Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Is This What Our Soldiers Are Dying For?

I just read on Andrew Nutt's blog the following about a new law which has come into force in Afghanistan...
A new law was recently passed that an Afghan husband is allowed to starve his wife if she refuses to have sex with him. A woman must have also her husband’s permission to work. An earlier bill asked Shia women to have sex with their husbands every four days at a minimum. It also removed the need for consent to sex within marriage, effectively condoning rape. This amended version has been published in the official gazette and become law.

Surely this can't be true, I thought. Is this what our armed forces are fighting for? But yes, it is true. HERE's the report from MSNBC.

And there was me thinking we were there to bring freedom and democracy to the people of Aghanistan. How naive.


Anonymous said...

And there was me thinking we were there to bring freedom and democracy to the people of Aghanistan...

Nothing to do with securing oil pipelines and related infrastructure, keeping the area in turmoil to deter encroachment by the Russians or carving up the spoils of the Heroin crop then?

Christ on a bike, Mrs Dale, you are naive. That, or just another MSM disinformer.

Andrew Boff said...

What do you suggest we do?

Anonymous said...

Your naievity is quite alarming Iain. Get real!

Javelin said...

Yes, the Government is sick.

Harriet Harman is very quiet on this one.

Paddy Briggs said...

Ghastly beyond belief. The reason that we went into Afghanistan originally was to hunt down the 9/11 mob and capture or kill bin Laden and his band of thugs. We and the rest of the (now) NATO forces have failed to do this. A necessary condition of getting at "Al-Qaeda” (although that is far too simplistic a descriptor of them) was to overthrow the Taliban which, ghastly though they are, was the de facto Government of the country (regime change).

As in Vietnam all those years ago finally defeating a guerrilla army like the Taliban in a country as large as Afghanistan is nigh on impossible. Meanwhile the new “legitimate” Government of Afghanistan has happily used NATO to protect them whilst they seek to legitimise themselves in the eyes of the population – many (most?) of whom are Taliban sympathisers. So they start to do some of the things that the Taliban did – as in this case.

We are stuck. Of course we cannot withdraw because that would say that we have lost and that our boys have died in vain (shades of Vietnam again) so we have to have a military surge (more deaths) which probably won’t succeed. The Vietnam comparison will apply also eventually to the end of this sorry adventure. NATO and the Afghan government will have to sit down with the Taliban just as the US had to sit down with the Vietcong. The outcome will be a NATO withdrawal and within a short space of time there will be a brief civil war in Afghanistan out of which a Taliban type of government will emerge. In the meantime Bin Laden will stay in his cave laughing himself hoarse…

Pete said...

And there was me thinking we were there to bring freedom and democracy to the people of Aghanistan...

Not *really*, Iain?

Bob Piper said...

Surely Iain, not even you believed that the reason George W. Bush and his allies invaded was because they wanted to liberate Afghan women?

Or that we were committing tens of thousands of men, and billions of pounds, in order to establish 'freedom and democracy'?

If those were the ideals, why no intervention in Sudan? Why are we not invading Saudi Arabia instead of selling them weapons?

If women's rights were the issue would surely have invaded Iran, not Iraq.

Whether your first commenter is correct in saying it is about oil, Russia or heroin, I don't know, but I'm bloody sure it has got sod all to do with the liberation of women and precious little to do with freedom and democracy.

Anonymous said...

Its hard for me to comment exactly on this specific detail since I oppose the war, but it is this that I should hope our soldiers are NOT fighting for, surely?

Unknown said...


As disgusting as this law is, bringing democracy to a country isn't about instant transformations.

There are elections tomorrow which are going to be flawed and corrupt, just like most of the elections in the developing world. But the new government may scrap or endorse this law (I hope they scrap it) but it is up to them.

Imposing our sensibilities on other countries is called imperialism and I thought we had moved away from that.

Wider human rights will come with greater emancipation. It was not long ago that Afghan women were not allowed even the most basic of rights, it is naive to expect any country to move that quickly.

Anonymous said...

We're not in Afghanistan to give them liberal democracy or Judeo-Christian values Iain.

We're there to keep Al Queda at bay.

