their backs.They deserve a chance to pursue their own direction and happiness.
    Number 2: Afghanistan can become another Islamic democracy similar to, but not identical to, Turkey.
    Number 3: Afghanistan still has a snake nest of extremist Islamic fundamnetalists that needs to be destroyed. If not, it will spread and bruise our heel throughout the Middle East and Pakistan.
    Number 4: We conquered this country and unseated an evil government. To leave without peace in the country, to leave without an economy that can sustain its people, and to leave without instituting vigorous national government is to sentence its people to a life of evil-intentioned men and organizations.

    Afghanistan will never be a Western country but it can be a stable form of elected government in the Middle East and a haven for those that need to escape Pakistan and Iran.

    The Northern Alliance that was growing and whose leader was assassinated days before 9/11 is a leadership opportunity that should not be discarded.

    Our mission is clear. Destroy Al Qaeda, prevent the Taliban from resuming power, establish a functioning government and economy.

    1. PB, exactly how long should we stay in Afghanistan to ensure a functioning government and economy? After all, it’s been 8 years since we began military action in Afghanistan, and the country’s negligibly better than it was pre-9/11.

      1. I think you know that President Bush and the neoconservatives diverted America to Iraq and ignored Afghanistan during that time. The poor success is due to a lack of attention. The Bush Administration only cared to punish Afghanistan for harboring UBL and to establish the pipeline from the Caspian Sea to the Indian Ocean. Other than that, the neocons did not give a fig about Afghanistan.

        1. So then how many years – and how many billions upon billions of dollars – do we invest in Afghanistan?

          What’s more, what about the fact that President Karzai has instituted Sharia Law in Afghanistan, a law not too dissimilar from the laws they had under the Taliban?

          1. How many people, currently under our protection, do you wish to abandon to live under an oppressive regime?

            Karzai is an ex-Unocal employee that was installed to move the pipeline project forward. The governmental structure does not take into account the peculiar circumstances of tribes, warlords, oil, poppy production,and rural vs urban needs. It is a square peg in a round hole.

            There is work to be done, for sure.

  2. Oh,by the way, as far as Sen Feinstein’s focus on women, I say that it is too narrow a goal. There is a nation to be won and a people to free. Let’s be about that business before all others.

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