Bush’s ‘new’ Afghanistan and Iraq: women worse off than ever

Afghan war, cartoon by Ted Rall

Remember George W Bush’s official reason for the Iraq war: weapons of mass destruction? Lies.

And the supposed Iraq-9/11 link? Lies.

And the unofficial post invasion pretext of the old Saddam Hussein management killing and torturing?

Under the new George W Bush management, killing and torturing is even worse.

And how about Bush’s pious words trying to make his wars popular, on women’s rights?

Here is the reality in Bush’s ‘new’ Iraq: where after the 2003 Bush invasion, lost constitutional rights they had since the 1950s.

And in Bush’s ‘new’ Afghanistan, with the old Taliban’s anti women religious police back under the new management.

Associated Press reports:

Women are facing increasing violence in Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia, especially when they speak out publicly to defend women’s rights, a senior U.N. official told the U.N. Security Council. …

“What UNIFEM is seeing on the ground in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia is that public space for women in these situations is shrinking,” Heyzer said Thursday.

“Women are becoming assassination targets when they dare defend women’s rights in public decision-making.”

Widows of Iraq: here.

Iraqi women worse off than under Saddam Hussein: here.

From IPS, March 2007:

According to Mohammed Khorshid, head of Human Rights Organisations in Iraq, there are over 2,000 women “security detainees” in 450 prisons, camps and detention centres across the country – more than under Saddam’s regime.

The majority were seized in the regular sweeps by US troops and their Iraqi allies.

The US military runs a network of secret facilities. It is believed they hold over 13,000 detainees without trial.

Iraqi women worse off than under Saddam: here.

World public opinion on Bush: here.

12 thoughts on “Bush’s ‘new’ Afghanistan and Iraq: women worse off than ever

  1. *Dying to Save the G.O.P. Congress*
    Posted by: “hapi22” hapi22@earthlink.net robinsegg
    Sat Oct 28, 2006 7:32 pm (PST)
    American soldiers are dying in Iraq so Bush can prop up his ego and
    pretend to be a “wartime” president.

    Hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians have died so Bush can
    prop up his ego by pretending to be a “wartime” president.

    How many more innocent people have to die so that Bush can hold onto

    How many?


    *Dying to Save the G.O.P. Congress*

    The New York Times
    October 29, 2006

    If you happened to be up around dawn on Tuesday, you could witness
    the death rattle of our adventure in Iraq live on CNN. Zalmay
    Khalilzad, the American ambassador, and Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the
    American commander, were making new promises from the bunker of the
    Green Zone, inspiring about as much confidence as Jackie Gleason and Art
    Carney hatching a get-rich-quick scheme to sell a kitchen gadget on “The
    Honeymooners.” LOL

    “Success in Iraq is possible and can be achieved on a realistic
    timetable,” said Mr. Khalilzad. Iraq can be “in a very good place in 12
    months,” said General Casey. Even a child could see how much was wrong
    with this picture.

    If there really is light at the end of the tunnel, why after three and a
    half years can’t we yet guarantee light in Baghdad? Symbolically enough,
    television transmission of the Khalilzad-Casey press conference was
    interrupted by another of the city’s daily power failures. If Iraq’s
    leaders had signed on to the 12-month plan of “benchmarks” the Americans
    advertised, why were those leaders nowhere in sight?

    We found out one day later, when the prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki,
    mocked the very idea of an America-imposed timetable. “I am positive
    that this is not the official policy of the American government, but
    rather a result of the ongoing election campaign,” he said, adding
    dismissively, “And that does not concern us much.”

    Give the Iraqi leader credit for a Borat-like candor that almost every
    American in this sorry tale lacks. Of course all the White House’s
    latest jabberwocky about “benchmarks” and “milestones” and “timetables”
    (never to be confused with those Defeatocrats’ “timelines”) is nothing
    more than an election-year P.R. strategy, as is the laughable banishment
    of “stay the course.”

    There is no new American plan to counter the apocalypse now playing out
    in Iraq, only new packaging to pacify American voters between now and
    Nov. 7.

    And recycled packaging at that: President Bush had last announced that
    he and Mr. Maliki were developing “benchmarks” to “measure progress” in
    Iraq back in June.

    As Richard Holbrooke, the broker of the Bosnia peace accords, has
    observed, the only real choice left for the president now is either
    “escalation or disengagement.”

    But there are no troops, let alone money or national will, for
    escalation. Disengagement within a year, however, is favored by 54
    percent of Americans and, more important, 71 percent of Iraqis. After
    Election Day, adults in Washington will step in, bow to the obvious and
    pull the plug. The current administration strategy — praying for a
    miracle — is not an option. The current panacea favored by anxious
    Republican Congressional candidates — firing Donald Rumsfeld — is too
    little, too late.

    The adults in charge of disengagement will include the Bush family
    consigliere, James Baker, whose bipartisan Iraq Study Group will present
    its findings after the election, and John Warner, the Senate Armed
    Services Committee chairman, who has promised a re-evaluation of Iraq
    policy within roughly the same time frame. Democrats will have a role in
    direct proportion to the clout they gain in the midterms.

    One way or another the various long-shot exit scenarios being debated in
    the capital will be sorted out: federalism and partition; reaching out
    somehow for help from Iran and Syria; replacing Mr. Maliki with a
    Saddam-lite strongman. There will be some kind of timeline, or whatever
    you want to call it, with enforced benchmarks, or whatever you want to
    call them, for phased withdrawal. (Read “Out of Iraq: A Practical Plan
    for Withdrawal Now” by George McGovern and William R. Polk for a
    particularly persuasive blueprint.) In any event, the timeline will end
    no later than Inauguration Day 2009.

