Sorry for the long hiatus from blogging. Since returning from Afghanistan I’ve been swamped with writing and speaking about the experience. Here are a few of the highlights:
Above is the video of a great event that I spoke at with Kathy Kelly and Mike Ferner, who were both on the delegation, at All Souls Unitarian Church in New York on January 7. If you have the time, it’s really worth watching.
Over the last week, I’ve been making the rounds on the media in my hometown of Peoria, Illinois. Here is a link to an hour-long radio interview I did on The New Movement with Roy Beckham on WAZU 90.7FM.
WMBD, the local CBS affiliate, also did a short segment on the evening news about my trip on Sunday. While the piece was well done overall, I have to say that they did attribute a couple positive lines to me about the US military helping rebuild the country and restructure the Afghan government that I clearly did not say, which is really sloppy, unethical journalism.
And finally, on Monday, an op-ed that I wrote on Afghanistan was published by OtherWords, which distributes opinion pieces to primarily small town papers around the country. That’s it for now! I will be blogging again in full swing next week once I get back to New York.
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Welcome back, Eric!
You comment about the begging Afghan children being the “lucky ones” is powerful.
You suggest “redirect[ing] the more than $2 billion per week that is currently being squandered on the war to meet the basic needs of everyday Afghans.”
Wouldn’t that require the continued presence of US troops?
And doesn’t their continued presence, as you say, help Taliban recruitment?
Thanks Eli! Glad to be home. And about your comment, I don’t think the provision of aid requires a military presence. In fact, I think the more the military gets involved with aid or reconstruction the more compromised those efforts become. They are best done by civilian groups, and preferably of course Afghans. I would like to see the US give the money as much as possible directly to Afghans to take care of their needs, be it paving roads or building schools or hospitals. That way the money can also create much needed jobs there, rather than going into the pockets of US contractors. Hope that helps clarify what I was trying to say.
Thanks so much for traveling to Afghanistan and for speaking out about your experiences and observations. I thought I knew a fair amount about how things are in Afghanistan, but I learned a lot from all of you in this presentation.