Have You Seen the Cover of Time Magazine?


Don't care.

Bring our troops home from the socialist Republican civil wars of foreign adventure.

We'd be better off nuking Saudi Arabia, quite frankly. Two would do it.
Um, this isn't "what happens if we leave Afghanistan." This is something that happened while we were still in Afghanistan,, and that being the case it's not exactly unreasonable to ask what the fuck we think we're accomplishing there.
Oh, Will, I'd almost forgotten the sparkle you bring to international affairs.
@2 is correct.

And if you read the wikileaks papers, you'll see I'm right.

While we dither, France is actually attacking al-Qaeda. They're not in Iraq or Afghanistan, as wikileaks shows.
There are dozens of articles floating around currently covering the fact that our meddling and trying to throw money at the problem has done nothing more than escalate, and smuggle funds directly to the Taliban.

While the Army is there it creates commerce, commerce creates wealth, and the Taliban profits from it.

Human costs are brutal, but we cant free market or bomb our way out of it. The best solution is to GTFO. @2 covered it, this happened while we were there.
@2 +1 - It's a horrific propaganda ploy on the part of Time and they should be ashamed of themselves. You know what else happens if we leave Afghanistan? We don't murder another several thousand innocent civilians via indiscriminate bombings, helicopter gunship attacks, drone attacks, hit squads kicking down doors in the middle of the night, etc., etc., etc...
Time's managing editor, Obama, and everyone else who thinks we should still be in Afghanistan, are so, so, very determined to end the injustices there that they are willing to kill an undetermined number of their innocent civilians to see that goal accomplished. That's how important it is to them.

Of course, if those innocent men, women, and children were Americans, I doubt we'd be there at all.
You can find a near-infinite number of dramatic and horrible images from lots of other countries. But we don't give a shit about them. Why do we care about this one?

However, @6, you're an idiot. The people banging down the doors etc. are not for the most part Americans; they're our enemies the Taliban, whom we are funding through Pakistan. Inappropriate US attacks on civilians are negligible in importance; there's not very many of them, and they don't matter.
The cover caption could just as easily show a picture of an Afghani woman's butchered genitalia and read, "Why the fuck weren't we there 15 years ago?"

Where was this outcry from Time 10, 15, 20 years ago?

I detest the Taliban and everything they stand for. And if they have the power of the central government again it will be used to launch attacks against other countries. But I'm also sick of throwing money down these fucking middle east rat holes.
@8 - Just keep telling yourself that over and over and someday you may even believe it's true. But it still won't be.
The cover is a fucking lie and the editor should get kicked in the nuts. That image of horror is what has happened while we're there, not what happens when we leave.
Also, via Atrios:

If We Cared About The Women And Children Of The World

It would be far better to spend $100 billion per year granting them political asylum and paying for their transport and relocation to the US than invading their countries and caressing them with our freedom bombs.

Or you could come up thousands of other ways to spend $100 billion all of which would be almost infinitely better than invading their countries and caressing them with our freedom bombs if we cared about the women and children of the world.

So when an asshole like Rick Stengel suggests we must stay in Afghanistan otherwise more girls will be mutilated even though we're currently in Afghanistan and poor girls are still being tragically mutilated, I don't think that's the real reason he thinks we should be there.
I want the Taliban to die. Every last stinking one of them, every person on the planet who self-identifies as "Taliban", dead. Now.

Then I want the IDEA of "Taliban" to vanish into the swirling desert winds. I want to see the last of this unbelievably evil, assholic "religious" fundamentalist ass drivel sink beneath the desert sands, never to reappear on Earth. I want this shit OUT of our existence -- and by 'our', I mean truly 'our', the whole human family -- the human family that "Taliban" has self-selected out of. Gone. Now. Forever.


And good on the editor for printing this arresting image. Good on him.

Screw you, Fnarf. You're just playing "can you top this" victimhood. If you are humane enough to care about the atrocities of the taliban, then you're humane enough to care about the atrocities of the americans. There's no parsing of morality here.

Your words tell me that you really couldn't give a flying fuck about anyone persecuted by the taliban, you're more interested in making points in an argument. Stop dithering. If you think that every & any afghani civilian is expendable in fighting the taliban, then say so.
Emotional manipulation pure and simple.
There is nothing brave about this cover. It's sensationalism, not an argument. If you think we are in Afghanistan to protect women and children, you are not much of a thinker.
@14 - You want that. I want that. But is it actually in our power to do that with our military, not just in Afghanistan but in every totalitarian, backwards country in the world? Is our involvement there helping, or making things worse? Can we help these people better by foreign aid and asylum? Feeling sympathy for this woman and her peers is important, but if it's just focused on the Taliban it doesn't go nearly far enough, and it doesn't acknowledge the fact that we are basically powerless to mold another culture into the image we'd like it to be.
Was Michael Jackson buried with his prosthetic nose? She looks like she could use it!

