American University [Washington D.C.] has created a Black-only course section, or classroom, for a class on racism, which freshmen are required to take.
Many universities use course sections to break larger cohorts into smaller-sized classrooms.
According to The Eagle, the university added a Black affinity course section to AUx2, a class where students learn about “race, social identity, and structures of power.” In the course, students will “evaluate how racism intersects with other systems of oppression.”
The student newspaper states that all-Black sections of the course began during the spring 2020 semester, an addition that had been considered for a few years.
“We’ve definitely heard from Black students and other students of color that the material can be a lot for them because it is part of their lived experiences,” Izzi Stern, the AUx program manager told the student newspaper. “And we wanted to create a space where they could be together in community and have an overall positive experience with the course.”
On the university’s webpage, a former AUx2 peer said this:
“The AUx Program is fundamentally shifting the culture, and students, of American University, while simultaneously fulfilling the institutions’ commitment to social justice and equity. I could not be more enthusiastic about my support for the transformative impact of the AUx2 course.”
Julien Hector a sophomore at American University, told The Eagle, “Having an all-Black space truly changes the way you interact in that space and the level of comfort you feel.”
Hector later on in the student newspaper article, went on to question why American University had not added more affinity groups based on race. The article goes on to say that AU might be adding affinity groups not just based on race, but based on other defining characteristics such as gender identity.
On Saturday night I had just sat down to have a drink with a friend when he got a call. He apologized for having to take it, but it was urgent: it was about the Afghan women’s orchestra. They were stuck in Kabul and desperate to get out. He was involved in the effort to extract them.
Twenty minutes later, we ordered another martini.
I’ve been thinking a lot these past two weeks about luck. The luck of where we are born. The luck of the parents we are born to. And, right now, the luck of who we know.
Knowing — or having proximity to someone who knows my well-placed friend, a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — is a matter of life or death for untold numbers of Afghans.
Listen to the plea of just one of them:
The question of who will live and who will die — part of the Unetaneh Tokef prayer that all Jews say on the high holy days, which are just around the corner — is supposed to be in the hands of God. But right now, for so many Afghans, the answer to that question is in the hands of the Taliban. The chance to live relies on Americans: those who have the luck to live in freedom and those who are determined to right what the Biden administration has gotten so horribly wrong.
Melissa Chen is one of those people.
Melissa co-founded an organization called Ideas Beyond Borders, which digitizes and translates English books and articles into Arabic. And not just any books: Books like Orwell’s ‘“Nineteen Eighty-Four,” Steven Pinker’s “Enlightenment Now,” and a graphic novel based on John Stuart Mill’s “On Liberty.” Works that promote reason, pluralism and liberty. Suffice it to say the translators she works with in places like Egypt, Syria and Iraq do so at great risk.
Because of her connections in the Middle East — and because she is the kind of person who lives by her principles — it did not surprise me that she found herself involved in the efforts to save Afghans from the horrors of the Taliban. She shares some of the details of those remarkable efforts in the essay below.
The operation to get American allies out of Kabul has been dubbed the Underground Railroad and Digital Dunkirk. But I can’t help but think of the MS St. Louis. That’s the ship that came to this country in 1939 packed with more 900 Jews fleeing Germany. To our country’s eternal shame we turned the ship around and into the arms of the Third Reich. — BW
For the past two weeks I have been part of a 21st century Underground Railroad. We are a ragtag group — combat veterans, human rights activists, ex-special forces, State Department officials, intelligence agents, members of Congress, non-profit organizers, and private individuals with the resources to charter planes and helicopters — who have stepped into the vacuum left by the Biden administration.
Today the Pentagon announced the end of our 20-year war in Afghanistan. But there are hundreds of Americans and an estimated 250,000 Afghan allies who remain trapped there. Many of these Afghans, due to the nature of their work, their religious beliefs, their minority ethnic status or even just their appearance (say, sporting tattoos anywhere on their bodies), see escape as a matter of life and death. As Kabul descended into chaos, their pleas for help leaving were largely met with bureaucratic silence.
The operation to save them began before the Taliban were seen riding bumper cars in amusement parks and occupying the presidential palace. Many veterans and civilians who had deep ties to the country were under no illusions about the nature of the Taliban and what a deal with them would mean for the people who had worked with the U.S.
