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Thread: It's official, we have no idea what we're doing in Afghanistan.

  1. #1

    Default It's official, we have no idea what we're doing in Afghanistan.

    From the New York Times, via to the Volokh Conspiracy



    Afghan Equality and Law, but With Strings Attached
    By ROD NORDLAND
    KABUL, Afghanistan — It was an engaging idea.

    Hundreds of children would gather on the iconic Nader Khan Hill in the capital, Kabul, on a gorgeous Friday in September and fly kites emblazoned with slogans lauding the rule of law and equality for women. The kites, along with copies of the Afghan Constitution and justice-themed comic books, would be gifts of the United States, part of a $35 million effort “to promote the use of Afghanistan’s formal justice system.”

    “The mere portrait of 500 kites soaring in the winds, against a backdrop of beautiful mountain ranges, is enough to instill hope in even the most disheartened observer of the war-torn country,” said a promotional release for the festival, organized by an American contractor for the United States Agency for International Development.

    What could possibly go wrong?

    Almost everything but the wind.

    For starters, Afghan policemen hijacked the event, stealing dozens of kites for themselves and beating children with sticks when they crowded too close to the kite distribution tent. To be fair, the children were a little unruly, but they were also small.

    Sometimes the officers just threatened them with sticks, and other times slapped them in the face or whacked them with water bottles. “I told them to stop the policemen from taking the kites,” said Shakila Faqeeri, a communications adviser for the contractor, DPK Consulting.

    But the policemen appeared to ignore her. Asked why one of his officers was loading his truck with kites, Maj. Farouk Wardak, head of the criminal investigation division of the 16th Police District, said, “It’s okay, he’s not just a policeman, he’s my bodyguard.”

    The District 16 police chief, Col. Haji Ahmad Fazli, insisted on taking over from the American contractors the job of passing out the kites. He denied that his men were kite thieves. “We are not taking them,” he said. “We are flying them ourselves.”

    At least he had not lost sight of the event’s goal. “It is so people can understand the rule of law, and it lets the kids get together instead of wandering on the streets,” he said.

    It was not clear that the children had a much better grasp of the concept, but some did manage to get kites and were flying them, irregularly shaped patches of color soaring to impressive heights.

    Most bore messages about the importance of gender equality, but there was hardly a girl with a kite, although plenty of girls were around. One DPK staff member pushed through the crowd to give 10-year-old Shaqila Nabi a kite; her sister Farzana, 8, had wanted one, too, but a policeman had just swung at her with a stick and she had darted out of harm’s way, and out of sight.

    Shaqila raced back to her father, Gul Nabi, a horse wrangler peddling rides. He promptly took the kite and gave it to a boy.

    “He is my son and he should get the kite,” he said.

    The law and justice comic books were also a big hit. Some of the boys snatched them up and hid them under their shirts so they could come back for more. At one point, fed-up policemen, most of whom cannot read, just tossed piles of them in the dirt.

    Mike Sheppard, the DPK project head, pronounced the event a success. “We just gave out a thousand kites in 20 minutes,” he said.

    But another DPK staff member, Abdul Manem Danish, stood watching the kite thievery and casual police brutality with disdain. His job was to administer a “kite event effectiveness survey” at the end to see if the festival had affected anyone’s attitudes about justice.

    “That’s not a very good example of rule of law,” he said. “Maybe it is the nature of these people that needs to be changed.”
    This was probably the most maddeningly hilarious article I've read in a long time. To recap, we spend a part of $35 Million dollars to put on a kite flying exhibition exhorting the values of a corrupt judicial system, and are somehow surprised when afghan police beat children and steal kites. Then we have the audacity to ask them if flying a bunch of kites and staring blankly at the Afghan Constitution (most are still illiterate) and "Justice Themed Comic Books" (lolwut) change a thousand years of tradition?

    *sigh*

  2. #2
    Dwhite

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    Well, at least there (trying) to do something non-violant, 500 kites into $35 million isnt going to be that much. The attempt to try and get sympathy from children was a smart move, but obviously there is no remorse for beating a child that is flying a kite in Afghanistan. I say kudos for the effort, but i also say what the hell, havent we been "training" the "police" for a few years now, pouring millions of dollars into it, so they can eventually take over the country, when we finaly decide that we should leave (which wont be any time soon). And it also shows the huge impact on gender equality that all the politician's have been braging about...

  3. #3

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    Well we tried giving them weapons before and that didn't work out so well. Now we're getting pissed off about giving away simple kites? I've heard of a much better waste of money, like congressional meetings.

    It sucks people weren't letting most of the girls fly kites... should we send in some tanks and say "Hey, let the girl have a kite!!!" ?

  4. #4

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    "To be fair, the children were a little unruly, but they were also small."
    This

    WHAT THE HELL, is he actually trying to justify child beating?

  5. #5

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    i doubt hes trying to justify it hisd last part of the sentence showed what he thought of the police behaviour, i.e they're kids cut them some slack.

  6. #6

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    Lets send in are Kite......A Stealth Raptor loaded with missiles saying let the girls fly the kites or else

  7. #7

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    Well this is the Times we're talking about -_- I don't trust the news anymore ANY of them. Be it Fox or CNN, the time or the Wall Street J.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chimaira View Post
    Well this is the Times we're talking about -_- I don't trust the news anymore ANY of them. Be it Fox or CNN, the time or the Wall Street J.
    What's the charge you're making exactly? The author fabricated the story?

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by BabyEldrick View Post
    Lets send in are Kite......A Stealth Raptor loaded with missiles saying let the girls fly the kites or else
    Wait, what? ...What's my mission again?

  10. #10

    Default



    Quote Originally Posted by Palko View Post
    What's the charge you're making exactly? The author fabricated the story?
    most likely that the media is biased, one way or another. I don't believe anyone can't be biased, least of all in reporting. For example X number of people see the same exact event but when someone asks them what they saw, each one tells the story a little differently.

    though still the news can be good and sometimes fun to watch. I watch Current TV even though it was created or co-created by Al Gore a person I disagree with on multiple worldwide issues. Infomania is just fun.

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