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July 29, 2010

What Happens if We Leave Afghanistan?? …Try, What’s Happening on this Cover?

Jodi Bieber / INSTITUTE for TIME
Jodi Bieber / INSTITUTE for TIME

What’s going on (or, going wrong) with this traumatic cover?

I’ve got some questions to kick things off (…then I’m heading down to the discussion thread to see where you’re going with this.)

1. With her thick black hair, which looks richer for the reflective light; her high cheekbones; her full lips; her receptive, more than piercing or demanding gaze; her silvery, sequin-like dress with the exotic and stylish Oriental pattern and the not overly-modest neckline; with the light reflecting off her left cheekbone and also reflecting off the shawl — not a hijab by the way, but worn just off her head to suggest one — I’m wondering (with your eye being more distracted by the eyes, and by the light reflecting off the hair, the cheek and the rich purple shawl) if you even attend all that much to the nose?

2. How much is this photo actually playing off the romanticized, and quite famous photo of Steve McCurry’s “Afghan Girl“  — only minus the covered head, the fierce expression and the torn clothing.  (In comparison, by the way, does Aisha look more like a model whose nose has been photoshopped away?)

3. Any surprise this “tug at your heart” cover comes out just days after Wikileak brings the failure of the Afghan campaign into the light — and just as the campaign against Wikileak and Julian Assange gets going in the MSM?  …By the way, anyone want to ask TIME how long they had this story set-and-ready-to-go?

4. What happens if we leave???  Didn’t this girl meet this fate after we’d been there nine years?

5.  If you happened to read Nicholas Kristof’s fantastic NYT Op-Ed today, he argues that we could and should end our military involvement immediately, but then stay and invest a small fraction of what we were spending on soldiers and bombs to fundamentally transform Afghanistan by building hundreds of schools. Isn’t this title, on the other hand, applying emotional blackmail and exploiting gender politics to pitch for the status quo — a continued U.S. military involvement?

Updated: 5pm PST. 5:30: slightly revised.

article: The Plight of Afghan Women: A Disturbing Picture.

Article: Photographing Aisha for the Cover of TIME.

  • Blue Shark

    My Gawd,

    …These these intolerant 13th century assholes are sick, sick, sick puppies.

  • AJ

    That’s the reaction they want you to have, Blue Shark, so you support the occupation of Afghanistan. As if our presence there changes anything on that cultural level, which it does not – and never will. Was this cover designed before or after the wiki-leaks on Afghanistan? It’s emotional manipulation designed to provoke knee-jerk revulsion and pity (which it does) in order to get those home (war) fires burning again regarding this ‘war’ (read occupation).

    Yes, the men who did this are ignorant, sick, sick puppies – but the men who use it to manipulate a populace to allow them to continue to pass 59 billion dollar war spending bills ain’t much different! The timing of the cover certainly backs up that war spending bill!

    I’d put it in the propaganda folder.

    • tom

      AJ,

      Your response to BlueShark equating Times decisionmakers to someone who mutilates a woman to teach her a lesson or punish her for having the temerity to try to get out of an abusive relationship, one she involuntarily entered as payment for a “blood debt”,is simply absurd. Come on, you’re better than that.
      Additionally, your wording suggests that the people who produced the cover are the same ones who are responsible for war spending bills. Accuracy! Truth doesn’t need any help.

  • echo

    What happens ?

    That’s an easy one.

    There will be a drastic reduction in civilian casualties caused by U.S. armed forces.

    Time magazine is not fit to line my bird cage.

    • Agarax

      … and a dramatic increase in the civilian casualties caused by the Taliban as claw their way back to power and drag the country back into the 13th century.

    • bruno

      Wash your hands….oh the blood wont come out.

  • bystander

    Via Glenn Greenwald’s twitter feed: Allison Kilkenny offers some alternative photographs should Time want to make a habit of dedicating its cover to victims in Afghanistan … only these folk are victims of US and NATO air strikes.

    Question to the world at large… Is this Time photograph as evocative to you, as the initial and followup that National Geographic did as A Life Revealed is to me?

  • black dog barking

    I can not recall the last time I saw a Time magazine cover. It’s been years. Way back when Time picked Powerline as blog of the year or whatever, they were already swirling irrelevancy’s bowl. Powerline dropped off the radar, so has Time.

    This cover screams for attention yet doesn’t engage anything in me that remotely resembles curiosity. What Happens if We Leave Afghanistan? I have no reason to believe that Time magazine has a clue.

