This, says the government of Afghanistan that Canadians are fighting to support, will be a kinder, gentler ministry for the suppression of vice and the promotion of virtue. Believe that if you can.
The government of President Hamid Karzai said Tuesday that it will re-establish something like the Taliban religious police, which systematically banned education for girls, anything remotely like free expression, the employment of women, the trimming of beards by men, even card-playing and kite-flying. The price of such "vice" was often beating or summary imprisonment, sometimes worse.
The announcement was the latest of Karzai's efforts to mollify religious hardliners and some tribal leaders, all of them eager to reduce the authority of the central government and to slow or reverse the progress of dangerous ideas such as equality before the law. How Karzai imagines he bolsters his authority by giving it away is a question we look forward to hearing him answer.
Beyond a doubt Karzai has a tightrope to walk as he tries to build a real government from an intractable country full of warlords, tribalists regional factions. Some will argue that he knows best how to stay up there.
But the rebirth of Afghanistan's "vice" police is plainly counter-productive to human rights. And that cause is vital, if not central, to Karzai's foreign friends, Canadians not least.
With all the news from Israel/Lebanon this may has slipped under the radar.
So what pressures should the Canadian government exercise here? Does it go against our stated goals of exterminating the the Taliban or is it coming back another way?
Or is the reality that Karzai's regime has no choice?
Should we let it happen because it fall under their definition of rights and freedom?
The other news noted today was
Afghanistan close to anarchy, warns general
The most senior British military commander in Afghanistan yesterday described the situation in the country as "close to anarchy" with feuding foreign agencies and unethical private security companies compounding problems caused by local corruption.
Afghanistan certainly wasn't going to magically transform to 'Canada-style' or close. We'll see how this one develops. If it is just, "alcohol, drugs, and corruption" and such, that's one thing (conventional corruption, not a wide swath of 'moral' corruption). If it's the Taliban Police Department, that's another.
I'm not sure how this can be prejudged unless they actually come out and list oppressive goals beyond the usual silly prohibitions that many nations still practice or did practice relatively recently.
You can't force a country to be democratic. If anyone actually thought that the religious extremists were going to simply shrivel up and disappear, they need their head examined.
Once the US pulls out of Iraq, it will degrade into the state it once was. The only way for nations to change is for the people of the country to force change.
We shouldn't meddle with the affairs of other governments. Sure, we know they are ass-backwards in beliefs and treatment of women.
Think of these nations as children. You can't beat a young child and expect him to become an adult overnight. You need guide the child, and discipline him when he behaves poorly.
Trade sactions are a good start. I'm all for banning government officials from these backwards countries from entering our country. It would be like inviting my neighbour, who beats his wife, into my home for tea and biscuits.
yet Canadian soldiers keep dying for a people seemingly unwilling to accept democratic reform
Canada was a democracy that didn't allow women to vote. There are also many more things that can be listed based on gender, race (e.g. Chinese head tax), religion and more.
Simply saying, "people seemingly unwilling to accept democratic reform" misses the point about developing democracies, how "democracy" evolves and what democratic reform actually means.
Expecting Afghanistan to leap from where it was to anywhere near Canada's level of social liberalism would be nuts. Step-by-step is the way, just like most democracies develop. That's democratic reform.