EDITORIAL: A child shall teach them

John Kerry hasn’t learned that the root cause of evil is evil

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A 9-year-old girl in Afghanistan is living testimony to the sheer evil of radical Islam. Her name is Spozhmai, and she was betrayed by her family. Her father and brother strapped a suicide vest to her little body and told her she must go to a military checkpoint, where her vest would be detonated.

Her brother told her: “You’re here in this world and you will die. You are not here to learn or to do other things or to expect that your word will carry any weight. You are here just to die and do your duty.”

The little girl, who would be in the fourth grade if her family had allowed her to go to school, was terrified. Her father, with the assistance of the local mullah, showed her how to operate the vest. They lied that she would not be harmed. “If you operate this on the people at the checkpoint,” they told her, in an account she gave to the BBC, “they will die, you will not die.”

Her father took her to the desert, where she spent the chilly night alone. The next morning she approached the checkpoint and did not detonate the vest to complete the circle of violence. Instead she told the soldiers what had happened to her and they took her to their commanding officer. The commander took her into protective custody and listened as she told the story of how she was treated like a slave, to do the family’s every bidding and not allowed to go to school. “I didn’t go to school because they didn’t let me. 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.”

Nearly everyone recognizes this as evil because nearly everyone understands that evil exists. The family of little Spozhmai is proof. But not everyone. Secretary of State John Kerry doesn’t. In a conversation with Pope Francis at the Vatican, Mr. Kerry offered the tired and foolish explanation that poverty is the “root cause” of terrorism.

We don’t know what the pope thought of this, but we can well imagine. After his meeting the secretary of state told reporters that “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.”

Mr. Kerry spent nearly 30 years in the United States Senate, spreading the foolish idea that federal money can solve all problems of the United States. From poverty and crime, if the government would just spend more money, problems would disappear like magic. He has taken this view to the world, where a fool and his money are easily parted. A stimulus plan or a new government-funded job-training program in Afghanistan and Iraq might do some good, but is not likely to convince families that God does not give them little girls like Spozhmai for sacrifice.

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