Paul Halsall said...

Our soldiers (my nephew Nick is in the Royal Marines) are fighting so that we can control a cauldron of extremism in the far-middle east.

Most of the people there (male and female) are not in any essential way reachable by any military or diplomatic methods.

The terrorism is fueled by by our dependence on oil, and the power that gives religious elites, both Shia and Sunni, and if not them, thugs like Saddam. We rightly support Israel's right to exist, but its position as a western cipher in the region makes everything else worse.

We need to keep the military lid on the region; decrease our need for oil from the region; and de-toxify the presence of Israel (which is now home to many religious extremists just as gross as the Taliban).

What else can we do? I mean, seriously this is not even a party issue in the UK.

LM said...

"fighting for Freedom and democracy".

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with Anon 19.08.2009 @ 7:14.

Some would say we have it wrong. In 1997 Labour had a minister for women or some such. She stated that it was her intention to make women at least as premiscuous as men.

Twelve years on and with std's, unwanted pregnancies and baby beatings we can safely say they got that one nailed.

Such inequalities are abhorent but we need to get our own house in order first and even then its none of business.

Quietzapple said...

One 2 - 0 win and you go silly on us.

Wd are denying our enemies some of the means to conspire and organise against us, which means they have much favoured in the past.

If they move on to Indonesia, as I pointed out a few years back before C i F banned me for using the term "islamo-fascist," we shall have a new problem.

Anonymous said...

Look at Karzai the Afghan leader and the way he drapes his coat or whatever over his shoulders, he is no leader and would be dead if he is not protected by US army in his fortress in Kabul. He is a tribal man in that bandit country. Of all the countries, Macmillan the ex-PM said in TV AM a few years ago commenting on Soviet presence in Afghanistan that Britain knows too well about Afghanistan through wars in colonial times and wouldn't do what Soviet did. He said Britain learnt from history. Did we? We are there because of AlQueda, because stupid America through its non-existent security at its airports let the plane to be hijacked allowed it to be used as a missile directed at the world trade centre towers. Those who try to install Western style democracy in Islamic countries like Afghanistan and Iraq do not know these countries. After we leave defeated these countries will revert back to what they were before-Talibanism hiding AlQueda in Afghanistan and Shiat imposing sharia in all its ugly facets Iraq. Democracy and Islam do not mix. Our soldiers have died in vain. Let us cut our losses and bring our boys home.

Anonymous said...

This story is a good few days old now.

kris said...


And if we do leave, what hope do they have then.

F-all squared.

We pull out and Al Qaeda has carte blanche to poison lives at home as well as attack us from their new, untouched base.

Remember 9-11? Al Qaeda don't hate us for what we do; they hate us for what we are.

UpAGumTree said...

Until such time our EU so-called NATO allies start to pull their weight we should just bring our boys home. We are currently on a hiding to nothing. Their time could be better spent helping to secure borders here. We might then want to reconsider our visa regimes with Pakistan and Afghanistan as I am not sure what precisely they have to offer us. God help us, we should be more like Australia and put our own country (and our own traditions and religion) first.

Mirtha Tidville said...

May I just heartily endorse`Upagumtree and Norman` contributions both of which mirror my own.

Nato is a joke...full stop( and this mob of we dont `go out after darkers` was supposed to keep the Russians at bay.....they couldnt keep the Boy Scouts out.Another fine mess the Bloody Yanks got us into let them do what they want and bring our boys home .......

Anonymous said...

If that's the way they want to behave then screw 'em. Their bigotry should not be built on top of the blood of British soldiers.

Jimmy said...

"It also removed the need for consent to sex within marriage, effectively condoning rape."

Shocking how backward these people are compared to us. That hasn't been the law in England since 1991.

Anonymous said...

"As in Vietnam all those years ago finally defeating a guerrilla army like the Taliban in a country as large as Afghanistan is nigh on impossible."

Your grasp of history is thin. Nixon won the Vietnam war - there was a peace treaty signed in Paris (1973).

Once the Americans withdrew and then the Democrat controlled congress refused the South funds and banned any further military intervention - even bombing - South Vietnam was invaded by the North Vietnamese Army (1975), not a guerilla in sight.

