What Awaits The New President “Over There”
David Schraub’s “Leave the land so we won’t rape you,” quoting a female Egyptian “human rights” attorney, who made that statement “in the course of urging Arab men to, at the very least, sexually harass Israeli women as part of their “resistance” to Zionism,” prompted me to go back to the Sunday Opinion section of my New York Times today.
I had read similarly outrageous comments by some Pakistani officials in a Nicholas Kristof column.
In his “The Pakistan Test,” Kristof bemoans the depressing political, military, and social situation and conditions in Pakistan, a country where “the United States has squandered more than $10 billion…since 9/11, and Pakistani intelligence agencies seem to have rerouted some of that to Taliban extremists.”
Kristof also addresses the difficult situation that Obama will inherit when he takes office and gives “several useful steps that we in the West can take to reduce the risk of the region turning into the next Somalia.”
But, getting back to the outrageous comments, the following words attributed to two of President Ali Zardari’s new cabinet members truly disgusted me. According to Kristof:
One new cabinet member, Israr Ullah Zehri, defended the torture-murder of five women and girls who were buried alive (three girls wanted to choose their own husbands, and two women tried to protect them). “These are centuries-old traditions, and I will continue to defend them,” Mr. Zehri said of the practice of burying independent-minded girls alive.
Then there is Pakistan’s new education minister, Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani. Last year, the Supreme Court ordered him arrested for allegedly heading a local council that decided to solve a feud by taking five little girls and marrying them to men in an enemy clan. The girls were between the ages of 2 and 5, according to Samar Minallah, a Pakistani anthropologist who investigated the case (Mr. Bijarani has denied involvement).
Reading about such inhumanities must undoubtedly make people ask the question, “What in heaven’s name are we doing there?” (I know, “if we don’t fight them over there, we’ll have to fight them over here.” But isn’t there a better way of doing this?)
And talking about “over there,” in Iraq and Afghanistan, the same edition of the New York Times carries an excellent set of Op-Ed articles, “by experts on the most formidable issues facing the new president” in Iraq and Afghanistan. My own description would have been, “on the mess that Obama is inheriting from his predecessor.”
The set of articles is called “Transitions” and includes the following (I will use The Times’ own words to describe them.) Please read them, they are well worth an hour or so of your time, and your emotions.
The Little Battles We Must Win
By LINDA ROBINSON
Special Forces and American civilians have much to do in Iraq.
A Wartime Presidency, On Two Fronts
By ANTHONY H. CORDESMAN
Iraq isn’t over, and Afghanistan is going to be even tougher.
How to Leave Iraq, Intact
By PETER MANSOOR
A slow withdrawal and a sizable force after 2012.
The ‘Good War’ Isn’t Worth Fighting
By RORY STEWART
The West’s lofty goals will only set Afghanistan back.
Out of Conflict, a Partnership
By FREDERICK W. KAGAN
As Iraq becomes more independent, it will still share America’s goals.
One Surge Does Not Fit All
By DONALD H. RUMSFELD
Afghanistan — huge, poor and rural — calls for a new strategy.
Thanks, But You Can Go Now
By AHMAD CHALABI
An idealistic invasion has turned into an intolerable occupation.