CBCradio

April 16, 2009

Pt 1: Afghan Moral Misson - At least 300 women marched in protest in Kabul, Afghanistan yesterday. They oppose a new law restricting the rights of Shiite women in the country. Among other rules, the law forbids wives from refusing sex with their husbands. It also says they need his permission if she wants to go to work outside the home or go to school.

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Pt 2: Afghan War - When Canadian Trooper Karine Blais was killed by roadside bomb in Afghanistan this week, her uncle openly questioned if Canada could ever win the war there. Ms. Blais is the 117th Canadian soldier to die in the conflict. Yet the insurgency shows few signs of slowing. And in the meantime, United States president Barack Obama has committed extra troops to the region, renewing his country's commitment to bring stability and peace to the country.

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Pt 3: Letters - It's Thursday, so it's time for mail. Our Friday host Nancy Wilson joined Anna Maria to help sort through it.

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It's Thursday, April 16th.

Afghan women marched against a law that erodes women's rights in that country yesterday. But the male clerics who were consulted on drafting the law say they are the experts, not the women., on what the law should say about their rights.

Currently, the women agreed, saying: yes YOU are the experts - and THAT'S the problem.

This is The Current.

Afghan Moral Misson

At least 300 women marched in protest in Kabul, Afghanistan yesterday. They oppose a new law restricting the rights of Shiite women in the country. Among other rules, the law forbids wives from refusing sex with their husbands. It also says they need his permission if she wants to go to work outside the home or go to school.

When the women marched, some one thousand men and women surrounded them. They were pelted with insults, small stones and gravel. This follows on the heels of this past Sunday's assassination of Afghan women's right activist Sitara Achakzai. She was gunned down in Kandahar.

Developments such as these have some of the staunchest supporters of the war in Afghanistan questioning that commitment. Wondering if the so called moral war in Afghanistan is winnable at all.

Irshad Manji has openly and passionately defended the need to have NATO troops in Afghanistan since the war began in 2001. Today she is suffering a crisis of confidence. Irshad Manji is the director of the Moral Courage project, a global leadership program with New York University. And she was in our New York studio.

Nelofer Pazira is an Afghan Canadian journalist who is currently in Afghanistan working on a film. Nelofer Pazira joined us from Kabul this morning.

 

Afghan War - Kilcullen

When Canadian Trooper Karine Blais was killed by roadside bomb in Afghanistan this week, her uncle openly questioned if Canada could ever win the war there. Ms. Blais is the 117th Canadian soldier to die in the conflict. Yet the insurgency shows few signs of slowing. And in the meantime, United States president Barack Obama has committed extra troops to the region, renewing his country's commitment to bring stability and peace to the country.

Afghanistan, then, is quickly becoming ground zero in the war against radical Islamic insurgencies. And that's something with which David Kilcullen is very familiar. He was in Afghanistan last year evaluating the war effort. He was involved at the highest levels crafting the Bush administration counterinsurgency strategy.

He was also Senior Counterinsurgency Advisor to General David Petraeus in Iraq, and the chief Counterterrorism strategist for the U.S. State Department. David Kilcullen is now a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, and the author of The Accidental Guerrilla: Fighting Small Wars in The Midst of a Big One. He was in Washington, D.C.

Afghan War - Bacevich

The threat posed by radical Islamic insurgencies has academics and military planners urgently trying to sort out how best to defeat them. And Andrew Bacevich has spent significant thought and time examining how the United States has fought against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. He's a professor of history and international relations at Boston University, and the author of The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism. Andrew Bacevich was in Boston.

 

Letters

It's Thursday, so it's time for mail. Our Friday host Nancy Wilson joined Anna Maria to help sort through it.

Wind Turbines: Wind energy is said to be an integral part of our energy future. But Tuesday on The Current, we heard from some people who allege wind turbines causes sleeplessness and a variety of health concerns. After hearing this segment, some listeners added their thoughts to our discussion.

Fallen Soldiers: As each fallen soldier returns to Canada, it has been the custom for Canadians to gather along a stretch of Highway 401 in Ontario -- the Highway of Heroes, as it's been called -- to honour our war dead. But there is an ongoing debate about how public the return of fallen soldiers should be. Tuesday on The Current, we spoke with Jim Davis. His son, Paul died in 2006 while serving in Afghanistan. Hearing his story prompted one listener to share their recollection.

Foreign Workers: On Monday, we brought you a story about Canada's temporary foreign workers. About a 170,000 came here to work in 2008 alone. But with the downturn in the economy, those jobs are increasingly scarce, threatening the immediate future of temporary foreign workers. After hearing this story, we heard from you.

Abdelrazik/Kafka: Sudanese-Canadian Abousfian Abdelrazik remains stranded in the Canadian Embassy in Khartoum. Even though the RCMP and CSIS have cleared him of any criminal wrongdoing, he has been unable to leave Sudan for six years because the Canadian government will not issue him the travel documents he needs to return to Canada.

Mr Abdelrazik's story has prompted comparisons to the ordeal suffered by Josef K, the protagonist of Franz Kafka's novel, The Trial. And last Thursday on The Current, we looked at just what makes Mr. Abdelrazik's saga Kafkaesque. After that program aired, we heard from many listeners with their added thoughts.

We had requested an interview with Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon for our piece on Mr. Abdelrazik and Kafka, but a spokesperson from Foreign Affairs told us by email, As this matter is currently under litigation we cannot comment further on the situation.

And that's something you hear a lot of these days when you ask people for comment on some sensitive issues ... they can't say anything about it because it's quote: "before the courts." We did a Google News search on "comment" and "before the courts" and came up with dozens of hits from the past few weeks alone. We shared some examples including The Current's story on botched tests on breast cancer patients in Newfoundland and Labrador.

It seems that nowhere has the "before the courts" phrase been used more than in the BC Rail case in which the Liberal government of British Columbia has been accused of favouring CN in what was supposed to be an open bidding process in the sale of BC Rail. We heard from Vancouver Sun political columnist Vaughn Palmer describing the case and the growing discontent over refusals to comment.

And British Columbia Attorney-General Wally Oppal has taken exception to the heat he's been getting. We also heard from him.

Well, we thought we'd get another legal opinion on this, so we called Lorne Sossin at his Toronto office. He's a law professor and the academic director of the Centre for the Legal Profession at the University of Toronto.


Last Word - K-OS

We ended the program today with the music of K-OS. The Toronto musician and former guest host of The Current has a new album out called Yes. The first single is called 4-3-2-1. And the chorus includes the line "What we fighting for."

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