    I see Time’s spite’ed face.

  • njb

    Introducing Aisha. Take that Assange! TIME cynically offers a response to 97,000 wikileak documents detailing our failed policy in Afghanistan with a glammed up version of McCurry’s Afghan girl. I wonder if Aisha would have made the cover cut if she was a bit more modest with her head scarf, or would she then be too much of the “other” for us to care.

  • James Williamson

    Time Magazine should be ashamed for such a cynical maneuver.

    • http://facebook.com/kroemke KlausDK

      Really! The picture was taken WHILE we are in Afghanistan.

  • http://agrippinaminor.com/scarabus/ Wayne Dickson

    Wow, Michael! So many thoughts, so little time. As always, I looked first at the image, then at the text and caption and comment. And I gotta tell you, this lady’s nose was the last feature I noticed. What a beautiful woman, with such challenging eyes!

    Re the “Afghan Girl,” as a younger man I was struck by her initial appearance in National Geographic. A decade or so and yet another war having intervened, I was struck again by McCurry’s second round of images. How much/how little had changed. What will happen after we leave? As far as persons like this lady and the “Afghan Girl/Woman” are concerned, the same thing that’s been happening for centuries and even millennia. The cast will change, but the script will remain.

    Kristof’s suggestion is about the lamest attempt to ease a warmonger’s conscience as one could imagine. Preposterous!

  • Quax

    Nicholas Kristof voices a nice sentiment albeit the Taliban do not allow education for girls.

    This extreme misogyny is not culturally native to Afghanistan. Rather the Taliban are a creation by Pakistan’s ISI with financing and spiritual guidance by Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabists. The leaked documents make these connections very clear.

    These outside forces created the Taliban with massive US backing when this was opportune going against the Soviet occupied Afghanistan. The US is facing monsters of its own creation in this country.

    To pretend otherwise is to rewrite history. And American ability mostly taken to new heights on the notoriously ugly Right. When it comes to Afghanistan I sadly notice Liberals and Progressives are equally capable of creating their own reality.

  • Steve in L.A.

    How many wedding parties has the US and NATO military bombed now in both Afghanistan and Iraq? How many women and children has the US military killed, wounded, maimed? Since when was the US military a feminist organization?

    Do the brutal warlords that make up Karzai’s corrupt government treat women or men any better than the Taliban?

    This Time magazine cover demonstrates how desperate the US mainstream power elite are to continue their profiteering war. This is pure propaganda targeting the American people. The US government and elite do not care a whit about the welfare of the Afghan people, male or female– nor do they care about the welfare of the US population.

    Conducting live-fire war games in someone else’s country is NOT a feminist activity.

    The US cannot reconstruct itself much less another country literally on the other side of the globe. Want to save women and children? Why not start with the women and children of Mexico right next door oppressed by NAFTA? Or is they just too close to home?

  • http://bagnews.com/staff/#mshaw Michael Shaw

    I feel sorry for Bieber, she’s done a great job and cannot be faulted, but I feel this photo has been abused. (Ben Chesterton)

    Time Magazine Once Again Trots Out The Tired And Inexcusable ‘We’re In Afghanistan (And Have To Stay) To Protect Women’ Mantra (Feminist Peace Network via Greg Mitchell)

  • http://motherrr.blogspot.com cmac

    The problem isn’t easy or even clearly defined. The Taliban is made up of thugs and criminals. Whether defeating them is done to revenge the 9/11 victims or to improve conditions for the Afghan people is immaterial. If they can be defeated, we should stay and fight. If they cannot be defeated, then we should leave.

    The reaction to this picture by the posters here surprises me – denial, excuses, anger. How about a moment of sadness for this girl and for the awful situation she and all of her countrywomen find themselves in, another moment to acknowledge that we are not without blame for the situation, and maybe a prayer that our leaders are granted the wisdom to make the most moral and humane choices possible. I don’t know which course of action is correct – whether to fight or fold – but to call this picture a tired mantra is wrong. This side of the argument is real. This sort of abuse exists and will continue to exist as long as the Taliban does. Let us at least choose our positions and take our actions with our eyes open to the consequences, whatever they may be.

    • black dog barking

      The movie Osama follows the title character, a twelve year old Afghan girl, as she tries to pass as a boy. According to literature at our local art theater Osama was filmed in Kabul using local amateur actors and the only 16mm film camera in the country at the time (early 2000s, theatrical release was 2003). It is the most disturbing film I’ve ever watched.

