The NATO summit last week in Chicago somehow managed to avoid completely the issue of just what will happen to the women of Afghanistan when the war against the Taliban is brought to an allegedly orderly close. The Guardian tells us what might happen is already, in fact, happening:
A brain drain of bright young women is already taking place in Afghanistan before the 2014 handover that many fear will mean a reversal of advances in women's rights.
The lack of commitment by the Afghan government to equality and to tackling the high rates of ill-treatment of women in the home and in the workplace is raising real fears they will be at the bottom of the political agenda in the push for power after Nato forces leave the country.
Worsening security for civilians - casualties among ordinary Afghans have risen year on year for the last five years with 3,021 killed in 2011, and women are thought to be suffering disproportionately - has led to rising numbers of women and girls leaving education and the workforce and staying indoors, according to Guhramaana Kakar, a gender adviser to President Hamid Karzai.
And in other news about defenseless people, the Syrian regime has murdered at least 90 of them, including 32 children, in the village of Houla. This massacre has prompted the international community to, yet again, issue incredibly strongly worded statements about just how awful it feels to see all those people die. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said:
"This appalling and brutal crime involving indiscriminate and disproportionate use of force is a flagrant violation of international law and of the commitments of the Syrian Government to cease the use of heavy weapons in population centers and violence in all its forms. Those responsible for perpetrating this crime must be held to account."
And Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said that the U.S. would work "with the international community to intensify our pressure on Assad and his cronies, whose rule by murder and fear must come to an end."
I like the use of the word "cronies" -- very strong. That will surely scare-straight the Assad regime. Click here for what I've written about the Administration's powerful deployment of adjectives and adverbs against the Syrian regime.