Tip of the Hat, Wag of the Finger

by Joshua Foust on 4/10/2007 · 7 comments

Forgive me for shamelessly ripping off Stephen Colbert. But there were two protests in America’s two wars recently that deserve comparing and contrasting.

The first was in Iraq, in which followers of Moqtada al-Sadr lined the streets of Najaf to peacefully call for an American withdrawal.

The second was in Kabul, in which a “group of Afghans” (we don’t know how large), rightfully angry over the beheading of a translator for foreign media outlets, calls for the summary execution of all captured Taliban.

So, one peaceful anti-American protest in a land now known for its marketplace chlorine bombs, and one angry mob calling for mass executions. Guess which protest the Instapundit found “more laudable?”

I rest my case.

Update: Carl Robichaud points to an Afghan Wire bonanza about a vigil and a boycott of news reporting by local media outlets in Kabul. They are and were right to hold vigils and condemn the brutal torture and beheading of Ajmal Naqshbandi; the rally, however, turned into a call for blood. The anger and urge for revenge is more than understandable (and, I feel I should note that I empathize much more with the motivations of the Afghans than the Sadrists). But Afghanistan has had enough revenge cycles. Naqshbandi, however, can best be honored by putting the captured Taliban on trial, going through the judicial process, and throwing them in prison—hopefully not for later exchange for the next hapless westerner to be abducted. In a way, he gave his life working for a better, more just Afghanistan. The best revenge for him is justice, not murder.

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This post was written by...

– author of 1848 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Joshua Foust is a Fellow at the American Security Project and the author of Afghanistan Journal: Selections from Registan.net. His research focuses primarily on Central and South Asia. Joshua is a correspondent for The Atlantic and a columnist for PBS Need to Know. Joshua appears regularly on the BBC World News, Aljazeera, and international public radio. Joshua's writing has appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, Foreign Policy’s AfPak Channel, the New York Times, Reuters, and the Christian Science Monitor. Follow him on twitter: @joshuafoust

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Nathan April 10, 2007 at 4:07 pm

All I can think of to say is, “Heh.”

Joshua Foust April 10, 2007 at 4:37 pm


peter dominick April 10, 2007 at 5:26 pm

Do you really take Colbert seriously ????

Safrang April 10, 2007 at 7:11 pm

Add my “Heh” to that. Over at my blog Hatif says that the government was bent on releasing the five high ranking Taliban either way, and the Italian journalist just provide the right face-saving excuse to do so. Reading the Reuters report at Gateway Pundit and how the protesters accuse the government of going too easy on the Taliban makes me think that after all this is not too much of a cynical view.

Joshua Foust April 11, 2007 at 6:22 am

Peter – Colbert is hilarious. I think that segment of his show has a clever name.

Mark April 11, 2007 at 10:42 am

Have to agree with JF, Colbert is hilarious. The whole point is not to take him seriously

Nathan April 11, 2007 at 10:49 am

I wonder what Peter means by the question. According to his website, he warms up the audience for Colbert.

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