      The hand that inflicted the pictured disfigurement was ultimately driven by forces older than the Taliban. If the Taliban were to completely disappear today, that force would still be with us. The US Army is not trained or armed to fight this particular fight.

      Time’s cover does not tell us that. Time’s cover seems to argue that we should get the job done, that we need to push harder, stay longer, apply more military force. This image provokes an angry response, throws more fuel on a fire already burning out of control.

    • bystander

      Was 9.11 perpetrated by Al Qaeda or the Taliban? Are they the same? Different? Do you even know?

      If they are not the same, and the Taliban were not responsible for 9.11, then your comment suggests you are advocating that we remain in Afghanistan, at the cost of $1 million/US soldier/per year to change the culture of Afghanistan with respect to women. Is that correct?

      In your opinion, are there any egregious cultural practices occurring anywhere in the world that for which we should not bomb a country into submission?

      How well do you imagine the use of military force is in changing the cultural practices of a country? Are there examples you can cite where it was successful?

    • http://motherrr.blogspot.com cmac

      The Taliban are poorly educated, brutish, religious extremists who seized power in the disarray following the long struggle with Russia. They are mainly Pashtuns, supported by Saudi and Pakistani money, and wielding weaponry accumulated during the Russian invasion – some (much?) of it provided by the US to the Mujahadeen. Al Qaeda is an extremist religious movement which shares roots with the Taliban but is international in scope. The relationship between the two – beyond their religious extremism – is this: the Taliban offered Al Qaeda a safe harbor and a place to train movement personnel in various terrorist techniques. Would 9/11 have occurred without the Taliban’s aid? It’s hard to say for sure, but I suspect that the answer is no – the training made possible by the Taliban was crucial to the effort.

      Bush’s war in Afghanistan was ill-considered and poorly executed, but for a few short years the Taliban were out of power. Sadly, due to international inattention, they regrouped and have formed an insurgency, seeking to reestablish themselves as the dominant political force in Afghanistan.

      Before Taliban rule, Afghanistan’s laws were far more liberal – women were not forced to wear burqas; they went to school, worked, shopped, visited doctors, and took taxis without male relatives accompanying them. Among other things, the Taliban banned music, denim, kite-flying, and television. They don’t recognize the Shi’a as Muslim and have slaughtered thousands of the Hazara people as a result. Afghanistan was never a western paradise of tolerance and inclusion, but it was a better, more humane place.

      The Taliban’s reign of power is surprisingly short – they only governed from 1996 to 2001. To say that they rise from Afghanistan’s cultural traditions is as true as saying that Glenn Beck rises out of America’s cultural traditions. Extremism always lurks at the dark heart of any culture.

      Bystander, you erect a strawman when you imply that taking action on behalf of Afghan women requires that we take action against every egregious culture. Although we did not invade Afghanistan to improve the lives of women, our invasion did, in fact, bring about some improvement for a few years. The fact that our leaving will cut off the best hope for dignity and security for Afghan women is one factor to be considered. All I’m saying is that it’s not a factor that should be dismissed out of hand.

    • black dog barking

      In the movie, Osama’s mother is a medical doctor banished from practice because of her gender. The family is outcast because Osama’s father died fighting the Soviets. Her mother’s mother comforts the twelve year old coming-of-age Osama with a weary acceptance of the grimness of her granddaughter’s future. The forces animating the oppression of these women are older than living memory, these forces seem to derive from nature — at least Afghani men’s nature.

      Glenn Beck in a preening fool and a piker in comparison to the Afghan elders depicted in the movie. He doesn’t have the power to order death by stoning as punishment for petty crime (or for the thought crime of not accepting one’s gender role). Beck’s influence on our culture stops dead the moment he loses his TV show. The Afghan “problem” is much older, much more resistant to the kinds of change we can offer at gunpoint.

  • matt

    cut off the nose to spite your face

  • http://justbetweenstrangers.blogspot.com/ acm

    What’s going on with this cover? A woman was scarred by the Taliban, and now she’s being exploited by the American press. Looks like our entire involvement there — the Afghans get screwed from every direction!

    • http://reciprocity-failure.blogspot.com Stan B.

      Exactly- first abused, now used. Both times to get a narrow minded, over simplistic message out.

