Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Millions of Afghanis Thankful for US Military Intervention

I hope this gets the press it deserves. As a conservative American, I'm against our current focus on nation building...yet I can't help but laud the freedom that George W. Bush's aggressive policies have brought into some of the darkest regimes on earth.


Jon said...

Hmmm... this links to a blog which links to a USA Today post which cites a report. What it says is that infant mortality is down 22% in Afghanistan, and it largely credits the UN for this. It doesn't say anything about millions being grateful to the US. My guess is that we could have had the same impact for pennies on the dollar. And in the meantime, have you read what happens to people who convert to Christianity in Afghanistan? How about support for the Taliban or growth of narcotics? I'm amazed people still are seeing this as a model for anything.

Chris said...


You seem to have missed the point. The UN had money before the Taliban was toppled. What they didn't have was access. In a regime that brutalized women - the main care-providers for children - it's little wonder that health care was in such a poor state. After the US-led coalition routed the Taliban, the UN was able to do its job and get monies to those health organizations in need.

As for the Christians in Afghanistan - yes, they are oppressed. It goes to show that increased access to health care, education, and monetary systems will do very little in reducing our innate depravity. (Just look at India.)

Meanwhile, converting to Christianity fundamentally changes the nature of a people. It has been the example of history that a massive conversion to Christianity has been followed by an era of advancement for women, children, and the entire economy in the nation.

I'm amazed that we, the mainline church, gave up on that model for the pablum of international aid organizations.

Jon said...


This is frustrating to me because I was born in Congo in a PCUSA hospital. There are many, many places in the world where paltry US humnitarian aid could have a much bigger impact on infant mortality. We have now spent the equivalent of something like $20,000/person on these wars, and what we have for it is a very modest decrease in infant mortality rates. I think possibily that Afghanistan was probably worth it, but we botched it by going on to Iraq and now we have undermined our reputation in the region and the world.

And it's not just that Christians in Afghanistan are oppressed, it is still illegal to convert. We have put in place a government that still sees sharia as its model. I don't know how you get "Millions of Afghanis thankful" out of this. It just doesn't seem credible.

And as a historian, I think while Christianity often initiates social change, it's a bit of a stretch to say that it automatically leads to the advancement of women, children, and the economy. (Compare non-Christian China's rapid growth and stress on egalitarianism, at least on paper, with Christian Latin American and sub-sahharan Africa.) I think too often "wishful thinking" clouds our ability to initiate real change.

Chris said...


The USA did not invade Afghanistan in order to reduce infant mortality. We invaded them in order to destroy a safe harbor for Al Qaeda. To that end, we have been successful. The fact that health care is more available and women are going back to school is a fringe benefit.

As for us propping up an Islamic sharia state, all the US did was restore executive order and hand power over to local officials. (So much for being an empire...) Those officials called for a loya jirga (grand assembly) and - through a negotiation process - made their own constitution. They, themselves, chose to live under a form of Sharia law.

As for positive Christian influence , of course it's not simple and flat. However, if a people are truly converted (not replacing one form of idolatry for another), then it will go as I have said. Reformational (apostolic) Christianity pulls people out of the gutter of human depravity. The people must be taught the true gospel, and then to read the Bible for themselves. If this is done, they will prosper.