Long before Kabul fell, I noticed that military friends started using Facebook and Twitter to figure out how to help their “terps” — interpreters, linguists and translators who served alongside them during their tours in Afghanistan. WhatsApp groups, email threads, and ad hoc task forces with their own central command centers sprang up spontaneously. Google docs were cobbled together to compile and share resources for individuals assisting their Afghan friends in their evacuation and eventual resettlement. No one was relying on a White House that had voluntarily closed Bagram Airbase or a commander-in-chief who, as of last month, was assuring the American public that a Taliban takeover “is not inevitable.”
No One Left Behind, a charity that was founded to help interpreters through the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program and resettle them in the U.S., has been at the vanguard of these efforts. Human Rights Foundation and Human Rights First were very effective in helping activists and dissidents secure political asylum. AfghanEvac, a self-organized group of beltway insiders and outsiders, have been logistical ninjas, chartering planes and requesting landing rights in neighboring countries. The Commercial Task Force set up shop in a conference room at the Willard InterContinental Hotel in Washington, D.C., and has so far helped evacuate 5,000 Afghan refugees. Republican Sen. Tom Cotton set up a war room office to take over the duties and responsibilities that the State Department had abdicated. Democratic Rep. Andy Kim had his office set up an email account to assist those seeking help evacuating allies.
And then there were the extraction teams like Task Force Pineapple and Task Force Dunkirk, informal, volunteer groups of U.S. veterans who took matters in their own hands to launch dangerous secret missions to save hundreds of at-risk Afghan allies and their families.
Because of my work with Ideas Beyond Borders, I wound up in one of these coalitions and joined several group chats on Telegram and WhatsApp. They would ping at all hours of the night with updates about the latest conditions on the ground and about assistance with particular cases. Any successful evacuation was announced and had its steps reverse-engineered in the hopes that it might help another hopeful evacuee.
It was in one of these groups that I met Esther Joy King.
King, a 35-year-old lawyer from Illinois who recently announced a run for Congress, had spent time in Kabul as an aid worker in 2008. But the seeds of her connection to Afghanistan were planted long before: Esther’s grandparents had immigrated there under the last King of Afghanistan, Mohammed Zahir Shah. Her grandfather taught at the American University of Kabul; her grandmother was a midwife; both were Christian missionaries. Esther’s mother, Susan King, was born in Kabul and spent the first nine years of her life there.
When Esther moved to Kabul for her aid work, Susan, together with her husband Robert, took the opportunity to visit. The Kings decided to stay on to start a K-12, co-ed school called Bahar International School in the Kart-e-Char neighborhood of Kabul. Susan taught English there until her cancer diagnosis just this year in February; she passed away in April. When she died, Esther filled in and took over her mom’s classes, teaching remotely until the end of the school term in May.
Three girls — Rahima, Mursal and Spoogemi — stood out in her class. They were eager to learn more, so Esther continued tutoring them well into the summer and ultimately secured three student visas for them in the U.S. The plan was for the girls to attend boarding school in Nebraska.
The story of one of those girls, 15-year-old Rahima, paints as accurate a picture as any about the chaos involved in, and the fortune required to get people out of Kabul.
Rahima made her first attempt at Karzai International Airport on August 16 with her student visa in hand. Amid the chaos, she Skyped Esther from 7,000 miles away. “Miss Esther,” she said, “I saw someone fall from the sky to die.” Flights shut down that day, so Rahima went to a safehouse to wait for further instruction.
Five days later, she made her second attempt. Rahima and her 13-year-old brother made it within 200 feet of the airport’s Abbey Gate. By this point, the State Department had outsourced visa and identity verification to the Taliban, quite literally putting the fox in charge of the henhouse. It was nightfall and the gates were already closed, so the siblings had no choice but to spend the night there, in front of the Taliban guards, who harassed them and beat them.
It was at this point that Esther told me she found out about a WhatsApp group with roughly 15 members including a former CIA agent and a former Marine who had connections on the ground. They had successfully extracted other girls from the school and felt they could do the same for Rahima.
Three days later, on August 24, the teenager and her family made their third attempt, armed with a map of Taliban checkpoints sent by someone from the WhatsApp group. They made it to the Abbey Gate without any obstacles. But the Marines wouldn’t acknowledge Rahima. The crowd was increasingly out of control, pushing them further and further back till she could no longer see the gate. The entire time, Rahima was sharing updates with the WhatsApp group.