  • http://justbetweenstrangers.blogspot.com/ acm

    also, in a similar vein, exploitation-wise, but of course a different sort of political argument by the exploiters, let’s not forget

    http://www.bagnewsnotes.com/2010/02/blind-faith/

    or

    http://www.bagnewsnotes.com/2010/02/war-is-personal-world-press/

    or

    http://www.bagnewsnotes.com/2007/11/your-turn-things-looking-up-in-san-antonio/

  • Gerry Desrosiers

    Well, I did notice the nose first, but so what?

    As Michael pointed out, Aisha was mutilated after we had already been in Afghanistan for nine years. Our presence there certainly does not “protect” anyone from harm, least of all from any of the harm we ourselves inflict.

    When such atrocities were inflicted in Rwanda, did we intervene? No, we intervene only whenever our interests our threatened. Aisha herself is not one of our interests, except as a convenient propaganda prop.

    What happens to us if we don’t leave Afghanistan? Or is it already too late?

    • http://motherrr.blogspot.com cmac

      The Taliban’s hold was broken in 2001. By 2004, they were regrouping. There was a small window during which this mutilation might not have been possible, but that window is closed. If we could defeat the Taliban decisively, this sort of thing might be prevented. It’s all ifs, though – if the Taliban can be defeated, if a better government can achieve power, if religious extremism can be tamed.

      You make a good point that one of the elements to be considered is the harm we ourselves inflict.

  • http://motherrr.blogspot.com cmac

    And, yes, I noticed her nose first. Reading the subtitle there, it seems her ears are also gone.

  • vortexgods

    Bride-burning is a form of domestic violence practiced in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and other countries located on or around the Indian subcontinent. A category of dowry death, bride-burning occurs when a young woman is murdered by her husband or his family for her family’s refusal to pay additional dowry. The wife is typically doused with kerosene, gasoline, or other flammable liquid, and set alight, leading to death by fire.[1]

    Wikipedia: Bride burning

    Acid throwing (acid attack[1] or vitriolage) is a form of violent assault.[2] Perpetrators of these attacks throw acid at their victims (usually at their faces), burning them, and damaging skin tissue, often exposing and sometimes dissolving the bones.[3] The consequences of these attacks include blindness and permanent scarring of the face and body.[4][5][6] These attacks are most common in Cambodia,[7] Afghanistan,[8] India,[9] Bangladesh,[4][5] Pakistan[4] and other nearby countries.[6] According to Taru Bahl and M.H. Syed, 80% of victims of these acid attacks are female and almost 40% are under 18 years of age.[6]

    Wikipedia: Acid throwing

    I’m guessing we are going into India and Cambodia, especially after seeing the Cambodian acid attack survivor on the Wikipedia page.

    I certainly wouldn’t want to believe that this poor unfortunate is just their to prop up a war that’s being waged so favored corporation can have access to mineral wealth and pipeline rights.

  • robert e

    Can you say “colonialism”?

    • Agarax

      Can you say “evil prevails when good men do nothing?”

      The only word for an organization that approves the mutilation of women for trying to escape abusive relationships is evil.

  • http://solarray.blogspot.com gmoke

    Greg Mortenson is building schools now in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The great Pashtun leader Badshah Khan started building schools, for both boys and girls, in 1908. By 1930, he was able to start forming what some call the world’s first non-violent army consisting, at the peak, of over 100,000 people, Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs with a women’s auxiliary. They were called Red Shirts, the color of their uniforms, and the Servants of God. The organization lasted in the Northwest Frontier Province of the British Raj protecting people against violence and working Ganhdi’s Constructive Programme until 1947 and the partition of India and Pakistan when the Pakistani government arrested Badshah Khan and destroyed the group.

    Badshah Khan’s non-violence was based upon the Islamic principle of sadr, patience, the patience of the Prophet when he was persecuted in Mecca, and the Pashtun tradition of melmastia, hospitality.

    Afghan culture and history have many heroes and heroines who would not accept the crime done to this young woman.

    • Chris S

      I worry that all of the press Mortenson is getting for the advice he provides the military is going to undermine any good work he’s done. If he’s branded as a tool of the occupation he’s doomed. Not unlike Human Terrain Systems enlisting anthropologists in counterinsurgency and psychologists and physicians getting involved in torture and human experimentation.

  • http://reciprocity-failure.blogspot.com Stan B.
    • http://bagnews.com/staff/#mshaw Michael Shaw

      Nice job.

