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Plight of Afghan women prompts fresh debate

Globe and Mail Update

Controversial rape law exposes debate in Canada over whether mission has helped bring about equality ...Read the full article

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  1. Richard Roskell from Canada writes:
    The debate may rage, but the conclusion is foregone: beyond the exception of genocide, YOU CANNOT HOPE TO IMPROVE HUMAN RIGHTS OF ANYONE BY TAKING WAR TO THEIR LAND.

    War is the worst abuser of human rights there is. End it, and by that one act make an enormous leap in the quality of life for women, children and men everywhere. By comparison, fixing Afghanistan's family law will have but a trivial effect.
  2. james cyr from Balmertown Ontario, Canada writes: What we can do is introduce the concept of equality and the fact that women have as many (basic) rights as men. We can not force a country, or its people, to accept these concepts. Having said that, it all boils down to, as the above post says, power and control. And that should be fought against no matter where it rears its disgusting head.
  3. diane marie from calgary, alberta from Canada writes: Catherine Medernach:-- When the suffragettes were trying to enfranchise women and African Americans were trying to cast off the chains of slavery, would either battle have been advanced by war imposed by outsiders? This is nothing but a social-engineering experiment engaged in by those who deplore the idea domestically, but who are delighted to see the creation of some make-work cover for the military-industrial complex.
  4. Catherine Medernach from Winnipeg, Canada writes: Individual rights are difficult to focus on when many areas of the country are still fighting for survival and to wrestle control from those who want nothing more than to regain control. In the southern provinces, it has only been in the past two years that serious efforts have focused on training and mentoring the police - prior to that under US control they were being inappropriately being used as frontline troops rather than as police.

    There is a lot to be accomplished in Afghan but there has been progress and there have been many indications that the Afghans want to progress despite all of the hurdles they need to overcome. Now is not the time to quit or to be distracted from the real work of rebuilding by western issues that cannot be satisfactorily addressed until the government and justice system have time to be established countrywide. It is the people believing in the ability of the government to provide security and services that will ultimately make the difference.
  5. Catherine Medernach from Winnipeg, Canada writes: diane marie from calgary - you may choose to view this as social engineering, but what is taking place is what is needed in failed states when recovering from decades of conflict. We were doing the same thing in Bosnia for 10 years and the responsibility was only assumed by the EU in 2004/2005.

    With the illiteracy rate it takes time to build government institutions and services. It has been said only one school has been built in Kandahar, but others have been expanded or repaired. But schools are of little value without teachers so a major project is training 3,000 teachers and providing programs for adult literacy. There is a need to regenerate community capacity to reduce reliance on outsiders. Hospitals and Clinics likewise need trained staff so efforts are going into training people. How do you suggest a country recover from the destruction of society, health servies and the lack of education or community consultation (which was traditional )and generate employment and income?
  6. diane marie from calgary, alberta from Canada writes: Catherine Medernach:-- It's really quite simple. Would you appreciate advocates of a five-century-old culture trying to impose their ideas on you? Would you be open to their explanations as to the superiority of their culture and social arrangements? Good grief, Catherine, we already have - in this country - a same-decade divide between many rural citizens and their urban counterparts as to what ought to be the prevailing national social culture. Would citizens living in the country appreciate urbanites' telling them - by force of arms - that they ought to get with the current decade? Your defense is based in ethnocentric imperialism, not in a realistic assessment of any risks to Canada.
  7. Dennis Dong from Columbia, SC, United States writes: Thanks to Sandra Martin for an enlightening article. Thanks to Catherine Medernach for your commentary. In answer to diane marie, I think that your viewpoint is too narrow. If we can roll back history, then we perhaps shouldn't have gotten involved in Afganistan. However, in the present, there is already a battle going on within Afganistan for social change, and the battle is being fought by members of Afgan society. We happen to be involved, and we can choose a side, or remove ourselves. Yes, we can give up on trying to help the women fighting for human rights, but I think we should not. Our efforts should be in the areas of education and health services as Catherine suggests.
  8. Barb dp in Ottawa from Ottawa, Canada writes: I, for one applaud those 200 hundred women who demontrated against this unjust and horrific law. Although this may be dismal by western standards, it is extremely amazing by third world standards. Could you imagine if they would have demonstrated against a male oriented law during the rule of the Taliban? They would not have been stoned, but massacred. Time, it will take time. Afghanistan has been at war and oppressed for 2 generations, lifespan being about 42 years. One generation, the current one, is pretty much illiterate, starving, and for the most part, oblivious to the outside world. Time and patience. A difficult concept for western society who requires instant gratification or it is not worth pursing.
  9. R. M. from Regina, Canada writes: Diane Marie from Calgary I do not often stand on the same side of the fence as you do but in your post in this forum I'd say you have explained the issue in terms of ethnocentricity extremely well
  10. Bob Cajun from Canada writes: Diane Marie, it is not that black and wide. Afghans are all over the map when it comes to rights and rule of law and democracy. Yes, some of the population may be stuck in the 5th century, but there are a great many who are not there at all. They very much want a country where the differences between those in the 5th and those in the 21st century are settled vai the ballot box, not the bullet. Unfortunately, the Taliban, Hekymatar or whatever his name is, and a sundry collection of narco-terrorists are sore losers
  11. J Birch from Hamilton, Canada writes:

    Time to bring the troops home, this has lasted longer than WWII with no end in sight

    No war should last longer than WWII

    And we should not support anyone who wants to legalize rape

    Bring the civilized Afghans to the West, leave the rest to the 9th Century they so love

    .
  12. diane marie from calgary, alberta from Canada writes: Bob Cajun:-- I agree, they are all over the map. We are in this country, too. There are lots of men who are still bothered by women's rights - how often do we see the phrase 'Marxist feminist' on these fora? Indeed, Ezra Levant used it recently to denigrate a woman who proposes to do battle for the CPC nomination is this riding (Rob Anders'). For many Canadians - mostly men - same sex marriage is an abomination. Why are we oblivious to our own cultural battles while assuming that we ought to rush right in elsewhere - that we know how to solve their problems when we have plenty of our own?

    So we don't take to the streets, but it is nevertheless a fraught battle fuelled by money. I am absolutely convinced that these fora are habituated by at least some paid opinion-shapers. We can provide assistance by way of NGOs, not by way of our own military. Social engineering at the end of a gun only motivates those who know how to motivate by fear. Indeed, can't you see fear-mongering in operation here? aka 'socialists and separatists'.
  13. diane marie from calgary, alberta from Canada writes: Dennis Dong:-- There are plenty of other places in the world where our assistance would be seen as seeds falling on fertile earth, rather than being viewed as a toxic intervention. Those places, unfortunately, are either void of resources and/or not geopolitically well-placed.
  14. Richard McAllister from Canada writes: Canada has a humanitarian obligation to the Afghan people. The
    process is long and complicated and costly, but our world will not be a better place if we ignore our responsibilities in it .
    Our soldiers are helping to build a bridge to a better future with mortar and blood ( unfortunately ). Perhaps a rising tide of support, from the western world, will be enough to tip the balance of power in favour of the rights of women and children, and anyone else who is enslaved under a repressive regime.
  15. LJ Brody from Canada writes: No foreign army has any right to be in Afghanistan unless the people of Afghanistan want it to be there. This article acknowledges that the RAWA themselves want us out, if thats the case who WOULD want us there?

    sounds to me like this debate is over, we have no right to be there and must leave immediately.

    What Canadian voters want is irrelevant, since Canadian voters don't have the right to decide Afghans future.
  16. Steve is a warmongering neanderthal and loving it! from Canada writes:

    Response to Richard Roskell from Canada writes:
    The debate may rage, but the conclusion is foregone: beyond the exception of genocide, YOU CANNOT HOPE TO IMPROVE HUMAN RIGHTS OF ANYONE BY TAKING WAR TO THEIR LAND.

    War is the worst abuser of human rights there is. End it, and by that one act make an enormous leap in the quality of life for women, children and men everywhere. By comparison, fixing Afghanistan's family law will have but a trivial effect.

    =======================================

    War is never over as long as the Taliban exists.
    There is also a term called 'Warlords' over in that part of the world. They didn't come by that term by falling off the turnip truck yesterday.
    They've probably labeled themselves as such for hundreds and hundreds of years.

    Afghanistan is NOT the Taliban's land.
    In fact Talibans are only recognized diplomatically by three nations on the planet.
    Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
  17. Steve is a warmongering neanderthal and loving it! from Canada writes:

    Response to J Birch from Hamilton, Canada writes:

    Time to bring the troops home, this has lasted longer than WWII with no end in sight

    No war should last longer than WWII

    ===================================

    According to whom???
    What manual, pamphlet, book or internet crapola gave you this conclusion.
  18. Alastair james Berry from Canada writes:

    DID CHRIST NOT TELL US........'IN ROME DO AS THE ROMANS?'

    Why do we Canadians think we have the RIGHT to 'Pontificate' in moral issues?............................The Afghans have been around far longer than have Canadians, yet we assume we are right.
  19. Richard Roskell from Naramata, Canada writes: As I said, the debate may rage on, points may be made on all sides, but the CONCLUSION is inescapable: other than in the exception of genocide, you cannot make a net improvement in human rights by taking war into a society.

    If the advancement of human rights is the true goal, then outside entities will permit national forces to resolve their internal disputes- short of genocide and the like, of course- and simultaneously work from the outside with diplomatic, social and economic assistance to allow the society to evolve in a positive direction.

    That's what would happen if our goals were humanitarian. They're not, obviously. Our goals are strategic, which means that the United States of America (and some of its allies) would like to occupy Afghanistan for their own interests. This should surprise or shock no one: it's the oldest story in history, after all.

    Canadians must face this reality, because we will be forced to face it if we choose denial instead. The war in Afghanistan is not being waged for the well-being of Afghans. Quite the contrary, whatever the claims, Afghans experience a serious net deficit in their well-being due to the war we're waging on their soil. THEY are paying for whatever OUR country's strategic goals may be.

    As a born and raised Canadian, I know that my countrymen will not support a war like that. I've known that from the moment that Canadian combat soldiers went into Afghanistan. Those who recommend that war continue to be waged in Afghanistan condemn Canadian soldiers to a conflict that their countrymen will not, in the end, support. In other words, they betray the very soldiers who they send into an impossible situation.
  20. Richard McAllister from Canada writes: Alastair james Berry from Canada :

    Christ was in the center of the issues of his day, not on the outside looking in.
  21. diane marie from calgary, alberta from Canada writes: If we aren't prepared to say that we have a humanitarian obligation to invade Bountiful and force our generally accepted ideas of women's rights, marriage, and education on the residents, then what is our rationale for spending billions upon billions of dollars on a military adventure?

    Steve:-- I think that you conveniently forget that the Taliban were at least indirectly supported by the CIA and ISI as a means of battling the Russians.
  22. Richard McAllister from Canada writes: Those who are against our presence in Afghanistan have endless excuses ( like conspiracy theories ) for leaving and calling this mission a failure.
    Those who are in favour of continuing the effort can look beyond themselves and hope to bring about change in extraordinary ways. I hope that I am never enslaved or any member of my family, that's why I cherish our free western democracy.
  23. Richard Roskell from Naramata, Canada writes:

    Canadians who are shocked by certain aspects of Afghan tribal life would do well to venture into tribal life in Canada. Do you imagine, for example, that you will see Inuit people in a remote village in Nunavut living in roles that conform to what we see elsewhere in Canada? If yes, then so sorry to burst your bubble.

    Your societal norms, including gender roles, mean next to nothing in tribal societies in Canada. As for rural Afghanistan, your thinking may as well come from another planet.
  24. siren call from Canada writes: If we wanted to help Afghan women, better we had donated a billion to RAWA. (What is Sally Armstrong talking about re. a women's movement is starting? It has been active since before the Soviets.)

    If we wanted to help medically, better we had heeded the advice of Doctors Without Borders who had to flee Afghanistan not as a result of Taliban but of the US/NATO invasion.

    And what kind of demented people are we Canadians that we have convinced ourselves that sending in heavily armed forces pounding out $25,000 a pop shells is 'helpful' to anyone but the military industrial complex?

    We might have had reason to be that naive back when we were peace keepers -- no excuse now.
  25. Tor Hill Sask. from Canada writes: Our role 'morphed' from rooting out terrorists to supporting women's rights because it was a role in search of a rationale, likely to hide other motives. We were improvising. Now, are we going to change an entire culture through our presence, which is of course accompanied by violence? It would seem also that the only kind of place where we can hope to impose our vision is a place where we can impose our presence. We are not going to be playing this morality game in Saudi Arabia or Egypt any time soon. This is pure hypocrisy. The very idea of changing another culture is mind-boggling. How does that fit in with globalization? If it does, I don't see how it can be done at the point of guns. This is nuts. I guess we could be trying to pacify Afghanistan enough so that it could accept some of our outsourced sweat shops. And
  26. siren call from Canada writes: Steve is a warmongering neanderthal and loving it! from Canada writes:
    Afghanistan is NOT the Taliban's land.
    ......................................

    Well, given that Talib are drawn primarily from the Pushtu tribe in the lands between 'Afghanistan' and 'Pakistan' -- you're quite wrong there. It is there land.

    Oh, and the Pushtu are the largest tribe in the world. Recall how successful military ventures in the US west were against the Native American tribes?

    Up here, on our own land, we couldn't even protect Sitting Bull.
  27. Al B from Canada writes: Richard McAllister from Canada writes: 'Those who are in favour of continuing the effort can look beyond themselves and hope to bring about change in extraordinary ways. I hope that I am never enslaved or any member of my family, that's why I cherish our free western democracy. '

    Those who are in favour have too high an opinion of themselves, which degenerates into sanctimoniousness when they call upon the blood and treasury of others.
  28. Coyote @Acme from Canada writes: I have no reticence in saying -'continue to wage war.'

    The enemy I see is twofold,

    The western apologist who wears silk slippers and retreats from the affronts of the real world in which we live;

    and

    Afghan/Pakistani boys/men who have been brainwashed by Saudi-funded religious schools and have been taught to view non-Arab men, and all women, musicians, artists, children, etc as inferior and hated by God

    I am a Canadian man who has and will fight with 'our women folk' while our society's more delicate, evolved, philosphophic, male member's condemn us as inhumane and culturally imperialistic and seek to cut a deal.

    Simple statement. No deal- with them or the frat boy apologists.

    Go ahead, condemn me with your words.
  29. Richard McAllister from Canada writes: Al B from Canada :

    Just another excuse !!!!!
  30. Tor Hill Sask. from Canada writes: siren call: I may be wrong, but I think North West Mounted Police Superintendant Walsh visited Sitting Bull unarmed. Sitting Bull was impressed. But Sitting Bull was not welcome in Canada, even though the Great Mother (Victoria) had once been in possession of all of North America. So Sitting Bull was starved into returning to the US (and yet a segment of his band was able to remain in Sask., where they are to to this day!). Later, in South Dakota, the Great Sioux Reservation was broken up through negotiations to the benefit of the whites, of course. Sitting Bull was left out of the negotiations, but a journalist (!!) took time to ask him how the Indians felt about giving up their lands. Sitting Bull replied, shouting: 'Indians! There are no Indians left but me!' (from Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee). We can't do the same thing in Afghanistan, but the principle is the same. There are no Indians left but me.
  31. diane marie from calgary, alberta from Canada writes: Tor Hill:-- Do you recall that a year or more ago, posts such as those we offered here would have resulted in our being called a disgrace, not fit to be defended by our troops, etc.? Barely a peep these days. I take this to mean that your suggestion that this is but a mission looking for a rationale has finally penetrated other quarters. At the time of Shock and Awe, countless Letters to the Editor were printed in which the writers deplored Canada's not standing behind the U.S. Where are these people now? Offering evidence of the dangers of being a member of the easily swayed crowd.
  32. Misery No one from Toronto, Canada writes: How can we impose our morals on anyone. Leave now. And don't feed me that crap that we are improving the lives of the

    Afghanistans. We have slaughtered plenty of wedding parties.
  33. diane marie from calgary, alberta from Canada writes: Coyote:-- If that's what they've been taught and we do everything we can to support those teachings, that accomplishes what?
  34. Mf D from Gatineau, Canada writes: I think the point is moot at the moment, as in should we stay or should we go...The government will decide it is time to leave when it benefits our politicians, the important thing is to show our troops that we support them and recognize the sacrifices they have endured so we can live in a country where we can have this type of discussion in the middle of the night without it being censured because of our sex or race.
  35. Tor Hill Sask. from Canada writes: diane marie: It is pretty amazing that the whole thing is getting so much out in the open. That might be a good sign for the future. And I can only quietly smile at your last comment: where are the members of the 'easily swayed' crowd now?
  36. Commander Groovechild from Canada writes: I would like to think that our involvement in Afghanistan has helped at least some women. But I also recognize, when we introduce something beyond the ambient, we create an opportunity for the difference to equalize. For sure I need an example to explain that. For instance, I think the French favoured the Tutsis over the Hutus in Rwanda - creating a fragmented social structure - an ambient differential. When left on its own, differentials equalize, in this case in the form of genocide. We cannot elevate a group while ignoring the prevailing dynamics. We are witnessing something of a backlash against women and the invasion of Western ideals in Afghanistan. Hobbes seemed to think that even the very weak would rebel against a strong force if robbed of freedom. But that concept is greatly tested in these Islamic environments. There seems to be a willingness or tolerance among both men and women for an aggressive level of social regulation and control. I like how in the US and Canada, blacks and women have reached a fair amount of equality. I wonder if the same amount of progress would have been made if forced upon us by a foreign military force. We often discount the importance of Christianity in the conversion of nations into something more like ours. But we are not in Afghanistan to convert people. Also, I suspect that they are non-convertible. Islam is a very charasmatic and evangelical type of faith with built-in mechanisms to prevent conversion. Christianity has a lot of soft spots and warm shoulders making it difficult for people to hate others. Look at all the denominations. It's like a big group project. We will have limited success in Afghanistan. If they love the message, they must stop killing the messenger.
  37. siren call from Canada writes: Tor Hill, from what I have read, Sitting Bull and Walsh formed a mutually admiring friendship. It wasn't the incipient RCMP who starved him out of Canada, think it was the feds.

    I'm not sure who the last Indian is in Afghanistan ... or here.
    I'll have to re-read Bury My Heart.

    BTW -- PBS is running an interesting series: We Shall Remain.
  38. Neo Cynic from Nassau, Bahamas writes: Antigone and Afghanistan

    As Sophocles has foretold, where the law of the family conflicts with the law of the state, there can be no contest. And thus our mission in Afghanistan is as doomed as were the edicts of Creon. You cannot expect people to exceed their psychological limits with truly alien ideas of 'equality', of sexual equivalence, especially at the point of a gun or tip of a missile.

    Antigone, the first feminist, then was compelled as equally as are the Afghans today to reject our grotesque imposition of our worldview in assertion of their basic human identity.