There she learned that a particular U.S. Marine would be willing to extract her and her brother from the crowd. The catch was that they would have to wait till 2 AM, after his shift guarding a separate entrance ended. The plan was to gather at a certain tower where they, and another family with a baby in a pink hat, would be personally escorted into the airport. Passwords were coordinated: Pedro and Jolly.
At go time, Rahima turned on her flashlight to signal to the tower, trying to draw the Marines’ attention to her. No response. After 45 minutes, the WhatsApp group informed her that she was at the wrong tower. By now, Rahima was exhausted and defeated. She begged Esther to ask the Marine to come to them and not the other way around.
Knowing that was an impossibility, one of the women in the WhatsApp group, Erica Jensen of Omaha, Nebraska, had an idea. Her neighbor was an Afghan woman, so she ran across the street and banged on her door. What they needed was a very clear explanation of where Rahima needed to go with exact directions to the right tower in her native language, Dari. Stepping over sleeping bodies in the crowd, Rahima and her family made the trek and eventually found the Marine waiting for them.
Once through to the airport, the family still had to undergo biometric screening, waiting in lines for another 20 hours. Their ordeal did not end there. After they boarded a plane bound for Qatar, the pilot informed them that the destination — a military base in Doha — was so overcrowded that they had no authorization to take-off. Another 24 hours elapsed as the family sat in a Boeing C-17. Esther reached out to Rahima on WhatsApp, telling her that she couldn’t wait for her to to arrive in America.
Esther woke up early on Thursday morning to good news. Rahima and her family had made it to Kuwait. Asked how she even had cell phone reception, Rahima explained: “Oh, I borrowed a soldier’s hotspot.” The entire WhatsApp group received a message from the teenager that read: “I learned a precious lesson from you all, that I should always stand with people and help whenever I can.”
When I asked Esther how she did it, she replied, “miracles and persistence. Oh and WhatsApp. Thank God for WhatsApp.”
As for me, as Esther had been working on getting Rahima out, I had been fretting over a list. On August 17, I was part of a group that was given access to a list of 500 names of Afghan aid workers, human rights activists, and religious and ethnic minorities. When it became clear that the American government wasn’t doing enough, such lists started circulating among various volunteers. My heart sank when the person in charge of flight manifests asked us to split the list into “high priority” and just “priority.”
By Wednesday night, August 25, shortly after receiving a memo from the U.S. military that signed off with a bleak “may God be with you all,” I was asked to cut my evacuation list down to just five people.
I struggled with this intensely, especially after reading hundreds of emails with personal pleas, and poring over documentation of entire Afghan families with real faces and identities. I could not do it. But I had to do it. Along with my co-worker, Faisal Al Mutar, I ultimately did pick just five based on a basic evaluation of relative risk and ease of extraction. The moral weight of such a decision was overwhelming. We should have never been in a position to make such a call in the first place.
A few hours later, we got the devastating news that a suicide bomb went off right outside the Abbey Gate, taking the lives of 13 American service members and more than 90 Afghans. It was the same gate where Rahima and so many of Esther’s students and teachers had attempted to gain access to a departing plane.
Tomorrow is August 31, the Biden administration’s “hard deadline” for withdrawal. It’s clear that we won’t be able to evacuate all the Afghans we promised to protect. It’s clear that we won’t be able to help those Afghans, especially women and girls, who will now face the barbarism of Taliban rule.
But people like Esther are not giving up. She and her father are determined to continue helping bring more at-risk Afghans to safety. So far, they helped more than 50 peopleescape.
Meanwhile, my WhatsApp groups keep buzzing. My email inbox swells with requests. A young singer and model begs me to save her life: “Being an Afghan woman under the Taliban is tough enough but being a Muslim who sings songs and models is even more difficult. My life is in danger. Please help.”
A majority of voters don’t trust either President Joe Biden’s administration or the news media to tell the truth about the situation in Afghanistan, and most think it’s worse than they’re being told.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that only 34% of Likely U.S. Voters trust what Biden administration officials are saying about the current situation in Afghanistan. Fifty-four percent (54%) don’t trust what administration officials are saying, while 11% are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
The survey of 1,000 U.S. Likely Voters was conducted on August 24-25, 2021 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.
I’d tag this as an example of cluelessness, but she’s not clueless, she just has no moral or ethical base. And she probably thinks she’ll never have to account for her hypocrisy and lies, since, so far, she hasn’t.
I often wonder what the looks on their faces will be when the bill comes due.