    • echo

      Brilliant.

      Seriously.

    • Anthony

      So now its the America’s fault this happened?

    • scott

      Michael Shaw,

      That you would find humor in this with a few changes to the copy with photoshop shows how twisted you are.

      the photo speaks the truth dude.

      thank god you are not more involved than as an observer with a sideline comment…

  • M J Hanifi

    Patriarchy–male domination of society–is dangerous to public health everywhere–in Afghanistan, Israel, America, India, and spaces in between. In principle this tragic incident is no different than the social forces that produce the “pussy shrinking”, and breast enhancement industries in the
    United States together with the vast shelter networks for abused women in Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Washington, Seattle, New York, and Miami. Localizing misogyny does not help in understanding this universal malaise.

    • scott

      dear Mr. Hanifi,

      i think this goes beyond “malaise”. don’t you think?

  • Ed

    There is a dichotomy here, a split that brings to mind not the famous Nat Geo picture but instead that poster of the pretty woman with the breast removed from breast cancer. There may also be a third factor, that of a photo to show strength. So with the overall beauty you get the initial hook, the gut grab is the disfigurement, and the message in a character strength. Which to me is what photography is all about.

    • scott

      wow you are so deep man.

  • Marc Schneider

    You people disgust me. I’m uncertain about the war–I’m increasingly believing it’s a lost cause–but to say we shouldn’t talk about things like this because it’s “emotional blackmail” just shows how morally bankrupt the far left is. The fact is, whatever the source, the Taliban is a brutal, repressive group that is capable of the most horrendous crimes against women. It’s not emotional blackmail to acknowledge that the American withdrawal, whether or not justified, will have consequences, just as the withdrawal from Viet Nam had consequences for the population. That is not, in itself, necessarily a reason to stay, but to ignore it is to simply bury yourself in the sand with reflexive anti-Americanism. The fact is, whatever practices go on in other parts of the world, the American occupation has resulted in at least marginally improved conditions for women in Afghanistan and leaving the country puts those improvements in jeopardy. To pretend otherwise is just disingenous. At least be intellectually honest enough to recognize that; apparently, it’s worse to be an “occupier” than to oppress women. How many of you would be willing to live in an Afghanistan controlled by the Taliban? Your universalism seems to be bounded by an aversion to anything that is done under American auspices.

    As far as I’m concerned, the far left is just as bad as the far right. All you can do is recite the mantra of left-wing jargon to justify your indifference to suffering of Afghan women. At the same time, if this woman had been injured by US or Israeli actions, you would be applauding the courageousness of showing it.

    • David Ruschena

      I agree with Marc. Could you guys please stop reciting the same issues? It’s always the same challenges and each challenge ignores the fundamental issue:

      1. Aren’t we killing people ourselves? Yes, we are. Absolutely. So let’s focus on whether or not that sort of thing is ever acceptable. If you adopt a pacifist line, have the fortitude to say so. And then explain why we shouldn’t intervene to prevent atrocities. If you believe that the war is being fought badly, say that too and explain what you would do differently. If you think we will achieve something worthwhile by negotiation, say what we will achieve.

      2. Why aren’t we intervening to fight atrocities everywhere? Because we don’t have the resources. The fact that we don’t have the resources means that we have to pick and choose. But EVEN IF, for the purposes of argument, the choice is made from self-interest, you need to explain why that choice, itself, is wrong.

      3. What about the problems in our own backyard? Anyone who suggests that violently inflicted mutilation is the same as cosmetic surgery needs some serious perspective. I have problems with the social needs for cosmedic surgery too, but it’s just not the same. to suggest that it is the same is to grossly oversimplify the problems that each society faces.

      At the end of the day, this picture is supposed to ignite and promote debate. You guys are not engaging with that debate if you are going to make snide comments.

    • Brandon

      These people who are dismissing this real problem in Afghanistan as mere ‘propaganda’ are the Glen Becks of the left. Extremism is a disease and a threat to any government and society whether it’s on the left or right, whether it’s socialist or capitalist, whether it’s pacifist or militaristic. We should feel sorry for this women and all who are oppressed, men and women, in Afghanistan and throughout the world. We should want to help where we can. However, at the same time we must recognize we have limited resources, we cannot solve all the problems of the world overnight. Unfortunately, we simply cannot send the 101st Airborne in to prevent every case of abuse and oppression; but that doesn’t mean we should never never send them in, they do have their place.