    In keeping with the political cynicism that gave birth to this war and
    has recklessly prolonged it, the only ones being kept in the dark about
    this inevitable denouement are our fighting men and women. They remain
    trapped, dying in accelerating numbers in a civil war that is now
    killing so many Iraqi civilians that Mr. Maliki this month ordered his
    health ministry to stop releasing any figures.

    Our troops are held hostage by the White House’s political imperatives
    as much as they are by the violence. Desperate to maintain the
    election-year P.R. ruse that an undefined “victory” is still within
    reach, Mr. Bush went so far at Wednesday’s press conference as to say
    that “absolutely, we’re winning” in Iraq. He explained his rationale to
    George Stephanopoulos last weekend, when he asserted that the number of
    casualties was the enemy’s definition of success or failure, not his.
    Exactly! OUR number of dead soldiers don’t matter to Bush.

    “I define success or failure as to whether or not the Iraqis will be
    able to defend themselves,” the president said, and “as to whether the
    unity government” is making the “difficult decisions necessary to unite
    the country.”

    Unfortunately, the war is a calamity by both of those definitions as
    well. The American command’s call for a mere 3,000 more Iraqi troops to
    help defend Baghdad has gone unanswered. As we’ve learned from Operation
    Together Forward, when Iraqis do stand up, violence goes up. And when
    American and British troops stand down, murderous sectarian militias,
    some of them allied with that “unity” government, fill the vacuum,
    taking over entire cities like Amara and Balad in broad daylight.

    As for those “difficult decisions” Mr. Bush regards as so essential, the
    Iraqi government’s policy is cut and run. Mr. Maliki is not cracking
    down on rampaging militias but running interference for their kingpin,
    Moktada al-Sadr. Mr. Maliki treats this radical anti-American Shiite
    cleric, his political ally, with far more deference than he shows the
    American president.

    The ultimate chutzpah is that Mr. Bush, the man who sold us Saddam’s
    imminent mushroom clouds and “Mission Accomplished,” is trivializing the
    chaos in Iraq as propaganda. The enemy’s “sophisticated” strategy, he
    said in last weekend’s radio address, is to distribute “images of
    violence” to television networks, Web sites and journalists to
    “demoralize our country.”

    This is a morally repugnant argument. The “images of violence” from Iraq
    are not fake — like, say, the fiction our government manufactured about
    the friendly-fire death of Pat Tillman or the upbeat news stories the
    Pentagon spends millions of dollars planting in Iraqi newspapers today.
    These images of violence are real. Americans really are dying at the
    fastest pace in at least a year, and Iraqis in the greatest numbers to

    To imply that this carnage is magnified by the news media, whether the
    American press or Al Jazeera, is to belittle the gravity of the
    escalated bloodshed and to duck accountability for the mismanagement of
    the war.

    Mr. Bush’s logic is reminiscent of Jeffrey Skilling’s obtuse view of his
    innocence in the Enron scandal, though at least Mr. Skilling has been
    held accountable for the wreckage of lives on his watch.

    It is also wrong to liken what’s going on now, as Mr. Bush has, to the
    Tet offensive. That sloppy Vietnam analogy was first made by Mr.
    Rumsfeld in June 2004 to try to explain away the explosive rise in the
    war’s violence at that time. It made a little more sense then, since
    both the administration and the American public were still being
    startled by the persistence of the Iraq insurgency, much as the Johnson
    administration and Walter Cronkite were by the Viet Cong’s tenacity in
    1968. Before Tet, as Stanley Karnow’s history, “Vietnam,” reminds us,
    public approval of L.B.J.’s conduct of the war still stood at 40
    percent, yet to hit rock bottom.

    Where we are in Iraq today is not 1968 but 1971, after the bottom had
    fallen out, Johnson had abdicated and America had completely turned on
    Vietnam. At that point, approval of Richard Nixon’s handling of the war
    was at 34 percent, comparable to Mr. Bush’s current 30. The percentage
    of Americans who thought the Vietnam War was “morally wrong” stood at
    51, comparable to the 58 percent who now think the Iraq war was a

    Many other Vietnam developments in 1971 have their counterparts in 2006:
    the leaking of classified Pentagon reports revealing inept and
    duplicitous war policy, White House demonization of the press, the
    joining of moderate Republican senators with Democrats to press for a
    specific date for American withdrawal.

    That’s why it seemed particularly absurd when, in his interview with Mr.
    Stephanopoulos last weekend, Mr. Bush said that “the fundamental
    question” Americans must answer is “should we stay?” They’ve been
    answering that question loud and clear for more than a year now.

    What we should be thinking about instead are our obligations to those
    who are doing the staying. Kevin Tillman, who served with his brother in
    Iraq and Afghanistan, observed in an angry online essay this month:
    “Somehow back at home, support for the soldiers meant having a
    5-year-old kindergartener scribble a picture with crayons and send it
    overseas, or slapping stickers on cars, or lobbying Congress for an
    extra pad in a helmet.”

    If we really support the troops, we’ll move past Mr. Bush’s “fundamental
    question” to one from 1971 posed by a 27-year-old Vietnam veteran, John
    Kerry, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee: “How do you ask a
    man to be the last man to die for a mistake?”


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