Friday, February 04, 2005

When the Bushies started talking about Iraq back in '02 and '03, I was puzzled. Why did they insist that Iraq had to be the Middle East's model society? Why didn't they just work harder to turn Afghanistan -- where it was generally understood that the U.S. had a right to intervene -- into a model?

Today I read this about Afghanistan:

...Eighteen people have died since the extreme cold descended on the country two weeks ago, the minister of health, Sayeed Mohammad Amin Fatimie, said in an interview this week. Of the 18 people, 13 died in and around Kabul, including several babies....

An estimated 10,000 homeless people are in Kabul, about 4,000 of them in two squatter camps. In addition, groups of displaced people are living in public buildings and abandoned ruins in as many as 25 locations throughout the city. Most are refugees who have returned from camps in Pakistan in the three years since the fall of the Taliban. Some families have been living all that time in tents, with the men scraping up a little work as porters in nearby fruit markets.

Meanwhile, scores of expensive private villas are going up around Kabul, some of them built by commanders and government officials on former government land, a sign of growing inequities.

Hmmm -- maybe they didn't lose focus after all. Maybe they actually did turn Afghanistan into their idea of a model society.

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