      When we see oppression and do nothing, we are just as guilty of the crimes as the oppressors. When we do nothing, it’s a decision based on economics and self-interest, staying at peace is often no less self-serving (or immoral, for that matter) than going to war. But, for practical reasons, we must sometimes stay at peace, and allow evil and oppression to flourish, because of economic or other domestic constraints. But let’s not pretend that oppression doesn’t exist and neither should we pretend that we’re not just as culpable as the oppressors when we stand by and do nothing.

      Let’s put all the facts on the table so we can have an honest discussion about the matter. I’m not sure if we should stay in Afghanistan or leave, whatever we do it should be a carefully analyzed and measured decision. It’s wrong to leave the impoverished in our society without food and health care, but it’s also wrong to allow religious fanatics enforce inequality and oppress the people of Afghanistan. And like it or not, they’re both our responsibility. We must make hard decisions from time to time, decision to help some at the direct expense of others. So we should use our resources wisely, do the most good we can, but also take full moral responsibility for any hardships, anywhere in the world, both at home and abroad, that we could have at least diminished, if not eliminated, but failed to act on. The world isn’t black and white, sometimes there is no right and wrong, just two wrongs to choose from. Recognizing that even people who wish to do good must at times embrace a lesser evil, which is still evil, isn’t comforting, it doesn’t give us a warm fuzzy feeling inside. But it’s reality and if we don’t start our discussions with a recognition of things for how they are and the actual implications of our actions, no choice we make will ultimately be productive.

  • Leonie Bowles

    I just love your use of the phrase “gender politics”.

    How would you react if the photograph was of a black seventeen year old man -with his nose and ears cut off? Its racism if it’s a black man, it’s anti-Semitic if it’s a Jewish man – its gender politics if it’s a woman….

    These women are slaves – and we know all about slavery in this country and we know what we need to do about it.

    My thanks to all the soldiers, men and women, and their families who are doing what they can and making sacrifices to stop this horror.

    • Aman

      Leonie you are right, but be real isn’t it hard to change a culture which has been practiced more than 100 years. The only solution is education, US must stop feeding crapt government must pay attention on school and health care. Poor people are suffering and struggling to survive.
      Who comments might never physically been in Afghanistan. The fact is that no one pays attention to ordinary Afghans. They live on daily bases. Western countries has destroyed livelihood. They fuelled the price of the houses and the cost of living. Who would believe in Kabul it costs 5 hundred thousand US dollar to build a house and to rent one is 25 thousands a month? Do you know who pays for it? Foreign organisation like NGO and government agencies. That money supposed to be spending for poor people.

  • Kelvin Walker

    What this picture says to me is that Afghanistan still has a long way to go. The people there have suffered from being a crossroads of everyone else’s wars for centuries, and whenever the fighting has moved on, no-one cared what happened to them. This is what has to stop – whatever else, the nation-building in Afghanistan has to continue to give the Afghans the government that they want, not that which NATO, Russia, Pakistan, Iran or especially the Taliban think they should have whether they like it or not.

    I think this is more likely to happen if the NATO forces in Afghanistan remain than not. If they leave a power vacuum there, someone will move in to fill it, and we’ve already seen where that leads from the devastation of Kabul by rival warlords to the 9/11 attacks. That said, those forces have to do a better job of nation-building and the Afghans have to shoulder the burden of taking charge of their own destiny … or someone else will invariably do it for them.

  • Chris

    Michael Shaw:

    Interesting point of view, and I understand and agree that we should invest more heavily in building infastructure, schools and hospitals etc, but the point is, when a school is built, it is often burned by Taliban fighters opposed to female education.

    So we need to keep some level of presence on the ground (ideally Afghan forces later) to protect these schools and hospitals until the population is ready to fend off the Talibs themselves.

    Although this happened AFTER the Taliban were removed from power, can you imagine if the Taliban were able to do this sort of thing as a matter of state policy if they regained power or influence on a larger scale? The achievements, albeit comparatively mild some Afghan women have been able to make would be undone in a second.

    War is an inhumane thing, but we have a moral duty to keep people like the Taliban from power. This isn’t a case of imposing Western values on another nation, as human rights are universal.

  • Murgatroyd

    I’m wondering (with your eye being more distracted by the eyes, and by the light reflecting off the hair, the cheek and the rich purple shawl) if you even attend all that much to the nose?

    Why don’t you go all the way with your rationalizations and say that the Taliban did her a favor?

