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$1,000,000,000,000

Auntie J "GOD IS LOVE"-1John 4:15 2010/06/02 18:57:52
$1,000,000,000,000

by Laurence Lewis
Wed Jun 02, 2010 at 07:00:04 AM PDT


Last Friday, Democratic Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois posted this stark news at Huffington Post:

This month, we mark the seventh anniversary of President Bush's declaration of "mission accomplished" in Iraq, yet five American soldiers have been killed there in May alone. Iraqis went to the polls nearly three months ago, but the political system remains so fractured that no party has been able to piece together a coalition. There are some indications that sectarian violence is again on the rise.

The only clear winner of the Iraq war is Iran. Their mortal enemy, Saddam Hussein, was taken out and fellow Shiites are in charge. Iran has been emboldened to the point of threatening the stability of the region and the world with its growing nuclear capability.

And then there's Afghanistan, which, after nearly a decade of war, represents the longest continuous U.S. military engagement ever. Even the non-partisan Congressional Research Service recently declared the situation in Afghanistan as a "deteriorating security situation and no comprehensive political outcome yet in sight." And the U.S. military just suffered its 1,000th casualty in Afghanistan on Friday.

Schakowsky noted that on Sunday we would pass the $1,000,000,000,000 mark on Bush's wars. A trillion dollars. Hundreds of thousands dead, and no good news in sight. President Obama is getting us out of Iraq. He is not getting us out of Afghanistan. Earlier this month, we also passed the grim milestone of 1000 dead Americans in Afghanistan. For what?

It would be easy and obvious to point to all the different productive ways we could have spent that $1,000,000,000,000. But we all know that we wouldn't have. To fund health care or mass transit or research and development into clean, renewable energy sources, or simply to ensure that all Americans have adequate food and housing, and that all children are well-educated, are liberal fantasies. Taking even incremental steps on any of those requires the political version of a bloodbath. But funding actual bloodbaths hardly requires debate. Those are our national political values.

Schakowsky says the evidence shows that nations are most violent when women are least empowered. She imagines the potential if we spent money empowering women in Afghanistan, rather than spending it waging war. Some significant Afghan women might agree.

Meanwhile, the New York Times had this, on Sunday:

The two Afghan girls had every reason to expect the law would be on their side when a policeman at a checkpoint stopped the bus they were in. Disguised in boys’ clothes, the girls, ages 13 and 14, had been fleeing for two days along rutted roads and over mountain passes to escape their illegal, forced marriages to much older men, and now they had made it to relatively liberal Herat Province.

Instead, the police officer spotted them as girls, ignored their pleas and promptly sent them back to their remote village in Ghor Province. There they were publicly and viciously flogged for daring to run away from their husbands.

Their tormentors, who videotaped the abuse, were not the Taliban, but local mullahs and the former warlord, now a pro-government figure who largely rules the district where the girls live.

Those are the people our military personnel are fighting and dying to empower. Not the girls, but their tormenters. The politics could not be much more wrong. We are not making it better. The Congressional Research Service and the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction both offer plenty of reasons to doubt the mission. Whatever that mission might be.

A UNICEF study from 2000-2008 showed that 43% of Afghan marriages included a child. You can be certain those weren't women marrying boys. But as the Times makes clear, the two girls from Ghor Province were relatively lucky. After their beatings, they were sent back to their families, their marriages having been declared over.

Two years earlier, in nearby Murhab district, two girls who had been sold into marriage to the same family fled after being abused, according to a report by the Human Rights Commission. But they lost their way, were captured and forcibly returned. Their fathers — one the village mullah — took them up the mountain and killed them.

$1,000,000,000,000. For what?
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Opinions

  • The Amazing 2010/06/04 22:05:43
    The Amazing
    About whats going on there.
    Its not like the Taliban is against that ultra conservatism though.
    Whats going on there is awful, and we are fighting a component of that way of life,
    the writer of this article has a good point though. Thats money that could have been spent of building infrastructure for the US and it was wasted. One trillion dollars invested in the country could have pushed us so much farther ahead of the world.
    That could have been scholarships for the brilliant people in this country who could not afford to go to college and make the country or the world better. What a waste....
  • Giantsfan 2010/06/02 21:05:41
    Giantsfan
    +1
    One trillion to uncheck Iran giving them unsurpassed power among arab countries and Afghanistan where very conservative is like progresive here. Ultra conservatism is what we are defending. Nothing good ever came out of that.

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