For those who may think that what is happening in Afghanistan is just a problem for the thousands of Americans and Afghan allies trapped there, a lot has been said about Russia and – especially – China taking advantage of this.
Also, ISIS in Iraq and Syria were pretty much beaten, and, until now, the Taliban were stalemated in Afghanistan, so the international jihad was going nowhere.
Now, that jihad just had a big win and that is going to have a ripple effect.
BLUF: Every four years, the message is the same: Trust us, we’re the ones who know what we’re doing. And yet, the oddest thing happens — the Democratic foreign policy establishment gets in power, and a short while later, so many things go wrong.
On the menu today: As the U.S. mission in Afghanistan ends in disaster and the Taliban returns to rule with wanton and widespread cruelty again, it is time to once and for all cast away the notion that the Democrats are the party of “smart power” abroad.
On the menu today: As the U.S. mission in Afghanistan ends in disaster and the Taliban returns to rule with wanton and widespread cruelty again, it is time to once and for all cast away the notion that the Democrats are the party of “smart power” abroad.
The Foreign Policy ‘Smart Set’ Leads America to Defeat Again
Every four years, a Democratic presidential candidate pops up and reminds us that he — or, one cycle, she — represents the smart party when it comes to foreign policy. These Democrats boast that they’re not isolationist, like Donald Trump, and they’re not unilateralist cowboys, like George W. Bush. They, and their top advisers, assure us that they are right, tough, smart, nuanced, and sophisticated. And every four years, the U.S. foreign-policy establishment — think-tank wonks, retired diplomats, columnists and authors, certain retired generals — almost uniformly swoons at these Democratic presidential candidates’ keen grasp of a complicated and dangerous world.
We were told during the Obama years that Joe Biden was an unparalleled diplomatic asset because of his “strategic empathy.” As a candidate, Biden pledged that, “I will take immediate steps to renew U.S. democracy and alliances, protect the United States’ economic future, and once more have America lead the world. . . . This is the time to tap the strength and audacity that took us to victory in two world wars and brought down the Iron Curtain.” Upon Biden’s election, the Financial Times declared that, “the grown-ups are back in charge in Washington.” Biden boasted, shortly after taking the oath of office that, “America is back!”
This is worse than Saigon America’s humiliation in Afghanistan confirms that the woke West is utterly incapable of standing up for itself.
Everyone is saying it’s like Saigon in 1975. Helicopters evacuating an American embassy. Chaotic, distressing scenes at the local airport as American allies, or just plain fearful people, desperately try to flee the country. American officials convincing absolutely nobody with their unhinged claims that the ‘mission has been successful’ (in Anthony Blinken’s words). It’s clear for all to see, commentators insist: Kabul in 2021 is a replay of Saigon in 1975. America humiliated, its enemies ascendant.
Yet here’s the brutal truth: what is happening right now is worse than Saigon. Yes, America’s defeat in Vietnam was an epoch-shaping humiliation for the self-styled defenders of freedom in the Cold War clash with the ‘Evil Empire’ and its communist allies. But the routing of the US in Afghanistan, the alarmingly swift collapse of its allies in the Afghan government, the fall of Kabul like a house of cards, and the fact that Operation Enduring Freedom, launched in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, has ended with the endurance of the Taliban instead, with victory for the bad guys – all of this represents the most significant moment of geopolitical decline for the US in decades. Indeed, it raises questions not only about America’s global standing, but also about its very purpose and meaning as a nation.
Taliban jihadists reportedly began seizing personal weapons from Afghans in Kabul on Sunday, claiming civilians “can now feel safe” and no longer need the firearms because the terrorists had taken over the country.
Taliban officials declared victory and the restoration of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan after occupying the presidential palace in Kabul on Sunday.
Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar appeared in a Twitter video alongside other Taliban leaders, in which he pronounced victory in the battle for Afghanistan.
“We have achieved an unexpected victory. Now is the time to test, to show how we serve our people and ensure their future in the best possible way,” he reportedly said.
The Guardianreports that Baradar is the Taliban’s “political chief and it’s most public face.” He was released from “a Pakistani jail on the request of the U.S. less than three years ago.”
Within hours of Barader’s announcement, Reuters reported, citing a Taliban official, that the group had begun confiscating weapons in the capital. The outlet quoted him as saying, “We understand people kept weapons for personal safety. They can now feel safe. We are not here to harm innocent civilians.”
