Rod Nordland, "Portrait of Pain Ignites Debate Over Afghan War". August 4 [Caution: second-hand war porn if you scroll down]
OKAY, so Time's an ever bigger piece of pre-digested Twinkie filling than it was back when it was a news magazine. But surely there was someone at an editorial-decision level who took a look at the caption--What Happens if We Leave Afghanistan No Punctuation--and said--right out loud an' stuff--"This happened while we were in Afghanistan!" If I'm too much of an optimist for the modern world let's just kiss it all goodbye right now and enjoy the sweet thrill ride to the bottom.
Use of graphic, shocking, even, photographs to make a point? With you 100%. It just doesn't absolve you from the requirements of rhetorical honesty. "Taliban: Medieval Barbarians Who Think God Is With Them"? Sure.
But the treatment of women is not part of the debate. It's there only because the people who got us into this debacle desperately needed--and still need--some way to make themselves look noble, since there's no way left for them to look astute. Or semi-competent. Yes, in many parts of the world women are chattel. In many parts of the world religion, or some similarly plerophoric system based on race or economic certitude, functions as a cudgel to keep people in line, and thank God we're beyond that here. Such is not recognized under international law as grounds for invasions unilateral or multilateral; feel free to lobby to change that if you wish. If it were it doesn't make the saintly observers in the US of A (Motto: Proudly Permitting Many Negresses To Vote Since 1964) the sole arbitrators, nor does it make it a Good Idea in every instance, and it sure don't make it possible, as The Longest War In US History If You Look At It In Just The Right Light keeps pointing out to us on a regular basis. Furthermore, it's not why we're in Afghanistan. Let us remind you, merely, that the Taliban crime family controlled Afghanistan for five years while no one at Time gave a shit. For that matter, in 2001 then-Acting President Bush announced that, theoretically, at least (the word comes to us from the Greek, theoretikos, meaning "try to keep a straight face when you hear this"), that the Taliban could just hand over bin Laden & Crew and we'd let 'em get back to defacing women and monuments next morning. If you weren't arguing for the United States to invade Afghanistan on human rights grounds in the 90s, then your argument now is tainted; if you were--or if you've since added our perfect track record in establishing and preserving the rights of women and minorities in countries we hate to the list--then it's your responsibility to tell us how we leave while keeping the craziest motherfuckers in a lawless land from doing pretty much whatever they please. And if you've got that plan, by all means, please share. I'd like to see if it would work on cable news.