Thursday, October 22, 2009

Refuting the Strongest Argument Against Afghanistan Escalation

Via, Johann Hari makes strong counter-arguments against three basic arguments for Afghanistan escalation. Here is his rebuttal of what he (and I) think is the strongest of the three:
By staying, we are significantly improving Afghan human rights, especially for women. This, for me, is the meatiest argument – and the most depressing. The Taliban are indeed one of the vilest forces in the world, imprisoning women in their homes and torturing them for the "crimes" of showing their faces, expressing their sexuality, or being raped. They keep trying to murder my friend Malalai Joya for the "crime" of being elected to parliament on a platform of treating women like human beings not cattle.

But as she told me last month: "Your governments have replaced the fundamentalist rule of the Taliban with another fundamentalist regime of warlords." Outside Kabul, vicious Taliban who enforce sharia law have merely been replaced by vicious warlords who enforce sharia law. "The situation now is as catastrophic as it was under the Taliban for women," she said. Any Afghan president – Karzai, or his opponents – will only ever in practice be the mayor of Kabul. Beyond is a sea of warlordism, as evil to women as Mullah Omar. That is not a difference worth fighting and dying for.
Click through to read his answer to the other two arguments, the notions that "We need to deprive al-Qa'ida of military bases in Afghanistan, or they will use them to plot attacks against us," and that withdrawing from Afghanistan will reinvigorate Al-Qaida.

As the ghost in the haunted house says to the stupid people who stay anyway in an uncountable number of horror movies: GET OUT.

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