    • scott

      well said. limousine liberals at their finast.

  • Pingback: Aisha, la ragazza della copertina di Time, avrà un naso nuovo

  • unseenfootage

    If time magazine was in the business of impartial and accurate reporting then they would’ve run this story http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/toxic-legacy-of-us-assault-on-fallujah-worse-than-hiroshima-2034065.html .

    I am not so sure if this aisha story is true. Firstly Islam does not prescribe mutilation as punishment and it is even forbidden in war, except in cases of retribution where an enemy mutilates first. The alledged offence that aisha committed – running away from her husband was relatively minor and there is no punishment at all in Islam for this. A woman who does this is simply divorced from her husband.

    • scott

      you are part of the problem.

      no one on your side tells the truth.

      “what is fair?”

      “A fair is something you go to in the country…”

  • watchamerica

    When this Time dropped into my mailbox the cover shouted at me “justifying why there are (international) troops in Afghanistan” – and it seemed like a last desperate throw to get the western populace on board.

    Then I thought, well, maybe it’s highlighting something we should be talking about in general terms – because this sort of mutilation happens in a lot of the world and is rarely reported.

    Nevertheless, it is uncommon for the Europe Time edition to have the same cover as the US Time, which does make this look a tad like concerted propaganda.

    Just now I’m slightly unsure about the motives behind this cover, but it seems to me to be very useful that it has engendered some furious discussion. I am greatly disappointed that the aftermath is looking as if this unfortunate girl had her photo taken in exchange for a promise of good plastic surgery. That makes it appear such a vanity move – but I suppose Facebook and Hello are more influential than Time Magazine……

  • Joe

    Not really no.
    It is displaying the reality of the situation in afghanistan.
    WMD was emotional blackmail for attacking Iraq at its best.

  • Anthony

    It’s just like a bleeding-heart liberal to focus attention away from the problem when they have been backed into a corner(which this blogger clearly does with the description of all of Aisha’s OTHER features). Does anyone care at all about Steve McCurry’s “Afghan Girl”? Is it relevant at all? How about we stay on topic here? For suggesting Aisha looks like a model whose nose has been photoshopped away, you should go to hell.

    Wikileaks is a blatantly anti-American organization, that with the release of these illegally-obtained documents, has put American lives in danger (that’s okay though, right liberals?).

    “the failure of the Afghan campaign into the light “…well, if you are so critical of the U.S. strategy, why don’t you tell us all how you would fight a group of extremists who hide out in the mountains, threaten villagers daily with their lives (thats OK though, they can do that since they are not American), and blow innocent civilians up to send messages?

    Everyone is complaining that innocent civilians are dying (which is terrible), but they quickly forget that we had 3,000 innocent civilians die on our own soil. So how do we respond to that? Do we not go to war? Not like that would encourage further attacks or anything!

    “What happens if we leave??? Didn’t this girl meet this fate after we’d been there nine years?” Implicit in this argument is the suggestion that it would not have happened if we were not there. So what is your solution to this? Just pull out and leave? C’mon, I thought left-wingers prided themselves on their compassion.

    Finally, the blogger suggests transforming Afghanistan by building hundreds of schools. Well we all know that the Taliban would absolutely love and welcome all of these new schools! They wouldn’t dare to attack, bomb, or dismantle them at all.

    The fact is, US military presence is necessary. I support General McChrystal’s policies of reducing civilian causalities, because every single innocent Afghan dead fuels the anti-Americanism that Islamic extremists love to spread.

  • scott

    Michael,

    What a wimp you are.

    If you had daughters that you loved would you not fight to prevent this from happening?

    My 9 year old little girl asked, “Daddy, why doesn’t the United States just bring scared women and children to the United States so they would be safe?”

    I agreed.

    And let’s just keep the remainder in the dark ages from whence they (s)exist…

  • Jeff

    Oh, great–I guess I should’ve known this was really just all about who over here was a “wimp” or not. See, that’s the problem–conservatives can’t separate the question of what to do abroad with the effort to impose right-wing rule here. (And before you ask, yes, that was the problem with Vietnam, too.)

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  • Bethmooney1

    I agree. Stay and build schools but the Taliban or who ever will try to sabotage our efforts,Won’t this lead to some  kind of military response by us. Look at  the danger the UN peacekeepers face.

  • D3d3

    That is crazy but this article dozen’t say why it happen to her.

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