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The Golden Verses Of The Stoic

Seneca and Epictetus refer to the Golden Verses of Pythagoras , which happens to provide a good framework for developing a daily routine, bookended by morning and evening contemplative practices. Zeno of Citium , who founded Stoicism in 301 BC, expressed his doctrines in notoriously terse arguments and concise maxims.  However, Chrysippus, the third head of the Stoic school, wrote over 700 books fleshing these ideas out and adding complex arguments to support them. 

How Generations Were Raised to believe in jihad

After the United States helped chase out the Taliban government in Afghanistan in 2001, it came across a legacy of its earlier intervention in the region. As The Washington Post reported in 2002, the United States had spent millions of dollars beginning in the 1980s to produce and disseminate anti-Soviet textbooks for Afghan schoolchildren. The books encouraged a jihadist outlook, which was useful propaganda at the time for a Washington driven by the imperatives of the Cold War.
"The primers, which were filled with talk of jihad and featured drawings of guns, bullets, soldiers and mines, have served since then as the Afghan school system's core curriculum,"
The Post reported. "Even the Taliban used the American-produced books, though the radical movement scratched out human faces in keeping with its strict fundamentalist code."
Printed both in Pashto and Dari, Afghanistan's two major languages, books such as "The Alphabet for Jihad Literacy" were produced under the auspices of the U.S. Agency for International Development by the University of Nebraska at Omaha and smuggled into Afghanistan through networks built by the CIA and Pakistan's military intelligence agency, the ISI.
What does this mean? 
Not much really. The Taliban extremist gained generations of primed kids for full indoctrination just as planned. Doesn't mean they are victims or that the US had no business going in to Afghanistan. To me, it simply means that I want to stop pretending we don't have a piece of this. The Taliban was created out of extremists, and criminals -- because that's who we recruited out of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and other places. The reason that whole area is unstable is because we have made it that way, by twisting, inciting and forcing the region into a political and social environment which only an extremist can survive in.
July 23, 1986 -- 
CIA Director William Casey meets with Vice President George Bush (himself a former CIA director). Casey is a hardline conservative, nominally at odds with the more traditional, moneyed conservatism of Bush, but Casey has learned to trust Bush’s abilities. “Casey knew there was nobody in government who could keep a secret better,” a former CIA official will observe. “He knew that Bush was someone who could keep his confidence and be trusted. Bush had the same capacity as Casey to receive a briefing and give no hint that he was in the know.” Casey wants Bush to run a secret errand to Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi dictator, as part of a scheme Casey has concocted to force the hand of Iran. Specifically, Casey wants Bush to have Hussein step up his bombing of Iranian territory. Bush is already going to the Middle East to, as Bush told reporters, “advance the peace process.” Casey’s idea is to force Iran’s hand by having Hussein escalate his air strikes into the heart of that nation; in return, Iran would have to turn to the US for missiles and other air defense weapons. That would give the US leverage in negotiating with Iran for the release of the US hostages it holds. Two Reagan administration officials later say that Casey is also playing two rival policy factions within the administration. Bush complies with Casey’s request; in doing so, Bush, as reporters Murray Waas and Craig Unger will write in 1992, puts himself “directly in the center of action—in a role at the very point where a series of covert initiatives with Iraq and Iran converge.” [New Yorker, 11/2/1992; Affidavit. United States v. Carlos Cardoen, et al. [Charge that Teledyne Wah Chang Albany illegally provided a proscribed substance, zirconium, to Cardoen Industries and to Iraq], 1/31/1995  ; MSNBC, 8/18/2002]
I'm just suggesting that we stop the bullshit and own it, instead of continuing down the path of falsehoods and deceit we're on. 
"Yeah, we did it and did it well. Fuck off." 
Since the Taliban's ouster in 2001, American authorities have invested heavily in helping modernize Afghanistan's woeful education system, opening it back up to girls and revamping the backward curriculum put in place during the Taliban rule. But despite moderate gains, many challenges remain. And, according to at least one American scholar, these old anti-Soviet textbooks are still in circulation.
