World donors in Tokyo this weekend will cluck a little over the billions we have watched go down the Afghanistan drain or into the pockets of its kleptocratic elite, but then they will open our financial arteries again, bleeding still more billions into the Kabul dust. For nothing.
And worse than nothing.
The latest example of worse-than-nothing is Afghanistan's proposed new mass media law that is expected to come before the Afghan parliament.
That would be the same Afghan parliament, of course, recently investigated by three Afghan media organizations after a member was suspected of taking bribes from Iran. The attorney general of Afghanistan is now investigating ... the three media organizations.
The Committee to Protect Journalists raises the new draft law as something that "had better" be high on the agenda of the donor conference -- but that's all huff. Secretary Hillary made nothing but goo-goo eyes at Klepto-Karzai this week in Kabul, declaring Afghanistan a major non-NATO ally of the US before dashing off to Tokyo, no doubt to compensate our "major ally" accordingly.
CJC's report highlights the totalitarian controls the new Afghan media law would impose: new government oversight boards, new limitations on the use of foreign media programming, as well as the new requirement that media observe a "guideline of phraseology and orthography of Ministry of Education, and High Council of Academy of Sciences of which has been determined by an authorized committee according to an approved procedure by combined board of High Media Council, High Council of Ministry of Higher Education, Academic Council Afghanistan."
I guess the First Amendment didn't make it into Nation-Building 101.
But CJC's and other media's reports on these proposed Afghan press controls omits the most repressive aspect of all: Islam.
From the law's preamble:
"This Law has been enacted taking into account the priciples of the holy religion of Islam..."
From Chapter II:
Materials Prohibited to Broadcast and Disqualifications of Operation
Production, reproduction, printing and publishing and broadcasting of the following materials shall not be permissible by mass media and media institutions:
1. Works and matterials contrary to the principles and tenets of the sacred religion of Islam;
2. Blaspheme other religions and faiths;
3. Disclose family secrets, intervention in private life of the people, defamation, accusation, hatred or abusive speech and unreal information causing material or intellectual damage to the real and legal persons.
Call that one the Karzai Rule.
4. Publicity and promoting of religion other than the holy religion of Islam.
Duties and Responsibilities
RTA (Radio Television Afghanista, i.e., the government media organization) shall fulfill the following duties and responsibilities:
1. Make its programs in the light of the principles and provisions of the holy religion of Islam, national and spiritual values of the Afghan nation.
You get the drift, the sharia drift. After ten years of American sacrifice in Afghanistan -- and I'm not just thinking of American money here, but also American blood and limbs and innards -- the Afghan government is free to write in black and white that Afghan journalists will have to enforce and operate under sharia law.
Uncle $ucker $strike$ again -- and still no one seems to notice.