Friday, February 11, 2011
Lesser of Two Great Evils
With the events in Egypt dominating the news of late, a very disturbing story has slipped through the cracks. Said Musa, an Afghan physiotherapist and aid worker, is set to be hanged on February 11th. His crime? Converting to Christianity. Now one might say that although tragic, this type of behavior is unfortunately rather common place for the Taliban. The problem is that this heinous act is not being perpetrated by the Taliban but rather by the Afghan government. The same Afghan government which was set up by the United States and came to be at the cost of American soldiers lives.
Musa, who worked for the Red Cross, lost a leg to a landmine explosion in the 1990's and has worked ever since with amputees. He was arrested seven months ago and claims he has repeatedly been assaulted both physically and sexually by guards and inmates. A judge reportedly visited him on February 8th and said he had three days in which to convert back to Islam or be hanged. He has claimed he will not renounce his faith and he is willing to die(1). As of yet there has been no further reports on Musa.
There has been no evidence that the White House has tried to stop or even enquire about the scheduled execution. With Afghanistan receiving billions in aid from the U.S., it would seem that a few phone calls could easily persuade the powers that be to hand him over to the U.S. Evidently, upsetting the Muslims is just not worth this man's life, even though Afghanistan's own constitution states "Followers of other religions are free to exercise their faith and perform their religious rites within the limits of the provisions of law". Defense attorneys have either refused to take the case or have quit after receiving death threats. Still the Obama administration appears to have no interest of reaching out.
This begs the question: what are American troops still doing in Afghanistan? There was a time when American troops had a clear cut goal. It was to wipe out the extremists who were responsible for or who would support terrorism. But when the government in power follows the same ideology as the deposed Taliban, then why are American troops still fighting to keep one safe from the other. Over 1300 American soldiers have died fighting a group of people who openly supported and harbored those who would kill anyone who they deemed violated the teachings of Mohammad, and yet the same thing is occurring under the guise of a democratic "US friendly" regime(2). As it appears that the Karzai regime is merely the lesser of two great evils, it is time that a deep conversation begin regarding what our soldiers are really risking their lives for. If it is just to support what amounts to extremism under a different name, then a plan to bring them home should commence immediately.