Monday, August 9, 2010

Murders In Afghanistan Hit Home

Where I live, Harrisonburg, Virginia, has only 45,000 people in it. Yet, somehow two of the ten people killed in Afghanistan on a medical mission of mercy have connections to here. One was Glenn Lapp, a 40 year old nurse who has been involved with administration at the International Assistance Mission (IAM), but went on this trip. He was a 1991 graduate of Eastern Mennonite University here in Harrisonburg, and has been involved with Mennonite missions abroad. I note that the Mennonites are a pacifist church and do not actively proselytize abroad, in contrast with the claims made by the supposed Taliban defenders of this killing.

The other was Brian Carderelli, age 25, a graduate of James Madison University here in 2009, whose parents apparently teach in Kabul. His identity has only just been confirmed within the last few hours. The claims that these people were spying or handing out Bibles in Dari are just ridiculous. The group's leader, Tom Little, has been there since 1983 doing these activities, the period when there was a Soviet-dominated government. He survived through the years of outright Taliban rule. Some are suggesting that the real reason for the killings was robbery, being covered up by these ridiculous claims of spying and Bible handing out.

On the broader issue this is all very depressing. I supported going into Afghanistan, in contrast to Iraq, and I agree with Obama that invading Iraq really messed up the situation in Afghanistan. But that is a very complicated and difficult place, and it is unclear it would have been all that great if we had not invaded Iraq. It looks like it is time to get out, although this will have to be done with some care. In the meantime, we get tragedies such as these murders.

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