I am not aware of any oil pipelines travelling across Afghanistan and the continued fighting makes it less not more likely.

If people are going to pontificate then it would be good if they could get their military history and their geopolitical projections correct.
And Mr Dale (note I am respectful and call you Mr) you and others might remember that Stalin was on our side in WW2).

As to why we are in Afghanistan - many reasons have been put forward but it strikes me not a good idea to have a rogue state on the border of Pakistan where nuclear bombs or just plain dirty fissile material could be stashed away on top of any old convenient Scud.

(blogger causing problems - hope this does not post 2ce)

David said...

This is indeed Democracy, Iain - as agreed by a majority of the Afghan parliament. It is the same tyrannical system that can magically legitimise the murder of Serbian, Afghan and Iraqi civilians, and that steals 50% of the income of the productive population in order to fund these illegal wars. The looted largesse also pays for the champagne of the bankers and the Stella of the underclass. This is indeed what we are fighting for. It is a fraud, and and it stinks, both here and there.

Anonymous said...

AlQueda and 9/11
Well just a few moths before 9/11, after London to Minneapolis flight, I was booked to travel by internal flight from Minneapolis to Dallas. I had 2 hours to kill at the airport and bumped into a mate of mine in my university days in America. He was working at Minneapolis airport and while chatting he ridiculed how we Brits and Europeans are deluded with so called airport security checks in our internal flights which he said works against the businessman by forcing him to come to the airport early. Contrasting this in American internal flights, he said they do not have this obstacle ( he referred to security checks as obstacle in internal flights) for businessman can arrive just 10 mins early and board the plane straight away.
Well, the rest is history! The 9/11 is AlQueda engineered but this was facilitated by the lack of proper security checks which my mate in Minneapolis chat called the obstacle. The other contributory factors are the rivalry between the sections of intelligence agencies in USA, the USA's boast about the best flying schools in the world and their readiness to issue visas for those who praised them and wanted to do their training there. The 9/11 perpetrators used this very successfully. The intelligence services knew years early about an Egyptian cleric and his attention on world trade centre towers. Clinton did nothing.
Why do we blindly follow the yanks? They have no sense of history.

Cinnamon said...

Actually it is even more depressing than you think:

(Link is in German, for those who can't speak it, maybe Babelfish can help.)

Anonymous said...

"Your grasp of history is thin. Nixon won the Vietnam war - there was a peace treaty signed in Paris (1973)".

Sorry , Nixon did not win the Vietnam war. Even our GCSE History students know this. See their exam papers. I can send you this June GCSE paper.

I was in America studying and working at that time and remember too well Nixon's predicament in continuing the war, amidst the growing Watergate scandal. His secret trip to meet Mao and the final humiliation of US army quickly evacuating Saigon so vividly shown in TV and the defeatism felt in USA, I can well remember. To pacify the South Vietnamese who were left to the mercy of the N Vietnam forces, emergency evacuation of many of them to USA meant that our university sheltered many of them
in makeshift tents in its sprawling campus grassland.

Alex said...

Yeah, the cheek of it. We fought so they could be free and then they go and do what they bloody well like.

Actually I thought we went in, oh, nearly 8 years ago, to mop up the last few remnants of Al-Quaeda.

jailhouselawyer said...

Iain: Do keep up! John Bolch @ Family Lore "Is this what our people are dying in Afghanistan for?"

Charles said...

Iain - isn't that the point of freedom democracy?

You (and I) may despise what they choice to do with it, but it up to the Afghanis who decide their own laws.

Paul Halsall said...


There is no democracy there, and the women don't get to have any say.

It really is awful.

But we can do nothing about it.

We hope we can stop another 9/11, 7/7 or Madrid bombing.

If we (and the Americans - it's weird how journalists here discuss it as if we are not just an adjunct to US forces) just leave, THEY will think we have no balls and bomb us again.

Oddly enough the soldiers one sees interviewed seem to grasp that. Journos don't.

Anonymous said...

And there was me thinking we were there to bring freedom and democracy to the people of Aghanistan.

