OUT of Afghanistan

Canada needs to get out.  It would be a good idea if everybody else got out too:

As the presumptive presidential candidates push plans to dispatch more troops to Afghanistan, the murders of four humanitarian aid workers is a tragic reminder of the futility of chasing military “victory.” The Taliban claims credit for gunning down three Western women and their Afghan driver who worked for the International Rescue Committee, a respected New York-based humanitarian organization. Real “victory” in Afghanistan — which may already be beyond reach — lies in helping that hapless country reconstruct itself, the goal the slain aid workers risked their lives for.

It’s true that more troops are needed to establish security so that civilians and aid workers can go about the business of reconstruction. That has been the case in Afghanistan since 2001. But “security” and “victory” are different objectives — a distinction our leaders don’t seem to grasp. In Afghanistan, the belated American pursuit of victory threatens to vanquish security altogether.

Read the rest here

On the aid workers deaths and on warnings from the Taliban

Schlafly Protests & Prison Complex

At Isak, Anna Clark describes the protests at Washington University after they decided, in their wisdom [sic] to present an honourary degree to (gulp) “Real Woman” Phyllis Schlafly:

Need a little reminding that folks will stand up publicly for what they believe in? Look no further than the students and staff at Washington University. At the commencement ceremony a few days ago, the university awarded Phyllis Schlafly (an alum) an honorary degree.

Check out the story and this great blog   here

And then there’s Anna’s terrific piece on the reproachable lack of public debate, within the election campaign and generally, about America’s prison industrial complex:

Authentic communication from and about prisoners exists, but it’s relegated to a niche market outside of most print and online news sources, of influential political blogs, of the catalogues of big publishers, and of the speeches of election year candidates. Presumably, its minimal share of attention is justified because decision makers think their audiences don’t care much about prisons and the people in them.

It’s an odd assumption in the face of the prison industrial complex’s monstrous growth. We incarcerate 500% more people today than we did thirty years ago. The United States is home to a mere five percent of the world’s total population, and 25 percent of the world’s incarcerated population: 2.3 million people, most of whom are incarcerated for nonviolent offenses. And that number doesn’t include those living under the thumb of the criminal justice system: probationers, parolees and those on tethers, the electronic monitoring devices worn by people on house arrest.

This makes the vacuum of nuanced coverage of prisons and prisoners in the media and by the candidates all the more baffling.

read on   here