Don't be fooled by my coarse humor, the story of what happened to her really did bother me. I'm just tired of this nation that I happened to be born in thinking it has any obligation to save the world, while only practicing that obligation where corporate or political interests can be served. Tired of this nation being looked to as the worlds superhero.
I'm starting to think that we should just leave these backwards cultures to themselves, and if private organisations want to help, have at it! Shit like this only encourages far too many of my fellow citizens to support our military excesses.
@12 Wait, this atrocity occurred in government held, American patrolled territory? Oh, right, no it occurred in territory held by the people who committed this crime. Oh, and this girl is now safe in Kabul? Yeah, that has nothing to do with our presence in Afghanistan. Admit it to yourselves, leaving Afghanistan means abandoning the people in government held territory.

The fact that American soldiers have killed civilians does not create an equivalency in moral or effective terms between us and the Taliban, for whom terror is a stated policy and goal of their rule.
@15, your pinhead outrage has clouded your reason, I'm sorry to say.

Yes, we have done bad things in Afghanistan. But not primarily bad things. Collateral damage is inevitable in a situation like that; our enemies know it, too, and make the most of it. But most Afghanis appreciate our effort there and desperately want us to stay to protect them.

The question of whether we SHOULD stay, or whether we can ever accomplish anything by staying, is completely different and unrelated.

When our guys kill innocent people, yes, it's "important" to our sense of honor, but it's not at all important in the context of Afghanistan. Innocent people get killed all the time there, the vast majority of them not by us.

This is stupid commonplace. It's a technique of war, and it's fifty years old at least: you draw your opponent into killing innocents, and thereby make him look bad. You can only play that game, though, with people who give a shit about right and wrong. The Taliban don't give a shit, since EVERYTHING is right, nothing in wrong in their war. They HAVE no rules of engagement to break; whereas we get all soft and self-doubting, and start saying crap like Geocrackr here, who blame America for everything.

Nobody in Afghanistan (outside the extreme minority Taliban) thinks we're the bad guys just because we killed a few innocents.

Should we stay? Should we go? That's a complicated question. What happens if we do go IS in fact a serious question that deserves a great deal of consideration. Because it WILL BE BAD. Many, many more innocents will suffer if we leave. That's a given.

"Fuck this shit, I'm outta here" is the standard Will in Seattle attitude, and maybe we should be. But it's not going to be terrific. And yes, it very well might show up on these shores -- it did before, from Afghanistan.

What I meant by my first statement, as you would know if you had even a hint of awareness, is that there are many, many horrors in the world, but Time Magazine is allowing the emotional response of one girl to trump the millions, maybe hundreds of millions, of girls who are in just as dire straits as she is, because we can't see them. We can't see them because we don't want to see them, and because it's politically inexpedient to see them. You don't see any pictures of young girls in Darfur on the cover of Time, or young girls up to their waists in toxic chemicals in Nigeria, or young girls married off at eleven to old men in Yemen, or eating dirt and plastic in North Korea.

Spare me your ignorant lectures, please.
@ 18 - I have no idea. I cannot answer your question honestly, because I just don't know the answer. I guess this means I have no place in a debate on this issue (ie, America's involvement in the region).

What I do know is how my gut reacts to "Taliban" - the same way it's reacted since they shelled those giant Buddha statues. Except that, as the years pass and I learn more and more about them, I become increasingly more murderous in my thoughts towards them.

That's all I know about this "Taliban" filth -- I want it expunged.
@22 - Be very suspicious of your rage. It is when we feel the strongest that we are most prone to being manipulated.
DavidG, I understand what you're saying.

However, I feel that my rage against the Taliban is perfectly well-placed. The sooner they are a sordid footnote to the history of the world, the better.
There were 7000 Taliban just four years ago, now there are 25000. We have killed far more than 25000 Afgani civilians - we just killed over 50 with one random middle strike.

America's military is causing the problem, it's not helping one bit.

