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Afghanistan: The First and Last Feminist War?

by Dan Ehrlich (writer), London/L.A./Seattle, June 26, 2010

Why are we really there: to fight terror, free women from terror or just for big bucks?

The feminist victory may be complete in America, but on the international stage it's near defeat with three quarters of the world’s women still under often severe male domination. Afghanistan is a case in point in what might be termed the first feminist war…a war that may not be won even if Hillary Clinton dons a flack jacket and shoulders an M16 on the front lines.

I say that since there has yet to be a credible explanation as to why we, and other NATO nations, are there, except to keep the extreme male chauvinist Muslim Taliban from power. The idea of a synonymous linkage between the Taliban and Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaida group, has never been proven.

Yes, I’m sure they cooperate, but they are different people who now have the same goals. Bin Laden is a Saudi. He doesn’t care about Afghanistan. He just hides out there and in Pakistan. His main goal, other than converting the world to Islam, is to overthrow the Saudi royal family and kick the US out of his country. The Taliban want to overthrow the Karzai Government and kick the US out of their country.

Remember, we were the ones who originally helped arm the Taliban in its fight against the Soviets. As far as anyone can tell the reason for our conflict with them, as with Iraq, is regime change. Yet, unlike Iraq, which had a strong central autocratic government, the Taliban is a theocracy made up of hill tribesmen who simply abandoned Kabul when we arrived and took the mountains and friendly villages for a protracted war against us.

In a sense, our eight year involvement there can give us some idea of what the Israelis have been enduring for 70 years…an endless conflict against nations, whose main strength is their stagnant state, going nowhere they feel the can outwait the Israelis and America.

And while it may take some time to win a war of attrition against Israel, America, with a time frame for withdrawal on the table, is another matter. The firing of our Afghanistan military commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal is being hailed by the Taliban as a sign of our eminent defeat.

Of course it doesn’t have to be that way. If we had the money and popular support we could stay there as long as we wanted. We have maintained forces in South Korea since the end of WW2, most of that time under a cease fire agreement with North Korea. But, this is the main weakness with progressive democracies when pitted against stagnant theocracies. Like sharks, we have to keep moving or we eventually will perish. Many Islamic states simply exist as shellfish, going where the tide takes them, in a non- evolutionary permanent state shielded by their faith.

But, for us, as usual there’s more at stake in Afghanistan than our war on terror, women being forced to wear burkas and our international reputation. There are big, big bucks in the form of natural gas and minerals. And there’s one more thing…narcotics. The country’s biggest cash crop is opium poppies, another battle that hasn’t been going well. Because as with our similar efforts to eradicate South American cocaine, we’re fighting an indigenous people’s traditional work.

President Obama’s original contention during the GW Bush years that we should be concentrating on Afghanistan rather than invading Iraq was good politics in the aftermath of 9/11. Our invasion of Iraq wasn’t based so much on Saddam Hussein’s brutality as it was on reports of his so-called weapons of mass destruction aimed at the West….a claim that has since been proven false.

So, it was left to the media to ramp the US population up for our Afghan adventure. Photos and videos of women being tortured and executed for trying to have jobs or enjoy some western music, inflamed many of us against the brutal Taliban religious fanaticism. Develop a war on terrorism and couple this with the Taliban and more than eight years later we are still there with more NATO troops dying every week.

But wait! There’s one more weakness progressive democracies have: We won’t do what some of our enemies would do to win. We are limited by our civility, rules of warfare, the Geneva Convention, etc.

During the Korean War General Douglas MacArthur, one of the most brilliant military tacticians we have ever had was fired by President Truman because he wanted to bomb the railroads in Manchuria. That was from where China’s Red Army supplies were being funnelled into Korea. He felt if we broke the supply line, the Chinese offensive would collapse. Truman, however, felt such as action might bring Russia into the conflict and trigger WW3. We didn’t win in Korea…but eventually bargained for a truce.

In Vietnam we tried everything except invading the North and nuclear weapons. But, those options were nixed for fear of bringing the Chinese into the war.

On the other side of the coin, you notice how the only Arab uprisings are against the Israelis. That’s because there are no uprisings, at least for long, in the Arab countries. There are only massacres…such as those perpetrated by Saddam Hussein, Hafez al Assad of Syria and even King Hussein of Jordan.

The Palestinians, for example, know the Israelis normally won’t do what they would do to win….kill or destroy your enemy and all his family and friends. The Israelis came close with its Gaza onslaught, but that was a stupid miscalculation aimed mainly at saving Israeli troops in house to house searches and terrorizing the Gazans.

Yet, take away all the bad press and world outrage, it had some positive effects for Israel….it and the West Bank wall have effectively stopped most attacks and suicide bombings. Playing Mr. Nice Guy doesn't get you very far in certain cultures where being humaine indicates weakness.

As for the US, we are not about to nuke Afghanistan, killing everyone that isn’t waiving Old Glory or even try to fight a war of attrition which we would lose. That's possibly because we are still too nice to win. We will eventually just leave…but probably without that infamous Mission Accomplished banner. And, hopefully we may at long last learn that our nation is best defended by guarding our own borders and fighting a never ending battle at home for truth, justice and the American way, if anyone can recall what that way is.



About the Writer

Dan Ehrlich is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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3 comments on Afghanistan: The First and Last Feminist War?

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By JJFCPA on June 26, 2010 at 08:07 am

Interesting article. It certainly will not be the conflict where our standards of war fare are limited by politicians. Likewise, we fight with 1 arm behind our back. Unfortunately this the nature of this type of conflict in Afghanistan where the Taliban are ruthless killers of members of their society.

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By Dan Ehrlich on June 26, 2010 at 11:39 am

we haven't learned that we can't fight and win limited wars. unlike the arabs or taliban, we won't do what really is needed to win...overwhelming force and destruction or an endless war of attrition.

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By jose10 on July 09, 2010 at 07:02 am

Visiting in Afghanistan is like dreams come true.I always wanted to visit here it is wonderfull place to visit.


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