Tag Archives: taliban

Groups Use Threats of Others’ Violence to Achieve Ends?

In an interesting perspective, Eugene Volokh writes an article on the “conflict” between the Koran-burning church in Florida and Ibrahim Hooper of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).  To the point, he quotes Hooper saying:

Can you imagine what this will do to our image around the world…And the additional danger it will add whenever there is an American presence in Iraq or Afghanistan?

After going through several explanatory examples and analogies, Volokh draws an interesting conclusion:

In those situations, the mainstream group representative seems to be consciously using the threat of [others'] extremist violence to achieve his own ideological goals. And he also seems to be trying to blame the people who are exercising their rights for the violence that would supposedly ensue. This sort of political tactic does not reflect well on the mainstream group.

Separate from Koran burning and CAIR, Volokh’s perspective has an interesting application to religious freedom in the military.  After all, Continue reading

Religious Freedom in Iran and Afghanistan

The US State Department issued a statement on the “Persecution of Religious Minorities in Iran,” specifically addressing mistreatment of those of the Baha’i faith.

Freedom of religion is the birthright of people of all faiths and beliefs in all places. The United States is committed to defending religious freedom around the world, and we have not forgotten the Baha’i community in Iran. We will continue to speak out against injustice and call on the Iranian government to respect the fundamental rights of all its citizens in accordance with its international obligations.

In an interesting contrast, a group of religious leaders in Afghanistan recently called for the implementation of Sharia lawContinue reading

“Freedom” Group Seeks Ban on Religious Exercise in the US Military

Despite running a self-founded “religious freedom” organization, Michael Weinstein is apparently calling for the US military to restrict religious free exercise within its ranks.  His reason?  The Constitutionally-protected liberty offends al Qaeda.

Unlike most mainstream organizations, Weinstein’s Military Religious Freedom Foundation still revels in publicizing his organization’s communications, wearing both the hate mail and the kudos as badges of honor.  (They even republish comments from their website, because apparently being posted once isn’t good enough…)  Recently, MRFF board member Richard Baker responded to a contact with a lengthy message in which he included many standard MRFF talking points, like this one: Continue reading

Women’s Rights and Religious Freedom in Afghanistan

The Time Magazine picture of the disfigured Afghan girl — reportedly the result of an attack by her husband — has justifiably raised the issue of the rights and status of women in Afghanistan.  The logic seems reasonable; if Aisha had not been a woman, it is unlikely she would have been subject to such abuse.  The “women’s rights” cause also fits with the common theme of some Western supporters — including some in America — of the Afghan war effort.

In an interesting contrast, the airwaves have been awash with condemnation of the attack that left 10 Christian aid workers dead in Afghanistan last week.  Karl Eikenberry, US ambassador to Afghanistan, said this is a video statementContinue reading

Petraeus to Replace McChrystal in Afghanistan

In a seemingly unusual move, US Army General David Petraeus appears poised to give up his leadership at Central Command to take over the job of one of his former “subordinates.”  While the situation is not quite that simple, from a military leadership perspective, the ISAF leadership position is certainly inferior to CENTCOM.

That aside, one of the more interesting aspects of this firing/hiring of US military General officers has been the attempt by the media to characterize the enemy’s response.  Newsweek had an entire article on “what the Taliban think…” about Continue reading

Airstrike Limits Frustrate Ground Forces, Pilots

The Air Force Times reports on comments from troops in Afghanistan that the restrictions on airstrikes over the past year have emboldened the adversary.  While the mere sight of B-52 contrails was once enough to send the enemy scurrying, they now often ignore armed fighters directly overhead.

The Taliban no longer run and hide when they see a fighter jet overhead, brazenness that airmen attribute to the nearly year-old directive to limit close-air support.

[JTACs] and fighter pilots report that insurgents are encouraging Continue reading

Adversaries Use American Virtues as Weapons

As noted in earlier discussions about accusations of religious impropriety, American adversaries have begun to wage effective combat operations by using American virtues against US forces.  In the most recent example, a somewhat overly pessimistic Op-Ed in the New York Times says the Taliban have “beaten American airpower”–a dramatic claim, given that the Taliban has no Air Force or even an anti-air capability.  But, according to the author, the Taliban have found a “non-military” way to “beat” American airpower:  Continue reading

Pre-millennial, Reconstructionist, Dominionist, Evangelical Christians

Several months ago, Mr. Michael Weinstein made some boisterous but virtually ignored comments about the reasons for his conflict with the Air Force.  During an interview with the Jewish News of Greater Phoenix Online (and repeated in his April 25th debate at the Air Force Academy), Weinstein said

I am not at war with Christianity or with evangelical Christians, but with a subset: postmillennial, reconstructionist, dominionist, evangelical Christianity.

(During the Academy debate, Weinstein said “pre-millennial,” rather than post, and added “dispensational” and “fundamentalist.”  In an email reply to a request for clarification, Mr. Weinstein indicated that pre-millennial was a “correction” to his previous descriptors.)  While dramatic, there have been few public responses.  Weinstein apparently enjoys a status as one of the few “religious” Americans who can call for the “defeat” of another religious sect and not be roundly criticized by the press and the public.  More recently, Weinstein made similar assertions when he said

We have a Christian Taliban within our US military, the Pentagon has become the penacostalgon and this administration has turned the Department of Defense into a faith based initiative…Dominionist Christians [are] praying and preying on non-Evangelical Christians.

Though his original lawsuit against the Air Force Academy was dismissed, Weinstein’s crusade continues.  He has already announced his intentions to file a new federal lawsuit to overcome the “technicality” that scuttled the first.  To understand why Weinstein acts as he does, it is interesting to analyze who he says he is “at war” with.  Continue reading