More Scrutiny on the War in Afghanistan

Photo via Zoriah War Photographer
I don't know about everyone else but I haven't seen the war in Afghanistan in the news so much since...I can't even remember when! Although I was too young to draw opinions on the Afghanistan war when it originally started, I'm beginning to become informed now and form my own opinions. 

I'm against war of any kind. No surprise there. I think that no matter what, it will involve civilians and that's wrong. If two leaders what to shoot at each other, be my guest, but don't get innocent people involved. Especially recently, I've become extremely critical on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Although I believe the idea of 'hunting down terrorists' was originally a nice plan, it clearly isn't working.

Being an American, it's almost heresy to go against a war that your country is involved in. I'm thankful for the soldiers that have given their lives, really, I am. But there has to come a time when a country realizes it's doing more harm than good. After reading the book Children of War: Voices of Iraqi Refugees, I've come to realize that the presence of foreign soldiers also has grave implications in ways that many of us don't realize. 

Anyways, I'm rambling. With the recent Wikileaks report in the news lately, the war in Afghanistan has been getting some opposition and questioning. One of TIME magazine's recent issues features an 18-year-old Afghan women who's ears and nose have been cut off by the Taliban for fleeing her abusive in-laws (read the full article here).  This issue that TIME seeks to illuminate is the situation of women in Afghanistan at the moment. It serves as a 'what will happen if we pull out' sort of message. The TIME editor said,
The much publicized release of classified documents by WikiLeaks has already ratcheted up the debate about the war. Our story and the haunting cover image by the distinguished South African photographer Jodi Bieber are meant to contribute to that debate. We do not run this story or show this image either in support of the U.S. war effort or in opposition to it. We do it to illuminate what is actually happening on the ground.
Although the editor said that, I still can't help but to notice a 'pro-war-in-Afghanistan' slant to the article. 

The Tailiban attack on the young girl in the picture occurred only a year ago, not before the US invasion/occupation. This shows that the Taliban stills has a strong presence in Afghanistan (and Pakistan as the wikileaks point out). 

So did all the bombing really help? Will more bombing really help these women? I understand their point - if the US pulls out now then the Taliban and current Afghan government will have to compromise, but has our presence there made the situation any less grave than what it would be without us there? The article Time, Photography, Propaganda? does a great job at analyzing the situation of women in Afghanistan, TIME's article, and a possible better approach than bombs: real aid. And although I don't believe that handing money to governments is always the best approach (it sure hasn't gotten Haiti very far yet), I agree with the author that it would be a whole lot better than bombing the entire country. 


  1. Liana13.8.10

    Hey Karen,

    So, first off, nice blog! Worthwhile read. This article in particular caught my attention, and I'll leave a comment just for fun with some things to think about.

    "I'm against war of any kind."
    You say this as an ideal. If no one fought, it would (?) make this a better place. Let's face reality: people have a lot to fight about. There are two kinds of warfare, just and unjust, and justice must be considered in both the declaration and conduct of war. Just warfare is, for me, defensive warfare. If someone attacks you, you have the right to fight back. No? Then, once you are fighting, what rules guide your conduct? If we are to believe Hugo Grotius, the main one is that you are to avoid harming noncombatants (civilians) as much as possible. Thoughts? I helped run my school's ethics education program, so the idea of ethical, or just, warfare really intrigues me.

  2. Thanks!
    Well yes, I realize that it is hard for war never to exists but I don't agree with it. I'd like to live to see a day when war is no longer need (hence why I chose aid work) but who knows if that will ever happen.

    I tend to believe that most war is unjust. I'm not sure what a "just" war would be. Even in the case of the US, I don't believe going to war with Afghanistan (and then foolishly with Iraq) was the right option. We aren't doing any good over there and we are killing thousands of civilians lives. The civilians themselves didn't choose to attack us, only a select group of people did so why must we punish everyone? It would be as if a country attacked everyone in the US because they didn't like the green party movement or something like that. I think in any war, civilians will be killed (whether intentionally or not) which is why I'm opposed to war. Hearing stories from people who have lived in Iraq during our occupation for from people in Sierra Leone during the civil war there, all there stories have 1 thing in common: civilian casualties.

    And once war is started, there is no way I believe to keep it in check. Nobody is saying "you can/can't do this or that" which is why causalities are so high and why wars are becoming more brutal. There are no rules.

    But again, those are just my thoughts :)


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