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July 20, 2009

Afghanistan Mission Creep Watch - The Two Little Girls Version
Posted by Michael Cohen

According to Thomas Friedman, there apparently is good reason to continue prosecuting a dubious counter-insurgency mission in Afghanistan . . . there are little girls to be saving:

In grand strategic terms, I still don’t know if this Afghan war makes sense anymore. I was dubious before I arrived, and I still am. But when you see two little Afghan girls crouched on the front steps of their new school, clutching tightly with both arms the notebooks handed to them by a U.S. admiral — as if they were their first dolls — it’s hard to say: “Let’s just walk away.” Not yet.

It's hard for me to put into words the anger that wells up inside of me when I read such an odious and manipulative op-ed like this one. This is the equivalent of liberal humanitarian porn. Perhaps Tom Friedman should attend a military funeral and write an op-ed about the looks on the faces of two little girls in America whose daddy is killed in Afghanistan pursuing this mission.

It's not that those of who think the current mission in Afghanistan is a fool's errand don't care about these little girls, but their plight cannot be the deciding factor in how America chooses to utilize military force abroad. For all those little girls in Afghanistan, there are little girls in Sudan or North Korea or even down the street from me in Brooklyn who also need help. Quite simply, it's not how you would ever conduct foreign policy decision-making . . . or ever should. I'm more than happy to argue with anyone about why I think the current mission in Afghanistan is the wrong one, but I'm not going to argue with someone who throws cheap, manipulative and emotional arguments in my face about two little girls in Afghanistan.**

Perhaps this is the same sort of shallow and simplistic decision-making that turned Tom Friedman into a cheerleader for that last humanitarian intervention that he just couldn't walk away from - Iraq

** And on that note I will be arguing about Afghanistan tomorrow on KCRW's On The Point so be sure to listen in.

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