Women in Afghanistan, Bombing of Libya and Gaza
by Debra Sweet
Director of The World Can't Wait
The Summer 2011 issue of On The Issues Magazine probes peace activism, feminism, and war reality. I was asked to contribute an article, so I wrote The Cruel Lie: Bombing To Liberate Women. An excerpt:
"The United Nations reported on a study in 2010 that "Rising numbers of women and girls aged 15-40 are attempting suicide in Afghanistan," even as the Karzai government in 2011 is moving to shut down shelters for abused women funded by international aid organizations, western governments and private donors. New rules being drafted by president Hamid Karzai's government would bar private safe houses for women who are fleeing abuse and place new rules on those seeking refuge in the country's 14 public shelters, including forcing women to submit to medical examinations and evicting them if their families want them back, according to an article in the Washington Post on March 5, 2011...
Is the Obama administration, with a reputation of being more liberal on social issues than the Bush regime, helping the cause of women’s rights in Afghanistan? Consider this from "a senior administration official involved in Afghanistan policy" speaking to the
Washington Post in March 2011. "’Gender issues are going to have to take a back seat to other priorities,’ said the senior official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal policy deliberations. ‘There’s no way we can be successful if we maintain every special interest and pet project. All those pet rocks in our rucksack were taking us down.’"
The raping, maiming, and slaughter of women by U.S. allies, the warlords and drug smugglers who populate the Karzai cabinet, and by the Taliban, are relegated to "gender issues" by the administration of the President Obama, a Nobel Peace Laureate. The child-birth suffering, starvation, and waste of the lives of half of Afghanistan’s humanity is dismissed in a casually sexist analogy. "Success" will not be measured in the lives of women."
"Humanitarian" Bombing of Libya: Very early on in the U.S. intervention in Libya -- as I remember it, about 2:00 pm March 19, as we were outside the White House protesting the Iraq war -- I said we should oppose the intervention. Many people wanted to believe that the United States was, for once, doing the right thing in bringing down the Libyan government. But the fact that in Egypt and Bahrain, where Arab Spring uprisings were shaking governments friendly to the U.S., the Obama administration did nothing to save civilians being killed, should have been a clue.
Left, NATO admits killing civilians earlier this month in Tripoli, EuroNews.
The President disagrees with at least two of his legal advisors, including the Office of Legal Counsel. They argue that the U.S. is involved in "hostilities" and therefore, he's required to stop dropping bombs on western Libya until he has Congress' approval. The Washington Post picks up on a contradiction in Obama's argument: "The White House has officially declared that what’s happening in Libya is not 'hostilities.' But at the Pentagon, officials have decided it’s unsafe enough there to give troops extra pay for serving in 'imminent danger.'”
While there's some opposition to the intervention in Libya growing in the U.S., Obama has not been challenged yet about drone bombings in Yemen, one per day in the first two weeks of June. See Jason Ditz in CIA Poised to Begin Drone Strikes Against Yemen. And there's Pakistan, where the U.S. has increased bombing in the last six weeks.
A simple question, if U.S. motives are humanitarian, Why Didn't the U.S. stop Israel from bombing civilians in Gaza? 1200 civilians were killed in 20 days in 2008/09. The whole world saw that too, aware that the U.S. is Israel's largest arms funder.
We wish safe passage to the US Boat to Gaza, taking actual humantiarian aid to Gaza. Ray McGovern & Ann Wright, who are on the Advisory Board of War Criminals Watch, will be on board along with many other people of conscience and courage.
See Making Emergency Response Plans at ustogaza.org: "In late June, a U.S. flagged ship called The Audacity of Hope will join the 2nd Freedom Flotilla – Stay Human as people from 22 nations set sail to Gaza challenging the Israeli naval blockade. Though the flotilla has the right under international law to do exactly what it is doing and has made abundantly clear its commitment to nonviolence, the government of Israel has publicly stated that they are prepared to act illegally and violently and take severe, even potentially life-threatening, action against the boats and their passengers."