Wonder Women vs. the Taliban
Melvin Brinkley

I was deployed to Afghanistan in 2002 and 2003. My unit lost a Medical Evacuation team of six close to the village of Ghazni. They were attempting to rescue Afghan children. I couldn’t talk about that tragedy for two years when I got back.
I guess that’s why I daydream of a different scenario for Afghanistan when I watch the awful news these days. In my daydreams I fantasize about what we should have done, if we wanted to truly change the dynamics of that region. I firmly believe we should have disarmed all the men, and armed and trained the women. And then we should have fought alongside these units until they demonstrated they could lay down their lives for each other and their country. Once that metric was ticked off, we should have stepped away, slowly. I know this is a John Brown sort of solution and that did not work out as he had planned but he was right—slavery is wrong and if no one else will fight for your freedom then you must find a way to do it for yourself.
I am well aware there are many problems with my daydream. To name a few, members of the U.S. military never had the level of access to Afghan women that what I propose needed. We were the invaders. No one trusted us. We weren’t invited to liberate the Afghan women, not even by the women, because the women do not have a voice much less a united voice in that country. Those rare exceptions are silent now, for good reasons. Also, most of the Afghan men would have sabotaged this plan by any means at their disposal, not just the Taliban. There are precedents for arming women. The Kurds did this with great success. Female Soviet snipers were a huge military asset during World War Two. The Israeli Defense Force has fully incorporated women as fighters.
My little fantasies comfort me, but for the Afghan women all they have left is a heap of ashes of what could have been.