Do you ever sit back in amazement at how short-sighted some people can be. How they can make a fluid and seamless arguement with even the most illogical information. I know I should be surprised, but I'm just not anymore.
Today in the New York Times, Nicholas D Kristof discussed his column from yesterday, "More Schools, Not Troops." He is idealistic in his Op-Ed and unfortunately just plain wrong. While no-one argues that building schools is a bad thing, and very honestly is an imperative along with other parts of development, you can not build critical infastructure without security.
He builds his arguement around this point:
The hawks respond: It’s naïve to think that you can sprinkle a bit of education on a war-torn society. It’s impossible to build schools now because the Taliban will blow them up.
In fact, it’s still quite possible to operate schools in Afghanistan — particularly when there’s a strong “buy-in” from the local community.
Greg Mortenson, author of “Three Cups of Tea,” has now built 39 schools in Afghanistan and 92 in Pakistan — and not one has been burned down or closed. The aid organization CARE has 295 schools educating 50,000 girls in Afghanistan, and not a single one has been closed or burned by the Taliban. The Afghan Institute of Learning, another aid group, has 32 schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan, with none closed by the Taliban (although local communities have temporarily suspended three for security reasons).
Very simply, you're wrong Nicholas. First off, sometimes the Taliban do not attack the school directly. Sometimes they just drive by the girls going to school and throw acid upon them; or beat them and rape them. All for the price of trying to go to school.
Secondly, before 2001 most of these schools were not able to be built, simply because the security situation did not allow for it. Teachers, supplies, building material, and labor were not available to even build schools in Afghanistan. Only with our brave Men and Women putting their lives on the line was the situation changed so that these schools could be built.
Third, local communities are the key. In many areas, lack of essential govermental services has led to Taliban shadow-governments becoming the defacto leadership. They are the ones offering leadership, judiciary services, education, and security. By the way, when they are in charge, your daughters can't go to school. They can be beaten to death for minor infractions though, and summary execution by the local thugs, no matter the gender, is the norm.
I know this sounds like a very pessimistic picture compared to Mr. Kristof's article. But, it is reality. The Taliban are not misunderstood creatures. They are evil men who try to impose their fanatical dissolusioned version of Islam on others by force and brutallity. The hard-core members of the Taliban can only be dealt with in one way, and that is with our Infantrymen who are trained to close with and destroy them. Development must be done concurrently, in regards to education, governance, critical services, and rule of law; but without security it will be for naught.
ISAF and General McChrystal have done a fantasic job in evaluating the situation and offering the most feasible, acceptable, and suitable course of action that will accomplish our great Nation's national security goals and what is best for Afghanistan. In order to set conditions for stability and development, security must be first enforced. To propose anything else is illogical and just plain incorrect.
God Bless America
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