We subscribe to Time magazine and the current issue arrived today. It has an attractive woman on the cover. This isn’t unusual. Most magazines (men’s, women’s, and special interest magazines) feature women on the cover. What made this one stand out was this woman was missing her nose.

Now, my initial reaction was thinking, “Oh come on!” But when you read on you find that the woman is no model and her missing nose is from no accident being exploited. She is Afghani and the Taliban cut it off when she fled from an abusive family.

My next set of thoughts were to our troops fighting in Afghanistan and the multiple challenges that ensue. The current issue of Foreign Affairs lays out the possible strategies the U.S. can follow from here on out. And in only one of the four possible strategies would it preclude horrific acts such as these from continuing. What is that strategy? For us to be in Afghanistan long-term and rebuild that nation from the bottom up. But this is becoming increasingly unpalatable for most Americans. If only the world was behind the efforts to permanently put a different type of government in place in that far-away land. But support for that internationally (the only way I feel it would ever work) faded away in the past few years. And, again, support for it at home is dropping steadily.

I also readily recognize that even if our nation decided to keep on, we cannot be the police force for the world. Ugly things, illegal acts, and even genocide occurs worldwide and we only have so much resources and lives to offer.

As hard as it is to look at photos like that, I applaud Time for challenging the public to not ignore the depth of barbarism that we are fighting against. This isn’t what they do to their enemies. This is what they do to their family members that they disagree with. On a male to female level, it is misogyny off the scale. And it is not hard to see why in such a setting that they would show no mercy or remorse for launching an attack on their perceived enemies which would be another 9-11 or worse.

The only way to change this is for this to be an issue that matters to the person on the street from Dallas, to London, to Cairo, to Beijing. “Change of be forever isolated” needs to be an international rallying cry. And “if you try to bring your ways or reach beyond your borders, we will be back – together – to stop you.”

I suspect within a few years that all foreign troops (at least all Western troops) will be out of Afghanistan. We will hope it will calm down. But if the culture of the Taliban is allowed to continue, Afghanistan is not going to “go away” as so many people wish. And God will hold us all accountable for turning our backs as men cut off women’s noses.


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