The International Assistance Mission (IAM) began in 1966 in Afghanistan and except for a brief 3 month period in 2001, they have been there ever since. Their work primarily focuses on eye care, although they provide other services as well. Their current executive director is Dick Frans who is based in Kabul. I think one could call them unique since Afghanistan is the only place they work. Frans expresses their approach this way. ” Our faith motivates and inspires us but we do not proselytize.”
Most of those who serve do so at their own expense or through the generosity of others. On August 5, a 10 member team plus an Afghan driver was returning to Kabul after an arduous 2 weeks working in the remote Parun valley. Initial reports said they were surrounded by armed Taliban and brutally murdered by gunfire and hand grenades. As further information emerges, it appears that the act could have been perpetrated by armed bandits. It’s possible the truth will never surface or if so, not for some time. I would also doubt whether those responsible will ever be brought to justice.
I have read several articles about this tragedy and the more I read the more devastated I become. Those ten who were killed were quite a disparate group. There were six Americans, a German, a Brit and two Afghans who served as a guard and a cook. Their ages ranged from two grandfathers in their 60′s to a 25-year-old photographer/videographer and the 24-year-old cook. One, Karen Woo, was a London surgeon who gave up a lucrative career to serve. The senior member was Dan Terry who arrived in country in 1971 and met and married his wife and reared three daughters in the country. Tom Little was much like Cherry and had been in the country for four decades spearheading the mission’s work in providing eye care. The group’s junior was member Brian Carderelli from Harrisonburg, Va. Both of his parents had worked there and he knew somewhat the potential dangers he faced. When the opportunity came he grabbed it. Ironically he was putting together an album of photos entitled “The Beauty-It’s Not All War.”
Other team members were dentist Thomas Grams of Durango, Co, nurse Glenn Lapp of Lancaster, Pa and an interpreter from Germany Daniela Beyer. The Afghans killed were Mahram Ali, a guard and a young cook named Ahmed Jawed.
Certainly all had calculated the risks involved and chose to take those risks. Beyond the incalculable losses felt by the families and friends are the heavy toll on IAM’s work. At the least, much of it is in limbo. The attack was one of the worst carried out on foreign aid workers in many years.
Heartfelt prayers go out to those impacted by these losses, especially those closest to these who gave their all.
- Charity plans to stay in Afghanistan despite murders of 10 aid workers (foxnews.com)
- Karen Woo Remembered At Memorial Service (news.sky.com)
Just announced this week, Attorney General Eric ( pardon Marc Rich) Holder will be conducting an investigation of the CIA. This comes after the President had said he wanted to move forward and not dwell on these things. However, in language eerily similar to that used by Bill Clinton in the Janet Reno days, Obama said that the investigation is Holder’s alone, not his deal at all. But in 2007, then Senator Obama came out for these same types of investigations. A bit of hypocrisy, it doth seem.
Anyway, no telling what these investigations might reveal, I have no doubt that Holder’s Justice Department contains people who would dearly love to turn this into something akin to a witch hunt. That, I think, will not happen. Methinks that the investigation, just as the leaks have done to this point will do enough to infuriate conservatives but but so little as to infuriate liberals.
So, I have a solution. Just abolish the CIA. We in a civilized society don’t need these rogues out terrorizing people in the name of information. They are always making mistakes and never have the right info anyway. What we can very easily do is to contract out our intelligence gathering program. It happens all the the time in business and government, why not intelligence. This is sort of how I envision it. Contract the job out by regions of the world. Have Mossad handle the task in the Middle East, North Africa and Asia. In Europe, we might even have a choice. There is MI5 and the French DGSE or General Directorate for External Security. That leaves most of Africa as well as Latin America and South America. I don’t know, Brazil maybe or Mexico could help. And just think of all the money we would save. Don’t know the CIA budget, they probably don’t either. But I am sure that the savings would help pay for part of the health care reform. Gotta run, must fax this to the Vineyard for Obama’s approval.
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