Showing posts with label enforcement. Show all posts
Showing posts with label enforcement. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 1

Under construction

A Tweet from one of the great teachers in my past, Bob Reich: "Laws not backed by sufficient enforcement resources are aspirations, not laws. Cutbacks at OSHA, SEC are repeals."

Restoring rule of law is an uphill climb after a reduction in enforcement. A breakdown in enforcement in one area spreads to other areas, as government employees and citizens cut corners and rationalize wrongdoing. Inconsistencies build, and citizens quickly lose faith in the system. Restoring the rule of law and citizen trust is more time consuming than destroying these systems.

And so it is with the Constitution of Afghanistan. 

Article Seven maintains, "The state shall prevent all kinds of terrorist activities, cultivation and smuggling of narcotics." Article Seventeen suggests the country "shall adopt necessary measures to foster education all levels, develop religious teachings, regulate and improve the conditions of mosques, religious schools as well as religious centers." Article Twenty-Two forbids "any kind of discrimination" and "The citizens of Afghanistan, men and woman [sic], have equal rights and duties before this law."

Article Twenty-Three:: "Life is the gift of God.... No one shall be deprived of this except by legal provision."  Twenty-Four: "Liberty is the natural right of human beings. This right has no limits unless affecting others [sic] freedoms as well as the public interest, which shall be regulated by law."

Article Twenty-Five maintains that "Innocence is the original state," that the accused are innocent until proven guilty by an authoritative court."

Torture is illegal. Persecution is forbidden.  Freedom of expression is inviolable.  There is a right to privacy around correspondence.  Personal residences are immune from trespassing without official court orders. Forced labor is forbidden. "Education is the right of all citizens of Afghanistan, which shall be offered up to the B.A. level in the state educational institutes free of charge by the state," according to Article Forty-Three, and Forty-Four encourages programs to "foster balanced education for women, improve education of nomads as well as eliminate illiteracy in the country." 

Those who would over-ride any of these articles can point to Article Two, which enshrines Islam as the state religion and prohibits any law that may contradict those beliefs. Even though Islam might endorse all the other articles of the constitution, the extremists develop their own interpretations to defy the rule of law. Stability in Afghanistan will depend on imams with the courage to speak out against manipulative, partial use of the religion to defend criminal acts.

Yes, laws that go unenforced are no longer laws.

And the difficulty of obtaining an online photo of the Afghan capitol building is notable, apparently a security measure. 

Photo of Kabul's largest mosque, Abdul Rahman Mosque, from Joe Burger and Wikimedia Commons.

Friday, November 16


Many in the Washington, DC, establishment bemoan the downfall of CIA chief David Petraeus, a general who led and served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some suggested the request for his resignation was too harsh.

In an interview with AFP, a Taliban official laughed, then commented on the severe punishments exacted in Afghanistan for adultery. "From a Pashtun point of view, Petraeus should be shot by relatives from his mistress's family," the Taliban official explained. "From a sharia point of view, he should be stoned to death."

Petraeus suggests that the affair began after he left the military. According to Noah Shachtman and Spencer Ackerman for Wired:

"the Uniform Code of Military Justice expressly forbids adultery (even among retired servicemembers), assigning a maximum penalty of 'dishonorable['] discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for up to one year....The CIA, on the other hand, has no policy against infidelity. In fact, Langley explicitly says extramarital affairs are OK — as long as you tell the Agency, as long as you tell your partner, and as long as no foreigners are involved."

Coming up with tough policies is easy, enforcing them not so easy. Conservatives tend to develop these policies for others, never expecting to apply them to their own. There is no rule of law with nconsistent enforcement, only injustice. In a small world, while drafting laws and their enforcement mechanisms, governments must consider if the penalties will win support of citizens and respect or ridicule from other nations.