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George Bush & Women's Rights in Afghanistan

George Bush, Feminist?

November 21, 2001

What are those incredibly strange noises we hear coming out of the White House?  When cats start barking and dogs begin meowing, you know something's amiss.

George Bush, Colin Powell and even Laura Bush, among others, have a new big cause, loudly proclaiming their deep concern for the rights of women in Afghanistan.

Of course, they said nothing about this issue in the five years prior to the Afghan War.  And even after the Afghan War started, they waited several weeks to bring up the subject in any meaningful way.

Why the sudden interest in the human rights of Afghanistan's horribly beleaguered women? 

First, it's one element of the Bush administration's just recently expanded effort to win the propaganda war, which they feared they were losing to the Taliban.  The Taliban mistreatment of women is so universally condemned that merely raising the issue is an easy way to score points.

Second, there's not a little hope among the White House's re-born suffragists that as a byproduct, some of this pro-women's rights rhetoric will help shrink the gender gap in the U.S. electorate between Republicans and Democrats.

Does anyone seriously believe that had the events of 9/11 not taken place, Laura Bush would be taking over one of her husband's weekly radio addresses to announce her solidarity with the suffering women of Afghanistan?

All this being said, I'm not complaining... yet.

Better that Bush does the right thing for the wrong reasons, than -- as is most often the case -- the wrong thing for the wrong reasons. 

Put another way, George Bush and his cohorts never do a damn thing for anyone other than themselves and those in their wealthy, ruling class-type circles -- unless they themselves will benefit at least as much as those they are purporting to help.  So if the Bush administration can ensure that women's rights are guaranteed in post-Taliban Afghanistan, more power to them, even if it does narrow the electoral gender gap. (I would hope that no one would be fooled by this transparently non-heartfelt policy, but assume that many people will be.)

The operative word is if.  Talk is cheap.  Let's see what type of treatment is accorded women in Afghanistan after a new government takes over.

Beyond that, let's see whether Bush's newfound concern for women's rights extends beyond just where it's politically expedient, and continues to where it's not, e.g., Saudi Arabia, where women face some of the same drastic restrictions the Taliban imposed on them.

I suspect George Bush, feminist will quickly disappear.  I could be wrong.  And I hope I am.

This was a selection from The Daily Diatribe

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