    The insuperable contradiction of our situation in Afghanistan is that we presume to rely upon the mullahs, the village elders, the traditional leadership of the country to bring to the people and impose upon them our ethnocentric ideas about the equality of the sexes, the innate desire for human 'happiness', the individual drive for 'freedom.' Yet the very ideals that made the mullahs, the elders, possible foreclose the possibility of our ideals. In a sense, Afghans plead what Antgione did before Creon: conscience before law, a devotion to things higher than human law. And in reply, as Creon then invoked tyranny, we Canadians today invoke the NATO airstrike.

    What else could we expect in reply from someone whose village has been bombed, family murdered, children massacred in a NATO airstrike, all in the purported name of 'women's rights', to rise up and murder every feminist in the country?
  39. siren call from Canada writes: Re. the lack of shaming and we gots to fight, yar cowards, posts... I think Hillier's propaganda arm, Tiger Team, may have been quietly disbanded.

    And as much as I have been against the invasion and daily operations, I was deeply moved to see those 300 women out protesting. I don't think we can just up and leave any more than we can continue the way we are now.

    But seeking out and empowering Afghan NGOs is a better way to go than arming the men of the factions we happen to like, whether ANA or ANP or war lords.
  40. james c from Canada writes: J Birch from Hamilton, Canada writes: Time to bring the troops home, this has lasted longer than WWII with no end in sight. No war should last longer than WWII
    -----

    many wars have lasted longer than world war II, and historically speaking, world war II was short. this war is more difficult than others, in that the enemy isn't always so easily defined. It'll take more time, maybe a lot more.
  41. Tor Hill Sask. from Canada writes: siren call: My effort to link Afghanistan and Sittling Bull fizzled! But, yes, Sitting Bull and Walsh were friends. Walsh resigned his commission over the treatment of Sitting Bull.
  42. siren call from Canada writes: Antigone! Antigone!

    Beware Sitting Bull in the Cypress Hills who watches o'er your brother's grave!

    Oh, sorry.
    I thought someone was calling for a Canadian-Greek chorus.
  43. DAVID DIVER from Comox, Canada writes: For me the issue is simple. Afghanistan was invaded by the Americans because the Taleban would not give up bin Laden without sufficient evidence that he, as spiritual leader of al Qaeda, was responsible for 9/11. Well, the US couldn't -or perhaps they wouldn't, because they had ideas about occupying Afghanistan for military strategic reasons - whatever, they invaded failed in their subsequent mission and directed their attention to the other objective - occupation of Iraq on trumped up charges. A reduced American force and coalition partners were left to carry on as best they could. Canada gradually got sucked in in to the morass and sought to convince its own citizens most of whom who opposed the mission by propagandising the humanitarian aspects - and so we became the Good Samaritans ,though it was a role somewhat complicated by Canadian combative troop operations which emphasised the war factor. Other nations under the NATO banner were not so willing to enter the fray preferring instead to aiding the Afghan population through rebuild rather than hunt out the enemy. Canada complained about their unwillingness, seeing that it was taking the brunt of casualties but regardless there has been little change to speak of in the other nations' philosophy not to get mired in combat. It's hindsight of course but our intervention in Afghanistan's future would not have got off the ground had we known what the next 7 years would bring. Are we stuck ? Do we leave in 2011 or will this interminable war drag on and on with no end in sight? Morally how can we be involved in changing a country's regime, direction, and way of life and yet in the future ignore the needs of other countries deemed to be failed States? What if they have no strategic military or resource value to the West, what then? How reluctant will we be? qaeda
  44. Coyote @Acme from Canada writes: Siren call

    I applaud you in you interesting choice of name - a siren was a mythological creature that mislead sailors and lead them to their own destruction ... That was what you were going for right?
  45. Steve is a warmongering neanderthal and loving it! from Canada writes:

    Response to siren call from Canada writes: Steve is a warmongering neanderthal and loving it! from Canada writes:
    Afghanistan is NOT the Taliban's land.
    ......................................

    Well, given that Talib are drawn primarily from the Pushtu tribe in the lands between 'Afghanistan' and 'Pakistan' -- you're quite wrong there. It is there land.

    ===================================

    Actually you are very wrong.

    Pushtu or not the Taliban are religious students only.
    It would be like a University of Toronto student or some religious institute of that type calling Canada theirs.
  46. Neo Cynic from Nassau, Bahamas writes:

    Has the infamously misogynist CF sunk so low in an effort to garner rapidly evaporating political support for their pathetic little puffs of gunpowder in Afghanistan, that their propagandists now thump the war drums in favour of women's liberation on Afghanistan?

    LOL! Only the haplessly stupid could swallow such a laughably ridiculous fig leaf for the murder and mayhem now being perpetrated in our name in Afghanistan.

    Encouraging the lethally naive to burn their burkhas and commit suicide in honour of NATO air strikes tells us all we need to know about the desperation and utter moral bankruptcy of the pro-war mob: say anything, corrupt everybody, just keep the bombs falling and bullets flying until the next budget appropriation.
  47. siren call from Canada writes: Steve is a warmongering neanderthal and loving it! Pushtu or not the Taliban are religious students only.
    It would be like a University of Toronto student or some religious institute of that type calling Canada theirs.
    .......................................

    Religious students, sons, husbands, brothers, lovers.

    Just like the students at the U of T. Who can also call Canada their own.

    As our soldiers are daughters, wives, mothers ...

    You want to 'help' these people and simultaneously argue they are some sort of sub human mutants with not emotional ties to their families, friends or lands?
  48. siren call from Canada writes: Coyote @Acme --

    Who are you to call my people, mythical?

    Sailor.

    And no, that's not it.

    Were you going for the Wiley Coyote/Road Runner ongoing massacre courtesy of Acme products?
  49. Steve is a warmongering neanderthal and loving it! from Canada writes:

    Response to siren call from Canada writes: Steve is a warmongering neanderthal and loving it! Pushtu or not the Taliban are religious students only.
    It would be like a University of Toronto student or some religious institute of that type calling Canada theirs.
    .......................................

    Religious students, sons, husbands, brothers, lovers.

    Just like the students at the U of T. Who can also call Canada their own.

    As our soldiers are daughters, wives, mothers ...

    You want to 'help' these people and simultaneously argue they are some sort of sub human mutants with not emotional ties to their families, friends or lands?

    ========================================

    Who said anything about 'sub human mutants'???
    Is this Dawn of the Dead we are talking about?

    My take is just because you were born there doesn't mean that your aspirations supersedes everyone elses.
  50. Alastair james Berry from Canada writes:
    I can't see that anything Canada has done so far in Afghanistan has done one iota of good!

    Seems to me the Afghans would have been much happier if Canada had pulled out three years ago...................................

    There is certainly no love between the citizens of Kandahar and the Canadian troops who are still seen as an occupying infidel force intent on taking over the country and changing it's laws!

    I'm glad to see that the 'MIGHT IS RIGHT' thesis, held in Ottawa, is finally being questioned. Things are starting to look up for the Afghanis.
  51. Ralph Ashton from Canada writes: How quickly we forget! Too bad recent history isn't taught (or maybe its taught ... improperly). Remember the Cold War? The US-USSR fight for world domination. Think back to the Soviet invasion (or invitation) of Afghanistan in December 1979. The puppet pro-Soviet government backed by Soviet troops was indiscriminate in slaughtering Afghan civilians and resistance fighters. But 'thanks' to the Reagan administration the Afghan resistance - Reagan's Freedom Fighters - the Mujahideen were armed with sophisticated weaponry and provided with training and funds. Who can forget that photo of the Afghan mujahideen delegation meeting Reagan in the White House on June 16, 1986? Friend today, enemy tomorrow! A CBC report on January 27, 2004 details the part played by the University of Nebraska in publishing propaganda in the form of Afghan textbooks to indoctrinate Afghan children against the Soviets. '... the Mujahideen had a lot of help to create this warrior culture in the school system from the United States, which paid for the Mujahideen propaganda in the textbooks. It was all part of American Cold War policy in the 1980s, helping the Mujahideen defeat the Soviet army on Afghan soil.' 'The Mujahideen had wanted to prepare the next generation of Afghans to fight the enemy, so pupils learned the proper clips for a Kalashnikov rifle, the weight of bombs needed to flatten a house, and how to calculate the speed of bullets. Even the girls learn it.' http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/afghanistan/schools.html Of course, Reagan didn't want to foot the bill alone so he cajoled the Saudi king to ante up his share of funding. One Saudi in particular, Osama bin Laden, became a hero in the Afghan resistance, doing his part in recruiting Arabs to the Afghan cause. After the Soviets were defeated the Americans abandoned Afghanistan. They had no need for the 'Freedom Fighters' anymore. The civil war that ensued was won by the Taliban.
  52. Steve is a warmongering neanderthal and loving it! from Canada writes:

    Response to Ralph Ashton from Canada writes: ' How quickly we forget! Too bad recent history isn't taught (or maybe its taught ... improperly). Remember the Cold War? The US-USSR fight for world domination. Think back to the Soviet invasion (or invitation) of Afghanistan in December 1979. The puppet pro-Soviet government backed by Soviet troops was indiscriminate in slaughtering Afghan civilians and resistance fighters. But 'thanks' to the Reagan administration the Afghan resistance - Reagan's Freedom Fighters - the Mujahideen were armed with sophisticated weaponry and provided with training and funds. Who can forget that photo of the Afghan mujahideen delegation meeting Reagan in the White House on June 16, 1986? Friend today, enemy tomorrow! A CBC report on January 27, 2004 details the part played by the University of Nebraska .... blah, blah, blah ... blah

    ==================================

    Thanks for the history lesson. It made going to school and taking those social science courses redundant. insert heavy sarcasm

    What's your point anyways????
    History is littered with enemies of my enemies is my friend scenarios.
    If you think this practice will stop because some have the need to point it out then you are seriously lost grip to reality of warfare.
  53. siren call from Canada writes: Steve is a warmongering neanderthal and loving it! from Canada writes:
    My take is just because you were born there doesn't mean that your aspirations supersedes everyone elses.
    ........................................

    How quaint.

    I think the sons (and some daughters) of Afghanistan are arguing --rather strenuously-- that their being born on the land sure as heck supersedes the aspirations of invading militaries.

    Shoe on other foot -- pretty sure we Canadians would do the same.
  54. siren call from Canada writes: Ralph Ashton --

    I is for Infidel.
    J is for Jihad.
    K is for Kalashnikov.

    Bitter memories.
    But I'm sure the Afghans have forgotten it all.
    Tribal cultures are notorious for their short term memories.

    Wait -- maybe that's western societies; I forget.
  55. Steve is a warmongering neanderthal and loving it! from Canada writes:

    Response to siren call from Canada writes: Steve is a warmongering neanderthal and loving it! from Canada writes:
    My take is just because you were born there doesn't mean that your aspirations supersedes everyone elses.
    ........................................

    How quaint.

    I think the sons (and some daughters) of Afghanistan are arguing --rather strenuously-- that their being born on the land sure as heck supersedes the aspirations of invading militaries.

    ============================

    You move in interesting circles I guess.
    How quaint.

    Invading militaries?
    The Taliban ARE viewed as an 'invading' military by many in Afghanistan.
    There are two sides to every coin. I do hate being bogged down in a cliche fest.
  56. Richard Roskell from Naramata, Canada writes:
    Be thankful you're only bogged down in your own cliches, Steve. If you were in charge of NATO, you'd be bogged down in Afghanistan, too.
  57. Steve is a warmongering neanderthal and loving it! from Canada writes:

    Response to Richard Roskell from Naramata, Canada writes:
    Be thankful you're only bogged down in your own cliches, Steve. If you were in charge of NATO, you'd be bogged down in Afghanistan, too.

    ===============================

    Not really. I would do what was needed to get the job done and stop doing a play by play to the media.
    The media is excess baggage that gets in the way.
  58. Ralph Ashton from Canada writes: Afghans cannot be faulted for being cynical about the current occupation of their homeland by 'white' NATO and American forces. This is just one more occupation of the many they have endured. Not too long ago Afghanistan was the goat that lay nervously between the Russian Bear and the British Lion. It was all a part of the Great Game played out between the British Empire and the Russian Empire in the nineteenth and twentieth century. The Afghans may be forgiven for looking at white foreigners with hostility because they know from past experience that the only relationship they could have with the westerners was that of a master-slave/ruler-subject relationship (the Afghans of course being on the losing end). Here's what Prince Gorchakov, the Czar's Chancellor had to say back in the 1860's: 'The position of Russia in Central Asia is that of all civilised states which come into contact with half-savage, wandering tribes possessing no fixed social organization ... Asiatics respect only visible and palpable force ...' The British were not to be outdone in their imperiousness. Sir Henry Rawlinson of the Secretary of State's Council wrote his 'Memorandum on Central Asia' in 1864. In it he said that ' In the interests of peace, in the interests of commerce, in the interests of moral and material improvement ... interference in Afghanistan has now become a duty ...' When we contextualise white American, Canadian and European forces in the Afghan setting speaking about women's rights and other markers of 'progress' we can see through the lens of recent history that this is really nothing more than a continuation of cultural arrogance. Let's set the record straight, Operation Enduring Freedom (aka Operation Infinite Justice) - the war against Afghanistan, was a war of revenge by the Americans for 9/11. All this talk about building democracy, women's rights etc is really an after-the-fact justification for continued occupation.
  59. Steve is a warmongering neanderthal and loving it! from Canada writes:

    Response Ralph Ashton from Canada writes: Afghans cannot be faulted for being cynical about the current occupation of their homeland by 'white' NATO and American forces.

    ================================

    'white'????
    Leave it to the left to race bait and break down every racial group into a nice box of Crayola Crayons TM.
  60. Udom Thongpai from Victoria, Canada writes: Ironies.... The war is being sold as necessary to bring equality for women.... This from a story on the BBC about sexual assaults in the US military. Some 206,000 women have served in the Middle East since March 2003, yet 'According to several studies of the US military funded by the Department of Veteran Affairs, 30% of military women are raped while serving, 71% are sexually assaulted, and 90% are sexually harassed.'

    'Women at war face sexual violence ', BBC, http://tinyurl.com/c3v2r2
  61. Alex ALEX from Russian Federation writes: '...Should we stay, fighting a potentially un-winnable war, which has already cost the lives of 117 Canadian soldiers, in a pre-Industrial tribal society where the rule of law is not even a concept, let alone a functioning system? And yet, after Rwanda, Ethiopia and Darfur, can we turn away from the suffering of other people?'' - G@M ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Everything is turned upsidedown in this articlke...Human rights issue is just a natural reaction of a Canadian who /for example/ going to his job see an oldman fall down -so he (Canadian) gives him a hand to stand up and if this oldman is ok, he (Canadian) proceed his way further to his working place downtown Toronto. He (Canadian) goes to his work, not to help that oldman - there may be an oldman on his way or next day there will be no any on the street....Why don't you understand?-NATO mission in Afganistan is to prevent Taliban grab 100% control there and then to spread to Pakistan and grab Pakistani nukes!!!!! Don't you understand that if NATO leaves and then Pakistani nuclear weapons will be in the hands of Taliban - there will be no women rights not only in Afganistan, but in USA and Canada and Europe and Russia as well -JUST BECAUSE THERE WILL BE NO WOMEN ANYMORE....AS WELL AS NO MEN!!!.......... If you leave Rwanda or Darfur - there will be no consiquencies for your own safety,but if you leave Afganistan...- I have explained (read above again if my poor English is so difficult to understand - sorry for that)...Who is deceiving whom with this human rights issue and connecting it to the question -' to stay in Afganistan or to go away'...I am so much surprised with Canadian misunderstanding of everything...(at least in this particular issue).
  62. Mike Sharp from Victoria, Canada writes:

    If the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is not universal...

    Of what use is it?
  63. Alex ALEX from Russian Federation writes: Ralph Ashton from Canada writes: '...It was all part of American Cold War policy in the 1980s, helping the Mujahideen defeat the Soviet army on Afghan soil..' ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- One more prove to my point. Russian troops left Afganistan in January 1989 (it was the order of Gorbachev but NOT a 'defeat on Afgan soil'). Pro Soviet Najibulla regime was in power for 3(!!!) more years even without Russian troops (although yes, the further the more territories were taken by Mojaheddins step by step) - but it was only after collapse of Soviet Union that Russia (president Yeltsin) as a new state decided it was not obliged to follow Sovier Union's obligations anymore to supply fuel for Najibulla regime - the result was that Najibullah's tanks and vehicles were not able to move and defeat of the regime became a matter of days - in winter 1992 Kabul was taken by Mojaheddins and pro-Soviet regime collapsed. So as you see pro-Soviet regime in Afganistan lasted LONGER then Soviet Union itself (Soviet Union collapsed in December 1991 as you all know)...So where is here 'defeat on Afgan soil ?'...No, there was no military defeat of Soviet Army there - those events only prove that if the Army leaves Afganistan - there apear inevitable danger that regime (this time Karzai) will collapse and this time Taliban (not Mojaheddins who were the same as Northern Alliance - that is our current friends) so this time Taliban will grab control...and if you read about what is going on with Taliban in Pakistan with its nukes....do I need to give any more proves?
  64. Jeremy K from Burnaby, Canada writes: The fact that our pet Afghan government would dare pass this bill is a sign that we have lost this war and after 8 years of spending blood and treasure we cannot wield any kind of meaningful influence over there.

    time to gtfo
  65. Jade Dragon from Ottawa, Canada writes: Could someone please remind me again what we are doing in this hopeless toilet of a country?
  66. J Birch from Hamilton, Canada writes:

    Steve is a warmongering neanderthal and loving it! from Canada writes:

    Response to J Birch from Hamilton, Canada writes:

    Time to bring the troops home, this has lasted longer than WWII with no end in sight

    No war should last longer than WWII

    ============

    According to whom???
    What manual, pamphlet, book or internet crapola gave you this conclusion.

    -----------------------

    According to me Sport.

    There is no reason to have a 30 years war or a 100 years war for this place.

    We won originally, objective met. The Taliban Govt was removed in 2002 for its role in 9/11. We have been there since rebuilding and now fighting a growing insurgency along a porous border with no exit strategy or practical objective.

    They blow up what we build, there is a nationalism similar to Vietnam in this insurgency.

    Time to bring the troops home, this has lasted longer than WWII with no end in sight

    No war should last longer than WWII

    And we should not support anyone who wants to legalize rape

    Bring the civilized Afghans to the West, leave the rest to the 9th Century they so love

    .
  67. Matthew Parsons from Canada writes: Alastair james Berry from Canada writes:
    I can't see that anything Canada has done so far in Afghanistan has done one iota of good!

    Seems to me the Afghans would have been much happier if Canada had pulled out three years ago...................................

    There is certainly no love between the citizens of Kandahar and the Canadian troops who are still seen as an occupying infidel force intent on taking over the country and changing it's laws!

    I'm glad to see that the 'MIGHT IS RIGHT' thesis, held in Ottawa, is finally being questioned. Things are starting to look up for the Afghanis. _________________________And you base those assumptions on what? Being there? You are out to lunch...agagin. Along with Roskell and the crowd of intellects (selp proclaimed) who seem to know more about anything than anyone. Please, tell me how you have learnt how the Afghan people feel about the troops. Tell me where you learnt that the soldiers have done no good. Hot air, thats all you and your buddies produce. And not a single iota of smarts amongst ya.
  68. F H from Ottawa, Canada writes: 'Of course what is not mentioned here is that there were Shia women protesting against the protesters - they don't want outsiders telling them how to live.'

