Compare and Contrast The war in Afghanistan is a constant focus for debate. There are those who believe that the United States is still doing a worthy effort in Afghanistan and that it is essential for the U. S. to keep a military presence there. On the other hand, there are the people that believe the United States can no longer achieve its goals if it continues to use military force. Authors Melanie Barton Zoltan and C. Ames Cushman argue both for and against the war in Afghanistan and the benefits each scenario can produce.
Both authors focus on the structure of Afghanistan’s government, the involvement of Taliban and Al Qaeda on Afghanistan soil, and the effects the United States involvement would have on the women of Afghanistan. Both Zoltan and Cushman point out in their papers that controlling Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, does not really effect the government of the country. Zoltan argues that even with the Taliban removed from power in Kabul, they still hold considerable power in Afghanistan.
With Afghanistan’s lack of centralized government, the Taliban easily entrenched in the southern part of the country and began to rebuild their forces. As the United States attention moved to Iraq after the Taliban were removed from Kabul, they were easily able to form a foothold in other parts of Afghanistan. Zoltan points out that if the Unites States does not stay involved militarily, the Taliban will be able to regroup not only in Afghanistan but also in Afghanistan’s neighbor, Pakistan.
Given enough time, Zoltan believes that the Taliban and any Al Qaeda associated with it will gain access to Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. Cushman argues that since the original objective of removing the Taliban from power has been achieved, the use of military force is no longer needed. He sees the mission now to be more of an educational mission if the United States really wants to create a new system of government. In Cushman’s paper, he describes the war as a war on the sharia law instead of a war on terrorism and that is not a commendable war to fight in a military way.
If the United States keeps using military force as a way to achieve reconstruction of the government, than the Afghan people are going to keep turning to someone who thinks like they do, which would be the Taliban. Again, both authors admit that the Taliban are still a threat living in the Afghanistan outer borders. Zoltan believes that with the Taliban still established in Afghanistan, the United States cannot withdraw militarily. The risk is too great that the Taliban will regain control of all of Afghanistan and that once the US and NATO leave, Afghanistan will once again become a safe haven for terrorist groups.
Zoltan also says that if the Taliban are able to regain Afghanistan, the Taliban in Pakistan will become bolder and even unite to create an even larger terrorist threat in the region. This will give the terrorists a great place to build strength and launch attacks at the US and its allies. Cushman argues that the form of government in Afghanistan needs to be decided by the people of that country and it cannot be something decided by the United States. Even if the Taliban regain control of Afghanistan, it should be at the choice of the people.
If the Taliban do make a comeback and take control without the support of the people, Cushman believes that it will not last because the Taliban has been weakened enough that they will not be able to sustain themselves. In both papers, women’s rights are addressed. Zoltan uses a section of a report by Physicians for Human Rights to show just how badly the women are treated in Afghanistan. She also gives statistics and other facts about how the women in Afghanistan used to be treated prior to the Taliban.
She uses these to show that the United States really is doing well in Afghanistan for women’s rights and if the US were to pull out now, all that would be undone. Cushman agrees that Sharia law is a harsh system of justice and that it discriminates against women. However, he says that is the way that Afghanistan is ruled and that the United States has no right to go and try to change this. He claims ‘It is important to step back and realize, however, that what we see as just and fair is just that – a “Western” notion, colored by our history, faith, and values. even the United States has not made an official statement saying that they are in Afghanistan to bring back women’s rights, and Cushman believes that until they do, this is no excuse for the US to stay in Afghanistan. In each author’s paper, the same topics were discussed but two points of view were shown. Zoltan showed in her paper that she was in favor of the United States military staying in Afghanistan because it provided the security from future terrorist organizations from using it as training ground.
She also believed that it is provides a better situation for the people living in Afghanistan. Cushman shows that he does not support the involvement of the United States military in Afghanistan. He argues that it is a waste of time, money, and lives to keep fighting for something that will not last. The US cannot establish a sound government there and even if they did, the people of Afghanistan should have a right to select their own government.
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