Shooting people and bombing buildings are not humanitarian acts.
While I don't know where I stand on this issue personally (I don't want our money or our troops going there but I can also understand the argument that it will leave a power vacuum that these crazy fundamentalists would happily fill), I am at least pleased to see a reasoned discussion going on here in the comments about it. Well, for the most part it's reasoned, anyway.
We created the Taliban by arming them back in the 1980s when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. So it's not as though we have clean hands here, folks.

Before you blithely say "just get out!" you have to acknowledge our role in creating the problem.

The photo may be manipulative, but we own the Taliban--and however we exit from Afghanistan, we can't just wish that away.
It's not just the Taliban. It's Islamic extremists of all types.

Whether it's cutting off a woman's ears and nose, maiming girls with acid because they are going to school, or slaughtering other Muslims (who they don't see as "true" Muslims) in mosques, they are barbarians and butchers.

So when an asshole like Rick Stengel suggests we must stay in Afghanistan otherwise more girls will be mutilated even though we're currently in Afghanistan and poor girls are still being tragically mutilated, I don't think that's the real reason he thinks we should be there.

U.S. troops in Afghanistan can no more prevent all girls from being tragically mutilated by the Taliban and other Islamic butchers than police in the U.S. can stop all murders and rapes. But if there were no more police in the U.S., it's quite likely murders and rapes would increase and if we pull U.S. troops out of Afghanistan it's very likely that more girls and women will be killed and maimed (and more moderate and liberal Muslims will be killed.)

That's not to say we should remain in Afghanistan. One could well argue there's no reason to sacrifice the lives of young American men (and women) in order to protect Afghans from Islamic extremist depravity.
The analogy of the U.S. forces with police is very apt, in terms of the responsibility they ought to be exercising due to their training and overpowering weaponry, and the leniency with which Americans treat their fuckups.
@20, 29: I'm with you guys on this issue. I think the problem with Afghanistan is not about whether or not we should fight the war, but about how we should fight it.
I think that our emphasis should continue to be on building stability in Afghanistan, rather than maintaining an occupation force. Also, if we can arrange a deal between Pakistan and India, Pakistan will be better able to combat the Taliban on their western border.
When our guys kill innocent people, yes, it's "important" to our sense of honor, but it's not at all important in the context of Afghanistan.

Why don't you tell that to an Afghani whose mother/father/sister/brother/son/daughter was blown to pieces by the U.S.?

"Look, I know we just killed your child, but it's really not important in the context of Afghanistan."

Certainly you can see what an immense asshole you'd have to be to say that to someone whose kid just got killed. I mean, you realize that it's that kind of dehumanizing philosophy that fuels the Cheney's and Kristol's of the world. A dead child, who, importantly, isn't their dead child, is just a number, unimportant in the context of whatever conflict they need for their ideological entertainment.

So, please, just imagine telling the people pictured in the link below that deaths caused by the U.S. are "unimportant."


Imagine it's your family in those pictures, and then say it's "not important in the context of.." blah, blah, fuckity bullshit.
Nobody in Afghanistan (outside the extreme minority Taliban) thinks we're the bad guys just because we killed a few innocents.

You are as fact-filled as a young-Earth creationist.


You're saying these women who have been fighting and dying as they struggle against fundamentalists are supporters of the Taliban. I know you're not stupid, but then you say this stupid, stupid shit. As compassionate as Cheney on a bad day.

But, hey, a "few innocents." I mean that's no reason not to support the U.S. bombing there, "just because..." "a few innocents" are blown to pieces and burned alive. It wasn't your mom whose intestines were strewn about her blackened body or your brother who lost a leg and an eye and 50 IQ points. So, there's no problem!

"...just because..." Jesus fucking Christ, think about what you're saying. Use your imagination to picture what it's like when actual people suffer pain you'll never know because of policies you're defending.
"Nobody in Afghanistan (outside the extreme minority Taliban) thinks we're the bad guys just because we killed a few innocents."

And soon enough, we can bomb the shit out of Pakistan! WHOOO EVERYONE WILL LOVE US.
the subtleties of this article suggests we should remorse in our own christian/american culture of guilt and continue to aid a country where only 30% of our population supports us being there....come on...we nuked people...incinerated them...to dust...no nose, you're still alive aren't you.
Was TIME secretly bought out by Rupert Murdoch?!

@ Fnarf: "Nobody in Afghanistan (outside the extreme minority Taliban) thinks we're the bad guys just because we killed a few innocents."

