Monday, February 28, 2011

Why building schools in Afghanistan makes good military sense. (Response to today's Colbert Report)

I watch the Colbert Report, and today the second interview was with Reagan's undersecertary of Defense who made some good points and some really bad ideas regarding Afghanistan.
Good points:
We need a time-line to leaving Afghanistan. We cannot be there indefinitely. I completely agree. By giving the government a due date they will quickly put their act together like Iraq did after Obama told them we were leaving. The terrorists act are nothing like they were four years ago and their government is a lot better. (sidenote: We would already be out of Afghanistan, if we didn't invade Iraq, but that's a different story an obviously up for debate.)
We need to hunt down the terrorists and end their lives. He is right, they are radical and will not let up. They must be destroyed.

Bad points:
We shouldn't be building schools, "the military is not a peace corps." This is misguided. Afghanistan's literacy rate is 36%, making the majority of people unable to read the Koran. I am currently working through it and the terrorists do not follow it. Currently, a terrorist can walk into a remote village, tell them what the Koran "says" and lie about all of it. The people in the remote village will have no way to check meaning that whatever they say is true to them. They will follow whatever the terrorists say no matter what. However, if we continue to build schools and the people can read their holy books then they will be able to have debates with the terrorists in their now obvious lying and then the terrorists will lose recruits. I don't even know how many of the recruiters even know what their book says to be honest. By leaving the people uneducated and vulnerable to their propaganda the terrorists will continue to have power indefinitely over the country and region. We cannot win if the people can be so easily persuaded to their fight. However, by building schools and growing Afghanistan's economy the reasons to join the terrorists fight are eliminated once the people lead productive lives and the terrorists will eventually lose power.

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