Open thread for night owls. Ann Jones: Afghanistan—the never-ending war against women

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Afghan women protest

Afghan women in Kabul protest violence against women.

Ann Jones has observed the U.S.-Afghanistan war from its inception, first as a humanitarian worker, then as a reporter. Her book They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars—The Untold Story was published in 2014. At TomDispatch, she writes—The Never-Ending War:

Ten months ago, on December 28, 2014, a ceremony in Kabul officially marked the conclusion of America’s very long war in Afghanistan. President Obama called that day “a milestone for our country.”

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more than 13 years, he said, “our combat mission in Afghanistan is ending, and the longest war in American history is coming to a responsible conclusion.”

That was then. This is now. In between, on September 28, 2015, came another milestone: the Taliban takeover of Kunduz, the capital of the province of the same name in northern Afghanistan, and, with a population of about 270,000, the country’s fifth-largest city.
A few invaders strolled unopposed to the city center to raise the white flag of the Taliban. Others went door to door, searching for Afghan women who worked for women’s organizations or the government. They looted homes, offices, and schools, stealing cars and smashing computers. They destroyed three radio stations run by women. They attacked the offices of the American-led organization Women for Afghan Women and burned its women’s shelter to the ground. They denied reports on Kabul TV stations that they had raped women in the university dormitory and the women’s prison, then threatened to kill the reporters who broadcast the stories. […]

I think of all my brave Afghan colleagues who go to work in women’s organizations, like those in Kunduz, every day under threat of death.  I think of fearless Afghan women across the country—activists, parliamentarians, doctors, teachers, organizers, policewomen, actresses, TV presenters, singers, radio broadcasters, journalists, government ministers, provincial officials, candidates for public office—who over the last 10 years have been assassinated one by one, by teams of armed men on motorcycles, or by a bomb attached to the underside of a car, or by masked squads with ropes or Kalashnikovs.  

These killings have gone on year after year, the names of the dead women remembered and their numbers tallied by Human Rights Watch, while the Afghan government and the Bush or Obama administrations uttered scarcely a word of protest or condolence, and Afghan police failed to arrest a single assassin. George W. Bush famously claimed to have “liberated” Afghan women. Fourteen years later, with the Taliban again rising, with Washington having sunk tens of billions of dollars into the training and arming of hundreds of thousands of Afghan men to defend their country, it’s now time to offer Afghan women a course in how to defend themselves? […]



Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2007Protecting The Vote:

Tomorrow isn’t just about getting out the vote, it’s about protecting the vote as well.  
Election protection groups are launching a 50-state army of citizens tomorrow to ensure that no illegal practices occur, or, if they do occur, that such crimes are documented so that lawbreakers can be held accountable. The Wall Street Journal has more:

When Americans go to vote tomorrow, a new breed of activist will be on guard, monitoring polling stations for everything from voting-machine glitches to long lines to registration snafus.
Energized by disputed results in 2000 and 2004, they have left jobs as music conductors, real-estate agents and software engineers to form groups that expect to turn out thousands of volunteers who don’t trust the country’s ability to count its votes and have decided to do something about it.

“This is going to be the most heavily watched election in history,” predicts Marybeth Kuznik, who founded a group called VotePA after the 2004 election to monitor voting issues in Pennsylvania.

And it’s not just citizens who are going to be monitoring the polls.  The Department of Justice is stepping up as well.



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Today David Waldman tries, and fails to put Ben Carson behind him. He does however get to talk about a lot of other stuff Greg Dworkin presents a potpourri of politics and polling for your perusal: It’s Jobs Friday – and it’s a good one. Also, it turns out that Americans like government health plans best. Not so good news for Chris Christie and Mike Huckabee, who now move to the kid’s table. Lindsey Graham and George Pataki are not invited at all. Jeb Bush, who is still running for president, probably wishes his dad and brother would quit talking about old times. Although fun to watch, the Republican debates move few people outside of Republicans. Insiders are pretty certain Ben Carson can not win, but do think that Marco Rubio might. All politics used to be local, but lately all politics are turning national. This change is still not enough to help David Vitter, with prominent Republicans endorsing the Democratic competition, and with even Gumbo PAC running ads against him. People are looking at Ben Carson, and that makes him so very angry. All bad news is good news for his evangelical followers, although his presidency would still remain very bad news for all people. Being an Oath Keeper is keeping a lawyer from keeping his attorney oath. Louisiana police say they were exchanging gunfire with a suspect (they weren’t) when the suspect was backing his car towards them (he wasn’t) and then multiple police bullets killed a 6 year old boy (they did). Armando gives his personal South Florida, Miami-Dade county, Cuban perspective on the various lies and re-lying of Marco Rubio.

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