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For a second, let's leave the moral issues aside. Let's address the situation in Afghanistan in a PRACTICAL way, with WHAT WORKS!
1. Military and adminitration alike know that a military solution won't work (not to mention the historical evidence). In fact, the military response has increased terrorism in both Iraq and Afghanistan;
2. Most Afghans don't hate us (yet), but the Taliban gets stronger as we bomb Afghan civilians (and wouldn't most Americans have the same defiant response to an invasion of our country?);
3. The vast majority of Afghans want what we want: security and opportunity. People who see futures for their children don't become terrorists;
4. We want SUCCESS in Afghanistan. Let's define success meaningfully: "the purpose of living is to relieve the suffering" (Allen Ginsberg). And many military people know this better than the rest of us: these practical ideals drive the military: See Captain Paul Chappell's recent book, Will War Ever End: A Soldier's Vision of Peace for the 21st Century;
5. We can "relieve the suffering" (and reduce terrorism much more effectively--and cheaply, with HUMAN CARE.
6. There are alternatives to reliance on a military solution, devised by both military strategiests and peace activists. These include
a. opening schools in Afghanistan (especially for girls: "Educate a boy and educate an individual; educate a girl and educate a community");
b. developing jobs for Afghanis. Most Afghans want to help their families; they work for the Taliban because it pays $8 a day; for a lot less money than our military costs, we could actually do what everybody understands must happen, that Afghans move toward normalcy. We could help fund a set of FDR-like programs that would help them rebuild their own country;
c. Health care for a country and a people that have been devastated for the last 40 years;
7. We will think more clearly about these issues if we call "counterinsurgency" what it is: a nonviolent alternative to war (or at least an emphasis on strategies that actually change and help people).
8. These practical ways of thinking about Afghanistan are consistent with our American ideals.
posted 3 years, 5 months ago
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