Thursday, April 30, 2009

They Are Afghans; We're not

Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan, has just signed a law giving Afghan husbands the right to rape their wives. At some point in early American history, husbands may have had a similar power over their wives, but no American president would have dared underline it.

This is a stark reminder of our inability to grasp the gulf between Afghan and American societies. Ye, we fight for Karzai’s government; we send our sons to die so that his government will survive. We are in over our heads.

Mr. Obama’s Afghanistan policy is just warmed-over Bush. Neither man understands these people, except they understand American imperialism, the weight of which, in their minds, trumps all indigenous cultures. Or, does it?

Interesting that Karzai would sign this decree at the same time our president was in Europe trying to convince European countries to help America prop up the Karzai regime. Of course, Mr. Obama did not use the name “Karzai,” nor “regime” in his European speeches. Rather, he focused on “Al Quaeda,” which, I suppose he thinks is scarier than Karzai. The Europeans aren’t so sure; neither are they stupid.

The Afghans are proud of who they are. They signed this decree in broad daylight. They want everyone to know that they are determined to remain uniquely Afghan.

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