Prior to the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, we were told by President Bush that one reason it was important to send troops was to liberate Afghan women from the the Taliban. We know now that was only a shameful excuse to justify an unjustifiable war. But unfathomably, we continue to use women as pawns of war in Afghanistan. Kathy Kelly reports that on February 12, 2010,
U.S. and Afghan forces raided a home during a party and killed five people, including a local district attorney, a local police commander two pregnant mothers and a teen-aged girl engaged to be married. Neither Commander Dawood, shot in the doorway of his home while pleading for calm waving his badge, nor the teen-aged Gulalai, died immediately, but the gunmen refused to allow relatives to take them to the hospital. Instead, they forced them to wait for hours barefoot in the winter cold outside.
Despite crowds of witnesses on the scene, the NATO report insisted that the two pregnant women at the party had been found bound and gagged, murdered by the male victims in an honor killing. A March 16, 2010 U.N. report, following on further reporting by Starkey, exposed the deception, to meager American press attention.
It was a lie in 2001 that ‘liberating’ women was a priority, and not only is it still a lie now, but we are also lying shamefully about our own guilt in the barbaric murder of innocent, pregnant women with the shameful complicity of our media.
At the same time, the New York Times reports that the CIA is proposing that Afghan women should be sent to European countries to explain why expected steep French and German casualties this summer are acceptable,
French voters could be made to feel guilty about abandoning civilians and refugees, while both nations’ electorates are reluctant to “disappoint” Barack Obama, it concludes.
Afghan women are “ideal messengers in humanizing the [international coalition] role” and should be put in front of European media for their “ability to speak personally and credibly about their experiences under the Taliban, their aspirations for the future, and their fears of a Taliban victory.”
Afghan women are not only losing their lives and human rights because of U.S. military actions but now we are asking them to support these ‘humanizing’ atrocities. Kelly also points to a Save The Children report that came out in early March reporting that,
“The world is ignoring the daily deaths of more than 850 Afghan children from treatable diseases like diarrhea and pneumonia, focusing on fighting the insurgency rather than providing humanitarian aid.” The report notes that a quarter of all children born in the country die before the age of five, while nearly 60 percent of children are malnourished and suffer physical or mental problems. The UN Human Development Index in 2009 says that Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries in the world, second only to Niger in sub-Saharan Africa.
The proposed US defense budget will cost the U.S. public two billion dollars per day. President Obama’s administration is seeking a 33 billion dollar supplemental to fund wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Meanwhile in this country we dither on how to afford healthcare and what to do about the economy. And we liberate Afghans by killing them with our bombs and standing by while their children die, unnecessarily, before the age of five.
We call that fighting terrorism and defending the homeland. But we are not safer, and Afghani women and their children are not liberated. They are dead, wounded, and malnourished. To echo the words of Cindy Sheehan, what noble cause?
Our actions are an expensive, damaging lie and have become the embodiment of failed democracy.