Dateline Afghanistan: Real war on women
The Obama re-election campaign spent 2012 ridiculously (but successfully) accusing Republicans of conducting a “war on women.” But a real war on women is being waged in Afghanistan. And it’s a war that will likely spiral out of control if President Obama gets his way.
Obama wants all American troops out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014. A recent Pentagon study makes it clear that the Afghan army isn’t ready to take over and probably won’t be in two years. But the U.S. may leave anyway.
Obama has long advocated “reaching out” to Muslims – and that means women-hating Muslims too. The Obama administration is working with the resurgent Taliban to facilitate a smooth transition in 2014.
International human rights groups predict that women’s rights will be revoked immediately once the U.S. leaves Afghanistan and tribal courts reassert their power. Amnesty International has warned that women’s rights will be “traded away in the transition.”
Three million girls are now in school in Afghanistan thanks to American efforts. And women now make up 20 percent of college graduates. These and many other fragile gains will likely be reversed once U.S. troops leave.
As Obama signals his intention to withdraw troops as soon as possible, women are already under fire. Last summer, Afghanistan’s only female Olympian received numerous death threats. In December, a well-known Afghan women’s advocate was murdered. And there are continued violent attacks against girls who attend school.
The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission reports that 4,000 cases of violence against women occurred between April and October last year, a 30 percent increase from 2011.
A 2012 Human Rights Watch report found that Afghan women are being arrested for “moral crimes,” such as leaving violent husbands and running away from child marriages.
Too often in the Obama administration, Muslim outreach is merely a synonym for throwing American values overboard.
A new military handbook for U.S. troops deployed to the Middle East tells soldiers not to make derogatory comments about the Taliban or criticize pedophilia. The 75-page manual also suggests U.S. personnel avoid “advocating women’s rights.”
It’s important for American soldiers to be culturally sensitive when deployed in foreign countries. But it’s just as important for the U.S. never to renounce the most fundamental American values, which, after all, are also universal values.
Obama thinks he has a partner in Afghan President Hamid Karzai. But Karzai signed a clerical council’s code of conduct for women which, among other things, calls for women’s segregation and bans on travel for women unaccompanied by a male guardian, and gives husbands the right to beat their wives.
Insisting that the Obama administration would not abandon women once American forces leave Afghanistan, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said last May, “Any peace that is attempted to be made by excluding half the population is no peace at all.”
The problem is that Obama isn’t interested in peace. He’s only interested in abandoning the country as soon as possible. In 2011, a senior Obama administration official told the Washington Post that women’s rights would “have to take a back seat to other priorities.” He also dismissed the importance of women’s rights, dismissing them as “pet rocks.”
With women’s rights sidelined, Obama and Clinton seem to have spent much more effort exporting abortion, which Clinton has called “a basic right” and a “centerpiece” of the Obama foreign policy. Abroad, that “women’s right” is regularly used to intentionally abort unborn baby girls.
The 2012 elections are over, but Democrats are still preoccupied with advancing the Republican “war on women” narrative. When House Republicans blocked passage of the Violence Against Women Act earlier this month, they were accused of being at war with women. But Democrats loaded the bill with provisions they knew Republicans would object to, including expanded avenues for illegal immigrants to commit immigration fraud and gratuitous hand-outs to the gay rights lobby.
The liberal media are also still obsessed with the war on women meme. The Daily Kos website recently published an editorial called “This week in the War on Women: Yes, ladies, the GOP still hates us.”
The news is not all bad. Last November, Senators Bob Casey and Kay Bailey Hutchison introduced the Afghan Women and Girls Security Promotion Act. The law requires the Department of Defense to report to Congress on its efforts to promote the security of Afghan women and girls during the transfer of security responsibility to Afghan forces.
The amended bill was included in the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act, which Obama signed earlier this month.
But a requirement to report is not the same as a requirement to act. It’s still seems likely that women will be the biggest losers in the American withdrawal.
In his inaugural address last week, Obama declared, “a decade of war is now ending” in Afghanistan. But, in part due to Obama’s rush to leave Afghanistan, militant Islam’s war on women is starting up once again.
Obama won a second term by hyping a fake “war on women.” How tragic it would be if that second term is remembered for ignoring a real one.
Former presidential candidate Gary Bauer is president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families.