No, we deployed to Afghanistan in 2001/2 because Tony Blair saw an unprecedented opportunity to ingratiate himself with the Americans and elevate his own status on the world stage.

Today we are fighting in Afghanistan so that Polyphemus Broon can ingratiate himself with the Americans and hopefully score some useful propaganda pictures of himself with Obama and maybe, if he's very lucky, even get some compliments from the new president that can be twisted into an endorsement by Labour's Propaganda Ministry.

Young men from this country die almost daily to advance the "careers" of politicians who are so focused on their career than they have no clue what their job is.

Anonymous said...


What else can we do?

We can withdraw. We can withdraw, stop killing Afghans and stop getting British soldiers killed.

We can recognise that the war in Afghanistan is unwinnable and stop expecting young men from this country parade around with targets on their backs to satisfy the vanity of Labour politicians.

But let's be honest, Halsall: if it were a Tory government in place and British soldiers were coming home in coffins, you wouldn't be talking about sticking it out, would you? You wouldn't be dismissing this as a non-partisan issue. You'd be shrieking from the rooftops about the evil Tory warmongers.

You're a creature of Labour. Your opinions are just the regurgitation of current Labour Party policy. We know what you're going to say about any given topic simply by reading the daily talking points issued on Labourlist.

Quietzapple said...

@ Paul Halsall: Women have the vote, women bear the children, rock the cradle.

There is hope.

Anonymous said...

THEY will think we have no balls and bomb us again.

The irony of this. A diehard right-on lefty - and a gay one no less! - freaking out trying to prove his macho credentials against Them.

Halsall, you're cutting and pasting what Bush was saying in 2002 and 2003: we've gotta fight them sand people over there so we don't have to fight 'em over here. We've gotta teach them sand people a big old dang lesson else they'll think we ain't got no balls, ya hear? We're gonna smoke 'em out! We're gonna hang 'em high! YEEEEEEEHAW! I'm a-gonna git on mah horse and lasso that uppity varmint Osama, y'all hear, now?

Halsall, you complete and utter imbecile, you have either lapsed into self-parody or you're simply the biggest troll on the planet.

Anonymous said...

Your grasp of history is thin. Nixon won the Vietnam war - there was a peace treaty signed in Paris (1973).

Yes, Nixon won. That's why Vietnam is not a communist state. That's why the North never conquered the South. That's why the American embassy in Saigon is still in operation. That's why Hanoi was renamed Richard Nixon City. That's why North Vietnam surrendered and its leadership went into exile in Laos.

You, dear boy, should put down that crack pipe and join the rest of us here on Planet Earth. Objective reality is what it is, amigo, and no amount of wishful thinking is going to change. America lost in Vietnam and ran away with its tail between its legs and no matter how hard you clap, nothing is going to change that. M'kay?

Paul Halsall said...

Um, Anonymous (=no balls, no cajones)

Why you think gay men should be less macho than straight men escapes me.

Perhaps you think all gay men are sissies? (Or even think that sissies are actually cowards, and not the brave men they often are).

And I have no commonality with Bush.

But if you think religiously inspired terrorism has just gone away, I think you are wrong.

Reagan evacuated the Marines from Lebanon, and ever after there was a perception that the US in particular, and the West in general would simply run away.

That is a problem.

I don't know the way out, but neither do you, and name-calling from behind a mask does not really help, does it?

BTW: there is no evidence that any other party would do any different. Certainly not the Tories, and probably not the LidDems.

Quietzapple said...

Those who imagine that the facts re Afghanistan in the past determine the course of the current campaign are mistaken.

Our objectives are different, our power more nearly overwhelming, tne nations involved more numerous, the stakes higher, our losses far fewer than those the USSR suffered in their campaign which we opposed for example:

Quietzapple said...

Anon @ 11.06 hasn't met any Islamo-fascists I guess, and been threatened by them.

If He had He would have abused them good and proper . . .

Osama the Nazarene said...

Iain we are in Afghanistan for one primary reason. The Taliban in power facilitated Al Quaeda terrorist training camps for dissident muslim (wahabi) fanatics. It is these fanatics who blew up the twin towers in New York, laid the Bali bomb, bombed the US embassy in Nairobi and devastated London in July 2007.

