You'll know when conditions in Afghanistan (and Iraq for that matter) have really turned around. It'll be the day when politicians like Harpo no longer have to skulk in on "surprise" visits. Let's face it, the people Stevie is trying to take by surprise are those he figures have a good enough chance to blow his smug ass out of the air before he can set foot in Kandahar if word leaks out. They're the bad guys and we can't give Steve enough protection against them that he can fly in announced.
So, anyway, just how are things going in Afghanistan? Well, if you read today's National Post, we've all but won. The Taliban are a "spent force" in Kandahar, all but finished. Uh, sure, okay.
How 'bout that pinnacle of Afghanistan's liberation, its parliament or Loya Jirga? Some snags there, one of them being outspoken female MP, Malalai Joya. Isn't that typical. Give a woman a seat in parliament and she still won't do as she's told! This uppity female has been a real pain to the men in parliament. They've pelted her with water bottles, even lustilly joined together to call for her to be raped. They tried to off her a couple of times (okay, so it was four times). Did she get the message? NO she di'int!
But now Malalai has really torn it. She had the nerve to call the parliament "worse than a zoo." The gall! Well it didn't take long for the menfolk to sort out this nonsense. They voted (overwhelmingly I might add) to suspend her from parliament for the balance of her 5-year term.
"Most of Ms Joya's campaigning has been about women's rights, which have been severely eroded after initial gains made with the fall of the Taliban in 2001. Women activists, including the highest-ranking official dealing with female empowerment, Safia Amajan, have been murdered.
"Ms Joya said: 'Talking about women's rights in Afghanistan is a joke. There really have not been any fundamental changes, the Taliban were driven off by the Americans and the British but then they were allowed to be replaced by warlords who also simply cannot see women as equals.'
"She added: 'Those of us who speak up are targets. My friends and colleagues have been assassinated. They have tried to kill me four times, the last attack was in Kabul which is the capital of this country which is supposed to be secure and democratic. And then if you try to speak up in parliament their first reaction is to try to gag you.'"
Hey, Harpo's over there. Karzai even turned out to greet him. Why doesn't Little Stevie sort this out. After all, he's a champion of democracy and women's rights, right?