    And how many of these women were told to do so by their husbands/fathers/brothers/sons on pain of punishment if they disobeyed?
  69. Brian Havelock from Winnipeg, Canada writes: Catherine Medernach from Winnipeg:

    I read your letter to the Editor of the Winnipeg Free Press a day or two ago. Reference is made to this link for the text of your letter.
    I am wondering why you didn't reveal your military background.

    http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/letterstothe_editor/our-troops-serving-and-suffering-for-a-good-cause-in-afghanistan-43164897.html
  70. LOU Padula from montreal, Canada writes: Since we are obviously culturally superior to them, why don't we instruct them on the nutritional values of eating porc.
    Why don't we just accept that changing cultural norms, is an internal process and requires significant time to change.
    Would Western cultures 100 years ago have accepted today's dress code for beachwear for example.
    Why don't we leave these people be, and return home with our arrogance, ignorance, and false sense of cultural superiority.
  71. Neo Cynic from Nassau, Bahamas writes:

    Brian Havelock from Winnipeg, Canada:

    Re: 'Medernach'

    'I am wondering why you didn't reveal your military background.'

    For those who post here on a regular basis, the Medernach is well-recognized as a prolific and an apparently paid propaganda plagiarist, a hack who cuts and paste from such obscure websites as NATO (!) and posts the material as her(?) own. The CF is so desperate to maintain its little War on Terror racket, it sinks to such low tactics in the real war for Canadian public opinion.
  72. John Melnick from Canada writes: What is the discussion??

    Our troops are dying in Afghanistan so that America can have an oil pipeline to the Caspian Sea and that Afghan men can rape their wives.

    Canada needs to get out now!!

    My name is John Melnick and anyone who doesn't use their real name while posting is a coward
  73. Alex ALEX from Russian Federation writes: John Melnick from Canada writes: What is the discussion?? Our troops are dying in Afghanistan so that America can have an oil pipeline to the Caspian Sea and that Afghan men can rape their wives. Canada needs to get out now!! My name is John Melnick and anyone who doesn't use their real name while posting is a coward ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Hi there, John Melnick - Although I am a coward according to you, please listen to me (and all other readers are also welcome to listen) - Canadian troops are dying to prevent Taliban grab 100% control in Afganistan and so to prevent them (Taliban) to move further to Pakistan and grab there NUCLEAR WEAPONS. Read what is going on in Pakistan now! So those boys and girls are fighting TODAY for you, for your democracy, for your kids lifes and freedoms! (AS well as for all above mentioned in USA, Europe, Russia and so on)..... I think that connecting human rights in Afganistan to the question of NATO presence there is a crime in itself, because it may lead to withdrowal of troops and so abandoning NUKES to the hands of Taliban?...Do I nead to explain what will happen then? This discussion do not contribute in a positive way to the image of Canadians as well informed readers...Sorry for the last sentance, but this is my impression.
  74. John Galt, a la Wonderland from Canada writes:
    Canadian women die, defending the right of afghan men to rape their women. Humanitarian?
    Canadian Forces hold the gun to the head of the woman, raped by the Afghan man. For if we did not prop up the Afghan government, the law would not have passed.
    Your taxes pay the wages of soldiers defending the right to rape. Nice....
  75. Jacqueline Hyde from Canada writes: Afghanistan is a waste of Canadian time, treasure, and young lives. Karzai's clan is a corrupt Opium/Heroin business disguised as a government, and Russia's going to control all the energy resources in the region. There is no reason to remain.
  76. Alex ALEX from Russian Federation writes: Jacqueline Hyde from Canada writes: Afghanistan is a waste of Canadian time, treasure, and young lives. Karzai's clan is a corrupt Opium/Heroin business disguised as a government, and Russia's going to control all the energy resources in the region. There is no reason to remain.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Interesting what you'll be posting here after Taliban will nuke you...
  77. Steave Harper PMO from Canada writes:
    ok, i know 119 Canadians died in Afghaistan. Some young lady died. For the life of me I can't recall any of their names.
    99.9pc of Canadians can't either.
  78. censured ... from Canada writes: The international community has always been in a bit of a pickle on this one...the same people who decry the use of force in Afghanistan are the same who would be calling for an international response to laws like these in Afghanistan....a bit of a catch 22.

    The sad reality is that it is very difficult to change a culture...especially one that is inherently violent. Here it is doubly difficult as there seems to be a strong incentive by these 'holy' Mullahs to maintain Mohammed's edicts to produce as much opium as possible.
  79. Nick Wright from Halifax, Canada writes: Mike Sharp had it right: 'If the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is not universal...Of what use is it?'

    The purpose of this article is to suggest that women's rights in Afghanistan become the new purpose for keeping Canadian troops in that country. I think the absurdity of the notion, and folly of thinking that Canada should export its Charter values by force, speak for themselves. Emotion has no place in making national policy--especially in matters of war.
  80. Sassy Lassie from Canada writes: If the people of Afghanistan want us to stay and fullfill our mandate until 2011 I'm fine with that.

    Christine Blatchford tells a story in her book, Fifteen Days, that made me smile. The Canadians were passing through a small village and they noted that it took the women four hours a day to haul water for cooking and hygene. So the soldiers dug a well and installed a pump in the middle of the village to save the females four hours of travel and hard labour. The next time they came through the village they noticed the pump had been tampered with and no longer worked. Angry they confronted a town elder, who quietly informed the soldier that the women broke the pump. You see those four hours a day of toil and hard labour was the only freedom they had in their lives, they could socialize and get exercise away from the repressive eyes of their husbands. A baby step for freedom and liberty but a step nevertheless. The women of Afghanistan deserve our support, even when we don't agree with their culture.
  81. DVP Parkway from Canada writes:
    Sassy.what the heck are you trying to say?
    You support keeping afghan women under control, and readily available for sex?
  82. London Swamp from Canada writes:
    I lost all resect for Canadian soldiers when Foces Clergy advised soldiers needed 'cultural sensitivity training', when they complained about about handing over young 'tea boys' to Afghan me for anal raping.
  83. Neo Cynic from Nassau, Bahamas writes: Sassy Lassie from Canada:

    'The women of Afghanistan deserve our support, even when we don't agree with their culture.'

    Agreed. Where should we send out our next air strike?
  84. wayne powers from saskatoon, writes: Oh come on everyone knows our troups are over there because George Bush said 'you're either with us or against us' Chreitien didn't want any part of the Iraq nonsense so he picked the war he thought would be less contentious. Human rights and women's rights are a load of crap, they didn't give a hoot about that then or now.We are there because the US waved the big stick and we will stay there until the Americans say we can leave. All the rest is pure BS.
  85. Golden Ring from Canada writes:
    Canadian troops hand out condoms, with a little Maple Leaf on the tip.
  86. Mike........ Just Mike from Toronto, Canada writes: In the end. These people due to their tribal traditions and the disgusting religion they practice are not compatible with Western or even decent values. This is a lost cause. It's time we told them to eff off and enjoy their hell hole. Next time you feel oppressed remember you never wanted our help and refused to do anything for yourselves so thanks but no thanks.
  87. Nick Wright from Halifax, Canada writes: Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. One of the main reasons for the uprising against the Afghan communist government in 1978 (leading to the Soviet invasion a year and a half later) was its decrees establishing the equality of women in social roles. The outrage was among ordinary Afghans throughout the country.

    If we declare our occupation of Afghanistan to be about transforming the social order there, we will have a general uprising on our hands faster than you can say 'Onward Christian Soldiers', because that's how it will be perceived.

    Those Afghans who have tolerated our presence so far (there aren't many of them) have done so because we said we were there to end the fighting and help them get a decent government in Kabul. We have failed on both fronts--to the extent that ordinary Afghans are inviting the insurgents into their areas to do what the Kabul government and the foreign armies can't.

    That is the stark reality we need to face, not entertaining self-delusional notions about changing deeply rooted, countrywide social norms by keeping our tiny handful of troops there a little bit longer. (No one in the article or on this forum has yet explained how our armed forces can actually bring about these changes, and no one has mentioned the cost to Afghans and the CF if we blunder ahead with this naive notion).
  88. Lie Detector from Toronto, Canada writes: Of course Canadians are outraged how Islamists enslave women. There's a much bigger picture, though. Because Islamist societies were enslaving women long before Karzai's Rape Law. And because Islamist societies commit countless acts of outrage beyond just enslaving women.

    Whether vowing and repeatedly attempting genocide of Israel, actively genociding in Darfur, terrorizing non-Islamic cultures everywhere, murdering 'infidels' at whim or righteously enslaving women? Islamic rule is purest abomination.

    Why are Canadians so particularly outraged when Islamists enslave women, then? As opposed to when Islamists actively set out to terrorize or genocide other cultures, for instance? There's a few reasons -- but mostly because it's so hard to blame the women.

    Canadians can rationalize when Islamist societies terrorize and genocide. We can say Islamist societies were so provoked, humiliated or exploited -- they had no other options. But really, Islam is the religion of 'peace'. Ultimately committed to tolerance. Just because there's some 'militants'? Doesn't mean Islam is an abomination. Our military might have to put down some Islamist militants -- but ultimately they are just like us. Let's get down to common ground, already. Our diplomats must talk and negotiate with Islamists. They are going through a difficult adjustment phase -- but there's no real clash of cultures. Not really.

    Except nobody sane can blame women for their lot in Islamic life. How many Globe editorials will continue denying the culture clashing between Islamism and the West -- after Karzai's Rape Law?

    Not every Islamic culture turns Islamist. Clearly not. But for every stable Islamic society that doesn't? There's a totalitarian leader authorized by god. Not democracy. And our denial and ignorance about fundamental(ist), god-given Islamic truths has cost countless lives. Their blood is on us.
  89. Udom Thongpai from Victoria, Canada writes: Difficult to fight romantic idealism.... Just inside the Kenyan border with Somalia is the Dadaab refugee camp. Built for 45,000, it holds 267,000 in appalling conditions with thousands more arriving every day. They have fled the endless fighting and the violent extremism of the Islamist gangs that have taken over Somalia. The Islamists had help for years from al Qaeda and are fond of chopping off hands and stoning women. The refugees are inside a friendly country and desperately need help, but we don't care about any of this. We don't care because we're playing war in Afghanistan.

    'Human tide of misery flees the anarchy of Somalia', The Independent, http://tinyurl.com/c3hgn6
  90. hugh machugh from Canada writes: The news media tends to accentuate the negatives and extremes of the muslim people. The US, Canada, Britain and a few other countries are attempting to re-culturize, democratize and 'free' the Afghan people. The Western style culture and the muslim culture are worlds apart. Even the moderates of the muslim world are at great odds with the modern American-Canadian culture. They are completely at opposite ends of the spectrum when comes to human sexual behaviour. Our West culture, lead by the media and entertainment, promotes or condones broad alcohol consumption, promiscuity, abortion, teen-age sex and homosexul marriage in some countries. All of these modes of human behaviour are loathed by the muslim culture, not glamourized. It is unimaginable that muslim society would declare that the male homosexual sex culture would now be made part of the definition of marriage in their society. The destruction done to Western society by its widespread, over-liberal behaviour over the past 50 years is astonomical in financial and sociological costs. How is this weighed when criticizing other societies? The extreme Taliban practice of execution of a sex-before-marriage couple shoud be replaced by a shot-gun marriage? The position of the West telling other countries of the world how to run their societies, seems to be mostly on weak foundations--morally and financially. It is very precarious for Canada, which has now lost 117 soldiers to 'free' a country Candians know little about. Soldiers who have died not in combat with the 'enemy', but by an unseen enemy detonating remote roadside bombs. Is it time to let Afghanistan go its own way with its own internal problems? The US and 'coalition' forces have killed over 100,000 innocent men, women and children in three wars since 1990--in Afghanistan and twice in Iraq. There must be a better way.
  91. True North Strong and Free from Toronto, Canada writes: Where are Ms. Hall, Mr. Neved, all of On, BC, Alberta Canadian Human Right Groups. They don't even say a word about this event. They should all move to Afghan and Muslim countries such as Arab Suadi, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan. etc.., open the offices there to defend those poor women against those right oppressive governments. Human right groups' battleground should be in those countries not in Western countries.
  92. Marc Forand from Canada writes: We went to Afghanistan to fight Islamic terror and destroy terrorist havens, and not to promote equality, same-sex marriages and other sundry Western-style human rights.
  93. Alex ALEX from Russian Federation writes: Marc Forand from Canada writes: We went to Afghanistan to fight Islamic terror and destroy terrorist havens, and not to promote equality, same-sex marriages and other sundry Western-style human rights.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Marc, it looks like there are only 2 people here who do understand it - that is you and I....Well, at least I am relieved that there is at least one person who can articulate it in good English (that is you) - so I leave the forum with some kind of good feeling...
  94. Neo Cynic from Nassau, Bahamas writes: 'A controversial law in Afghanistan that includes a provision making it illegal for a Shia Muslim woman to refuse to have sex with her husband cannot be changed, one of the drafters of the legislation said.'

    End of story.
  95. Lie Detector from Toronto, Canada writes: Udom Thongpai: 'The Islamists had help for years from al Qaeda and are fond of chopping off hands and stoning women. The refugees are inside a friendly country and desperately need help, but we don't care about any of this. We don't care because we're playing war in Afghanistan.'

    Well put, Udom.

    In Canada we're not ready to face the contradictions between Islamic and Western cultures. No telling if we'll ever be ready -- though Karzai's Rape Law makes the lies we tell ourselves less comfortable and convenient for us.

    In Canada, at least for now, we still debate whether to talk and listen to the Taliban (like Karzai does) -- since the Taliban, ultimately, can't be that culturally different from us. Or, whether to keep trying to suppress the most militant Islamists and win more popular hearts and minds -- since Islamic culture can't be all that different from ours.

    See? We can't face the realities of Islamist cultures -- since we're not prepared to abandon our ideology that there can be no cultures clashing.
  96. Rain Couver from Canada writes: All this chatter is irrelevant.

    The only image is that of 200 women being pelted with rocks because they refuse to be treated like possessions. These women are in real danger and all posters can do is discuss the wether our troops should leave or wether we have the moral high ground to even say anything.

    It is time to be creative and try to come up with solutions.
  97. Udom Thongpai from Victoria, Canada writes: What drives the war for Canadians is romantic fantasy. It's just like a 14 year old girl projecting her idealism onto her delinquent boyfriend and furiously fighting for him against her parents. Rational arguments can't compete. Eventually she gets pregnant and the boy dumps her for another girl.

    Canadian soldiers are dying, Canada has lost it's innocence, and the Afghan people are being dragged through endless misery... all for the sake of our puppy love for war.
  98. Earl Anthony from Sudbury, Canada writes: In Afghanistan women and girls now can go to school; before there was 94% illiteracy for females in the country. You would give up these women to be victims of the acid throwers? Shame on you. Rome was not built in a day and a culture cannot change from the middle ages to modern times overnight.

    I have great respect for Trooper Karine Blair and Captain Nicola Goddard who gave their lives to free the Afghani people. I have none for Judy Redick. Make Ms Blair's and Ms Goddard's sacrifice and our other soldier's lives count for something by staying the course and winning this war. All it takes is the will to win for e are in the rigjht.
  99. cookie the rookie from Kingston, Canada writes: Canada has something like 3500 soldiers in Afghanistan out of a total foreign troop commitment of what 60,000? It is difficult to believe that our pulling exhausted troops home would make a huge difference to the overall effort -- especially with the Americans increasing their troops. This is not to denigrate the efforts of the Canadian troops, who have done all they could and perhaps more than was expected of them. We got into Afghanistan to please the American administration of the time (whose goal was to fight terrorism), not to 'bring democracy' or help women, though the mission has been sold to the Canadian public in those terms. We knew next to nothing about the country going in. The mission is doomed to fail, because democracy and women's rights have to grow from within. It is hard to see a society which wants to treat women as cattle, and harder to admit there is nothing we can do about it, but life is hard and women are badly treated in many countries. If anyone watched the latest TV interview with Flora Macdonald, who is travelling about the country trying to work with women, you would have heard her dismissal of Karzai as 'the mayor of Kabul' who has no effect on society outside the city. She saw focus on the recent law as a distraction from work that might improve conditions for women in Afghanistan. We should bring our troops home and work on rebuilding the small forces we have. It is to be hoped we choose our next mission more sensibly, recognizing our comparatively small population to fund military resources and missions and setting clear, achievable goals.
  100. jennys dad from owen sound ontario, Canada writes: Who's the guy wrote they have been warring in Afghanistan for 2 generations ? Is that some kind of joke ? They have been warring seemingly forever there and nobody has won. So what fooloshness makes Harper (or Chretien) think we can do the impossible ?
    The worst is the lying propaganda from the Canadian military - so they can keep their jobs and budgets flowing in. Unbelievable ! Problem for them is, every once and a while the media is forced to report laws such as the rape law and no woman alloed out without husband's permission.

    So let's get the heck out of there - NOW. And stop wasting $ 500, 000 a weekend over at the Meaford (Ontario - near Collingwood ) Tank Range shooting off artillery. INSANITY.
  101. Udom Thongpai from Victoria, Canada writes: Earl Anthony wrote, 'You would give up these women to be victims of the acid throwers?'... Throwing acid is pretty common in the region and not specific to the Taliban. Countries where this is frequent include India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, with incidents in Thailand and Cambodia. There was a case in Greece and one in the US. In 2002 Bangladesh had 484 cases.

    Lots of information available for those who care.

    'Care for female victims of acid attacks', Youtube, http://tinyurl.com/dxy8db

    'Pakistani salon owner reveals extent of country's acid attack epidemic', The Independent, http://tinyurl.com/c54jax

    'Acid Attack on Women in Bangladesh', Youtube, http://tinyurl.com/aaeajj
  102. Steven Merchant from Toronto, Canada writes: james c from Canada writes: many wars have lasted longer than world war II, and historically speaking, world war II was short. this war is more difficult than others, in that the enemy isn't always so easily defined. It'll take more time, maybe a lot more.

    Are you kidding? Are you absolutely joking? Or are you trying to insult anyone that fought in World War 2? We fought Germany and Japan in WW2! This war is infinitely easier, we just aren't applying nearly the same kind of war effort we did back in the '30s and '40s. I mean, come on, we conscripted men by the thousands to fight and over a million men were enlisted.

    You think this is war is 'more difficult than others?' What?!? We've had just over 100 casualties in the Afghan war over the past 7 years. We lost about 45,000 in WW2.

    Make absolutely no mistake: if we were truly, absolutely and completely bent on winning this war, we could mobilize -- at minimum -- to the same or even to a greater degree than we did during WW2, and we would probably achieve our objectives in months or weeks.

    But let's get real: this war isn't nearly that important to us as a nation, and so we aren't fighting like it is. Nothing is really on-the-line for Canada there, which why we aren't really fighting. And come on, everyone knows it.

    I mean, we have about 2,500 Canadians current serving in Afghanistan. We deployed more than 26,000 in Korea (that's more than 10 times), and we didn't even win that war.

