Evacuating Afghanistan

Tom Friedman is ready to give up on Afghanistan:

It is crunch time on Afghanistan, and we do not have the Afghan partners, the NATO allies, the domestic support, the financial resources or the national interests to justify an enlarged and prolonged nation-building effort in Afghanistan.

Is the bottom line, that there’s nothing for America to gain in Afghanistan, and so our exit strategy is both inevitable and pragmatic?

Add to that the fact that Islamic radicals need, if not deserve, a place they can call home this side of Paradise and it seems as though the way forward is clear. 

Saigon, 1975, anyone?

I would hate to be a normal, law-abiding citizen in Afghanistan and read the NY Times.  This is particularly true for women, government officials, Christians or other non-Muslims, business owners, people of above average intelligence, or simply those with the humble aspiration of being left alone to live their lives free from the Draconian thuggery of the Taliban’s ungodly theocracy.

Afghan Muslims Riot Over Koran Rumor

image A rumor that American troops burned a copy of the Koran brought hundreds of flag and photo burning Muslims into the streets of Afghanistan today.

Question: Don’t these people have any actual responsibilities to keep them occupied?

The answer seems self-evident, for if they had bills to pay or mortgages to meet or superiors to please then they wouldn’t be out in the streets nattering over nothing as if their lives depended on it.

The unrest in Afghanistan is standard operating procedure on the part of religious radicals who like to whip up a anti-western mob any time they aren’t having their way controlling their country’s society, as most recently documented by yours truly in this PoliGazette piece (which in turn seemed to make me persona non grata at that site).

Seven people were murdered in that pointless, deliberately initiated rampage in Pakistan and one can easily imagine the bearded, turbaned mullahs who spread the deadly lie shrugging their deaths off as unimportant.  They were, after all, only infidels like you and me.

Happily, no one was killed in Afghanistan over today’s rather flimsy untruth.  Sorrow abounds there, however, as on another, less joyful note, 14 Americans were killed in 2 separate helicopter incidents in that country.  Their deaths lie directly at the feet of the same religious radicals who fomented today’s anarchy because their refusal to submit to the authority of the elected Karzai government and support of the Taliban terrorists is what has prolonged the U.S. action in Afghanistan.

Women’s Rights Under Assault in Afghanistan

imagePerhaps there is little room for leaders with principles in the new Afghanistan.Even so, I would expect more from Hamid Karzai’s government than to cave into Islamofascist fundamentalists on something so, well, fundamental as a woman’s right to control when she has sex.  Basic as they are, such expectations are apparently for naught in the country western blood built.

image Perhaps there is little room for leaders with principles in the new Afghanistan.  After all, Muslim extremists still control significant territory and threaten the would-be civilized regions.  But given everything that America and Britain have poured into the country since pushing the Islamofascist Taliban into the mountains, I would expect more from Hamid Karzai’s government than to cave into the fundamentalists on something so, well, fundamental as a woman’s right to control when she has sex.  Basic as they are, such expectations are apparently for naught in the country western blood built.

Afghanistan has quietly passed a law permitting Shia men to deny their wives food and sustenance if they refuse to obey their husbands’ sexual demands, despite international outrage over an earlier version of the legislation which President Hamid Karzai had promised to review.

“Tamkeen is the readiness of the wife to submit to her husband’s reasonable sexual enjoyment, and her prohibition from going out of the house, except in extreme circumstances, without her husband’s permission. If any of the above provisions are not followed by the wife she is considered disobedient.”

Evidently in Afghanistan it takes a real man to starve a woman until she’s ready to fuck.  Very impressive.  Disgusting as that sickening provision is, the new “Men are Gods” law is even worse than that.

The new final draft of the legislation also grants guardianship of children exclusively to their fathers and grandfathers, and requires women to get permission from their husbands to work.

In other words, if the beatings and starvation doesn’t work the so-called husband can deny his wife all contact with her own children.  Just one more form of leverage meant to enforce the feeble illusion of virility in the region’s males.

Could this be one of the reasons that women were on the front line of the election protests in Iran?  I wouldn’t doubt it in the least.  The most oppressed value freedom more than anyone else.

World Opinion in the Age of Hope

Hillary Clinton wasn’t greeted warmly in Barack Obama’s boyhood home of Indonesia.  This picture says it all.


Don Surber puts it this way:  “Hope.  Change.  The world still hates us.” 

No surprise, given that nothing has really changed.  Moreover, nothing can change in the space of a month or even a presidential term, regardless of what’s promised. 

Nor should the United States change its policies on iota to placate Indonesian Muslims, particularly given that group’s inability to behave rationally in their own country.

A group of 500 Muslims wrecks havoc and spreads panic in Masohi, chief town of Seram, part of the Maluku Islands, during clashes with police and local Christians with the result that 45 houses, a church and a village hall are set on fire.

The spark that set off the violence is an in incident in which a teacher allegedly insulted Islam in front of some Muslim students.

From one perspective, the key word in that sentence is “allegedly”.  We know from real-world experience that it’s paid educators who lie and slander while teenaged youth are ever so truthful, whether Indonesian or American.  Was the children’s claim proven?  Was the proof presented in a recognized court of law?  Was sentence handed down by the proper officials of the court?  Highly doubtful on all counts – that’s not how radical Muslims roll. 

