Skating to Kabul

For Many Afghan Boys, the Future
Lies Between War & Being a Sex Toy

Last week’s tragic killing of two boys in Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan, underlined once again our worst fears about the future of generations of Afghan youth, squeezed between the brutal choices of either being killed by the war, or sexually abused by their country’s older men.
As the U.S. prepares to withdraw from Afghanistan, many fear it will leave it in a much worst shape than it found 12 years ago, choked in the toxic mix of poverty, obscurantism, and the quirks of ancient law. Still, some see skateboarding as a way out for some children.
The shooting of the young cattle herders by a NATO-led strike was obviously a catastrophic mistake, just the latest in a long list. That, however, doesn’t lessen the brunt of their loss to their families, who like many others rely on all labor their youngest can put up to, amid the war-ravaged countryside.
Mistaken strikes, often by drone missiles, have been the most deadly cause for civilian casualties in the Afghan war, and the death of the two boys, ages seven and eight, follows another attack in early February, that left 10 unarmed people dead, five of which children. There’s no sight this can possibly be stopped.

It’s a fitting, albeit calamitous, coda for a war that started with one purpose, to find the responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. It got deflated before such mission had been accomplished, interrupted by the long, and completely baseless, Iraq invasion, and finally restarted with no visible objective.
The result: over 2,000 American troops killed, an estimated 140,000 civilian ‘casualties’ in the combined Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, the biggest U.S. defense budget ever, far more than all the other NATO nations combined, and a domestic economy in tatters due to this overzealous war effort.
A recent U.N. report also pointed at one of the most lasting damages this war will imprint on Afghan’s society, and the Iraqi’s too for that matter, for years to come: the staggering number of children killed, enough to leave a generational gap in the future of those countries.
As for the hunt for Osama bin Laden, the main reason to justify both military adventures, and the most expensive war effort ever undertaken by the U.S., it ended as everybody knows, with his killing in May, 2, Continue reading

Relief Express

Pastafarians, a Racing Jew, Some
Nice Kids & the Extinction Volunteers

It’s been one of those weeks. Time to switch gears, if only for a few minutes, and check what else is on the news. Often, behind the main, bleeding, headlines, precious morsels are quirk and instructive enough to help us all carry on. For indeed, carry on we must.
Some may pick a religion like Pastafarianism. Others may give a horse the ‘2015 Forward Jew’ award. Or send out potatoes by mail. And just so you know, children raised agnostic are more generous, a new study found, and you too can be a Human Extinction Volunteer.
Before diving in today’s selections, a last look at the aftermath of the Paris attacks show things not looking any better yet, so you’re excused for simply not taking any more of it. A predictable script is on and it doesn’t take much to see where it’s leading us to.
More than what happened after Madrid in 2004, or London the year after, just to name two big European cities, Paris is once again ground zero to a major rumor mill that’s helping feed a resurgent ‘need’ to bomb the hell of everyone. And bombing they’ve been, ceaselessly.
We won’t get too deep into this deranged rationale, but important clues, pointing to a possible circular, and ineffective, result are once again being brushed off, just as it’s been since 911. You know, terror, ISIL, er, Daesh, refugees, patriots, Those People, you get the drift.
So let’s give this 24/7 prep-news vigil, eating up our sleep, a rest, ignore a supposed ‘clatter’ some intel agency has detected, and while doubting the ‘certainty’ of a link individual freedom-extremism, and the ‘imminence’ of another nightmare, take a moment to breathe. You know, suck the air in and out.

A PASTAFARIAN & A JEWISH HORSE WALK INTO A BAR
Now, may humor snap you out of it, and trigger some real social change before you can say, wait a minute. That’s what some Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster members are aiming at, as a Massachusetts agency now allows them to wear a Pasta Strainer for their state Driver’s License photo. Say (Parmesan) cheese!
More than a joke or quirky fashion mores are involved, though, as many consider U.S. religion laws unfairly biased. Taking a page of the Messianic faiths playbook, FSM folk are determined to (more)
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Read Also:
* Helping Themselves
* Curb Your God
* Honey, We’ve Shrunk the Bees
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