Dana Burde, an assistant professor of international education at New York University, says the Taliban is reprinting and using old U.S.-sponsored jihadist books to influence children in areas where the militants still hold sway. Burde says she found multiple reprinted copies of some of the texts, including a 2011 edition in the Pakistani city of Peshawar.
"There's no data on how widely these books may be in use today," Burde says. "I suspect they are not in wide circulation today--partly because they are simply not very good. I'm also not sure to what extent the Taliban are really using them--they've called for a return to them."
According to Al Jazeera America, the Pashto version includes such chilling entries as "T" is for "topak," or gun. How do you use the word? "My uncle has a gun," the entry reads. "He does jihad with the gun."
Other lessons instruct that Kabul can be ruled only by Muslims and that all Russians and invaders are nonbelievers.
In a recent book, Burde raises the issue of the continued presence of these books as part of her research on the unintended consequences of foreign aid policies in countries riven by conflict.
In an interview with NPR , she explained the calculations made by American Cold War strategists who sponsored these jihadist texts.
Picture yourself in the mid-'80s. Preventing and countering Soviet expansion was a single-minded focus in the United States and across the West. After the balance of power shifted and the shah of Iran was overthrown, there was an enormous amount of suffering among the Afghan people, and an exodus of epic proportions, similar to the Syrian refugee crisis today. There was a lot of outpouring of support on both the right and the left for Afghans struggling against the Soviet occupation.
As part of this war effort and consistent with the spirit and goals of the time, the alphabet of jihad literacy tried to solidify the links between violence and religious obligation.
As The Post reported in 2002, UNICEF destroyed at least a half-million of these "militarized" schoolbooks. But the consequences of decades-old American policies in the region still linger, in ways both big and small.
Washington Post 2002, 
In the twilight of the Cold War, the United States spent millions of dollars to supply Afghan schoolchildren with textbooks filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings, part of covert attempts to spur resistance to the Soviet occupation.
The primers, which were filled with talk of jihad and featured drawings of guns, bullets, soldiers and mines, have served since then as the Afghan school system's core curriculum. Even the Taliban used the American-produced books, though the radical movement scratched out human faces in keeping with its strict fundamentalist code.
As Afghan schools reopen today, the United States is back in the business of providing schoolbooks. But now it is wrestling with the unintended consequences of its successful strategy of stirring Islamic fervor to fight communism. What seemed like a good idea in the context of the Cold War is being criticized by humanitarian workers as a crude tool that steeped a generation in violence.
Last month, a U.S. foreign aid official said, workers launched a "scrubbing" operation in neighboring Pakistan to purge from the books all references to rifles and killing. Many of the 4 million texts being trucked into Afghanistan, and millions more on the way, still feature Koranic verses and teach Muslim tenets.
The White House defends the religious content, saying that Islamic principles permeate Afghan culture and that the books "are fully in compliance with U.S. law and policy." Legal experts, however, question whether the books violate a constitutional ban on using tax dollars to promote religion.
Organizations accepting funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development must certify that tax dollars will not be used to advance religion. The certification states that AID "will finance only programs that have a secular purpose. . . . AID-financed activities cannot result in religious indoctrination of the ultimate beneficiaries."
The issue of textbook content reflects growing concern among U.S. policymakers about school teachings in some Muslim countries in which Islamic militancy and anti-Americanism are on the rise. A number of government agencies are discussing what can be done to counter these trends.
President Bush and first lady Laura Bush have repeatedly spotlighted the Afghan textbooks in recent weeks. Last Saturday, Bush announced during his weekly radio address that the 10 million U.S.-supplied books being trucked to Afghan schools would teach "respect for human dignity, instead of indoctrinating students with fanaticism and bigotry."
The first lady stood alongside Afghan interim leader Hamid Karzai on Jan. 29 to announce that AID would give the University of Nebraska at Omaha $6.5 million to provide textbooks and teacher training kits.
AID officials said in interviews that they left the Islamic materials intact because they feared Afghan educators would reject books lacking a strong dose of Muslim thought. The agency removed its logo and any mention of the U.S. government from the religious texts, AID spokeswoman Kathryn Stratos said.
