Jul 292010

Why we can’t leave Afghanistan–yeah sure, we’ve achieved absolutely nothing, trashed the country and possibly put ourselves in more danger and lost too many of our own in the process as well, but don’t be so selfish as to believe that we can just leave, oh no, we have to stay and protect the poor, pitiful Afghan women (and yes that is the sound of sarcasm you hear dripping off those words).  The new issue of Time has a but we must protect the Afghan women piece (complete with heart rending graphics) that begins with,

The Taliban pounded on the door just before midnight, demanding that Aisha, 18, be punished for running away from her husband’s house. Her in-laws treated her like a slave, Aisha pleaded. They beat her. If she hadn’t run away, she would have died. Her judge, a local Taliban commander, was unmoved. Aisha’s brother-in-law held her down while her husband pulled out a knife. First he sliced off her ears. Then he started on her nose.

This didn’t happen 10 years ago, when the Taliban ruled Afghanistan. It happened last year.

Exactly, it happened  years after we went into Afghanistan claiming we were going to protect Afghan women, which has worked out not so much.  But that doesn’t stop the Time piece from concluding,

For Afghanistan’s women, an early withdrawal of international forces could be disastrous. An Afghan refugee who grew up in Canada, Mozhdah Jamalzadah recently returned home to launch an Oprah-style talk show in which she has been able to subtly introduce questions of women’s rights without provoking the ire of religious conservatives. On a recent episode, a male guest told a joke about a foreign human rights team in Afghanistan. In the cities, the team noticed that women walked six paces behind their husbands. But in rural Helmand, where the Taliban is strongest, they saw a woman six steps ahead. The foreigners rushed to congratulate the husband on his enlightenment — only to be told that he stuck his wife in front because they were walking through a minefield. As the audience roared with laughter, Jamalzadah reflected that it may take about 10 to 15 years before Afghan women can truly walk alongside men.

So there you have it, we’ll have to stay another ten or fifteen years so that women can achieve equality. Imagine instead of contributing to the violence in Afghanistan that further harms women, we were to provide humanitarian aid that improved the lives of Afghan women. Imagine if we had taken the billions of ‘reconstruction’ funds that are unaccounted for in Iraq and given that money to responsible organizations to actually rebuild and strengthen the social infrastructure of both countries. Oh wait, then we couldn’t use the women excuse to continue to fund the military industrial complex. Enough already, women are not an excuse for militarism and war.

 July 29, 2010  Posted by on July 29, 2010

  16 Responses to “Time Magazine Once Again Trots Out The Tired And Inexcusable ‘We’re In Afghanistan (And Have To Stay) To Protect Women’ Mantra”

  1. Great thanks to Greg Mitchell for linking to this piece on The Nation website, http://www.thenation.com/blog/38016/response-controversial-time-cover-what-also-happens-if-we-leave-afghanistan.

  2. Anything to distract from the true problems of the last 8 years. It is the policy – there isn’t one or this would not be a problem. I’ve written tons on this, here is just one article you should read http://tinyurl.com/24yjyup

  3. Tricia, excellent article, thank you for sharing. I think that what this article totally misses is that we never went to Afghanistan to help Afghan women and that isn’t the reason we are staying.

  4. Sure. We’ll get out, provide the Taliban with lots and lots of “humanitarian aid” and the situation of Afghan women will be exactly the same as it was before we went in. At the end of the day, it doesn’t much matter to Western “feminists” what happens to foreign women, does it?


  5. […] game. Many have already voiced their outrage, including The Feminist Peace Network which released a statement in protest and concluded by saying: Imagine instead of contributing to the violence in Afghanistan that […]

  6. […] even escalating) in Afghanistan because of it.  It’s a serious issue.  And please see the response to Time by the Feminist Peace Network.  Jezebel with another good take […]

  7. […] lets recap.  We attacked, invaded and occupied Afghanistan, because the CIA and the FBI ignored the Saudi […]

  8. Christopher, no one is suggesting giving the Taliban aid but hey, the Pentagon can’t account for almost any of the reconstruction funds in Iraq so giving it to them is rather pointless as well. What is needed is a funding process that empowers those in need to meet the needs that they themselves define. What is sure not needed is men continuing to insist on fighting to defend the honor of women. And as a note, feminist blaming is unacceptable on this blog and I will not be posting any further such comments.

  9. Christopher Johnson calls people who _object to_ the jingoistic demagoguery of Time’s atavistic call to bloody air-strikes for gentlemen who want to kill all “the bad men”, hypocrites.

    One wonders if he means just those women who don’t respond like Pavlovian dogs every time some Versailles mimeograph machine repeats that war is necessary “because of the women” doncha know.

  10. While I find Time’s manipulative cover disturbing and reprehensible (for both the Taliban’s savage inhumanity and Time’s obvious manipulation and exploitation), I don’t think the “let’s pull out all the troops and build schools and hospitals” approach is realistic. At all. I’ve spoken with troops who served there, and read the words and accounts of more, and there’s no way any reconstruction dollars would be ultimately used for reconstruction without a significant military presence. The Taliban isn’t interested in infrastructure, or humanitarian interests, or fair play, or any of the similarly-minded assumptions your argument is hung upon. With all due respect, you sound woefully naive suggesting this.

    The Taliban, as a whole, is reason enough to stay the course. Their treatment of women is just one facet of a larger problem.

  11. Sometimes JB–Given the length of time we’ve been in Afghanistan, we don’t have much to show for it, in fact things are deteriorating, I don’t think our continued presence is useful to productive change there.

  12. Are things, in fact, deteriorating? By what metric? In whose opinion? What, precisely, is the reason given?

    Scenarios like the well-documented case of the Pir Mohammed School in Sanjaray, Kandahar are emblematic of exactly why we need to maintain a presence in Afghanistan. The Taliban want to shut down schools, hospitals, and effectively all civilized life in Afghanistan (and beyond). We want to restore and improve the lives of people there. The “battle” is really that simple, and for soldiers on the ground, it is a battle worth fighting (and dying for). Their words, not mine.

    Also in the words of the commanding officer there, “[other] people will always have the luxury of second guessing these decisions from another place and time”. For my part, I don’t doubt these soldiers when they declare the importance of staying the course.

    I do doubt the value of withdrawal. You are, of course, free to speculate as to what might happen if we stay, but there’s no need to speculate as to what happens if we withdraw. The history of the region prior to the events of 9/11 supplants any need for such speculation. These guys are fixing for a fight, and they’ll surely pick one with us, whether we like it or not.

  13. Sometimes, you might want to take a look at this, http://www.feministpeacenetwork.org/2010/07/31/cia-document-calls-for-using-afghan-women-as-messengers-to-humanize-the-war/. Using the plight of women to sell the war is a calculated strategy and has been since the beginning of the war and as I note in a later post, both the NYT and McClatchy have run pieces very similar to the Time piece this week, which smacks of a talking point strategy to me.

  14. And of COURSE the military and its corporate surrogates (i.e. Halliburton) have a spotless record in terms of their treatment of female employees.

  15. […] sway of horror and shock, followed largely by gratitude for being born American. Conversely, on the Feminist Peace Network, outrage that a young girls image was being exploited for the use of war […]

  16. […] Time Magazine Once Again Trots Out The Tired And Inexcusable ‘We’re In Afghanistan (And Have To … (Feminist Peace Network) […]

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.