The cover of the latest issue of Time features Aisha, an 18 year-old Afghan girl whose face was mutilated by the Taliban because she fled her abusive in-laws. But this story isn't about Aisha or the monsters who wish to take Afghanistan back to the Dark Ages -- it's about the moral responsibility of the U.S. military to remain in Afghanistan. The cover headline asks, "What happens if we leave?" but doesn't talk about tactics or grand strategy -- the story is essentially saying, "If we leave, all Afghan women will end up like Aisha."
Of course, Aisha's abuse occurred under the auspices of a U.S. occupation of Afghanistan, going on nine years now. What Time is employing is a crude moral cudgel to shame anyone who would dare question why we're still occupying two foreign countries in a feeble attempt at "nation building." Time is using Aisha's mutilated face to morally blackmail critics of U.S. foreign policy, and that's outrageous. Of course, I find it horrible that women in Afghanistan (and elsewhere) must live under such circumstances. But it's not as though our presence there was able to prevent such evil from occurring.
-- Mori Dinauer
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