"It's not AID's policy to support religious instruction," Stratos said. "But we went ahead with this project because the primary purpose . . . is to educate children, which is predominantly a secular activity."
Some legal experts disagreed. A 1991 federal appeals court ruling against AID's former director established that taxpayers' funds may not pay for religious instruction overseas, said Herman Schwartz, a constitutional law expert at American University, who litigated the case for the American Civil Liberties Union.
Ayesha Khan, legal director of the nonprofit Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said the White House has "not a legal leg to stand on" in distributing the books.
"Taxpayer dollars cannot be used to supply materials that are religious," she said.
Published in the dominant Afghan languages of Dari and Pashtu, the textbooks were developed in the early 1980s under an AID grant to the University of Nebraska-Omaha and its Center for Afghanistan Studies. The agency spent $51 million on the university's education programs in Afghanistan from 1984 to 1994.
During that time of Soviet occupation, regional military leaders in Afghanistan helped the U.S. smuggle books into the country. They demanded that the primers contain anti-Soviet passages. Children were taught to count with illustrations showing tanks, missiles and land mines, agency officials said. They acknowledged that at the time it also suited U.S. interests to stoke hatred of foreign invaders.
"I think we were perfectly happy to see these books trashing the Soviet Union," said Chris Brown, head of book revision for AID's Central Asia Task Force.
AID dropped funding of Afghan programs in 1994. But the textbooks continued to circulate in various versions, even after the Taliban seized power in 1996.
Officials said private humanitarian groups paid for continued reprintings during the Taliban years. Today, the books remain widely available in schools and shops, to the chagrin of international aid workers.
"The pictures [in] the texts are horrendous to school students, but the texts are even much worse," said Ahmad Fahim Hakim, an Afghan educator who is a program coordinator for Cooperation for Peace and Unity, a Pakistan-based nonprofit.
An aid worker in the region reviewed an unrevised 100-page book and counted 43 pages containing violent images or passages.
The military content was included to "stimulate resistance against invasion," explained Yaquib Roshan of Nebraska's Afghanistan center. "Even in January, the books were absolutely the same . . . pictures of bullets and Kalashnikovs and you name it."
During the Taliban era, censors purged human images from the books. One page from the texts of that period shows a resistance fighter with a bandolier and a Kalashnikov slung from his shoulder. The soldier's head is missing.
Above the soldier is a verse from the Koran. Below is a Pashtu tribute to the mujaheddin, who are described as obedient to Allah. Such men will sacrifice their wealth and life itself to impose Islamic law on the government, the text says.
"We were quite shocked," said Doug Pritchard, who reviewed the primers in December while visiting Pakistan on behalf of a Canada-based Christian nonprofit group. "The constant image of Afghans being natural warriors is wrong. Warriors are created. If you want a different kind of society, you have to create it."
After the United States launched a military campaign last year, the United Nations' education agency, UNICEF, began preparing to reopen Afghanistan's schools, using new books developed with 70 Afghan educators and 24 private aid groups. In early January, UNICEF began printing new texts for many subjects but arranged to supply copies of the old, unrevised U.S. books for other subjects, including Islamic instruction.
Within days, the Afghan interim government announced that it would use the old AID-produced texts for its core school curriculum. UNICEF's new texts could be used only as supplements.
Earlier this year, the United States tapped into its $296 million aid package for rebuilding Afghanistan to reprint the old books, but decided to purge the violent references.
About 18 of the 200 titles the United States is republishing are primarily Islamic instructional books, which agency officials refer to as "civics" courses. Some books teach how to live according to the Koran, Brown said, and "how to be a good Muslim."
UNICEF is left with 500,000 copies of the old "militarized" books, a $200,000 investment that it has decided to destroy, according to U.N. officials.
On Feb. 4, Brown arrived in Peshawar, the Pakistani border town in which the textbooks were to be printed, to oversee hasty revisions to the printing plates. Ten Afghan educators labored night and day, scrambling to replace rough drawings of weapons with sketches of pomegranates and oranges, Brown said.