I'm in California for a few days, catching up on still-unfinished business I left when I moved to Missouri. I participated in a very ecumenical Passover Seder hosted by a very dear Jewish friend. Not only is she Jewish, but she hasn't entirely escaped her Socialist background. Even though I'm a biogoted Jew-bashing fundamentalist and a hard-line capitalist, we're best of friends, and always enjoy the best of conversation.
I sat next to two other cherished friends at the Seder, a couple from Afghanistan. He was imprisoned by the Soviets when they invaded Afghanistan. His cell-mate was Hamid Karzai, the current President of Afghanistan. My friend eventually gained his freedom in what would make a great movie: political intrigue and a love story that involved smuggled notes from his wife.
She had much to tell me at the Seder that brought my webpages on Afghanistan and Iraq to life for me. On previous occasions I've heard their stories about the Soviet Invasion, and about the current rebuilding efforts today, which they are involved in, but at the Seder she told me about life in Afghanistan before the Soviet invasion. There was no Taliban then. Afghanistan was moving toward Westernization. In the 1960's and '70's women were not covered head-to-toe with burkhas, but were emulating western fashions. "They were wearing mini-skirts!" she said.
At this same time, while Afghanistan was pursuing westernization, the United States was pursuing Sovietization -- or so it seems. It was good for the economy, we were told, for Ford Motor Co. employees to be sent to help the Soviets build the largest truck factory in the world on the Kama River. We were always told that aid to the USSR was "non-military," but the U.S.-supplied Kama River truck factory was also manufacturing not only 10-ton multiple-axle heavy duty trucks, but also armored personnel carriers, heavy assault artillery, rocket launchers, and dual-use transport vehicles which --surprise -- were used to invade Afghanistan, using a 647-mile long highway which was also built with your generous "contribution" of tax dollars, a highway designed for more than the yak-drawn carts of Afghani peasants.
Antony Sutton wrote about Western Technology and Soviet Economic Development, documenting how the U.S. promoted "Westernization" in the Soviet Union, keeping communism alive and militarily potent. To "westernize" Afghanistan, the U.S. sent go-go boots.
While the left hand of the U.S. was subsidizing Soviet Socialism, the right had was subsidizing the Afghani resistance. But not just my friends, the moderate pro-western Muslims; also the fanatic anti-western Islamic fundamentalists, who the CIA believed would make fiercer opponents against the Soviets. After they received military aid from the U.S. federal government, the mujahedin transformed Afghanistan.
In country after country, U.S. foreign aid has destroyed good and promoted evil.
I have to confess a strange sympathy for the Islamic fundamentalists in the Bikini vs. Burkha debate. But as a pacifist I oppose their violence. As a Libertarian I oppose all government-to-government foreign aid. Are you happy that your government funded both the communists and Al-Queda?