They noted MOBY Group media company’s Saad Mohseni, a Kabul resident, tweeted that “Taliban soldiers had come to his company compound to enquire [sic] about the weapons kept by his security team.”
The Moby Group is a news and entertainment provider operating in Africa, the Middle East, and South and Central Asia. Moby serves “over 300 million people through its activities in broadcasting, digital and online, production, strategic communications, publishing, music, sports, and research.”
A tweet from TOLONews told the same story:
Taliban entered the TOLOnews compound in Kabul, checked the weapons of the security staff, collected govt-issued weapons, agreed to keep the compound safe. #Afghanistanpic.twitter.com/LhuMI7Z90u
Beijing may consider sending a peacekeeping force to Afghanistan if the security situation in the South Asian country poses a threat to the neighbouring Chinese province of Xinjiang after American troops pull out, analysts said.
US President Joe Biden said on Wednesday that he would withdraw all remaining US troops – about 2,500 – from Afghanistan by September 11, the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attack in New York.
The withdrawal may pose a threat to Afghanistan’s security and stability, which could spill over into Xinjiang and disrupt China’s counterterrorism efforts.
In 2018, China trained Afghan troops and helped set up a mountain brigade. The training took place in China and the aim of the brigade was to counter possible attacks by al-Qaeda and Islamic State.
“The security forces of the Afghan government are not capable of ensuring Afghan security,” said Sun Qi, an international relations specialist at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.
“The situation in Afghanistan might go further into chaos in the future. Cross-border crime, drug trafficking and smuggling of firearms may proliferate,” he said. Continue reading “”
With all the past history of the same thing happening every time a demoncrap does crap-for-brains idiocy like this, I’m starting to wonder if ‘unintended consequences’ really fits anymore.
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said Sunday that the administration did not want to use past definitions of infrastructure when asked about President Biden‘s $2 trillion plan.
During an appearance on ABC’s “This Week,” host George Stephanopoulos asked Granholm about criticism by former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) regarding Biden not being truthful about what defines infrastructure.
“What is infrastructure? Historically, it’s been what makes the economy move, what is it that we all need to ensure that we as citizens are productive,” Granholm said.
“So we need roads, we need bridges, we need transmission, you need lights in people’s homes and offices, you need to make sure that people can actually go to work if they have an aging parent or a child,” she said, adding that infrastrure “evolves to meet the American people’s aspirations.”
She noted as an example that in past decades, broadband would not have been included in such a measure.
“Bottom line is, though, the president wants to negotiate with Republicans, and he wants to see a common vision for the future,” Granholm said.
“Chris Christie talked about talking about the future,” she said. “We don’t want to use past definitions of infrastructure when we are moving into the future.”
Good Morning everyone.
I hope you have a fine day today and remember, that Daylight Saving Time is now in effect until further notice.
So set you clocks and watches forward, one hour.
Space; the final frontier.
‘Money makes the world solar system go around, the solar system go around……………
The U.S. military should consider investments in space “mobility and logistics” to prepare for the future, said Lt. Gen. John Shaw.
WASHINGTON — The U.S. military over decades has built extensive infrastructure to move troops and equipment around the world. It may now need to start thinking about investing in foundation technologies to support future activities in space, said Lt. Gen. John Shaw, deputy commander of U.S. Space Command.
“As we move forward, we’re going to want to find ways to be more mobile in space,” Shaw said Feb. 17 at a Washington Space Business Roundtable virtual event.
The U.S. military currently has no plans to deploy troops to space but should consider investments in “mobility and logistics” to prepare for the future, said Shaw.
“If we don’t address those requirements, that would be shutting a door that we need to keep open,” he said.
Vice President Joe Biden, who spearheaded the White House’s effort to find ways of reducing gun violence, admitted to reporters Thursday that any measures passed by Congress would fail in totally eliminating gun deaths.
Biden was speaking on Capitol Hill after meeting with Democratic lawmakers to build support for gun control legislation currently making its way through Congress. While he said no law could ever eliminate gun deaths, the vice president stressed that attempts must be made to prevent gun violence, particularly as Americans are demanding an answer from the government on how to end tragedies like the December massacre in Connecticut.
“Nothing we are going to do is fundamentally going to alter or eliminate the possibility of another mass shooting or guarantee that we will bring gun deaths down,” Biden said, echoing remarks President Barack Obama made in January when he said “there is no law or set of laws that can prevent every senseless act of violence completely.”