|Gov. Salman Taseer 1946-2011|
Attempting to intervene on behalf of a Christian Pakistani woman named Asia Bibi had earned him the enmity of the Islamist radicals that threaten to drag his nation the way of it's neighbor, Afghanistan.
Asia Bibi's alleged crimes of "blasphemy" and her subsequent death sentence are wildly extreme even by Pakistani standards.
"In 2009, Asia Bibi, a 45-year old Christian woman with five children, was asked to fetch water while working as a farmhand. She was insulted by other Muslim women workers, who refused to accept it from her, calling her "unclean" due to her faith. Reportedly a dispute followed during which she was called names and her faith was branded a "religion of infidels." Furthermore, reports suggest that she dared to retaliate to such insults, and allegedly lashed out at the prophet and his faith"
As our state of Middle Eastern permawar drags into it's crushing 10th year, we now bear witness to the loss of one of the very few voices of decency in the region. I argue that we are complicit. Our military adventures have very likely more deeply radicalized the villains who planned Taseer's death. The fundamentalists of the Middle East have every reason to sneer at our diplomatic proclamations of tolerance while our generals are visiting relentless death from above. The march of war and the movement towards free and liberal societies are not compatible. Cultural progress is not made with bombs and bullets.
Gov. Taseer's assassination reaffirms how hollow U.S. justifications for military involvement are beyond attempting to prevent the export of terror to our shores or allowing the proliferation of nuclear bad-actors. Thanks to the Neo-Conservative movement's domination of foreign policy in the last decade, we are, of course, trapped. It is a quagmire. We have bloodied them too badly to simply leave. But be clear; The Bibi incident started over a few gallons of water. Is anybody here in the U.S. really going to continue to argue that it's worth attempting to nation-build in a part of the world that is essentially hundreds of years behind the rest of us?