Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Worth Fighting For

I submit to you, in brief, the story of Parwez Kambakhsh.

Parwez Kambakhsh is a 24-year-old Afghani student and journalist who had his death sentence commuted today. A three-judge appellate court decided that 20 years in prison was a more just punishment for his terrible crime.

And what was this terrible crime? Blasphemy. Kambakhsh distributed an article about the rights of women under Islam.

This guy was tried under the "legitimate" Afghan government. The one that, as you might recall, NATO forces are dying to prop up every day.

So I have to ask you, are you proud to support this?

Does propping up this government seem like a valuable use of American blood and treasure to you?

Don't get me wrong. I'm sure that the Taliban would have executed this kid. If Karzai's government falls, probably something even more repressive would replace it.

But this is the danger of intervening in the foreign affairs of other nations, particularly nations with vastly different cultures than our own. Every time we do it, we wind up supporting something unsavory. Every single time. The US has propped up dictators, repressive regimes and bloody terrorists in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Angola and many, many other places over the last 50 years.

The US isn't going to change its foreign policy over Parwez Kambakhsh. But maybe it should. Maybe we should have some fucking standards for who we help, instead of constantly seeking the enemy of our enemy.

And again, if we pulled out of Afghanistan, the Taliban would take over and put a bullet in the guy's brain. But Parwez Kambakhsh is going to prison for 20 years for blasphemy, prosecuted by a government that Americans are dying to prop up. His first trial was held in secret. His family says he was tortured until he confessed.

So I ask again. Does this seem worth dying for to you?

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