RUSH: <a target=new href=”http://www.hometownlocator.com/City/Wellersburg-Pennsylvania.cfm”>Wellersburg, Pennsylvania</a>. Dave, welcome to the program. Great to have you with us, sir.
CALLER: Alpha-omega dittos, Rush. Been with you from the beginning. We’ll be listening to you at the end.
RUSH: Thank you, sir.
CALLER: My pleasure. Hey, I wanted to know what’s your take on the economy in Afghanistan? How are things shaping up? You know, is a strong economy taking root over there over there?
RUSH: Well, not yet. I mean, this is the thing about Afghanistan. When you go over there with the American experience as your comparison point, you look at it and say, “This is not possible.” I looked at it, and said, “This is not possible.” Folks, this is like plugging it into the wall. I mean, this is where we are. It’s that basic what has to happen. These people have not had an economy for 20 or 30 years to speak of because they haven’t been free to engage in one. They’ve been trying to stay alive. They’ve been running away from gunfire and oppressors. The stories that I heard about the way women were treated in this society under the Taliban would make you retch. Now, the progress in Afghanistan what you have to do is you have to stop that and then turn it around — and it’s a huge country. They’re doing their best to align it and unify it. I’m optimistic about this. I’m just saying that my first exposure to this was a very sobering one because the task ahead is massive. It is literally massive. Here’s what has to happen in terms of the Afghanistan people having their own commencement you know they don’t even have a banking system? They don’t know the concept of interest. There’s no interest paid. There’s no interest charged. There’s no interest earned. So a banking system is being taught. By who? The United States. In addition to that, they have no rule of law yet. All of this… They’re establishing the court system. They are establishing a way to adjudicate, oh, conflicts and disagreements in court.
Now, if you’re an international investor. Let’s say you want to put in a hotel. Let’s say you want to build a series of hotels there or whatever business. You’re not going to do it until there’s a rule of law where you’re going to be protected and defended against any number of crimes that might occur or cheating, whatever. You’re just not going to find people putting money in. But India has just agreed to fund a number of projects. Karzai, when I had met with him, he had just gotten back from two days in India where he had gotten an agreement. India wants to run a natural gas line through country, but they’re not going to do it until there’s a rule of law in there where it’s protected, where if people vandalize it, that there are penalties and captures and so forth, and that there’s a system to prevent this from happening. They need a police force. Police force is being trained, but it’s very small. One of their big problems is that it’s sort of Colombia. There’s a huge drug trade with opium, the poppy. They’ve got poppy fields over there, and one of the conditions the United States has set forth with President Karzai is, “Our military is not into crop eradication and we’re not going to do that. Our military doesn’t do that; you’re going to need to have a trained domestic police force that can handle that. We’ll help you, but we’re not getting involved in domestic political or legal affairs like this. We’ll do what we can to help you in development,” and Karzai understands this because a number of other people are saying:
Until you do something about poppy eradication, you’re going to have a whole segment of your society that’s lawless and murderous and just full of renegades — and it is a big problem because here are people that are not educated. They can’t read or write but they can make tons of money by growing poppies and selling the stuff off for heroin and other derivatives. So that’s a big obstacle that’s in the way. All of these things are being worked on. The number of people that can read in that country, you would be shocked at how few it is, and so there are programs underway to teach women to teach other women to read. There’s a whole academy in Kabul called the Women’s Literacy Institute, I think, where young women are being taught. Two years ago, three years ago, women didn’t have the right to leave their homes or their villages to do anything — to vote, to do anything. Now they’re being trained to read, taught to read and then taught to teach others to read. So, folks, that’s why I say, “Your country is doing the Lord’s work over there,” and so much of what we take for granted is a huge project there. But I’ll tell you why it’s worth it — and I mentioned this in the first hour. Security. Freedom and security, the twin pillars of this policy. Well, the twin pillars of what I ascertain the policy to be. You have to understand why we’re doing this. This is not a Meals on Wheels program. We’re not doing this because liberals have gotten hold of the system and we just are trying to be nice.
