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Monday, October 12. 2009
Interesting change of heart, from Afghanistan -
The best path to peace may not be the withdrawal of
It shocks me to admit this. But the voices I have heard – local and international NGO workers, reconciliation activists, ex-Taliban members, warlords, women in homeless shelters and in governmental positions – clearly do not want a withdrawal of troops now. They are under attack. The great majority of the people I listened to – not all but the great majority – feel that additional troops are necessary to train a viable Afghan army and a national police force and to secure the country so that development projects can proceed. Yes, we should have accomplished those goals by now, but we have not.
Dr. Soraya, a dedicated and hopeful Afghan physician who is Commissioner for Women’s Rights, told us, “If the international troops leave
I am not the only one in our delegation who had to confront this disparity between our pre-convictions and the reality we found. This disparity became a serious tension in our group.
After the second day of appointments, with most of the Afghans we met expressing support for the presence of troops, one of the leaders of our delegation said, “I don’t like what I am hearing.” So she changed her style of questioning. For example, when she asked, “Do you want the troops to leave?” the answers she received were mostly “No.” So she began asking questions like, “Do you want development and jobs, or do you want that money spent on more troops?” Sure enough, more people began to say they wanted “Jobs not war.” This was the sound-bite she wanted.
In my younger days as a social researcher for national-scale projects, I learned a great deal about survey questioning. You can get the answer you’re looking for by limiting the options presented in the question. A more accurate approach is to formulate questions that are essentially open-ended, questions that do not in themselves limit the field of the answer.
So when I asked the same people, “Do you feel
I came to
A Snapshot of Three Decades of War
America is not an innocent bystander to the situation in
In 1979, Soviet troops invaded
With 1.5 million Afghans killed in the war and 4 million more banished to squalid refugee camps, the country was in disarray. But the mujahedeen militias divided along tribal lines had become accustomed to fighting and the thrill of living near death. Almost as soon as the mujahedeen took over, rivalries exploded into civil war. Armed with the weapons we supplied them they plunged the country into another devastating six years of war.
Many Afghans welcomed the “talibs” as they poured out of their conservative madrassas over the border from
Three weeks after 9/11, American forces attacked
Americans are now tired of the “war of choice” in
Today the Taliban are different from the original fundamentalists who waged a war in the name of Islam. According to the director of the Peace and Reconciliation process in
You Break It, You Own It
Why is this mess our problem? Why should the boys and girls from
What does “clean it up” mean? It means we have to do many, many things differently from how we have been doing over the past 30 years. In my next letter I will try to outline a few of these courses of action.
Many analysts say the
Consider the alternatives. Without an international military presence there is a good chance that money and influence from neighboring
The Dilemma of the Peace Activist
Peace workers are against violence. We protest all war. Military adventurism and the pervasiveness of the military–industrial complex appall us. I liked it better when I knew what the moral high ground in
I feel we have to admit a terrible truth: the standard anti-war position of “bring the troops home now” is in itself a violent policy. It will precipitate extreme violence. The opposite position – maintaining current troop levels, or adding more – also means more violence. But after all that has happened, the
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Confronted with the reality that there is violence in the world, I respect and applaud this writer's intellectual integrity. Even the most ardent conservative pro-military advocate is against violence. But unilateral withdrawal in the face of violence rarely has the intended consequence of reducing violence.
"I don’t believe that killing leads to peace."
I thought that killing was what ended WW2 . We had to kill about 5 percent of the Germans and Japanese before they caught on that WW2 was a bad idea. Sometimes you just can't talk people out of a bad idea because they think it is real smart.
Hey, spend a minute and clean up the formatting of this long article.
Check the source code, you've got /p 's and huge numbers of breaks all over it.
Very, very hard to read.
Just pasting is not your friend sometimes.
Bob Godwin of One Cosmos blog said (a couple years ago) "There is nothing noble, moral, or praiseworthy about pacifism; for it simply rolls out the red carpet for the wicked to annihilate the decent". Which is what the writer is on the verge of saying above...
Secondly, I have just completed reading "Three Cups of Tea", and the experiences of Greg Mortensen match again what the above writer is saying about the people and circumstances in Afghanistan.... hmmmm....
Hats off to Ms. Roberts. She has the guts to express what she perceives as truth despite likely blowback from her friends.
The truth is a troublesome thing.
I too abhor war and killing. I also abhor that we ignore genocide in Africa. Europe was ignoring it in the Balkans a few years back till we stepped in. Like it or not the US military is the worlds policeman. Remove them and killing sprees occur.
Is the military perfect? no. Are any of us perfect? no.. We do our best.
Young men and women, our children, are dying for a cause they believe in. Sent there by older, supposedly wiser civilians. We, the people elected these civilians. We the people are complicit in their deaths. Wars are either won or lost. If we do not have the fortitude to win the lets go home. There is no grey zone here. But, lets not kid ourselves about what will happen to the Afghanis when we leave. We supplied and trained the Taliban to fight the Russians. This is our mess. We need to fix it.
"you break it you own it"?
Seems to me the Sovs busted it, not like "it" was what anybody in the Western world or most of the developing world would have considered even semi-functional to begin with.
All I could think about reading her piece was why it took her 40 years to understand that war is a necessary thing, so I am not wont to give her any credit for guts. This planet has never been without war, and unless she has the magic decoder ring for stopping all war, shut up.
" And in terms of our own self-interest, if we turn our back on Afghanistan now it will almost certainly come back to haunt us."
That is our only moral purpose, not as she says, payback to the Afghan people. Looking ahead and looking out for our own country is our only moral purpose, and our 'military adventures' is a disgusting insult to the soldiers who have died looking out for OUR fellowman. Compassion is a fine concept, but its truth is that it benefits us to teach it to others.
War is hell, as Sherman said. I haven't read Dante completely so know not which circle war occupies. But I would think it is not near the hottest center. Many things in this world are much worse than war.
"Many things in this world are much worse than war."
Yes. Spitting on a soldier returning from fighting a war to ensure one's freedom to spit on him.
"...the standard anti-war position of “bring the troops home now” is in itself a violent policy."
Insightful brilliance. Too bad the moonbats have their fingers in their ears.
I'm with Jim's comment above. If anyone (in modernity) busted Afghanistan, it was the Soviets.
+1 to Meta, also. Humanitarian reasons are very noble, but our first purpose is the protection of the United States. If rebuilding Afghanistan is necessary for the security of the US (and it probably is), then it should be done -- if reconstruction is of no benefit to us, then it's not our problem (or at least not a problem for the US DoD).
Sound bites are wonderful things. My personal favorite is "food not bombs" What f*cking idiot buys into that??? I thought Somalia back in the 90's should have made it rather crystal clear to an entire generation that a lot of the world's starvation stems from violence or the threat of it (via stupid gov't policies). Throwing food at the problem does nothing if the controlling power simply seizes it and uses it as an instrument of war or continuing failed policies. Sometimes, bombs are needed to get the food to those that need it.