Friday 3 June 2011

Victims of Western Imperialism #1

‘But the real question in judging success is not whether people are better off than they were before, but whether people are better off than they would have been had the West not acted.'

Juvenile anti-Americanism is prevalent in British society; and by this, I do not mean that there is nothing for America to be criticised about, but the infantile aversion to American foreign policy with minimal knowledge. In this thinking,  it is often 'Western intervention' that is made to look like an evil policy. One common objection is that 'that wasn't the reason' and therefore it cannot be used in a debate. This faulty thinking fails to address the issue: is it right to intervene? Linked is the argument that 'what about China?' Both of these arguments conflate the issue of motivation of party (which is arguable itself) with the issue of making the right decision. And in the case of the latter argument is merely an argument for further interventions, not against that particular one. WW2 is a just war; it matters not that in coming to that conclusion that Churchill was partially acting to maintain colonialism. Indeed, the benefits of liberation still arise. And they continue to arise.

In Afghanistan:
A decade ago, 9 percent of Afghans had access to basic medical care. Today, 85 percent do. Under the Taliban, about one million kids (almost none of them girls) were in school, whereas now about seven million children are being educated (more than one-third of them girls, with the proportion rising). Before the U.S. occupation, a telephone system barely existed in Afghanistan. Today, one in three Afghans has a cell phone. Afghans once had access to no media outlets apart from the Taliban's Voice of Sharia radio network. Now there are, in the words of the BBC, "scores of radio stations, dozens of TV stations and some 100 active press titles." More than five million Afghan refugees have returned home. Kabul has become so crowded with cars and people that the city's pollution is statistically more lethal than the war... Afghanistan's economy is also booming. Thanks to the improvements in security provided by the United States and NATO, GDP growth between 2009 and 2010 was a strong 22 percent. No wonder, then, that 70 percent of Afghans told pollsters for the BBC late last year that their country is now going in the right direction. It's also why Afghans give surprisingly high marks to the U.S. military, even after nearly a decade of often bungled occupation: 68 percent favorable, according to a BBC/ABC poll released in January 2010.
  • Since 2001, more than 90 percent ofchildren are now immunized against polio. Under-5 mortality has dropped by 26 percent, to 191 deaths per 1,000 live births,and deaths of infants before age 1 have dropped by 22 percent, to 129 deaths per 1,000 live births. The number of TB treatment facilities has tripled, and TB cases have fallen by 60 percent.
  • The  population with no access to electricity declined from 94% in 2001 to 42% in 2006 to 33% in 2009. 
  • Today the Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan worked with female election observers in 13 provinces in the 2009 election. Inthe 2010 parliamentary election, FEFA expandedits initiative to 21 additional provinces, ensuringthe presence of female observers throughout the country.
  • When USAID arrived in 2002, there were only 50 kilometers of intact paved roads. To date, USAID has built or rehabilitated approximately 2,700 kilometers of roads, including 715 kilometers of the Ring Road, national highways, and provincial and rural roads.
  • There are now 158,000 teachers in the country, up from 21,000 in 2002. Of this number, 29 percent are women; this allows more girls to attend school.
  • More than 500 square kilometres of land have been released back to Afghans, free of mines and remnants of war. Since 2007, more than half a million vulnerable Afghans living in mine-affected areas have received mine-risk education.
  • Civilian deaths caused by pro-government forces decreased by 24% from 2009-2010, making up 15% of civilian casualties (the Taliban and their allies are responsible for 75% of civilian causalities). 
And so much more.

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