Don’t Charge, Educate!

30,000 extra soldiers to Afghanistan won’t solve the incredibly high morbidity amongst Afghan women giving birth. It also won’t teach Afghan women how to read and I can’t really see how it will help improve their health and well being.

But why care about the Afghan women? We’re out to fight terrorists aren’t we?

It seems this is yet another case that comes down to the birds and bees. If any world leader was ever told the tale, now would be the time to take it to the next level!

Terrorists aren’t brought by the stork and don’t grow on trees. They’re born to Afghan women and are being raised by them.

So, want to improve security in Afghanistan? Make women your top priority!

Teach Afghan mothers to read, provide them with health care and provide their children with health care. Give them support, pay attention to them. Generations of Afghan boys are growing up in mother-less families, without health services, those with mothers have un-educated mothers. Is the situation in Afghanistan any surprise?

Sending 30,000 teachers and health care professionals to Afghanistan, it seems to me, would achieve a much greater positive outcome than sending more soldiers, something that doesn’t seem to me to be the correct solution to dealing with high birth rates and high maternal morbidity.

It’s time for a Time Out!

We are no longer in the days of the tribal men dancing round the fire in grass skirts with elephant skin on their backs, motivating each other for tomorrows coming insurgency on the nearby tribe. The renaissance, industrial revolution and educational revolution have left us with better tools and better ideas for dealing with different situations we create in the world.

Now, when I say “tools” and “ideas”, little do I mean guns and war-strategy. That’s just all fancy tribal bullshit. I mean the ability to mobilize, the ability to translate books into all different languages, to be able to get across an ideology, a technique, a notion. We are able to get medicine and aid and food and clothing across the globe in less than a day. We are able to count the number of people in each country, we know how many of them can read, how many of them are sick, how many kids they have and their average income. So, if we spend so much time and money gathering this information and publishing it, why can’t anyone seem to realize that more can be done with it? We can make decisions based on it.

Wait! Don’t pass out! I really mean it. We can actually make decisions and base policies on numbers and on information. Not just on a whim, on the powerful superlatives some general is using or his persuasive power-point with all those cool tank pictures. I know they look so much better than un-educated covered-up women.

The information we have does not seem to me to be screaming CHARGE! It seems to me that it’s screaming EDUCATE WOMEN. Of course the majority of people making decisions based on this information are of the type that relates more to ‘charge’ than to actually treating women like equal members of the human race.

30,000 extra soldiers to fight? Even if they won, Afghan women would be no better off, and then we can all just sit and start counting back to next time.

What a waste of work. What a waste of information. What a waste of government ability. What a waste of people.


7 Responses to Don’t Charge, Educate!

  1. The Center Square says:

    I agree with your underlying values here. But I don’t think it can work that way. If all the what we might call ‘forceful’ measures are abruptly abandoned, the Taliban surely will once again dominate Afghanistan, and the opportunities for women will just as surely be nil. I cannot see getting to the place you describe without initial force. Sadly, I am not sure I can see it happening even with initial force, either.

  2. quackup says:

    you’re right in the sense that the way the world operates today, using measures that don’t require military forces are hardly ever enough to achieve anything. The idea is for govt. to start putting bigger emphasis and pour more money into non-forceful methods.
    I would like to believe that if used seriously and if the same amount of thought and money and time went into them, they could generate an equal or even better outcome.

  3. The Center Square says:

    Again I agree with your principles and basic approach. And I do think that is what we are seeing in some places. I am thinking of parts of Africa, Central America, South America. But I also think Afghanistan is the exception that proves the rule. There just is no fertile soil on which to sow these seeds there, and without a military success first, there will be none. It is not comparable to Haiti or Angola. Or, maybe it is exactly comparable to Angola: prior ot the end of its civil war in 2002, there were no realistic options for these non-forceful methods.

    I guess I would put it this way. If we really want to see such an approach take root in Afghanistan, we need to recognize the necessity of this military precursor now.

  4. quackup says:

    I wouldn’t advocate a total stop to military use and war suddenly.
    Angola is a very good example of a place where a lot of foreign embassies helped ensure people’s welfare to an extent, while they were also pouring funds into the fighting.
    I think NATO and the United States have a role to play in Afghanistan, definitely, but I would add that their role can be maximized by also utilizing civilian measures simultaneously and investing some time and money in those fields that the military can’t answer to adequately. In the case of sending additional troops to where there already are stationed many soldiers, I would see perhaps more positive in adding civilian rather than additional forces.

  5. […] year ago I published one of my first posts on this blog “Don’t Charge, Educate!” following President Obama’s announcement that the U.S would deploy more troops to […]

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