    The truth is that this is even really a war we're involved in. It's just sort of a bunch of violence with broad political aims. We should pull out instantly, because we simply don't have the desire to win and it will be the fastest way to decrease the violence; which, at the end of the day, should always be our goal.
  103. Trillian Rand from Canada writes: After reading this article (and probably too many others) and their accompanying comments, I'm shocked that everyone in Afghanistan doesn't want to cast aside their obviously mistaken ideas and become just like us.

    After all, we are so obviously morally superior that doing otherwise must indicate some sort of perversity or lack of understanding at the very least. If Afghans became like us all women would be treated exactly as Canadian women are: absolutely equally, all the time. Like Canadian women, Afghan women would never have to face discrimination simply because they were women, would never have to worry about rape or assault or even the mildest discourtesy.

    And their entire society would become as enlightened as ours. Governments would not be corrupt, but would be composed of the altruistic saints who run for office here, men and women who invariably put country and righteousness above personal gain. No minority groups would ever suffer, after all, you don't see people here living in squalor on segregated lands, do you?

    So, the obvious question is: what is wrong with those people? If they can't understand we should pack up and find some other country we can convert. The world needs more people who think just like us, whether they realize it or not.
  104. Ben Franklin from Ottawa, Canada writes: Mike........ Just Mike from Toronto, Canada writes: In the end. These people due to their tribal traditions and the disgusting religion they practice are not compatible with Western or even decent values. This is a lost cause. It's time we told them to eff off and enjoy their hell hole. Next time you feel oppressed remember you never wanted our help and refused to do anything for yourselves so thanks but no thanks.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    We invaded them.
    Why should they be grateful???
  105. Lie Detector from Toronto, Canada writes: Why it's so hard for Canadians to abandon the ideology that there can be no cultures clashing? Like between Islam and the West?

    It's not about exporting Charter rights and freedoms. Nothing so particular. But underlying the Charter -- and our Canadian way of life? What informs Canadian identity more fundamentally than anything is our cultural principle of tolerance.

    So committed are Canadians to tolerance -- we have to believe we can tolerate any cultural difference.

    We have some trouble tolerating how Islamist societies terrorize and set out to genocide other cultures. We have some trouble with all that -- but not too much to rationalize and explain away. But when it comes to enslaving women? We can't even rationalize that. Which is why, particularly in Canada, we are so outraged about Karzai's Rape Law. Because Karzai's Rape Law is too intolerable to rationalize -- yet, as Canadians, we must. Tolerating is what being Canadian means.

    Trouble is? As Canadians we can indeed tolerate most any cultural difference. But when it comes to the atrocities committed by Islamist societies? That's not about Canadians tolerating difference. That's about tolerating contradiction. Because the meaning of such atrocities committed by Islamist societies can only be understood in a context of utmost intolerance. The kind of intolerance only true fundamentalism can give rise to. The kind of intolerance arising from knowing your own culture has had revealed to it god's own truth -- and other cultures haven't. Knowing beyond doubting that bringing god's truth to cultural others justifies anything and everything. Including terror and genocide.

    Our trouble as Canadians isn't tolerating difference. When it comes to tolerating difference, we're the best. But how do we tolerate intolerance so absolute it includes enslaving women? If we do -- then we become intolerant. If we don't -- then we just are intolerant.
  106. Richard Roskell from Naramata, Canada writes: 'We have some trouble tolerating how Islamist societies terrorize and set out to genocide other cultures.'

    Well true, Canadians must be tolerant overall. How else to explain why bigoted screeds such as that above are permitted in public discussion.

    Genocide and other forms of mass killing are a characteristic of humanity as a whole. These horrific crimes are committed by all races, and most major religions have played some role in them.

    The worst genocide in history was committed by Christian Europeans. No one else comes even close. The worst mass killings were fomented by Asians and Russians, according to Western experts. Again, these mass killings so far outstrip what Muslims have done they are barely in the same category.

    The impulse to commit genocide and mass killing exists everywhere humans exist. Historically, Muslim societies are not the worst offenders, by far.
  107. Hank M from Hamilton, Canada writes: diane marie from calgary, alberta from Canada writes: 'Catherine Medernach:-- When the suffragettes were trying to enfranchise women and African Americans were trying to cast off the chains of slavery, would either battle have been advanced by war imposed by outsiders? '
    I believe that is what the civil war was about. The North were considered outsiders trying to impose their social views on the South, and the result was the end of slavery. We are still working on total social integration 150 years later.
  108. galub jamun from Tornotnoto, Canada writes: I actually supported the Afgan mission prior to this law being imposed by Karzai. Although it is extremely disturbing to think of the conditions that women live under in that part of the world (tribal areas of Pakistan are no different), it is obvious we will make no difference no matter how long we suppress the Taliban. The currently 'elected' gov't isn't all that different.

    In retrospect, Canada was just holding the ground until the US was able to return with a good number of troops. America needs a presence in 'ganistan, just to secure nukes if Pakistan falls.
  109. Li Chi Ho from Saskatoon, Canada writes: J Birch from Hamilton, Canada writes:

    Time to bring the troops home, this has lasted longer than WWII with no end in sight

    No war should last longer than WWII
    ----------------------------------------
    If this war had the commitment of nations, troops, weaponry and materiel that WWII had it would have been over in six months or less. It hasn't, so it isn't. Don't compare apples and oranges.
  110. Lie Detector from Toronto, Canada writes: Just to make sure everyone appreciates dishonesty when seeing it.

    Richard Roskell: 'Genocide and other forms of mass killing are a characteristic of humanity as a whole. These horrific crimes are committed by all races, and most major religions have played some role in them.'

    See? Richard pretends he's arguing with me. But he knows he isn't. He knows he's arguing with whoever said only Islam has ever been guilty of terror, genocide and enslaving women.

    Who said any such thing? Why, that infamous straw-man with the red-herring aquarium, of course.

    Now, if Richard had any desire to debate me? He'd deny and argue anything consistent with my thesis. Like, for instance, that today, in this day and age, only Islamist societies boldly -- even proudly in accordance with their prophet's truth revealed -- sets out to genocide cultural others and enslaves women.

    But Richard would rather pretend my position is that Islam is unique throughout all time. Rather than that Islam is precisely not unique -- just uniquely backwards in this day and age. That today Islamist societies are the only ones remaining sufficiently fundamentalist to so proudly declare their genocidal ambitions. Or to so righteously keep enslaving women.

    So. Why doesn't Richard Roskell want to debate me? Because that's just not what he's here for.
  111. Udom Thongpai from Victoria, Canada writes: Genocide. Pretty much all definitions of genocide rightly include killing. But there are other ways to destroy a people. In Article 2 of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, the first part of of the definition of genocide refers to, ' the mental element, meaning the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such'. Many here want to destroy Afghan culture and replace it with our own.

    Canada's experience with Residential schools for Natives should have inoculated us against this impulse.
  112. Robin H From Toronto from Canada writes: Collectively, men are silent when the issue is women or girls. All nations are male dominated. Women still fight everywhere for every scrap of dignity and basic rights. Canadian women don't have near economic equality or representation here.

    Canadian men are silent.

    Here we have a species that women give life to and sustain. In response to that awesome power, men built a false platform and identified that platform as more valuable and powerful than women's ability to sustain the species. They made it a place and called it Heaven.

    To cast that power in the shape of a man, they made up a great spirit, they said wielded far more power than women and they named it God (and other names)

    The lengths men have gone to place themselves in power over women is ludicrous in its undeniable immaturity. Then and now. Here, in Afghanistan and everywhere.

    It always takes two halves of a whole. Imagine what this world could have been by now had societies been built based on the needs, experiences and talents of the whole of the species.

    The men in Afghanistan are literally insane.

    The boastful men in the West need to check their own behaviours. Women and girls are still very much devalued right here.
  113. Richard Roskell from Canada writes: Lie Detector invites me to debate against his declarations that:

    1. 'Islamist societies terrorize and set out to genocide other cultures.'

    2. 'Islamist societies are the only ones remaining sufficiently fundamentalist to so proudly declare their genocidal ambitions.'

    No sensible person would agree to debate such dishonest statements. Nor would he or she bother to debate statements so contrary to accepted historical fact. It would be as much a waste of time as debating someone who insists that the sky is green.
  114. Bill Smith from United States writes: I wonder if this is being reported through the distorted lenses of current US and Cdn culture?

    We have practices that may seem exploitive to others. For example,
    those outside of our culture see our society as one in which women have the expectation to financially exploit men, either directly in family courts, or indirectly with preferences in hiring, education and social policy. Extremists might be hollering 'slavery' if they saw this from that outside point of view.

    Similarly, extremists in our culture might be hollering 'rape' if they saw sexual expectations in another culture that are foreign to their point of view.

    It is necessary to take things in context and to avoid the inflammatory rhetoric of using words that are associated with practices or acts that are far far worse than what is actually being described.

    And when a man is required to materially support his wife, or more likely exwife, where are the cries of slavery?
  115. Neo Cynic from Bahamas writes:

    The tragedy is that we are carpet bombing villages NOW in the name of liberating their women. What Afghan would not now rise up and kill every last feminist in the country?
  116. John Melnick from Calgary Alberta, Canada writes: My name is John Melnick and only cowards don't use their real names.

    The facts of the matter are plain and simple.

    Canadian troops are fighting and dying for an American oil pipeline to the Casian Sea and for the right that Afghan men have to rape their wives.

    nuff said. Canada out of Afghanistan now.
  117. John Melnick from Calgary Alberta, Canada writes: My name is John Melnick and only cowards don't use their real names.

    I would also like to say how dissapointed I am in our Prime Minister for escallating the violence that Canadian troops are facing by changing the nature of their objectives from Peacekeeping to Combat.

    If Tubby is so willing to fight, then why isn't his fat a$$ there?
  118. Jim Saxon from Toronto, Canada writes: What kind of shallow piece of junk reporting is this? Canadian forces amount to a tiny portion of the Allied effort there - less than 3000 of about 60,000. On a side note, it was because of ineptitude of Liberal and Conservative parties that our forces ended up in the most dangerous part of Afghanistan and therefore, have suffered disproportionate casualties. Still, Americans are at the front of both the military effort as well as in sacrifice. For Canadians to 'question our nation-building effort' is like a dog walking under a cart and thinking that he is carrying the load.

    We (NATO) are not there for any Women Lib or Child Relief - we are there to find the terrorists and make sure that they never find a safe haven in Afghanistan again to attack here. All the rest is bunk being fed by politicians through lazy and inept journalists. If there has to be a discussion, it has to be on the merit of finding Bin Laden and his allies and bringing them to justice. I expected better from Globe and Mail.
  119. Richard McAllister from Canada writes: Neo Cynic from Bahamas : The tragedy is that we are carpet bombing villages NOW in the name of liberating their women. What Afghan would not now rise up and kill every last feminist in the country?
    ____________________________________

    You wern't a draft dodger during the sisties were you by any chance,
    it sounds to me like your mind is hungup in another era, move beyond vietnam.
  120. Neo Cynic from Bahamas writes:

    Richard McAllister:

    You think our defeat in Vietnam then has nothing to tell us about our mission today in Afghanistan? History is always irrelevant for its eternal losers, of which you seem to be one.
  121. Richard Roskell from Canada writes: 'Islamist societies terrorize and set out to genocide other cultures.'

    The most recent genocidal behavior seen in the world (as opposed to 'mere' mass killings) occurred in Rwanda in 1994. The government of Rwanda describes its people in this way:

    'On November 1, 2006, ...56.5% of the Rwanda's population is Roman Catholic, 26% is Protestant, 11.1% is Seventh-day Adventist, 4.6% is Muslim, 1.7% claims no religious affiliation, and 0.1% practices traditional indigenous beliefs.'

    - Wikipedia, Religion in Rwanda

    As you can see, Rwandans are predominantly (as in 93%) Christian. Yet they perpetrated a genocide that in its ferocity and intensity exceeded those of Pol Pot and Adolf Hitler. That's the most recent genocide the world has seen.
  122. Dave Hasler from Canada writes: Bill Smith from United States. With regards to the lens of distortion. There are always certain POVs that are generated culturally. We have a western POV and even within that there are differences. Canadian and US POV are different enough to skew certain subjects such as the view of the 'war on terror', attitudes towards legalization of certain drugs and so on.

    There are also some 'universal' issues which we tend to regard as 'western' and worthy of protection and sharing such as equal rights for all - women most notably. This was not something that came easily for us and many places in the world regard women more as property or second class citizens - compared with the relative comfort they share here in the west.

    Thats what makes this story so charged. We look at this proposed Shia Law and wonder what possesses them to even consider such rules - can you imagine a western society imposing such nonsense? Yet they look back at the west and wonder how our society functions without the religious definitions of the roles of men and women being set in law.

    Religious purity is purely in the eye of the beholder and practical application of an entire religious doctrine has never been achieved or benefited any society significantly. Religion has been so perverted over the centuries worldwide and no flavor of godliness is as 'pure' as its proponents believe or declare it to be. Christianity has enough issues to make Jesus want to hurry his second coming and Islam was corrupted before Mohammad was even cold in his grave.

    What seems to work is adopting these 'universal' rights and principles. Keeping in mind our western map of the world doesn't change the universal benefit these rights and principles provide. Opposition comes from the prospective of those who lose power and influence as a result.
  123. Bxrgal from Calgary from Calgary, Canada writes: While I vehemently oppose any characterization of the Afghanistan treatment of women as anything but a blatant human rights abuse, I am not aware of any major social change that has occurred without a strong movement supporting that change within the subject society.

    While there was some degree of international pressure brought on South Africa, from my admittedly limited understanding of the complicated history of that country, I understand that the primary change abolishing apartheid came from leaders within South Africa. Similarly, the changes in the US and Canada with respect to blacks and women were accomplished only through the efforts of strong leadership within those groups. As we've also seen in history, that kind of fundamental change doesn't happen quickly and it doesn't happen without tremendous struggle and, at times, violence.

    I believe the change must come from inside that culture, not from outside. We can support it, but we can't force it.

    I have nothing but respect for our troops and I support them 1000%, but I really question what we're truly accomplishing over there.
  124. Richard McAllister from Canada writes: John Melnick from Calgary Alberta, Canada writes : I would also like to say how dissapointed I am in our Prime Minister for escallating the violence that Canadian troops are facing by changing the nature of their objectives from Peacekeeping to Combat.
    _______________________________________

    Parliament voted to extend the Afghanistan mission to 2011,
    The Liberals and Conservatives voted together in agreement
    ( something almost unheard of in this country )

    And this is a peacekeeping mission, it isn't always about just standing there with a pair of binoculars glued to your eyeballs.
  125. Richard McAllister from Canada writes: Neo Cynic from Bahamas writes : Richard McAllister:

    You think our defeat in Vietnam then has nothing to tell us about our mission today in Afghanistan? History is always irrelevant for its eternal losers, of which you seem to be one.
    ________________________________________

    It is because of the eternal optimists that any of us are still here at all, especially those that constantly harp about our lust for conquest, as if that is the only reason or motivation for any thing in this world.
  126. Lie Detector from Toronto, Canada writes: Udom Thongpai: 'Many here want to destroy Afghan culture and replace it with our own.'

    That's another way of expressing the contradiction I've been getting at, Udom. If there's a culture founded on the most absolute intolerance -- does that mean you don't have to tolerate it? If there's a culture out to genocide all cultural others -- does that make it alright to culturally genocide it?

    Never mind residential schools so much, though. We've been kicking the Church out of states, schools and polite society the last couple hundred years. In Canada and most the Western world. So don't bring the church back into it. Not after all the trouble we've gone to collapsing the Christian church. Who we are now came about despite everything the church has done -- not because of it. So don't bring the church back in. Getting more religious fundamentalist ourselves won't help with either the problems of Afghanistan -- or with our own.
  127. Neo Cynic from Bahamas writes:

    'What sort of men would pelt women with rocks for protesting a law that legalized rape?'

    The far more pertinent question for Canadians ought to be:

    What sort of men would pelt women and children with Hellfire missiles, white phosphorus, cluster bombs, machine gun fire, ...for nothing?
  128. Neo Cynic from Bahamas writes: Richard McAllister:

    Well Richard, my ears burn to hear a plausible alternative reason for the mission.
  129. Mike........ Just Mike from Toronto, Canada writes: We invaded them.
    Why should they be grateful???

    Ben Franklin. That was your reply to my comment? We Did invade yes...You, of course, neglect to say why....It is because a bunch of countries had nothing better to do and one night they were drinking beers and said...Let's invade a backwards degenerate country? Stop being deliberately stupid, sorry I can't think of any other way to put it. A stan was invaded because the gov at the time harboured a certain someone. Maybe that is cool with you but for the rest of us it's not.
  130. Richard McAllister from Canada writes: If this mission fails it will be due to apathy in the western world, to many fat cats that have been spoon feed on the x-files and the matrix and can't grasp reality anymore.
    Yes there are those in Afghanistan who clearly do not want us there, and it's not to hard to guess who they might be. There are also those who clearly want us there and it's not hard to guess who they might be.
    The question is which one of the two groups is winning over our hearts and minds. ?
  131. Jim Saxon from Toronto, Canada writes: To all the 'peaceloving 'Tanis' out here....AStan was really heaven on earth before NATO attacked Afghanistan - Bin Laden is a figment of imagination and attack on World Towers never happened. It's all our fault that Afghan women are being stoned and young boys are being raped there....

    How quickly we forget - must be something really strong in the drink....
  132. Neo Cynic from Bahamas writes: The insuperable contradiction of our situation in Afghanistan is that we presume to rely upon the mullahs, the village elders, the traditional leadership of the country to bring to the people and impose upon them our ethnocentric ideas about the equality of the sexes, the innate desire for human 'happiness', the individual drive for 'freedom.' Yet the very ideals that made the mullahs, the elders, possible foreclose the possibility of our ideals. In a sense, Afghans plead what Antgione did before Creon: conscience before law, a devotion to things higher than human law. And in reply, as Creon then invoked tyranny, we Canadians today invoke the NATO airstrike.
  133. Jim Saxon from Toronto, Canada writes: Neo Cynic from Bahamas writes: The insuperable contradiction of our situation in Afghanistan is that we presume to rely upon the mullahs, the village elders, the traditional leadership of the country to bring to the people and impose upon them our ethnocentric ideas about the equality of the sexes, the innate desire for human 'happiness', the individual drive for 'freedom.' Yet the very ideals that made the mullahs, the elders, possible foreclose the possibility of our ideals.
    _______________________________________________________
    Is this guy for real?? What BS is this? There are less than 3000 Canadian soldiers there - about 1700 on active duty and most of the remaining on assignment to train Afghan army and police. See this link http://www.afghanistan.gc.ca/canada-afghanistan/priorities-priorites/index.aspx?menu
    id=15&menu=L

    Somebody is actually entertaining the idea that we are imposing Western culture on A'Stan?? The only reason we talk to Afghans - Mullahs or not - is purely for reasons of intelligence, self-defense and maintaining security. The reason that there have been some women coming forward is - primarily - that they feel safer with Canadians around.

