Establishing a safe and secure democracy in an unstable country takes a lot of effort. A crucial part of which is ensuring equality among the country's citizens, right? Not in Afghanistan, according to an unnamed senior U.S. official quoted in The Washington Post.
Just two days before the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day, the Post reported on a "shift" in the U.S. Agency for International Development's approach toward promoting women's rights. Apparently women in Afghanistan are getting the shaft because gender equality does not make the list of USAID's main concerns.
"Gender issues are going to have to take a back seat to other priorities," the senior official told the Post. "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."
Just to be clear, that senior official did refer to women's rights as "pet rocks."
Four days after the Post article ran, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said that the U.S. government will not back away from supporting women's rights in Afghanistan. Clinton's was responding to a question from Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) at a House panel. Lowey objected to the senior official's statement, saying: "This is, quite frankly, unacceptable. Any progress we've made in Afghanistan with regard to women's rights will be quickly rolled back by the [Afghan] government and others if we do not continue to emphasize the importance of gender equality."
Clinton responded that the official's statement did not reflect the Obama administration's policy, and that the United States is providing more support right now than at any other time in history for education, health care and political empowerment programs.
that's from renata maniaci's 'women's rights: the rejected "pet project" of afghanistan?' (now).
for the record, i believe we should get out of afghanistan right now. i'm sorry for the afghan women but i just don't see the need to continue the illegal war.
but if the war is being continued - and so far it is - then we damn well better not turn our backs on afghan women. we've never really helped them. it's been a cute little media pretense that we've ever done a damn thing for afghan women.
and that's why we need to get out. we're getting close to a decade and we've accomplished nothing. why?
probably because we really didn't want to. probably because we wanted a gas pipeline and we wanted to control the poppy traffic. not because we gave a damn about any 1 in afghanistan.
'How many more anniversaries?' is something you should read. c.i. really is the finest writer online. read it and then ask yourself how many outlets are covering iraq?
let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'