Well-Spent Dollars in Afghanistan

| Tue Feb. 8, 2011 12:00 PM EST

I had a really patriotic experience while reading one of the stories from our current issue that just went live on the site. It's about a tough Afghan prosecutor, Maria Bashir, who's trying to protect the rights of her countrywomen even though that means she needs more protection than anyone. A few pages (print-version-wise) in, this little piece made me super proud to be an American:

In a city where the council of clerics has issued a fatwa against women leaving the home without an appropriate male escort, [Bashir] began to feel alone and exposed. She requested around-the-clock security, but the government refused. She asked for a bulletproof car and was denied. Then, in 1997, her house was bombed.

Now, as she leaves her office, Bashir's clicking heels keep pace with the rolling gait of four armed guards—hired by the American government, not her own.

U! S! A! I was so overcome with pride in American power, which doesn't come so easy to war-haters in wartime, that I actually choked up a little. I have a similar experience when I watch the part in The Saint when Elisabeth Shue is running away from evil Russians and hurtles herself toward the American Embassy guards yelling "I'm an American! Open the gates! Open the gates I'm an American!" and then they do and then she's safe in the arms of corn-fed soldiers and anti-communism.

You should read the article. It's heartbreaking, but somehow simultaneously hopeful.

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