    Some people need to get their head out of the mush already -
  134. Nick Wright from Halifax, Canada writes: Dave Hasler: The issue of differing points of view you articulate so well also applies to governance. Many Afghan communities 'elect' their leaders 'democratically,' but 'elect' means something different to them than what it means to us.

    When choosing someone for a position, the elders and educated people--sometimes including women--discuss it among themselves and consider who might be the best person for the job. It often emerges that the best person is obvious and no further confirmation is required; at other times, the group arrives at a consensus on the best person among others, and the choice is then ratified by the village, region, or what have you.

    But the election does not include our 'one person, one vote,' a random process most Afghans would consider irresponsible, as it is so susceptible both to manipulation and to the whims of ignorant people that it would be unlikely to result in the best person being appointed.

    The result of the Afghan election is that the person chosen has the confidence of the entire community, and is thereby far more beholden to serve the community as a whole. Before 2001 and the installation by foreigners of corrupt Tajik warlords in government, holding of a government post was considered a most prestigious thing for the officeholder and his family--to the extent that many lesser officials continued to deliver services during the civil war for often no or scant pay, but out of a sense of loyalty and self-respect. The corrupt Karzai government has all but destroyed Afghans' longstanding esteem for government work.
  135. justice peace from burnaby, Canada writes: It was explained clearly to me by my Major in the British Army that Police are peace keepers they are used to keep the peace.Soldiers are killers and are used to kill in a crisis. We are not keeping the peace in Afganistan just sending our unemployed disenfranchiseds 20 odd years olds to be killed for nothing. There must be a less destructive more creative way to deal with this matter.
  136. Udom Thongpai from Victoria, Canada writes: Lie Detector, Wasn't interested in the churches in any way. The program to put Native children in Residential Schools was funded by the federal government. Whether the replacement culture is religious or not makes little difference.

    The Residential Schools system was a deliberate attempt at cultural genocide. Many posters here advocate the destruction and replacement of traditional Afghan culture by force. The road to Kabul is paved with good intentions.
  137. Nick Wright from Halifax, Canada writes: Jim Saxon wrote: 'The only reason we talk to Afghans - Mullahs or not - is purely for reasons of intelligence, self-defense and maintaining security.'

    That's not true; the Coalition has spent a lot of time, energy, money (and lives) trying to get Afghan leaders to adopt Western ways--from governance to human rights. Neo Cynic's point seems to be that the Coalition is trying to convince them to give up the very ways that allowed them to get and hold onto power in the first place. It's a contradiction, one I'm sure is perfectly obvious to the Afghan leaders--both local and national--and which causes them no end of amusement while they take our money and smile and nod agreeably at our earnest talk.

    By the way, the women's demonstration took place in Kabul; the Canadians are in Kandahar. However, there is a point to be made about the foreign occupation emboldening some women to engage in political demonstrations. The Taliban would never allow it, but neither would most other Afghans if the occupation wasn't there.

    The question is: Does Canada switch/extend our military role in Afghanistan to fostering the emancipation of women along (modern) Western lines, and use that new role as an excuse/reason for prolonging our military mission? That is the question being asked by the article. However, to repeat, neither the article nor the comments above suggest how an army of occupation can influence local laws governing relations between married couples.
  138. Neo Cynic from Bahamas writes:

    Antigone and Afghanistan

    As Sophocles has foretold, where the law of the family conflicts with the law of the state, there can be no contest. And thus our mission in Afghanistan is as doomed as were the edicts of Creon. You cannot expect people to exceed their psychological limits with truly alien ideas of 'equality', of sexual equivalence, especially at the point of a gun or tip of a missile.

    Antigone, the first feminist, then was compelled as equally as are the Afghans today to reject our grotesque imposition of our worldview in assertion of their basic human identity.
  139. Jim Saxon from Toronto, Canada writes: Nick Wright from Halifax, Canada writes: That's not true; the Coalition has spent a lot of time, energy, money (and lives) trying to get Afghan leaders to adopt Western ways--from governance to human rights. ______________________________________________________ Jim: NeoCynics point is that we are a part of Roman calvacade - vanquishing local cultures and imposing our customs - it's laughable considering that most of 3000 Canadian soldiers have to bolt up the doors and maintain perimeter security for their own safety in Kandhar - the bad guys are winning. ________________________________________________________ Nick: By the way, the women's demonstration took place in Kabul; the Canadians are in Kandahar. However, there is a point to be made about the foreign occupation emboldening some women to engage in political demonstrations. The Taliban would never allow it, but neither would most other Afghans if the occupation wasn't there. _______________________________________________________ Jim: Excellent point ________________________________________________________ Nick: The question is: Does Canada switch/extend our military role in Afghanistan to fostering the emancipation of women along (modern) Western lines, and use that new role as an excuse/reason for prolonging our military mission? __________________________________________________ Jim: Again - laughable - a lot people on this forum suffer from delusions of grandeur. With the current strength, Canadians are barely able to keep themselves out of the harm's way. Our first and foremost mission was to provide an umbrella of security to NATO forces so that bad guys could be hunted and their keepers forced to surrender. Neither has happened - Taliban are winning and not a single consequential member of Al Qaida has been caught. Women emancipation as a goal??? Our forces would do well to emancipate their courtyard first so that they don't get shot when waking up to go to loo at night!
  140. Catherine Medernach from Winnipeg, Canada writes: Lots of people up late. First of all, the objective of the current mission is NOT the emancipation of women. Second, Canadian troops were in Bosnia for more than a decade before that mission was handed over to the EU - and did not withdraw troops until 2004-2005. What Canadians were doing in the former Yugoslavia is what the PRTs are doing in Afghanistan today. This mission only started in 2006 with the Afghan Compact. The priorities are to provide security and facilitate reconstruction - not just of physical structures but of the social structures of society. Only a portion of CF troops are combat troops. Many are filling support functions like administration and logistics, maintaining equipment, cooking and providing health services. Many in the PRTs are reservists who bring specific expertise from their civilian jobs to the tasks in Kandahar. Also there are CIDA, foreign affairs, RCMP and military police (often reservists who are police officers in their civilian lives).
  141. Catherine Medernach from Winnipeg, Canada writes: Although providing security in part means pro-actively pursuing the insurgents (Taliban and other foreign fighters), there are CF troops that are specifically assigned to the protection of the PRT and related activities - such as meetings with local villagers and reconstruction and aid projects.

    Building schools and hospitals is not helpful if there are no teachers or healthcare staff to operate them. Training the ANA or the police is more than teaching them how to shoot. Like any other organization there have to be people trained to carry out administrative tasks. The army needs people to provide logistical, equipment maintenance and medical support. This takes more time when a large portion of the people do not have the literacy skills or basic education required.
    Canadians are training 3,000 teachers and providing literacy programs for adults as well as training and mentoring the military and police. This is all part of the rebuilding of a country after decades of conflict.
  142. Jim Saxon from Toronto, Canada writes: This type of journalism (comment?) leaves me in despair....This is Fix News on the Left. Just read this paragraph:
    Quote
    What started eight years ago as a military operation to deprive terrorists of a safe haven from which to launch attacks on the West morphed, in the eyes of many, into something much grander: an exercise in nation building and bolstering human rights.
    Unquote

    Grander??? Really??? in the eyes of who? More NATO soldiers died in 2008 than any other year before, neighbouring Pakistan, a mere safe haven before, has become open Head Quarters of Taliban. Just a few days back many NATO soldiers were killed. It is of wide knowledge that Taliban de facto rules Kandahar and NATO forces are basically confined to the few places they hold by the skin of their teeth.

    This article is the kind of Vanity Fair journalism that does more harm to Candian Forces and Allied cause than Taliban - it seeks to bring down their morale by blaming them for something they have no control over.
  143. Nick Wright from Halifax, Canada writes: Then there is our final hypocrisy. None of those now howling about an Afghan law requiring women to relate sexually to their husbands with some regularity made a peep or raised a finger while Coalition bombs, shells and bullets shredded thousands of Afghan women and children or buried them under their homes, and maimed, terrified and traumatized those who survived. Not once.

    Nor did we say a word after the Soviets left and the U.S. abandoned Afghan women and children to years of kidnapping, rape, and being sold into slavery by warlords--the very ones the U.S. put back into power to rule them over their outraged objections in 2001.

    We have extremely short memories; Afghans never forget. Our lives are so distracted and confused that we never even notice our hypocrisy and inconsistency; Afghans, whose lives are a lot simpler and earthier, have a sharp nose for both. For most of them, it is almost always about survival--first of the family and then of the individual. Things are that basic and well-defined over there.

    In wild contrast, we sip our lattes and green teas and blog our outrage about one relatively run-of-the mill third-world law intended to protect the family from infidelity and adultery (there are thousands of worse laws in Afghanistan and other countries). Calling it a 'rape law' is a wilfull distortion to inflame passions. I just hope our feckless government doesn't sieze on those momentary passions as a potential vote-getter, putting our beleaguered troops in even greater harm's way by provoking even greater Afghan resistance.
  144. Catherine Medernach from Winnipeg, Canada writes: While people may disagree with the mission, the suggestion that the CF cannot leave their compounds because they are incapable is downright slanderous. BTW the CF also works in cooperation with the Dutch and UK troops. Although they don't get much attention, there are also contingents from Rumania, Poland, Eastonia, and Denmark as well as small headquarter and support units from other NATO countries.

    The Canadians in the province of Kandahar have had some successes but the efforts being made are based on long range planning, cumulative effects and having the local people making the decisions and doing the work-not quick fixes. Afghans need to be able to operate independently and not have to rely on outsiders for basic needs indefinitely. And every time the PRT and CF troops succeed in one project or in gaining the trust of even a handful of locals they undermine the power and control of the Taliban, war lords, and drug lords who react in a negative fashion - as should be expected.
  145. Neo Cynic from Bahamas writes:

    WARNING WARNING WARNING

    Medernach the Plagiarist has punched in for the night shift as CF propagandist.
  146. Jim Saxon from Toronto, Canada writes: Wait - there is one more:
    Quote
    “How has the war helped women in Afghanistan? It hasn't,” Judy Rebick, former head of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women, asks. Instead, she argues, life is worse for women since the occupation. “Never have women achieved equality by somebody coming in and giving it to them. We can't bomb our way into equality.”

    Rather than sending in troops to intervene in a society “that doesn't want them,” she thinks countries such as Canada should have supported existing groups like RAWA, the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan, which has been organizing non-violently against the Taliban and struggling to establish women's rights since 1977. “We should never have gone into Afghanistan in the first place, and we should leave.”

    Unquote
    YES!! It does not get better than this. We have found the ultimate weapon against Al Qaida and Taliban - and it's RAWA - active since 1977. If only we could keep out and send more money to RAWA instead, all problems are solved. Geeeezzz.... if only we had only thought of that before 9/11.....Stinks of something - what?? fishing for dough in turbulent water???
  147. Richard McAllister from Canada writes: Catherine Medernach from Winnipeg, Canada :

    I couldn't agree with you more, as a matter of fact my crticism of Canada since 2006 has been due to the fact that so few Canadians are there on the ground. Which is why we must depend on the
    U.S Calvary to bolster our capacity for stability and security.
    I have always believed since our first rotation in 2006 or 2005 that we should have commited 5,000.
  148. Jim Saxon from Toronto, Canada writes: Catherine - A dose of reality is in order:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSTRE5236YL20090305 (Canadian Govt: Security situation worsened in Kandahar in late 2008)
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/southasia/7555996.stm (Taleban closing in on Kabul)
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south
    asia/7716066.stm (Taleban in Southern Afghanistan)
  149. Jim Saxon from Toronto, Canada writes: Neo Cynic from Bahamas writes:

    WARNING WARNING WARNING

    Medernach the Plagiarist has punched in for the night shift as CF propagandist.
    ________________________________________________________
    I am a proud CF propagandist. And you are??? A Taleban propgandist?
  150. Catherine Medernach from Winnipeg, Canada writes: Jim Saxon - Judy Rebick is just like the local NDP people here who slipped quietly away when there was an incident at a public event that involved a group of 5 adults, male and female, dragging a woman away against her will. The women involved were in black from head to toe and clearly Muslim. The 'advocates' never used their cells to call police or did anything else to help her. These are people tied to the immigrant/refugee community. They clearly were not concerned with the rights of this woman. BTW The on site security told those of us who tried to intervene - she was screaming for help - to leave it be - it was 'cultural'. If a group of ordinary Canadians tried to do something like this they would not get away with it. But they will scream about women's rights in Afghanistan where they do not have to actually live and do anything concrete - sure just send them more money - for what? to maintain and organization that does nothing but talk.
  151. Neo Cynic from Bahamas writes:

    Jim Saxon from Toronto, Canada:

    I am a proud propagandist for the truth. I don't believe in plagiarizing NATO propaganda, as our resident fascist does often, to garner support for our losing war in Afghanistan, nor do I believe in posting anti-NDP lies.
  152. Nick Wright from Halifax, Canada writes: It would be the final irony if RAWA became the West's ultimate champion of Afghan women. It is a hard-left radical revolutionary organization that fiercely denigrates and smears all other women's groups working for Afghan women's emancipation. It has been dogged for years by rumours of ties to a male-led Afghan Maoist group, and is quietly shunned by many mainstream women's groups.

    Here is an interesting and well-researched article on RAWA:

    'What Do Afghan Women Want?'

    'A dramatic and militant Afghan feminist group has captured the West's imagination. But does it offer what the women of a shattered society need most?'

    Noy Thrupkaew, August 25, 2002
    http://tinyurl.com/cf47x7
  153. Catherine Medernach from Winnipeg, Canada writes: Richard McAllister - the problem is that thanks to Canadian apathy, the politicians had spent years cutting the military. Today they have a problem utilizing the reservists who have volunteered much less processing and training new recruits. Also, we were still sending deployments to Bosnia and training them for that mission while sending troops to Afghanistan. Pre-deployment training for Kandahar takes at least 6 months. Between training and deployment the small military we have is away from their families for extended periods. By the time the current mission started, much of the Canadian population had already begun to lose its interest in Afghanistan. And neither the government nor the military have been effective in informing the people about the mission or how it is being carried out. Neither the government nor the media have been effective in telling the people of anything that has been gained. All they hear about is casualties. The war for hearts and minds here has been lost.
  154. Sassy Lassie from Canada writes: Catherine Medernach from Winnipeg, Canada writes: Jim Saxon - Judy Rebick is just like the local NDP people here who slipped quietly away when there was an incident at a public event that involved a group of 5 adults, male and female, dragging a woman away against her will. The women involved were in black from head to toe and clearly Muslim. The 'advocates' never used their cells to call police or did anything else to help her. These are people tied to the immigrant/refugee community. They clearly were not concerned with the rights of this woman. BTW The on site security told those of us who tried to intervene - she was screaming for help - to leave it be - it was 'cultural'. If a group of ordinary Canadians tried to do something like this they would not get away with it. But they will scream about women's rights in Afghanistan where they do not have to actually live and do anything concrete - sure just send them more money - for what? to maintain and organization that does nothing but talk. End quote: ================== Bang on sister, the Judy Bekicks of Canada are less than useless. I also believe the Jewish females, amongst others, in concentration were grateful we bombed our way through Europe to free them. One need only google Ms. Feminist to see what kind of groups she sucks up to.
  155. Neo Cynic from Bahamas writes: Bottom line about Afghanistan:

    ''No one will say this publicly, but the true fact is we are all talking about our exit strategy from Afghanistan. We are getting out. It may take a couple of years, but we are all looking to get out.'

    Thus did a 'senior European diplomat' confide to The New York Times during Obama's trip to Strasbourg.
    -Buchanan, Why Europe Won't Fight
    http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=31425
  156. pik scott from Canada writes: Misery No one from Toronto, Canada writes: How can we impose our morals on anyone. Leave now. And don't feed me that crap that we are improving the lives of the

    Afghanistans. We have slaughtered plenty of wedding parties-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------People please do not listen to this uniformed idiot. Maybe the AAF has wipe out some wedding parties ,but don't you dare say that canadians have. You owe the CF's a apology.
  157. Neo Cynic from Bahamas writes:

    pik scott from Canada:

    Last time I checked the CF was operating under the NATO flag, under which air strikes were called, and children were murdered. Every bomb, every bullet has our name on it as citizens of a country that supports this horrid little CF adventure in Afghanistan.
  158. Richard McAllister from Canada writes: Catherine Medenach from Winnipeg, Canada : the problem is that thanks to Canadian apathy, the politicians had spent years cutting the military.

    I would like to believe that the war for the hearts and minds of Canadians has not been lost simply because we set a date to withdraw our troops. We are still commited to almost another 3yrs, and that is 3 yrs of support for our troops still ahead of us.

    Yes our military was grossly neglected for too many years, and perhaps we as Canadians will be better prepared to respond to other humanitarian crisis in the world. Sure as God made the little green apple there will be more
  159. Nick Wright from Halifax, Canada writes: Catherine Medernach wrote: 'The war for hearts and minds here has been lost.' I think you could give your fellow Canadians (and a lot of other curious, responsible, educated people around the world) a little more credit.

    It is more likely that we are well aware of the good that is being done but have drawn the conclusion that the mission has been so muddled and poorly strategised and executed that the negatives far outweigh the positives. Even senior Coalition military leaders drew that conclusion a long time ago, but they were overruled and ignored by politicians who weren't really interested in being effective in Afghanistan, but rather were far more interested in furthering personal, institutional and party political agendas back home.

    We'll never know if the original mission could have been done well enough to set up a government and create a secure environment that would gain the loyalty of Afghans and render the resurgent Taliban irrelevant. There are just too many 'ifs.' But it was never a question of winning Canadian 'hearts and minds.' Even if every last Canadian had somehow been conned into supporting the mission (as designed) wholeheartedly, the outcome would have been the same.
  160. Keating Gun from Canada writes: To a lesser extent, but often as deadly, the war on women was fought in North America too. I still remember the searing Time cover in the early 1980s which declared "Open season on women" before detailing horrific criminal attacks on American women in the US. In the early 1980s, criminal rape charges here contained a clause stating that the accused was alleged to have had sexual relations without consent with a woman "who was not your wife." In Afghanistan as in North America of decades ago. the war on women has everything to do with men's psychology and grinding poverty, prejudice, class politics and powerless ghettoized men engaged in a kind of pecking order of violence. Deal with their lack of dignity and hope while insisting on tying all aid to the advancement of equality, and the war on women will abate; women's security and power will increase.
  161. J Birch from Hamilton, Canada writes: Li Chi Ho from Saskatoon, Canada writes: J Birch from Hamilton, Canada writes:

    Time to bring the troops home, this has lasted longer than WWII with no end in sight

    No war should last longer than WWII
    -----------------------------

    If this war had the commitment of nations, troops, weaponry and materiel that WWII had it would have been over in six months or less. It hasn't, so it isn't. Don't compare apples and oranges.

    -----------------------------

    The fact this war does not have the commitment of nations, troops, weaponry and materiel that WWII had should give us pause of thought.

    The fact that our troops are just as dead as WWII's dead lets us know this is a real war and so we are comparing apples to apples.

    Unless you think our troops dieing in Afghanistan are somehow less dead.