That country was the staging and training ground for the people that blew up the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on 9/11, Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, and as I mentioned in the first hour: “If you look at Osama bin Laden’s history, he always went to countries that were stateless, that were lawless and basically took over. There was nobody that was going to do anything to him first in Somalia, then to Sudan, then to Afghanistan.” Well, you can’t have that. After 9/11, it just makes no sense whatsoever to allow such circumstances to continue. But our belief is you don’t have governments by installing puppets who are going to ramrod policies down the people of the country’s faces and make them do this. You establish a government by having the people of the country do it. Hence you have elections. Hence you sponsor and foster freedom. You foster a free market economy that the people of the country create by virtue of their own commerce, not by infusions of cash from the US foreign aid budget. There’s not enough money to do it that way and we’ve proven with our own welfare state that it doesn’t work. You just can’t give people money and create prosperity. All you get is dependence and corruption. So the point here is to develop the country, bring it into the 21st Century with at the same time a free people as the engine of it. But for that to happen, there are certain basics that need to be explained and taught. I was told a story while there one night at dinner. Does the name (Grand Ayatollah Ali al-) Sistani [ news | bio | website ] mean anything to you? Sistani is a Shi’a leader in Iraq. He’s a Shi’a leader, and he is pro-American.
He’s one of the assets that we have. He’s not officially aligned, but he wields a considerable amount of influence, and he was being lobbied by the US. When the Iraqi constitution is finally ratified, he was being lobbied by the US to support the notion that it must be ratified by a three-fourths vote, not just a simple majority — and he didn’t understand this, didn’t understand why. “Why should we go to that?” It was explained to him by a very pro-American friend of his from Oman. He said, “You have to do it that way so that there’s no doubt that’s what the people want. When they ratify your constitution, it’s got to be three-fourths vote, otherwise it doesn’t happen.” He said, “I don’t understand.” He said, “Well, that’s what Americans did,” and Sistani said, “Americans do that?” Yeah. “Well, when did America do that?” “America did that 200 years ago. The Founding Fathers of America demanded.” They said the man from Oman told Sistani, “One of the reasons America is great and one of the reasons America has survived for 200 years is because in its founding, its Founding Fathers understood the necessity of having their be no doubt about the future of the country as its constitution was ratified, and that’s why you have got to support what the US wants is a three-fourths vote, 75%, whatever, a vast majority in order to ratify this so there’s no doubt.” Sistani thought we had only forced this on them but we had not lived it ourselves.
He didn’t know. In that part of the world they don’t know who Thomas Jefferson is. They don’t have these basics that we’re taught and grow up with. It’s not part of their experience. So as I was told, Sistani told his friend from Oman, “All right, let me look at this,” and two weeks later he came out he came out and supported the notion of a three-fourths vote to ratify the Iraqi constitution when that day comes. He had been persuaded because he had done some research into American history. The point of this is, you go to certain circles in that part of the world where they understand that they have been living in squalor and tyranny and oppression and a Fourteenth to Fifteenth Century manner, they want out of it and they really do look to this country as the example of how. You don’t hear about them much. Have you heard this Sistani story reported? Of course you haven’t. There are many other such stories that I heard during the course of the trip. You know, we are a far more influential nation in that part of the world than you would know by simply reading the US media, and we are far more respected than you would know, particularly by those who are aligned with us and want our help.
They’ve gone to the trouble to understand why we are the way we are, and they understand that we are not forcing our way on them to punish them. That’s been their experience. One Afghanistan citizen told me that he was scared to death of these elections. His experience was if you voted for somebody, and your guy lost, the guy who won would come and shoot you for not voting for him! That was their experience with leadership. If you didn’t support the leader, you died. Hence, 99% of the people voted for Saddam. They didn’t want to get shot. I’m talking about Afghanistan, same thing there. These are Moslem countries, and when they were assured that, “No, no, no! If your candidate loses you just reorganize and fight another day for your candidate to win. Nobody gets shot,” they were ecstatic! They couldn’t believe that they would live if they didn’t support whoever was demanding that they support for them or vote for them. I heard these stories all over the place. But that’s where they were when we started this, and there’s just a long way to go. But, folks, it’s well worth it. This is not idealism. This is just humanity. It’s worth it because there are two benefits: Our security and the emancipation and the development of the people around the world who have been literally living under somebody’s shoe for generation after generation after generation.