From another perspective, the teacher’s words are completely immaterial.  What if (s)he did insult Islam?  What of it?  A religious philosophy that demands a violent physical response to words is an insult to both the rational world and the God said religion claims to worship.  Yet many young Muslims define Islam exactly in this way – a justification to attack those who refuse to submit.

It goes without saying that Indonesian Muslims are hardly unique.  This was recently demonstrated clearly in Afghanistan:

When Ghaus Zalmai, a well-known journalist who was working as spokesperson for the attorney general’s office, lent his name and reputation to a new version of the Koran, he may have thought he was performing a service for his fellow Afghan Muslims.

Instead of thanks, the Afghani rabble howled for Zalmai’s head:

Critics say that in the process, serious errors were made in rendering the letter and the spirit of the Koran, and are calling for everyone involved in its production to be brought to trial. Angry demonstrators in Kabul, Jalalabad, and other parts of the country have even demanded death for Zalmai and his “collaborators”.

This is the face of political Islam and it’s going to be coming to a country near you – perhaps very near – unless western leaders do a sudden 180-degree turnabout and start showing some backbone at home and abroad.

Think Britain will lead the reversal?  Not bloody likely!

Iraq Thankful for American Troops

Perhaps thankful is too strong of a word.  Or perhaps not.  80% of Iraq’s parliament voted for a security pact that will keep American troops in that country for three more years – sounds like they’re glad to have us there.

After the madness that’s been happening in Mumbai over the last 2 days and the massive, brutal Iraqi-on-Iraqi violence of 2 years ago, it’s not hard to understand why Iraq’s leaders want to keep the the troops responsible for the progress of the last year plus in country.

It’s also clear that the U.S. has an obligation to keep our troops in Iraq until that country is ready to stand on its own.  Despite the recent successes, that time may be beyond the 2012 timeframe specified in this latest agreement.  Regardless, the moral imperative of “we broke it, we bought it” can’t be ignored. 

That’s true even for Barack Obama who, while elected on the promise of change and troop withdrawals, will find his ability to keep his allies on the far left happy constrained by the realities of his new responsibilities.

Hopefully the U.S. will continue to be able to draw down troop numbers in Iraq and shift the theater of war back to Afghanistan where our focus is needed.  And hopefully our former allies in Europe will re-commit themselves to the pacification of that country, work with us to secure its border with Pakistan, and help create an economy based on something other than opium.  And hopefully the U.S. will be able to establish long-term working relationships with the governments in both Iraq and Afghanistan and build military bases in those countries similar to those in Japan, South Korea, and other allied nations.

True, that’s a lot of hoping.  But our successes in Iraq have created the opportunity to hope for more favorable outcomes.  That’s something to be thankful for.

Cyd Mizell’s Condition Unknown

From ABC:


On Monday, the police chief of Kandahar province, Sayed Agha Saqib, said police had not turned up any new information about the kidnapping.

"All of our security forces and intelligence agents are trying to find them," he said.

"Nobody really knows" who the kidnappers are, [foundation director Jeff] Palmer said, adding that the Asian Rural Life Development Foundation had taken precautionary measures for other staff members in Kandahar. He declined to give further details.

Mizell, who taught English at Kandahar University and gave embroidery lessons at a girl’s school, speaks the local Pashtu language well, colleagues said. She has worked for ARLDF in Kandahar for the last three years, Palmer said.

Kidnappings of Afghans have been on the rise in the last year, including the abduction of dozens of Afghans. Rumors persist of foreign governments paying large ransoms to win the freedom of their citizens.

2 South Korean kidnap victims were killed last year while in the custody of terrorists, so Ms. Mizell’s safety is by no means certain, particularly if the U.S. is contacted and is unwilling to cooperate, as per policy.

As Claudia described earlier, terrorists armed with rocket launchers and explosives also held than 300 school children hostage and threatened to blow them up after failing to kidnap a local government official. 

Happily, this standoff has come to an end, apparently without any of the youngsters being harmed.  Hopefully Cyd Mizell will be as fortunate.

American Woman Kidnapped in Afghanistan

From the Houston Chronicle:

Gunmen kidnapped a burqa-clad American aid worker and her driver while they were traveling through southern Afghanistan early today, a provincial governor said.

The two were stopped by gunmen outside the southern Afghan city of Kandahar, said Gov. Asadullah Khalid. He blamed the kidnappings on the "enemy of Islam and the enemy of Afghanistan."

More proof that Afghanistan has not yet been stabilized, as if we needed any. 

Earlier this week Hamid Karzai said that American and British forces were making Afghanistan less secure.  While this is a dubious assertion – I don’t think that anyone has particular faith in Afghan police or troops – it certainly goes to the point that the U.S. took it’s eye off the ball in that country to focus on Iraq, a well-documented mistake.

Khalid said the 49-year-old American was wearing a burqa when she was taken. She worked for the aid agency Asian Rural Life Development Foundation, he said.

Projects run by the Asian Rural Life Development Foundation are located around the city of Kandahar and include food for work, irrigation rehabilitation, health care and restoration projects, according to the group’s Web site.

These projects are the last thing the Taliban, al Qaeda, and their ilk – as well as the drug growers known to be in the area – want to see come to fruition.  People who can provide for themselves have no need of authoritarian or criminal masters such as these.

Let’s pray that this brave woman is not harmed by her kidnappers.