    We cannot defeat radical Islamic fundamentalism at the barrel of a gun in their own country.

    If the Afghans don't rise up to drive the Taliban away en mass then we are fighting a war without an exit strategy or winnable objective

    And this is the case in phase II of this war - so we should leave.

    .
  162. Catherine Medernach from Winnipeg, Canada writes: J Birch from Hamilton - the Afghans were fighting the Taliban long before NATO came along. Of course the Taliban had the support of Saudi Arabia, and the ISI and government of Pakistan plus Al-Qaeda. There were many Afghans requesting help before 9/11 including Karzai. However, nobody cared until they realized that terrorists were being trained there and supported to carry out attacks in the West.

    How many people care today about the Taliban and what they are doing to the people of Pakistan? Isolationist westerners don't really care about the people of either country. Nobody cares about the efforts being made by Afghans to reclaim and rebuild their country and their society either - unless they do it according to our rules, our time tables and instantly.
  163. Lie Detector from Toronto, Canada writes: Udom Thongpai "Lie Detector, Wasn't interested in the churches in any way. The program to put Native children in Residential Schools was funded by the federal government. Whether the replacement culture is religious or not makes little difference... The Residential Schools system was a deliberate attempt at cultural genocide."

    Yes -- it was. Totally deliberate cultural genocide. Carried out by the Christian church. You know? The very same church free and democratic societies been kicking out of state, schools and polite society the past couple hundred years.

    And why don't you care how it was the church doing all the cultural genociding, Udom? Because the Federal Gov't contributed funding? Well -- you can certainly choose to blame the funding gov't instead of the church responsible. You can blame everything gov't taxed or funded on the gov't -- whether the gov't specifically knows about it or not. But that's just your intellectual dishonesty.

    Hell. Never mind residential schooling, even. In Quebec nobody much realized the church better get kicked out of schooling until the 1950s.

    Fact remains. The root of genociding cultural others is fundamentalism within one's own culture. Thus, in tolerant societies, we separate religion from education -- whereas, in intolerant societies, the opposite is true.
  164. Brian Havelock from Winnipeg, Canada writes: "How many people care today about the Taliban and what they are doing to the people of Pakistan?"

    Where do you get this drivel?
  165. Lie Detector from Toronto, Canada writes: Richard Roskell tries to contradict my assertion that only Islamist societies remain sufficiently fundamentalist to proudly declare their genocidal ambitions, terrorize all other cultures and righteously enslave women.

    How? By insinuating that, since most all Rwandans were Christian -- the Rwandan genocide had to be a Christian genocide.

    Which -- absent any connection drawn between Christian fundamentalism and genocide in Rwanda -- is about as good an argument as saying that because everyone in Rwanda had eyeballs, the genocide in Rwanda should be blamed on people's eyeballs.

    I'm not suggesting Richard Roskell should try intellectual honesty for a change. But, please -- how about making the dishonesty somewhat less transparent?

    At least try to draw some connection, Richard. How was the bitterness between Hutus and Tutsis in any way about Christianity?
  166. Brian Havelock from Winnipeg, Canada writes: "How was the bitterness between Hutus and Tutsis in any way about Christianity?"

    You must have an answer to that. I would like you to provide it.
  167. Ben Franklin from Ottawa, Canada writes: Brian Havelock from Winnipeg, Canada writes:
    "How was the bitterness between Hutus and Tutsis in any way about Christianity?"

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    According to wikipedia

    The Rwandan government reported on November 1, 2006, that 56.5% of the Rwanda's population is Roman Catholic, 26% is Protestant, 11.1% is Seventh-day Adventist, 4.6% is Muslim, 1.7% claims no religious affiliation, and 0.1% practices traditional indigenous beliefs.[1]

    It is also reported that the Muslims were not involved in the murders.

    So, 800,000 Tutsis were murdered by a population that was
    56% Catholic
    26% Protestant
    11% Seventh-day Adventist
    -----
    93% christian.
  168. Udom Thongpai from Victoria, Canada writes: Lie Detector wrote, "And why don't you care how it was the church doing all the cultural genociding, Udom?"

    Well, they may have been hired to do the job, but their attitudes were hardly unique to them. Their beliefs reflected those held by the Canadian public at the time. It was a Canadian solution. I don't think you can dodge the responsibility by blaming only the churches. It went on for a very long time before anyone thought to stop it... For that matter, the same attitudes were held in Australia where they had a very similar solution, but with greater state participation, (and similar disastrous results).

    Just like in Afghanistan, religion was and still is a container that is wrapped around local beliefs. The Allmighty must forever be adapting to local customs and attitudes. When people seek out the face of God they really want to see their own.

    Also, I'm non Christian and have no interest in churches.
  169. Lie Detector from Toronto, Canada writes: Ben Franklin: "93% christian."

    Wow. Maybe it isn't intellectual dishonesty? Maybe just inability to reason?

    All Rwandans had eyeballs. Does that mean we should blame the Rwandan genocide on eyeballs?

    Similarly. All Rwandans were christian. Does that mean we should blame the Rwandan genocide on christianity?

    Draw some connection, silly. Some reason to believe Rwandan christianity wasn't just incidental. Incidental as eyeballs.

    Was the genocide due to conflict between different sects of christianity? Was it due to believers doing away with unbelievers? What?

    When Islamist societies set out to genocide cultural others? When Islamist societies terrorize other cultures? When Islamist societies enslave women? They proudly tell us how they're doing god's work. Whether drafting Karzai's Rape Law -- or vowing to genocide cultural others off the map. Islamists always tell us how it's god's work they're doing. Always, invariably, in the name of god.

    The genocidal bitterness between Hutus and Tutsis in Rwanda, on the other hand? How was that in the name of Jesus? How was that the fault of christian fundamentalism? What possible reason have we got for blaming the Rwandan genocide on Christianity -- rather than all those eyeballs everyone had in their heads at that time?

    None of which is to say that christian fundamentalism can't be faulted with any cultural genocide. But not today -- or in 1994. Not for the past couple hundred years -- at least. Since today? In this 21st century day and age? Only Islamist societies remain sufficiently fundamentalist to proudly declare their genocidal ambitions, terrorize all other cultures and righteously enslave women.
  170. Ben Franklin from Ottawa, Canada writes: Lie Detector,

    800,000 Tutsis were murdered by Christians not Muslims.

    By the way the Tutsis were Christians too.

    Sorry, Liar, it was all Christians NOT Muslims that did the murdering.

    You're an anti Muslim bigot.
  171. Lie Detector from Toronto, Canada writes: Udom Thongpai: Lie Detector: "And why don't you care how it was the church doing all the cultural genociding, Udom?"

    "Well, they may have been hired to do the job, but their attitudes were hardly unique to them."

    No, Udom. You don't get how it used to between church and state in the Western world.

    Since the Enlightenment? It's been war. On one side, the church wants us believing we must look to it for god's truth. On the other side, Western society has concluded truth isn't what church is for -- ever. And as for god's truth? That's a joke because we already killed god.

    But it took a long time to kick the church out of state and schooling. In fact, when it came to residential or Quebec schooling, for instance, the church retained vestiges for authority for a very long time. So it wasn't that the church "may have been hired to do the job". It was that the church couldn't yet be fired from doing the job. Though, more recently, the church has been very much fired from the job of schooling.

    Anyhow.. this is waaay off topic. Just do some googling on residential schooling, the quiet revolution and the enlightenment. You'll see what I mean.

  172. Lie Detector from Toronto, Canada writes: Ben Franklin repeats that christians killed other christians in the Rwandan genocide. Ben Franklin, however, does not even try to say anyone in Rwanda either killed because* they were christian -- or that anyone in Rwanda got killed *because they were christian.

    Also in Rwanda? Always people with nostrils killed other people with nostrills in the Rwandan genocide. But nobody yet has shown how having nostrils made anyone kill or get killed in the Rwandan genocide.

    Let's tentatively conclude, then, that while everyone in the Rwandan genocide was christian, had eyeballs and had nostrils? None of these things can be blamed for the genocide.

    Meanwhile? Islamists everywhere tell us very clearly how their Muslim faith means they should genocide, terrorize and enslave women. This is why I say: only Islamist societies remain sufficiently fundamentalist to proudly declare their genocidal ambitions, terrorize all other cultures and righteously enslave women.

    Am I a bigot for saying this? Come on. Who cares. The only worthwhile question is whether it's true.
  173. Lie Detector from Toronto, Canada writes: I must go now. And I can't believe how much time I have wasted here.

    But, of course, it isn't a waste at all. In fact, I believe the exchange of ideas and arguments here, however torturous, does significant good. Maybe, someday, we'll be able to talk, even laugh across cultures instead of shooting.

    So, however insane some of you think I am -- and I think some of you are -- thanks.
  174. Udom Thongpai from Victoria, Canada writes: Those who kill in the name of Islam are no different than those who kill in the name of communism or Hinduism or any other ism. Their religion or their political ideology is simply the cloak they wear while they are about their business. They tailor their religion to suit themselves far more than they tailor themselves to suit it.
  175. Jim Saxon from Toronto, Canada writes: Not a single bleeding-heart has a solution for anything. Amusingly, it sounds just like the republican party of USA - party of No. In fact, these extreme right and left wings need each other to survive. Our objectives in Afghanistan, shorn of politician-speak, are to first, punish the perps and second, secure the country so that perps don't come back the moment we turn our back. Neither is close to being accomplished. And your idea is???
  176. Nick Wright from Halifax, Canada writes: Jim Saxon: A lot of people--including those in the highest places--think the original mission (never mind fighting marriage laws) are getting further from being accomplished, not closer. The idea is to change strategy (if it's not too late). Of course, none of us talking here can have the slightest influence, but we can at least hope that President Obama can for once get politico/military wisdom to bear on the problem.

    However, we should be prepared for there not to be a "fix" for the problem of Afghanistan, since there are always self-existing limits on what can be done, and there is always only so much time allotted to get things right. If time has run out or there isn't a workable new strategy, we should support our troops until they finish their given mission and return to their families, having done their duties faithfully and with distinction. There will be consequences enough without a loss of faith on our part.
  177. Nick Wright from Halifax, Canada writes: Sorry: "IS getting further from being accomplished."
  178. Jim Saxon from Toronto, Canada writes: This article discussed nothing constructive - it sought to blame Canadian Forces for the plight of women in Afghanistan through the mouth of a few on extreme left. Nothing could be further from the truth. For long, NATO forces in Afghanistan have suffered because of a misguided focus on Iraq. Obama is trying to change that but we, as Canadians, must remember that a country whose safety and security depends so much on the Hawk, cannot pick its little teeny - weeny ball up and go home. This insidious anti-americanism has to stop. We must abide by the NATO principle (at attack on one is an attack on all).
  179. J Birch from Hamilton, Canada writes:

    *"But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and arms and heads, chopped off in battle, shall join together at the latter day and cry all 'We died at such a place;' some swearing, some crying for a surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their children rawly left.

    I am afeard there are few die well that die in a battle; for how can they charitably dispose of any thing, when blood is their argument?

    Now, if these men do not die well, it will be a black matter for the king that led them to it; whom to disobey were against all proportion of subjection.

    I myself heard the king say he would not be ransomed.

    Ay, he said so, to make us fight cheerfully: but when our throats are cut, he may be ransomed, and we ne'er the wiser."

    - Henry V*

    -----------------------

    Somethings never change

    .
  180. Brian Havelock from Winnipeg, Canada writes: "we, as Canadians, must remember that a country whose safety and security depends so much on the Hawk, cannot pick its little teeny - weeny ball up and go home. "

    As a Canadian I take exception to your comments. It seems to me there is ample evidence to suggest that the deployment of Canadian troops in Afghanistan has resulted in little, if any, change in the overall condition of this fractured society. I would much rather see my tax dollars put to a more constructive use other than that of war making in a far off land.
  181. Alex ALEX from Russian Federation writes: Lie Detector from Toronto, Canada writes: I must go now. And I can't believe how much time I have wasted here....

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    You have not 'wasted" this time - your arguments are the best in this thread so far. More to that, you have this precious ability to see the core (nature) of things and to articulate it brilliantly. Those people who are your opponents or those who pretend they don't understand you - they are very usefull here because they give you reason to respond to them and your responce is precious for those who read with an open mind and really look for real analisis of situation. Actually if there were no those "useful people", you would probably not respond and so we would have no opportunity to read the truth ( and your point is the truth).
  182. Brian Havelock from Winnipeg, Canada writes: Alex:

    The person identifying as Lie Detector would be better served by articulating his position on the topic rather than attacking others.

    Surely he can't be suggesting that religon doesn't play a part in these conflicts.

    Surely he can't be suggesting that European colonial powers brought with them their Christian religious belief system when they colonized many parts of the world.

    Surely he can't be suggesting that the "Christian World" doesn't have blood on it's hands.
  183. Geoffrey May from Canada writes: Finally some perspective, Wife beating wass legal here until 1968, wife raping until 1983.War doesn't enhance humen rights , foreign occupation doesn't speed social evolution.It is worth looking at events between the two World Wars in Germany, attempts to create democracy lead in many ways to support for Nazism.
    Nato's presense complicates all other issues in Afghanistan,. History shows, occupation doesn't succeed in Afghanistan , bribery does.Nato should leave , and make womens rights a condition of aid.
  184. Catherine Medernach from Winnipeg, Canada writes: Geoffrey May - "Nato should leave , and make womens rights a condition of aid." Right! That would simplify everything.

    The Taliban would have no impediment to regaining control, along with Al-Qaeda. Women would have no rights - and men would not be allowed to grant any rights to their wives or daughters. Aid on condition of women's rights would not be an issue because no foreign aid would be allowed into the country. Meanwhile Pakistan would also go down to defeat at the hands of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda and, like in SWAT there would be no rights for women or anyone else. But worse than that, having a nuclear country controlled by Taliban and Al-Qaeda would have consequences that most people would do not want to even consider.

    The Canadian government has indicated that CF troops will withdraw in 2011 but until then our troops will continue to do as much as they can to help the Afghans rebuild. Hopefully the additional US troops will not undermined all their efforts.
  185. F H from Ottawa, Canada writes: Answer me this. How many of the demostrating women and the men there supporting them would have been slaughtered on sight if Afghanistan didn't know the Western worlds eyes were on them? That's all the 'excuse' I need to believe that our forces there are doing their jobs. We must stay there until this grassroots movement is able to grow in strength and numbers. The cost of not doing so is the blood of women like these on our hands.

    BTW, I'm a 'leftie liberal'.
  186. Catherine Medernach from Winnipeg, Canada writes: It might be of interest to some to know that the Taliban was not terribly concerned about the Americans in Kandahar. They believed that the OEF troops eventually would leave and their reconstruction efforts would not be enough to win the confidence of the locals.That changed when the Canadians and our allies moved into the south and east and the CF took over Kandahar.

    The Taliban heard about how the Canadian PRT and the new provincial government planned to spread public services, to reform crooked police, and to fix broken infrastructure. They observed who the Canadians talked to and watched them move all over the province and start CDCs. This constituted a kind of threat the American PRT had not. The Taliban thrived on the frustration of the locals whose patience had worn thin by the time the Canadians arrived. But when Canada finally started to deliver what people were looking for the insurgents saw that "the window to exploit local disenchantment was closing."(Kandahar Tour) more
  187. Catherine Medernach from Winnipeg, Canada writes: Information in previous post and this one based on 'Kandahar Tour'.
    Programs that delivered results constituted real threats. "They had to be stopped." The first strike of a wave of strikes in 2006 took place on January 15th. It was a suicide truck bomb that killed Glyn Berry one of the key people involved in the PRT. It was a message from the Taliban that they were not going to let Canada rebuild anything without a fight.

    Mr. Berry's death temporarily shut down the work of all civilian officials at the Kandahar PRT. CIDA and Foreign Affairs staff were moved to KAF from Camp Nathan Smith due to security concerns. While the violence slowed the pace of the of development, it did not stop it. But Canada's first efforts had encountered a major obstacle. Fortunately the arrival of the balance of Canada's military, Task Force Orian, based on 1PPCLI was taking place at the time - the vanguard of the multinational brigade that was to spread across Kandahar, Helmand and Uruzgan provinces.
  188. Richard Roskell from Naramata, Canada writes: That's "Kandahar Tour: The Turning Point in Canada's Mission," folks. Authors Lee Windsor and David Charters. What's more, it's at 34% off at Indigo!

    http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/

    The authors are right about one thing. When Canadian troops took over the task of spreading the corrupt writ of the Kabul government down into Kandahar, it was indeed a "turning point." At that point, the Canadian mission turned from a DEFENSIVE effort to protect the Kabul government into an OFFENSIVE mission, along with everything that implies.
  189. jennys dad from owen sound ontario, Canada writes: Catherine Medernach - you are obviously a Canadian army employee. And if anyone believes all that propaganda you spout as to how much our army - which blasts off artillery daily in practice in the heart of southwestern Ontario at Meaford - some into Georgian Bay - is doing to help rebuild or reform Afghanistan, well I have a bridge to sell that person. What propagandized b.s. !
    Odd, I don't see the weekend warriors at their 16000 acres of prime recreational land that they stole from the farmers up here for WW 2 practice educating teachers for Afghanistan or learning how to build schools etc. But they are over there (Meaford) blowing the.. out of the countryside. Explain that away army mouthpiece.
  190. Brian Havelock from Winnipeg, Canada writes: jennys dad from owen sound ontario:

    Catherine has previously acknowledged that she and her family are military people. Having said that I agree with the gist of your post.
  191. Catherine Medernach from Winnipeg, Canada writes: jennys dad from owen - your obvious beef with the military clearly makes you unable to view anything they do with any degree of ojbectivity and your opinion therefore has little credibility. BTW I am past the age of military service. As for the work on schools or training teachers - obviously that is activity taking place in Afghanistan not Meaford.

    Rosell wrong again! The move into Kandahar posed a threat to the Taliban and the drug lords. They figured the US OEF troops would eventually leave and their reconstruction efforts would have little impact. But after watching the Canadians operate and hearing of their plans with the local governor they decided they had to be stopped. Their first attack killed Glyn Berry and did lead to evacuation of PRT civilians to KAF but it only slowed efforts and did not stop them. You can deride the book all you want - but given that you have not read it, your opinion of the contents also lacks credibility.
  192. Geoffrey May from Canada writes: Catherine Madernach . In my opinion , Nato involvement in Afghanistan promotes Taliban efforts in Pakistan .When Nato leaves Afghanistan , the Tribal areas of Pakistan will be relieved of their obligation to Afghan Talibans.
    Your assumption that the Taliban would reject any western aid is counter to what occured during the Taliban's rule of Afghanistan.
  193. Richard McAllister from Canada writes: jennys dad from owen sound ontario, Canada :

    Always glad to hear that our Canadian soldiers are keeping up with training and practice, without constant maneuvers our military would not be able to keep their skills sharp.
  194. Catherine Medernach from Winnipeg, Canada writes: Geoffrey May - many Taliban came from Pakistan in the first place - long before 9/11 or NATO. You clearly do not know the history of the Taliban in Afghanistan or Pakistan. And the issue is not just the Taliban but Al-Qaeda.

