The absurdity should be self-evident

On May 16, the Denton Record-Chronicle ran a Dallas Morning News editorial (“The War on Afghanistan’s Women”) trying to justify a U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan on feminist grounds. The absurdity here should be self-evident, but apparently it isn’t.

The core of the editorial’s argument is that troop withdrawal leaves Afghan women and girls at the mercy of the Taliban. To this effect, it cites former President George W. Bush and officials from his administration (whose judgment on Afghanistan speaks for itself), while reciting two recent stories of horrific violence — neither of which can actually be attributed to the Taliban. Incredibly, on the basis of this thin gruel, the authors conclude that troop withdrawal wouldn’t end the “forever war.”

If leaving Afghanistan won’t end the war, then what will?

Leaving will come with costs, but so will staying. According to Brown University’s Costs of War Project, the Afghanistan War has already cost around $2.26 trillion and 240,000 lives, including 71,000 civilians. Since troop withdrawal won’t be complete until July, that cost could very well increase.

If the authors of the Dallas Morning News editorial are truly concerned about the welfare of Afghan girls and women, perhaps they should consider what Malala Yousafzai, the Nobel laureate famously shot by the Taliban for her activism, told then-President Obama when they met in 2014: “Instead of sending guns, send books. Instead of sending weapons, send teachers.” In other words, it is constructive solutions, not militarism, that will truly make a difference.

Benjamin Smith,


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