Our soldiers are doing a great job on our behalf. Until we can come to some understanding with "sensible" elements of the taliban that the running of terror training camps is non negotiable they will remain our enemy. All other outcomes are incidental. We are not there to protect the rights of women or impose our democracy or even stop them growing poppies (the taliban did this quite successfully).

All of which of course means that someone will have to turn to Somalia at some point before bin laden does.

Unknown said...

Looking at Obama speaking a few days ago he seems to have adopted the Bush stance that the Afghan war is all about vengeance for 9/11.

Brown is looking for terrorists around every corner.

Meanwhile our troops are dying.

Clearly a case of lions led by donkeys!

Dimoto said...

Strange reference to Shia women.
The much put-upon Hazara minority are the main Shiite group, most Pushtuns and Tadjiks are Sunni.

Does anyone really believe that Osama in his mountain stronghold was really responsible for 9/11 or 7/7 ?
9/11 was planned and carried out by a group of well-educated Saudis and 7/7 was carried out by British born, mostly ethnic Pakistanis.
Buggering around in Afghanistan is entirely futile, but necessary if we want to keep onside with the dim US foreign policy consensus.
That's all.

Jonforest said...

Stop saying the war is unwinnable, when what you mean is that we are not prepared to use the means necessary to win it. They are two different propositions.
Afghanistan has been conquered plenty of times over the last 2,500 years by forces who did not possess our present overwhelming technical and military advantages over the indigenous population.
They did, however, have the will to subdue their enemies (with far less cause than we do) and did not have to worry about gruesome scenes upsetting tv news viewers.
What we shouldn't be doing is asking our troops to put their lives at risk by waging war as if they were aid workers.
I think the conduct of the aftermath of the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan has been appalling but we are in Afghanistan because its government supported and hosted an organisation that killed more than 100 Britons on September 11 and would have continued to support and protect it had we not removed it from power.
We are not there to secure oil pipelines though that would be a perfectly acceptable reason if it were true - or don't you rely on oil?

gustavus said...

Freedom and democracy - two things that rarely work in concert. Time to brush of your Kuehnelt-Leddihn, Iain.

Kenny the Kuffur said...

Oh come off it Iain, this shagging on demand is actually written into the Koran.

A women is deemed to be a 'garden' or 'tilth' that may be cultivated by the 'gardener' at his will.

If the woman refuses, then he is entitled to beat her, provided that there are no blows to the face, blood spilled or fractures.

For your further education have a
look here:

Anonymous said...

"Why you think gay men should be less macho than straight men escapes me."

Agreed. Have you seen those photos of Right Said Putin?

Annonymouse said...

Iain - this is not surprising.

You should read the Afghan constitution.

Unknown said...

Utter rubbish. The problem is Islam. Go to Saudi Arabia, Pakistan or any Muslim Country and women get treated like crap. How about homosexuals being stung up in Iran Iain?

Perhaps Iain dale might like to comment on the Government here allowing 14 year old Muslim girls to be sent to Pakistan to be raped and married then their goat herder husband and family come back to the UK to live once she's turned 16? The excuse is "its their culture innit"

I thought not Iain.

Anonymous said...

The law has not been signed off yet.

Disco Biscuit said...

"And there was me thinking we were there to bring freedom and democracy to the people of Aghanistan"

I thought it was meant to be to stop al Qaeda?

And nothing to do with providing the US with a strategic outpost near Pakistan, India, Iran, Russia and the rest?

Boff's question at 6:41 is the right one; what DO we do? Either we are "there to bring freedom and democracy to the people of Aghanistan", and we must therefore accept that their laws are the product of their freedom and democracy, or we seek to impose our own laws on them, which is imperialism.

Sorry Iain, but I suspect you must have been a little tired when you wrote your blog post, because it's uncharacteristically incoherent.

Dr. Strangelove said...

Andrew Boff said...
"What do you suggest we do?"

Nuke 'em - what else!

Man in a Shed said...

Strange how quiet all the guardianistas and Cherie Booths have gone on this.

The Economist comes very close to accusing our and the US govt of lying over the justification for the war in Afghanistan this week.