    BTW NATO is in Afghanistan at the request of the Afghan government as agreed to in the Afghan Compact. It is a UN mission as well as NATO mission.

    As for aid organizations, the Taliban constantly hampered and attacked aid workers. They blockaded aid from an area where people were starving and freezing. They told aid organizations to get rid of female staff. They eventually forced UN aid organizations out of the country. Many aid organizations left and those that remained had difficulty raising funds because of the Taliban.

    The Taliban have also warned Kandaharis they will return to kill all those who collaborated with the government.
  195. Geoffrey May from Canada writes: Catherine Madernach , Your last comment is misleading . The Taliban in Afghanistan were supported by Pakistan miltary and ISI, but were not a factor in the Tribal Areas until after the US invasion, and the US began to pressure Pakistan to act against Taliban in Paklistan. As for aid groups, they operated throughout Taliban ruled Afghanistan .The US decision to link aid to support Karzai government and military lead to the change in Taliban attitude.Medicin Sans Frontiers cited the US policy of politicizing aid as the reason they neededto leave Afghanistan , after involvment there during the Soviet wars and Taliban regime. My contention is that Nato presense simply confuses every issue, and maintains a war zone where otherwise there wouldn't be one , and that war in and of itself , is a violation of human rights .Any attempt by Nato to secure Afghanistan miltarily increases support for radical Islamist groups in Pakistan, in much the same way as US war in VietNam lead directly to popular suport for Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. The Nato and UN resolutions regarding Afghanistan are fig leafs to cover the ongoing US presense there and do not reflect the wishes of the Afghan people anymore than the Soviet occupation did, remember they also claimed to be invited , to foster womens rights and development .
  196. Nick Wright from Halifax, Canada writes: Catherine Medernach wrote: "BTW NATO is in Afghanistan at the request of the Afghan government as agreed to in the Afghan Compact."

    The Afghan "government" was installed and kept in place by the U.S. through a series of of "jirgas" (councils) that were manipulated by the U.S. to give a veneer of legitimacy. The 2004 elections were a sham, with illiterate, uneducated rural Afghans voting as instructed by their local strongmen, who wanted to ensure their cut of international aid dollars and "protection" (in the mafia sense) from the Karzai regime for their drug and smuggling operations. The UN obediently gave the election rubber-stamp approval as Afghanistan's "best hope" for improvement.

    The problem is, the "government" has been despised by most ordinary Afghans since 2001, when it became clear to them that it was a foreign puppet regime. It is not just because of the Taliban that President Karzai lives in a heavily guarded fortress in Kabul and has almost no influence beyond the city's gates. Saying the Coalition is there at the invitation of the Afghan government is beyond cynical.
  197. Seasoned Warrior from Been down so long it looks like up to me, Canada writes: NATO, the UN, the American Government, the Canadian government, the governments of other European coalition members, aid agencies - none of them, individually or collectively will do anything to improve the situation in Afghanistan as long as they are providing security for men to abuse women. I am proud that my son changed his mind about joining the Canadian military. His personal values would not permit him to stand by and observe women and girls being treated in this manner. It is not possible to deal with men who have been brainwashed since childhood that their mothers and sisters are nothing more than whores and dogs. Under the guise of religion, culture, tradition or even the weather, men will come up with an overriding reason to enslave women for sex-on-demand. It's all about men and sex and that's all it's ever been about. Until we deal with that, women are doomed.
  198. Nick Wright from Halifax, Canada writes: Seasoned Warrior: I sympathise with your feelings, but you've got it wrong; Afghan men--in their view--feel they have a responsibility to protect women's virtue; along with the integrity of the family, it is of the utmost importance. A man whose wife or daughter breaks the traditional rules is severely dishonoured--no small thing in Afghanistan: to be ostracized by one's village is devastating to the entire family, and the stigma can be handed down to male members for generations, depending on the severity of the infraction, until restitution is made or honour re-earned.

    The rules differ somewhat among the ethnic groups, but the northern Uzbeks are just as severe in their ways as the southern Pashtuns. The men don't regard their wives as whores; the Hazara law that has the liberal West up in arms is probably intended to prevent men from looking for sex outside the marriage, with potentially devastating consequences for the man, his family, "the other woman," and possibly for the village as a whole. Just because the law gives him the right to demand that his wife relate to him sexually with some regularity doesn't necessarily mean to Afghans that he has the right to physically force her into sexual relations; i.e., rape her.

    We need to be careful about projecting our values and interpretations onto a situation before we have understood it. And we need to be more skeptical about the motives of our media organizations, which are less interested in fostering understanding of or knowledge about such situations than they are in exploiting them.
  199. Catherine Medernach from Winnipeg, Canada writes: Seasoned Warrior - it is not all about men and sex - it is all about power and control. In countries where men are disenfranchised - as the average male has been in Afghanistan - women always suffer. It is necessary to improve the lives and status of the men within the community before the lives of women will significantly improve. That is a lesson I learned from women of African heritage. In Muslim countries the raping of women is often seen as a means to dishonour the family and disenfranchise the men. Saddam had men whose job it was to rape women to dishonour families and men - they got up in the morning and went about the task just like any other paid employment. It is also often a form of cultural genocide.

    BTW Even here, sexual assault is not about sex - it is about anger, power and control.
  200. Catherine Medernach from Winnipeg, Canada writes: Nick Wright - the Afghans in the southern provinces were the ones most displeased with the government because it took so long to extend security and reconstruction to the south. That was not the fault of Karzai - it was the fault of the US and the international community.

    As for the election, the UN played a major role in the way in which it was carried out. Despite the stated preference of the Afghan government, the UN refused to use modern technology - already in use by the UN personnel working with returning refugees - which would have meant a list of Afghans that could have been useful to providing services as well as for further elections and would not have been so open to abuse. Why? Because a donor had donated cardboard and would be offended if it was not used. So following the Presidential election, they had to repeat the whole process from scratch for the general election. And they are starting all over again this time. Everyone likes to blame the US for everything.
  201. Nick Wright from Halifax, Canada writes: Catherine Medernach: Your examples of Africa and Iraq under Saddam have no bearing whatsoever on Afghanistan. The Afghan traditions have been in place for centuries--long before white people first showed their faces there (and tried to tell Afghans how to live).

    And it will take a hundred years for them to change--the historical rate of change our own vastly more educated and wealthier societies in Europe and North America provides plenty of evidence for that conclusion. Keeping our 2,500 troops there for a few more years with the stated intention of "turning the corner" on these traditions will only lead to greater Afghan resistance, further bloodshed, and even tighter restrictions on women in a likely backlash. First do no harm.
  202. Richard Roskell from Naramata, Canada writes:

    Catherine Medernach wrote: "BTW NATO is in Afghanistan at the request of the Afghan government as agreed to in the Afghan Compact."

    In response, Nick Wright wrote: "Saying the Coalition is there at the invitation of the Afghan government is beyond cynical."

    Historical fact: the Soviet Union's military effort in Afghanistan beginning in 1979 was not an invasion. The Afghan government of the day repeatedly BEGGED the Soviets to send the Red Army. Why would they do such a thing?

    The Afghan government had introduced social and religious reforms, such as the emancipation of women and reduced power for the Muslim clergy. That sent the large majority of Afghanistan- which is rural and socially and religiously very, very conservative- into rebellion. So the Afghan government pleaded with the Soviets (with whom they were allied) to send military help, which they did.

    The Red Army of the Soviet Union was in Afghanistan at the request of the Afghan government, just as the US/NATO alliance is there at the request of the Afghan government today.

    The first order of the day when you invade a nation is to create a puppet political entity to govern the land which you have militarily taken over.

    Is it cynical to justify our presence in Afghanistan by claiming that we're making war in their land because they asked us to? Oh yes.
  203. Seasoned Warrior from Been down so long it looks like up to me, Canada writes: Nick Wright - I disagree. It is under the guise of "protection" - more like a lie actually - that these men guarantee their access to sex-on-demand from the women they call whores and dogs. They use their religion to justify their conduct to oppress women. The values that people uphold in civilizations and cultures around the world are "human values". Frankly, as long as our soldiers are there to provide security for these men, and as long as our government is pouring billions of Canadian dollars into this futile project, I do not need to be careful about espousing my values or beliefs, nor will I.

    To Catherine Medenach - again I disagree. It is all about sex. And in order for men to get it - they will exert whatever amount of power and control over women they deem necessary.

    The real shame here is that so many women have been duped into accepting a lesser role in life by believing male propaganda and male religions.

    Men seek power because it gets them sex. Men seek money because it gets them sex. Men seek control because it gets them sex.

    It's all about sex.
  204. Richard Roskell from Naramata, Canada writes:

    "Men seek power because it gets them sex. Men seek money because it gets them sex. Men seek control because it gets them sex."

    In all likelihood these are true statements. Of course, women are equally sexual creatures. Individual sex drives vary, but as a biological force, (and the social motivators which stem from that) sex is just as important to women as it is to men. Nor can it be otherwise.
  205. Seasoned Warrior from Been down so long it looks like up to me, Canada writes: Richard Roskell - that is true - women are sexual creatures. But I guess the difference is that women prefer to "want" it with an agreeable partner - rather than having it forced upon them based on the partner's "needs". I am not trying to indicate that women don't like sex or don't want it. But, in a reasonable society, in a society where men and women are equal, control of women would not necessary to guarantee sex.
  206. Nick Wright from Halifax, Canada writes: Seasoned Warrior: Let's be clear that the men (and women) in the counter-demonstration called the 300 protesting women "whores and dogs"--because to the angry counter-demonstrators the women are vilolating tradition, not because they see women in general that way.

    In addition, I think the assumption that "(t)he values that people uphold in civilizations and cultures around the world are 'human values'" begs the question. What is at issue here is "how do different people in different cultures--legitimately in their eyes--see the roles of men and women?" We need to look into how other people live and understand why they do things the way they do before we do anything else--including drawing conclusions. Going further and arrogating to ourselves the right to change a culture by force or coercion, based on almost total ignorance about those we are trying to change, is simple imperialism and is seen as such. Nothing could be more guaranteed to provoke the fiercest resistance.

    Afghanistan is not Canada--by a very long stretch. Rural women literally need physical protection from predatory men, and the society is heavily oriented towards preserving the family first and foremost. The village comes second, then the region, then the province. The nation comes a very distant last--when it is considered at all. It is true that there is a male-dominated hierarchical structure, but for us to try to impose Canada's style of social organisation is both ignorant and dangerous, for everyone involved.

    The keys to change, as others have mentioned, are education and time. Most Afghans badly want their children to be educated--including girls, and in many of even the most conservative communities. Instead of adopting a posture of outrage (as this article wants us to do), we'd be better helping Afghans fulfill THEIR aspirations--for a change.
  207. Seasoned Warrior from Been down so long it looks like up to me, Canada writes: It is difficult for a woman to comprehend how, based on culture, values, religion, whatever, that a man of 50 can "buy" a 10 year old girl in Afghanistan. For what purpose? Sex. The girl's father gets money for the girl. What will he use that money for? ultimately? sex.

    We hear the argument in our society that rape isn't about sex - that its about power and control. If that is so, then why not just beat the woman up? Why not just murder her? No because it has to be the sex act.

    Despite their excuses about other countries' culture, tradition, values, religion, time, family values, tribes, education, blah, blah, blah - men, in their heart of hearts, fully understand the root issue.

    The brutal oppression of enslaved women and girls in this world will not cease until free women rise up in unison to demand that the men who run the world make it happen. Sadly, I also believe that these men will not do anything beyond lame platitudes, until it becomes too painful not to. Obviously, it isn't painful enough yet.
  208. Nick Wright from Halifax, Canada writes: Seasoned Warrior: The next most important thing to developing enough wisdom to even understand what we are looking at is finding the right means to accomplish what needs to be accomplished. I suggest that anger and self-righteousness are enemies of both. (We only have to examine our own lives to see the truth of that)

    For a good example, contrast how President Obama's non-aggressive approach to dealing with difficult people and potentially explosive issues seems to be producing results already far beyond the Bush adminstration's angry, self-righteous antagonism. It is early days yet, and things could still go wrong, but only the most distrustful (and those of ill will) would say there is not now a more positive trend towards lowering tensions and bringing about desired change.
  209. Seasoned Warrior from Been down so long it looks like up to me, Canada writes: Nick, I find your comments both self-righteous and patronizing, to say the least.

    You can suggest all you like, but I will be as angry about the situation of women in Afghanistan and other countries as I damn well like and I will speak out about it as much as I like.

    There is never a woman's issue that gives sufficient cause for anger - according to some men. As for violence - the history of that in this world is pretty much men's doing. I think I hear a man's voice saying: "All you ladies just go quietly back to the kitchen and let O'Bama and the rest of us men discuss this in our infinite wisdom".

    The only thing women have is there voices and we will use them. This is a women's issue and women have every right to be "angry" and to speak out and we are free to do so. Asking us to trust in the efforts of men is to hand off our responsibility as free women to speak out in support of oppressed women. Men who run this world will not do anything about this situation unless free women hold their feet to the fire and make it too painful for them to ignore.
  210. Nick Wright from Halifax, Canada writes: Seasoned Warrior: I'm sorry if you found my comments self-righteous and patronizing, but I'm not sure I made myself clear: I cited President Obama not because he is a man but because of his approach to getting what he wants done. I would cite any woman leader who did the same things.

    Canadian citizens are free to speak out in anger, but for our government to make any difference in Afghanistan (the issue of greatest concern to me, since it involves our troops), it will have to take a different approach. It's just common sense: shouting at, villifying or threatening people one wants to influence tends to be counterproductive.

    In Afghanistan it can be deadly. Just ask the Afghan communists and their Soviet allies who tried to impose the emancipation of women by decree--long before the Taliban and the warlords existed. In fact, the 13-year-long uprising that resulted from the decrees created the warlords and the Taliban.
  211. Wayne Whig from Ottawa, Canada writes: @ diane marie says: "African Americans were trying to cast off the chains of slavery, would either battle have been advanced by war imposed by outsiders? This is nothing but a social-engineering experiment engaged in by those who deplore the idea domestically, but who are delighted to see the creation of some make-work cover for the military-industrial complex."

    It was a little thing called the American Civil War which brought an end to slavery: it cost 600,000 lives, but ended legal human bondage in the u.s. for good.

    You have to wonder what kind of fantasy world people like `Diane' - and for that matter, Judy Rebick - live in to state that `the situation is worse now for women than under the Taliban.'

    Just to note, as well: NATO is not in afghanistan for the primary reason of liberating women; if that is the benefit to be had from the actual mission, which is to prevent the Taliban and their terror-fascism from returning to power and threatening world security.

    All the comments against this mission - and against the liberation of Afghani women - are just leftist boilerplate.
  212. Seasoned Warrior from Been down so long it looks like up to me, Canada writes: Thank you for your apology Nick. I don't agree. There has been plenty of time and plenty of information about this issue. I am not sure who you think I am "shouting at", but, nevertheless, I will continue to speak out - to the prime minister of Canada and anywhere I like, about my anger about the treatment of women in a country to which we are sending our young men and women, as well as billions of dollars. If you want to equate "speaking out" with "shouting at, villifying or threatening people" then that is your problem. Perhaps you would prefer that I whisper or shut up entirely and let "the men" fix this. Is this also your message to the women who came out to protest in Afghanistan? Silence your voices and let other people deal with it? Be patient - wait another thousand years and we'll see if there's some improvement? No. If my government or the government of Afghanistan is so threatened by women speaking out - that is their problem. If our troops in Afghanistan are endangered by women at home speaking out against abuse of other women, then they better start questioning what they are doing there. Today at the UN conference on racism, the president of Iran is said to be calling for a "global ban on criticism of any aspects of the islamic faith". Oh really? Well, he can call for whatever he likes, he can issue all the fatwahs he likes. I'd like to see him get western women to shut up and stop criticizing what men do to women under the guise of islam. Good luck with that. It is nothing more than a boy's club, a phony religion created by men for the purpose of controlling women - and giving the men access to sex. You mention a "different approach", but you fail to state what this mysterious approach is exactly. More talk by the wise men? Until you or any other men start doing something about this, I will not shut up.
  213. Nick Wright from Halifax, Canada writes: I suggest reading this article by an Afghan woman Nelofer Pazira, who "is an Afghan-Canadian journalist and film-maker. She starred in the award-winning film, Kandahar, loosely based on her own attempt to find a childhood friend in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan."

    From her article in the U.K.'s Independent newspaper: "Sharia law is not the real problem for Afghan women" April 8.

    http://tinyurl.com/cfo5sl

    "In the case of Afghanistan, the new legislation will affect women of the Shia minority about 5 per cent of the population. The majority of all Afghan women are in fact hostage to far more draconian practices, enshrined in customs and traditions that date back to pre-sharia days and are in some cases contradictory to Islam.

    "Even in its conservative interpretation, Islam recognises women's rights to land ownership. It insists on the "consent" of both sexes when entering a marriage contract or sexual relations. What is branded as "sharia" for Shias in the legislature is basically giving Afghan men the right to control their wives, which is already practised widely.

    "While Hamid Karzai's government may call for the review of the law the attitude of Afghan men won't change with the re-wording of a legal document through external pressures, especially from the West."
  214. Seasoned Warrior from Been down so long it looks like up to me, Canada writes: Nick - I have read the article, I have watched Frontline and other programs, I have read many, many articles about the situation of women in Afghanistan. I have read books about islamic attitudes towards women. You may well be right that the west cannot influence change in their draconian laws. So that brings me back to "What are we doing there?". We have had 7 years to fullfil our NATO obligation to the United States and no one has yet captured or killed Osama Bin laden. Based on that criteria, I think it is pretty safe to say that the "original" mission is a failure and bring the troops home. If the mission is to continue on the premise of "securing" the country for the Afghanistan people - well, those "people" include women. If they are going to continue to treat women so badly, then again, it is time to bring out troops home and stop sending them our money. I have a son who was prepared to join the military. I am very grateful indeed that he changed his mind. He could not, in all conscience, stand by and observe these abuses of women and girls. And I could not accept my son risking his life to provide security for the men in Afghanistan to continue these abhorrent practices. So, upshot is - in my opinion - get out now. If not, as long as our troops and our money are going there, I will continue to speak out about the abuses against women and girls.
  215. Nick Wright from Halifax, Canada writes: Seasoned Warrior: I meant our government "shouting at, villifying or threatening people" on our behalf; i.e., taking an aggressive posture by declaring that our troops will remain in Afghanistan as part of a campaign to change Afghan social attitudes.

    We can say and do whatever we want as free citizens at home; however, our government has to deal with far more constrained realities when dealing with foreign countries. Putting it another way, when our government hears Canadians' anger about an Afghan law, it has to find the most skilfull way of trying to influence the Afghan government to change the law. History teaches that whatever the way is, it won't be successful if it is aggressive.

