I had thought it bad enough that Karzai's feudal "government" is worm-eaten with ex-Taliban and ex-Soviet-collaborationist thugs like Ismail Khan who lord it over their subjects with casual brutality.
I had thought it bad enough that Afghanistan's constitution mandates that journalists be sentenced to death for "blasphemy" and that anyone be sentenced to death for converting to Christianity.
I had thought it bad enough that (as pro-democracy groups on the ground are desperately trying to tell us) women are still bereft of the most basic human rights and may, in fact, be worse off than they were under the Taliban.
I had thought it bad enough that Afghanistan has, since the invasion, gained the distinction of supplying 93% of the world's heroin, thus becoming essentially an intercontinental weapon of mass destruction.
Well, it just got worse. Now we learn that Canada is considering funding the construction of a network of madrassas--academies of Islamist indoctrination--as part of our sixty-million-dollar commitment to help "reconstruct" the Afghan education system ("reconstruct" being government double-speak for "build from scratch", naturally). Madrassas, as you surely know, are the hives of hatred that routinely produce bitter harvests of Islamic extremism in places like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
Now, this proposal is not being made by some low-level functionary still recovering from a lost weekend in Bangkok. On the contrary; the article states:
Canadian officials on the ground - both civilian and military - have been quietly pushing Ottawa over the last year to encourage the development of moderate madrassas as long-term strategy to fight extremism.
Ah, so we're not to worry, because our madrassas will be "moderate" ones. Presumably, Canadian personnel will be attached to each school in perpetuity to ensure the "moderate" credentials of its staff. Perhaps we needn't do even that much. After all, oversight seems hardly necessary in a land like Afghanistan, where things have always worked out nicely on their own.
We are told that the madrassas shall teach the "moderate" Hanafi version of Sharia Law rather than the more militant Wahhabi (the norm in Saudi Arabia). The article explains that Hanafi is a "less fundamentalist form of Islam".
Splendid. So Hanafi students will be less fundamentalist than the Wahhabi-inspired 9/11 hijackers. Could we expect them to fly just one plane into a building instead of two? Would they give an adulterous woman sixty lashes instead of ninety?
We fail to find reasons to consider Hanafi as moderate as these claims suggest. We note that Abdul Rahman, the would-be Christian, was sentenced to die according to specifically Hanafi principles, which mandate the death penalty for "apostasy" from Islam.
Worse, Deobandi, a popular form of Hanafi, has become the faith of the Taliban (yes, the Taliban--the bad guys). Worse still, Deobandi imams are so eager to issue fatwas that they've been accused of doing it for cash, stirring an horrifically fascinating stew of avarice and barbarism.
So let us review, shall we? Not content with disgorging Canadian blood and treasure in the service of a medieval, corrupt, thug-infested regime of poppy-mongers, we've now decided to underwrite the establishment of the kinds of "schools" that are known to incubate precisely the fanaticism that has been killing our soldiers for the past five years.
That this post cannot fit comfortably on a fridge magnet or a bumper sticker, I admit. I would nevertheless suggest that it deserves as much serious and respectful consideration--and perhaps more--as would yet another fatuous iteration of a "Support-Our-Troops" or "We-Don't-Cut-And-Run" cliché.