Regardless of what the Afghan population thinks of us militarily, they're sick to death of the corruption and instability that has come with the Karzai administration, and they are aware that we installed him and prop up his rule.
@ Fnarf: "Nobody in Afghanistan (outside the extreme minority Taliban) thinks we're the bad guys just because we killed a few innocents."

Just in case that statement wasn't obviously stupid enough, here's something from today's Washington Post.


Rabia, who is from Paktiya province in eastern Afghanistan but has lived most of her life in Kabul, said three nephews have been killed by the Taliban over the years.

"We don't want America or the Taliban," she said. "We want a government that can protect us."

So, Fnarf, you want to accuse Rabia of being a part of the organization that killed three of her nephews?
@20- It happened while during our occupation. I'm not creating a moral equivalence, I'm pointing out the FALSE implication the Time editors are trying to create. Honor killings/mutilations happen in Western countries, I don't see our occupation of a foreign country ending them. Western military involvement in Afghan politics only encourages fundamentalism.
Afganistan girl 1985:


We've come a long way, baby.
Having served in Afghanistan in Kabul and Kandahar I may be able to shed some light on some of these ideas.

www.rawa.org is a great web site and a great insight into not only the problems of the current invasion but also the problems of the past.... the Taliban rulers.... the warlords... the Soviets and the general peace of the Kings leadership.

So do I believe that we should be in Afghan the answer is yes and any woman who isn't locked into her house or next to a stove should feel the same way. We must fight extremism of all forms in all countries using all means in our arsenal.
This includes military, diplomacy and of course economics.

Can you solve terrorism?
The answer is yes with two simple methods.
Education and Employment
35 million people live in Afghan and yet it used to have the highest number of refugees in the world outside its border. Now these same people have all come home.
They want to be part of their country again, they want to have better lives for their families, they want a future that is peaceful. Now does NATO and the American forces help?
Not when we bomb civilians... plain and simple.

Rules on APPROPRIATE force are not only neccessary but the only way to win (by win I mean have a stable Afghan government that can protect its civilians). I was there I never killed a kid a women or anyone who didn't attempt force on myself.

The war in Afghan was fought with a hand and a rifle behind our backs for many years.
Iraq should never have happened and we should have gone in with appropriate force from the beginning.
(ie the Marines, 10th Mountain, the Airborne, Spec ops and coalition eqivalant, SAS, JTF2, GSG9, etc) All should have gone into Tora Bora and capture Al Queda and the leadership as well as securing the border till the Afghans were able to create a stable government and security forces.

To talk of what we should have done is sometimes bad form.

I might add that American involvement was not to fund the Taliban but instead to fund the Northern Alliance (who are basically in charge of the Army now) and the matching funds from the UAE, the Saudis, and other Gulf States was not checked by the US. Instead these funds and the access to the weapons were through Americas ally in the region, this was of course Pakistan and the ISI.

Should Time put this girl on the cover?
Cause its news.

That simple.
American News is no longer news coverage but opinion based on "facts" that come from various political avenues.

Will Afghan be better if we stay..
prob not
Should we stay..
no we should leave a government that is capable of standing on its on feet (if you dont believe the the Afghans can do it look at the success of the north and the Afghan National Army, there are more women in the Afghan parliment than in the Canadian parliment)

How about we place the might of America.... not her military although thats a part, not just the diplomacy... that is a part... but economics.
The Glenn Becks of the world want individuals to take ownership of creating wealth and jobs.
So lets let them
But as a family of nations we all improve when others buy.

Does it help that Afghan farmers make 100 bucks a year.
Does an American farmer that makes similar products and makes 60 000 a year help the economy.
Simple economics can help the world.

It takes time.

Create employment

thats all.

The current economic situation can be translate to the US.
If the economic base of manufacturing has moved to foreign soil then let it. But follow it with education into new technologies, art, finance (that is doable and doesn't screw over the world), and the other higher ideals that we all strive for as humans.

Finally should we go into places like Afghan in the first place?
Yes but lets follow the ideals of military force (using appropriate means), diplomacy, good governance, education for all peoples in the country and improvements to the infastructure to improve the economy.
After the Korean war was over... many thought that South Korea could never be an economy or even have a democratic institutions.
It is now one of the richest countries of the world, most wired, most educated and an economy that is the envy of the region.

This happened cause of American involvement, investment (security and economic) and a desire for change.

We must care about the girl on the cover of Time magazine as we must care about the girl on National Geographic from the 1980's. Mistakes of the past are simply warning signs of the way to the future.

Just cause we don't do something or did it wrong we should not stop.

Lets make moments like this count.