Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The effect of executing Islamic -->Christian converts on certain foreign interventions

The right wing was recently all up in arms about Afghanistan's attempt to try and execute Abdul Rahman for having converted from Islam to Christianity 16 years ago. That's fair enough: I wasn't exactly happy about that myself. People shouldn't be killed simply for changing faiths - that's not the sort of thing that can be brushed off as a mere cultural difference. It's wrong, period. And apparently most of the Muslim world accepts death as the appropriate punishment for leaving the Islamic faith.

The Western world's response should be: sorry, guys, but you've gotta change. Welcome to modernity, guys; part of the admission charge is that you don't kill people just for abandoning your faith. We consider choosing a new religion (or none at all) to be a fundamental human right, and we're going to be less than happy with you until you do too.

We've got a problem in that we're arguing from a weak position here, but I'll get back to that in another post. What I really wanted to talk about was how this episode has caused many on the Right to question their support for our endeavors in Afghanistan and Iraq. And at this point, I just want to say to them: why didn't you guys freakin' do your homework?? Shouldn't you have thought about - learned about - things like this up front, before pushing these wars??

Like many on the left, my position on the recent wars has been: Afghanistan yes, Iraq no. We were attacked on 9/11, and the Taliban government of Afghanistan was harboring bin Laden and al Qaeda. So we had to fight that war, period. And once we did so, we kinda owed it to them to help them patch their country back together: when the Soviet Union (or what was left of it by then) pulled out of Afghanistan in the late 1980s, we pulled out too, rather than helping them deal with the aftermath. We couldn't exactly do that to them twice in a row, no matter what they believed. We can do what we can to make sure they don't execute anybody else for abandoning Islam, but we can't pull out on account of their desire to do so. We're stuck. End of story.

Iraq, on the other hand: let's face it, apostasy isn't going to be any more popular in Iraq than it was in Afghanistan. But the difference is, we chose to intervene in Iraq. So if you're one of the people who was for this invasion, don't you think you should have known this sort of thing first?? If you're going to mess with the real world, you shouldn't do so on the basis of fairytales - oh, Iraq's really a secular country, they'll welcome us with flowers, and yada yada yada.

If you're second-guessing what we're doing in Afghanistan and Iraq on account of Rahman, here comes a point at which you've got to say: I should have known this was what Iraq was like, but I didn't, because I, and all my buddies, and all my leaders - we didn't do our freakin' homework. We, from George W. Bush on down to the lowliest Keyboard Kommando, didn't bother to learn much about Iraq ahead of time, and boy howdy, are our soldiers - and the Iraqi people - ever paying for our willful ignorance.

Because if this case would have raised some doubts with you, then ignorant you were. Which means you were treating the world like a frickin' RiskTM game, rather than a place with real people who can be hurt and killed. People like you have a lot of nerve, showing your faces in public, let alone having the idea that anyone should still listen to what you think.


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