    I'm not trying to put a lid on Canadians' spontaneous expression of their feelings; I'm looking at the resulting policy end of it. This article seems to be suggesting that Canada's mission be altered or extended to include coercing change in Afghan marital law; I am suggesting that doing so would be dangerous folly.
  216. Geoffrey May from Canada writes: Wayne Whig , Judy Rebicks comments that things are worse for women in Afghanistan now than under Taliban rule, echo those of the Revolutionary Association of Women of Afghanistan. Contrary to your history , the US invaded Afghanistan to "get" Osama Ben Ladin, one of the many failures by the US, requiring the constant movement of the goalposts.
  217. hangin right from Van, Canada writes: You Can Do It People,
    yes you Can and Will.

    Rise Up and Unite and
    Stand Together and Demand
    Karzia be a Real Man.
    Change the law.
  218. Seasoned Warrior from Been down so long it looks like up to me, Canada writes: In "A History of the Arab People" by Albert Hourani, a muslim cleric is quoted on the only 3 occasions for a woman to leave her home - to go to the home of her groom, on the death of her parents - to go to her own grave. This is not "protecting". This is slavery. Lately a muslim cleric seeking to clarify the proposed new law to control those wild shia women says a man can withhold food from a wife who refuses sex. This is "rape" under threat of starvation. The clerics object to raising the minimum age of marriage to 16. This is legalized "pedophilia and rape" - allowing old men to marry 9 and 10-year old girls. We should not be sending our troops and our money to support this. We would not send troops and money to support it at home and we should not be supporting it anywhere. The reason we are seeing such a surge in violence from muslim countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and a closed society in Saudi Arabia is because the male rulers know full well that their practices are repugnant, disgusting and inhuman. They are going to do everything they can to prevent their enslaved and ignorant women from finding out that women have freedom in other countries. It's all about sex.
  219. Wayne Whig from Ottawa, Canada writes: @ geoffrey may states: Judy Rebicks comments that things are worse for women in Afghanistan now than under Taliban rule, echo those of the Revolutionary Association of Women of Afghanistan.

    Well, if the `Revolutionary Women' of Afghanistan pronounce on something, then they must be right! I, for one, give little credence to an organization that suggests that the Taliban are toadies of the u.s.... should you?

    [further: Contrary to your history , the US invaded Afghanistan to "get" Osama Ben Ladin, one of the many failures by the US, requiring the constant movement of the goalposts. ]

    Contrary to your fantasyland depiction, the NATO mission was to get rid of the Taliban, and keep them away from government again, lest they again come to power and support terrorist fascism.

    Are you the last to concede that BIN Laden is dead?
  220. Richard Roskell from Canada writes: Seasoned Warrior opines: "Richard Roskell - that is true - women are sexual creatures. But I guess the difference is that women prefer to "want" it with an agreeable partner - rather than having it forced upon them based on the partner's "needs". I am not trying to indicate that women don't like sex or don't want it. But, in a reasonable society, in a society where men and women are equal, control of women would not necessary to guarantee sex."

    Are you making the case that men would prefer to force women into sex, rather than have it offered freely?

    SW's views are not uncommon, but they do tend towards the naive and sexist. The behaviors of both males and females of the human species are determined by their own biology. And when you rank the biological imperatives, sex is next after breathing.

    Men do not seek power because it gives them the abilty to force women to have sex. Men do not seek wealth because it gives them the ability to buy sex from women. Men seek these things because power and wealth are attractive to women. Power and wealth are attractive to women for biologically logical reasons- a powerful, wealthy spouse is a good provider and protector for oneself and for one's progeny. Survival of one's own children- and one's own genes- is the imperative for men and women alike. Men and women both are captive to that powerful biological motivation.

    There is no society on the planet which allows men to arbitrarily force women to have sex. (Such a regime would be counter-productive from the biological point of view.) Men must 'earn' the right to have sex with women in all human societies- although what they must do differs from culture to culture.

  221. Seasoned Warrior from Been down so long it looks like up to me, Canada writes: Richard Roskell - There is no society on the planet which allows men to arbitrarily force women to have sex".

    Where have you been? There are indeed countries in which it is common practice for men to "force" women to have sex.

    You made my point - men seek power because it will attract women - for sex; men seek money because it will attract women - for sex. I did not say that men PREFER sex by force.

    However, in countries like Afghanistan, obviously if the women are not as willing or as interested as often as the men - they will pass laws allowing men to refuse their wives food if they don't put out! Tell me that a 9 year old girl forcibly married to a 50 year old man has any choice?

    I'll stick to my original point - violence against women is all about sex.
  222. Richard Roskell from Canada writes: Seasoned Warrior, whether you chose to ignore the crucial word "arbitrary" or whether it just slipped by, by doing so you miss the point.

    No society on the planet permits men to arbitrarily force women to have sex. Socially-speaking, rape is everywhere banned. And biologically-speaking, rape is devolutionary. It permits 'non-worthy' males (or females, I suppose) to mate and perhaps procreate.

    All human societies codify the requirements to mate. There are any number of restrictions and requirements which must be observed before mating in Canadian society, for instance. Afghans are no different, except in the manner in which they have chosen to codify mating behavior.

    Be the society Afghan or Canadian, both male and female roles are a construct of that society. Those roles don't arise through gender dominance, but as a collective creation of both sexes. This is only sensible from a biological and social point of view- each sex has it's strengths and capabilities. The best chance of survival comes from maximizing any advantage which can be gained from each of those strengths and capabilities. Crudely put, there's no point in sending women out to defend your village, when much stronger and non-pregnant men are available. And there's no point in having a man stay home and grind corn when the woman could do it while she's nursing a baby. Instead, it makes sense to order the roles in ways which are most efficient and thereby maximize the possibility of survival.

    By the way, in an undeveloped agrarian society such as Afghanistan, having as many children as possible is a SURVIVAL ISSUE. Your social safety net is first and foremost your family. If there's lots of people to do the work and perhaps bring in money, everyone in your family benefits. In a primitive subsistance society, reproduction may be crucial to your survival.
  223. Geoffrey May from Canada writes: Wayne Whig , I cited the RAWA as creating a reasonable foundation for Ms Rebick's statement .The corruption of the Karzai government, presense of organized criminal gangs, and ongoing civil war may indeed by worse than political oppression .
    At 3:15 Nick Wright referenced Nelofer Pazira and provides a link to a story in the Indpendent, which support Rebick's comments.
  224. Wayne Whig from Ottawa, Canada writes: [Geoffrey May stated: I cited the RAWA as creating a reasonable foundation for Ms Rebick's statement .The corruption of the Karzai government, presense of organized criminal gangs, and ongoing civil war may indeed by worse than political oppression.]

    One, the `Revolutionary Women' is not `reasonable' at all, which if you had done five minutes of reading, you'd have found on your own. Luckily, I'm here to inform you of what you are obviously in ignorance of.

    Second, only an idiot would cite `corruption' as being worse than oppression.

    Clear as May, huh?
  225. Udom Thongpai from Victoria, Canada writes: Wayne Whig, RAWA is the only organization that gets respect from both sides. I've seen them cited as often by Canadian soldiers as by those called the "extreme left". Their founder, Meena was assassinated in 1987 and the members must operate in secrecy, doing things like setting up schools for little girls. A misstep means death. They were fighting for women there long years before Canadians could find Afghanistan on a map and will be there long after we've forgotten. That you would trash them is really low... Do you have anything to offer beyond boorish insults?
  226. Catherine Medernach from Winnipeg, Canada writes: The Mission Canadian troops are on today is directly tied to the Afghan Compact. It is not about capturing 'bin Laden.' It is about trying to provide a secure environment in which rebuilding can occur - and that includes the establishment of the functional institutions needed to make a country work - schools, hospitals, a financial system, a justice system etc. The idea is to have a government that can provide basic services to the people without dependence on outsiders indefinitely. Locally the PRT objective is to regenerate community by having Afghans participate in determining what needs to be done, what is of greatest priority; by having Afghans providing the labour and having supplies locally purchased to stimulate the local economy and employment. After years of conflict, people need to learn how to work cooperatively again - especially the younger members of society who have never learned how work as a team.
  227. Richard Roskell from Naramata, Canada writes: The Western concept that Afghans must be taught how to live is as laughable as the reasons given for why we make war in their country.

    Afghans have created their own society, and it has functioned for thousands of years. And the primary reason- by far- for Afghan society's current problems is OUTSIDE FORCES ATTEMPTING TO CONTROL THE COUNTRY FOR THEIR OWN REASONS.

    The British tried it. The Russians took a shot. The Pakistanis had their day. Now a US-NATO alliance is trying to make over Afghanistan into a political entity that we can control. That effort is not being mounted for the benefit of Afghans, but for our own political and strategic reasons. Afghans die in this conflict by the thousands every year.

    When it comes to ordering their society in Afghanistan's reality, there is no one better suited to the job that Afghans. What we're doing now is like parachuting soldiers into the middle of the Amazon to show aboriginal jungle dwellers how to order their lives. It doesn't achieve anything of the sort! What it does is DISRUPT the lives of the people who over thousands of years have cleverly crafted a society which succeeds in a difficult environment.

    Canadian soldiers, along with their NATO allies, are shouldering aside the various social and political mechanisms that Afghans created for themselves. In their place, we try to install our own mechanisms but these are unsuited to the place and the people.

    Dropping bombs on people is one way to disrupt and destroy a society. While less dramatic, the attempts by NATO to change Afghan society from within are no less disruptive. Afghans must be permitted to formulate their own solutions to the life they face.
  228. Wayne Whig from Ottawa, Canada writes: [odom states: RAWA is the only organization that gets respect from both sides.]

    `Both sides' of what? Do the Islamic fascists give them respect? Of course not. I don't respect any organization that states that the Taliban is somehow a creature of the u.s. and the west generally - as this organization does on its web page.

    That's not ad hominen that's just the facts. If you had bothered even visiting their web page, you'd know that. Now that you know, will you change your opinion?
  229. Catherine Medernach from Winnipeg, Canada writes: Of course Roskell, you know best. What the CF and PRT are doing is working with the traditional Afghan approach to decision making by utilizing the shuras with the elders that was disrupted by both the Soviets and the Taliban. To help them move beyond mere survival to getting working as communities again. It is not imposing a totally new approach. What is trying to do is to get people to move beyond the infighting which has led to conflict and chaos for years. They are also trying to avoid having the Afghans reliant on outsiders to provide basic needs for their people indefinitely. That is why they are training teachers and providing for adult literacy as well. They are doing long range planning not just short impact fixes that do not really help in the long run. Any immediate impact work they do is in consultation to ensure it fits with what is being planned overall. Many aid organizations do not not work this way and often create dependency rather that foster independence.
  230. pik scott from Canada writes: Anybody that uses the soviet occupation as a example ,just proves they have no idea what is going on and it is just a leftist talking point. Please read up on the soviet 40th that was in afghanistan, 2 very different missions . Has any of you that are against this ever talk to someone that was there or is serving as we speak, well I know a few both military and civilian, and what the see happening is so different then these lefties on this board. Why are you people so selfish, people in this country have become soooo spoiled, but yet turn around and critize people for trying to bring a better life for others. You don't deserve the right to call yourself canadians with that attitude.
  231. Richard Roskell from Naramata, Canada writes: Oh yes, Catherine. Canadian soldiers training police and military forces is highly useful to nomadic herders and subsistence farmers. And having Canadian soldiers go into villages and encourage tribal women to think like modern feminists isn't disruptive at all. And installing a completely unfamiliar form of government in Afghanistan and backing it up with about 70,000 Western troops follows a long tradition of Afghans inviting in foreigners to tell them how to run their lives.

    LOL

    There has never been a democratic government in Afghanistan... until we installed one a few years ago. There has never been a central government of ANY SORT which a majority of Afghans collectively supported. Afghanistan is a decentralized, agrarian, tribal society.

    Forcing a foreign political concept in at the top of Afghan culture, and then re-building Afghan society to support that concept, is as destructive to Afghan society as was the arrival of Westerners in North and South America to the indigenous tribal societies of those lands. One would have hoped that Westerners had learned not to- or at least grown tired of- destroying indigenous cultures. Apparently not.
  232. Catherine Medernach from Winnipeg, Canada writes: spin, spin, spin Roskell - You twist everything your way. And everyone in Afghanistan is a nomad or subsistence farmer. ROFL And that was who ran government departments, financial institutions, schools, university, hospitals etc. No one ran a business or produced products for sale. Afghanistan had a thriving agricultural export business and their pomegranates, for one, were considered some of the best. Because circumstances interfered with them progressing, none of them want progress today either. And just because the army and ISI undercut their efforts, Pakistanis have been unable to develop a democratic government either - that must mean no one wants one. Everyone in Afghanistan and Pakistan really wants to be controlled by the Taliban, have no say in how their country is run - no freedom, no culture, no jobs, and no hope for a better future for their children. You really must have what I heard described as an 'abandoned and malignant heart'
  233. Udom Thongpai from Victoria, Canada writes: Wayne Whig wrote, "Now that you know, will you change your opinion?"

    No. I don't need sources to agree with me on every point. Familiar with the computer term Boolean? That's a programming term for true of false. Only two choices there, nothing in between. Not very useful in a swirl of competing information.

    Those women have risked their lives every day for years to fight for women's rights. I disagree with some of their positions, but I wouldn't sit in comfort and safety here in Canada and trash them.
  234. Richard Roskell from Canada writes: By contrast, no spin there, Catherine. LOL

    Yes, Afghanistan's pomegranates were known far and wide. They had the world market cornered in them. It was like the OPEC cartel, and the pomegranate sheiks drove their limos down the streets of London and other world capitals, flaunting their wealth.

    Afghans want many things, just as Canadians do. But just like us, they don't want foreign soldiers telling them how to run their country. And what Afghans most certainly don't want is Catherine's definition of "progress": Canada and its allies fighting our war on their soil for our own strategic reasons.
  235. Wayne Whig from Ottawa, Canada writes: [udom - I don't need sources to agree with me on every point. Familiar with the computer term Boolean? That's a programming term for true of false. Only two choices there, nothing in between. Not very useful in a swirl of competing information.]

    reply: Fair enough, I guess.
  236. Wayne Whig from Ottawa, Canada writes: on the other than Richard Roskell is in need of a very thorough fisking, to wit (or, as is the case here, not-wit): [RR quote: Forcing a foreign political concept in at the top of Afghan culture...] ah yes, the myth of the `indigenous' culture, perfect, unsullied, happily undemocratic and `tribal' - that is until the dreaded white people came. How long are people going to hold on to this reactionary garbage? Listen Richard, I'll let you in on something that has been known to sociologists, anthropologists, and indeed anyone who's paid attention in school - there is no `indigenous' culture: except for sub-Sahara Africa, human beings are `native' to no area in the world. Even the sainted `First' Nations may well have conquered an earlier settlement in the Americas, the `Clovis' culture. As for the `indigenous' culture that existed in the late fifteenth century, again RR you should do some learning, as then you would learn that the `First' Nations were happily attacking, conquering and annihilating one another without any provocation at all from the dreaded white people. Democracy `foreign' to the Afghani people? Well they seem to like it alot, and it is telling of your own racism that you think they can't handle it. You small-minded ignorant comments regarding pomegranites notwithstanding, in fact much of Afghanistan was not at all `rural' and `tribal', that is, until it fell into the clutches of a really damaging and dangerous Western export to the Third World - Marxism and central planning (and revolutionary rhetoric). Afghanistan has never recovered; we are helping revive that society now, not the reactionary `tribal' Islamism that you seem to be in favour of. Now you know.
  237. Richard Roskell from Canada writes: Yes, yes, you're so right, Wayne. 100%. Incontrovertibly. I yield to your brilliant argument. It's been a long time since I've seen someone take such a balanced and discerning view as yours. And given your views' lack of egocentricity and Western moralizing, well... I just may put you up for Post of the Year.
  238. Catherine Medernach from Winnipeg, Canada writes: Traditionally Afghanistan used the Loya Jirga to determine their leader - just as they did once the Taliban lost control of the country. That is how they developed the new constitution and what led up to the elections in Afghanistan. Locally they had village shuras - just as are being held today with the PRT staff in Kandahar - where elders made decisions about community life. These customs were dispensed with under the Taliban and Mullah Omar. There is nothing being 'imposed' on the Afghan people by the CF and the PRT in terms of process. What is being done is to re-institute traditional decision making that encourages the Afghans to assume responsibility for reconstruction of their society.
  239. Richard Roskell from Naramata, Canada writes: "That is how they [the Afghans] developed the new constitution and what led up to the elections in Afghanistan."

    Afghans didn't write their own constitution. That was written by Western politicos and academics. Likewise, Afghans had nothing to do with the elections held in their country. Prior to a few years ago, Afghans had never held elections for their government.

    Afghans have a different way of doing things, and it bears no resemblance to what was installed in their country by Western powers.
  240. Catherine Medernach from Winnipeg, Canada writes: Richard Roskell - the current constitution is based on one that was written by the King decades ago in Afghanistan - not by western politicians and academics.

    As for your contention that we are imposing western ways on Afghans - perhaps you should catch the article about how people in Afghanistan are beginning to utilize resources like Facebook in preparation for the election this fall. As much as you would like to write them all off as dumb cavemen, peasants, nomads whatever, the youth are moving into the modern age. This is one thing that would not have been allowed under the Taliban - they could not deal with people having sources of information that would undermine their control. This is one sign that they do want more say and more democratic processes. Access may be limited but those who have it are using it to learn about potential candidates and build support for those they favour. No one has a gun pointed to their heads to do that.
  241. Richard Roskell from Naramata, Canada writes: Catherine Medernach states, "The current constitution is based on one that was written by the King decades ago in Afghanistan - not by western politicians and academics."

    No kidding? Decades ago the King of Afghanistan wrote himself out of the government, and instead made the nation a republic under a president and parliament?

    Remarkable! LOL
  242. Udom Thongpai from Victoria, Canada writes: Suggesting that more than a few of those in Afghanistan outside of Kabul University are sitting in their rec rooms surfing the net does a fantastic job of trivializing the suffering of average Afghans.

    The article reads very much as a news release prepared by a PR firm working hard to convince westerners that the coming election there is like ours in the west. It is aimed at the naive, and we're likely to see a lot more stories like this in the near future.
  243. Wayne Whig from Ottawa, Canada writes: [quote: Yes, yes, you're so right, Wayne. 100%. Incontrovertibly. I yield to your brilliant argument. It's been a long time since I've seen someone take such a balanced and discerning view as yours. And given your views' lack of egocentricity and Western moralizing, well... I just may put you up for Post of the Year.]

    thanks for the shout out Rich! I mean, usually leftists like yourself would rather have tooth pulled out than admit how ignorant they are.

    If you want any further relief from your basic lack of knowledge, and good sense, I'm happy to enlighten you.

    Any suggestions?
  244. Richard Roskell from Naramata, Canada writes:

    Golly no, Wayne. After your game-changing comment quoted below, what's left to explain?

    "On the other than Richard Roskell is in need of a very thorough fisking, to wit (or, as is the case here, not-wit): [RR quote: Forcing a foreign political concept in at the top of Afghan culture...] ah yes, the myth of the `indigenous' culture..." - Wayne Whig, 21/4/09
  245. Wayne Whig from Ottawa, Canada writes: ah Rich, and here I thought you had a moment of clarity there.

    Alas, it's too much to expect that someone would give up their... beliefs so easily.

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