This is International Women’s Day. And what was once my favorite news program, Amy Goodman’s “Democracy Now” (DN) was full of relevant coverage. One of the featured pieces was entitled “Stand up for Afghan Women”: U.N. Calls Afghanistan World’s Most Repressive Country for Women, Girls.” The piece lamented the sad situation plaguing Afghanistan’s female population.
By now the story has become familiar: women required to wear hijabs, girls excluded from schools, and both forbidden to drive cars, work outside the home, or to travel without male accompaniment.
And all of this decried by the United States government which is, we’re told, the champion of women’s rights not only in Afghanistan but throughout the Muslim world.
The problem however with that picture is that the last part is false. That is, far from being the champion of women’s rights in Afghanistan, the United States is the one ultimately responsible for their oppression in that sad country and elsewhere.
In effect, the U.S. is the creator of the Taliban which in 1992 overthrew the Russian-sponsored socialist government that beginning in 1973 freed Afghan women from the repressive restrictions just referenced.
More specifically, supported by the Soviet Union, the so-called “Saur Revolution” improved immeasurably the lives of Afghan women. It introduced progressive policies including land reform and mass literacy projects that benefitted both genders. Child marriage was abolished. Female dress codes were eliminated, freeing women to wear western clothing if desired.
Under socialism, formerly closed employment opportunities for women were opened in both the public and private sectors. Women were allowed to enter schools at all levels. They became university professors, government officials, doctors, nurses, lawyers, judges, parliamentarians and more. In record time, women comprised 50% of the government’s bureaucracy, 70% of the country’s teachers, and 40% of its doctors. Sixty percent of the faculty at Kabul University (KU) were females. For the first time in Afghanistan’s history, women comprised most of the KU student body.
All of that was reversed by United States now familiar divide-and-conquer regime change strategies – this time in Afghanistan. Alarmed by socialism’s advance, Jimmy Carter’s national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski saw that Saur progressive reforms though popular in urban centers were not well-received in rural tribal areas. So, he decided to support the landlords, warlords, and religious mullahs there to work regime change in Kabul.
The assistance included the Carter administration’s arming and training Islamic fundamentalists (the Mujahidin) beginning in 1979.
That movement eventually drove from power Afghanistan’s progressive socialists (along with their Russian supporters) with their women-friendly policies. Eventually too, the Mujahidin morphed into the Taliban.
We know the rest of the story:
- 20 years of U.S. occupation and bombing of Afghanistan
- With the expressed intent of preventing the Taliban from returning to power
- But leading directly to the deaths of more than 250,000 Afghans
- With the same number of deaths caused indirectly
- Including (between 2015 and 2019 alone) more than 26,000 Afghan children
- Along with the creation of over 2.2 million refugees.
We also know about:
- Last year’s chaotic U.S. departure from the country
- The immediate return of the Taliban to power
- And the subsequent application of U.S. sanctions
- That are currently causing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis that affects women and their children much more than the Taliban officials.
Everybody knows, of course, that all of this is intentional. The real target of U.S. sanctions is not the Taliban government. No, it’s all part of our government’s familiar regime change strategy aimed at making the lives of ordinary people (including women and children) so miserable that they will arise and overthrow their government.
We shouldn’t be fooled by any of it. Instead, (especially on this International Women’s Day), we should face up to the fact that the United States government doesn’t give a damn about women’s rights either abroad or at home.
At home, its Christian Taliban wing led by its SCOTUS Catholics, Donald Trumps, Ron DeSantises, and Marjorie Taylor Greenes would entirely control women’s bodies and their reproductive rights from the exclusion of sex education to the outlawing of contraception and abortion. Remember that for more than 50 years, “America” has found itself unable to officially recognize that under the Constitution, women have the same rights as men.
In summary, while portraying Muslim-majority countries as inherently misogynistic, U.S. government propaganda and even news sources like “Democracy Now” ignore the fact that the United States was responsible for overthrowing Afghanistan’s progressive governments attempting to improve the lives of its women.
In other words, history shows that our government is as misogynistic as the forces it sponsors.