Thinking Out Loud: The Story of Spozhmai, a Nine-Year-Old Afghani Girl

There are a thousand striking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.” ­Henry David Thoreau

Whether or not a continued U.S. presence in Afghanistan is worthwhile (I am conflicted), Robert Gates’ book detailing his belief that President Obama had no faith in his own war strategy there and wanted out stands in sharp contrast to a story I recently read in The Washington Times. The story focuses on a nine-year-old girl named Spozhmai, whose father and older brother sent her to die a martyr’s death by detonating a suicide bomb at a U.S. military checkpoint in the Afghanistan desert.

First her father and brother strapped her into a suicide vest that probably weighed almost as much as she did, telling her, “You’re here in this world and you will die. You are not here to learn or do other things, or to expect that your word will carry any weight. You are here just to die and do your duty.”  With the help of a local mullah, Spozhmai was shown how to detonate the suicide vest, and then she was led into the desert, where they abandoned her to spend the night alone.

The next morning, absolutely terrified, she approached the military checkpoint, but instead of detonating the bomb she pleaded with the soldiers at the checkpoint to help her, telling them what her father and brother had done to her, and expected of her.  The soldiers disarmed her and brought her to their military commander, who placed her in protective custody.  There she shared the story of the life of slavery she led as a female under radical Islam.  “I didn’t go to school because they didn’t let me,” she said.  “I can’t read a word, I can’t pronounce anything. It’s because I wasn’t taught, nobody taught me how.  I want to go to school.”

Speaking of President Obama, The Washington Times story also noted that when his secretary of State, John Kerry, recently met with Pope Francis, Kerry was quoted as saying, “We have a huge common interest in dealing with this issue of poverty, which in many cases is the root cause of terrorism or even the root cause of the disenfranchisement of millions of people on this planet.”

Poverty may, in some cases, be the root cause of terrorism, but in many more cases — the case of nine-year-old Spozhmai being a perfect example — the root cause of terrorism is an evil ideology in which a father would willingly sacrifice not just an innocent little girl, but his own daughter, for the greater glory of his God.

What kind of father would do that?  What kind of God would condone that?