In defense of the sanctimonious women's studies set || First feminist blog on the internet

How to fight terrorism

I just wrote a huge, long post about this, and the internet in this cafe stopped working and the whole thing got erased. So, you will all get the condensed version. First, check out the New York Times op/ed section for a variety of ideas. The Washington Post offers up some decent op/eds too, but their website gives me a headache and I can’t stand looking at it any more. My favorite links (and some of my own views, of course) are below.

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A policy of rape

This Krisof column is sickening. He looks at rape in Sudan, and some of the information he puts forth is absolutely awful. Unfortunately he doesn’t really get into the history and politics of rape as a war tactic, but his column space is short. An excerpt:

Gang rape is terrifying anywhere, but particularly so here. Women who are raped here are often ostracized for life, even forced to build their own huts and live by themselves. In addition, most girls in Darfur undergo an extreme form of genital cutting called infibulation that often ends with a midwife stitching the vagina shut with a thread made of wild thorns. This stitching and the scar tissue make sexual assault a particularly violent act, and the resulting injuries increase the risk of H.I.V. transmission.

Sudan has refused to allow aid groups to bring into Darfur more rape kits that include medication that reduces the risk of infection from H.I.V.

The government has also imprisoned rape victims who became pregnant, for adultery. Even those who simply seek medical help are harassed and humiliated.

A shameful cover-up

When are the American people going to get sick of the Bush administration’s lies? It blows me away.

And of course, we still have people as prominent as Alan Dershowitz and Charles Schumer defending and even promoting torture.

Posted in War

Bush & Co. defend Guantanamo

We are apparently embracing freedom at the notorious prison camp, and Amnesty International’s report is “absurd.”

“It’s an absurd allegation. The United States is a country that promotes freedom around the world,” he said, adding: “We’ve investigated every single complaint against the detainees. It seemed like to me they based some of their decisions on the word of — and the allegations by — people who were held in detention, people who hate America, people that had been trained in some instances to disassemble — that means not tell the truth. And so it was an absurd report.”

Because they should have asked… him?

Cheney also weighed in.

“Frankly, I was offended by it,” Cheney said. “For Amnesty International to suggest that somehow the United States is a violator of human rights, I frankly just don’t take them seriously.”

…really? The United States isn’t a violator of human rights, ever? Also, when people are lying, don’t they tend to use words like “truthfully” and “frankly” repeatedly to try and convince their audiences that they’re telling the truth?

Posted in War

Hypocrisy in the Culture Wars

Neil of the nTrain has two great posts up about stem cells and gays/women in the military. Neil (who has a great, sarcastic writing style) points out that, although he his in favor of stem cell research, “those that object to the use of federally funded research that involved the dissection of these embryos cannot simply stop there. You cannot be against what you see as murder simply because the federal government is funding it. That’s absurd. What this calls for is a Republican bill outlawing the use of embryos by any research facility in their stem cell research.”

His solution?

I think it’s necessary to make use of those embryos because to simply allow them to remain frozen is to inhibit their developmental potential. Perhaps we can just sprinkle them on some hospital beds and give them 6-9 months to develop, providing food and drink whenever necessary or applicable. Doing nothing just seems barbaric.

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Laura Bush urges women’s rights in the mid-East

I’ll admit it: I do not hate Laura Bush.

I know this fact probably merits my expulsion from several liberal-minded social groups, but hear me out. I don’t think she’s stupid, and I don’t think it’s fair to call her a Stepford wife. I am deeply disappointed in her refusal to publically dissent from her husband on issues where they certainly disagree (abortion rights, education funding, many issues concerning women and children), but I don’t think that makes her an completely impotent force in the White House. The fact is that she probably is a mostly impotent force, but she has pushed for various educational and literacy initiatives, which, though they are considered “soft” issues in political circles, are nonetheless important. Does she have the kind of life that I’d want? No. Do I think it’s pathetic that she abandoned her own political beliefs when she married her George? Sure. But I think she’s a strong person, and I think she’s smarter than many liberals (and conservatives, for that matter) give her credit for.

And now, she’s championing women’s rights in the mid-east. Only she’s utilizing a pretty poor strategy.

I’m all for pushing women’s rights — in the mid-East and everywhere else. But when the Bush administration does, for example, a survey of all mid-East countries and rank their dedication to women’s rights, they look like they’re specifically attacking one particular region — which, of course, they are. Are many mid-East and North African countries particularly bad on women’s rights issues? Yeah, in truth, they are. But this administration isn’t concerned about women’s rights unless it’s politically expedient. We’re in the good company of countries like Iran, Sudan and Somalia in our refusal to sign CEDAW, and Bush’s domestic record on women’s rights isn’t exactly peachy. So sending Laura Bush into other countries — countries where we have demonstrated a profound lack of cultural, social and religious understanding — spouting her short-sighted, highly Westernized version of women’s rights will no doubt leave a pretty bad taste in the mouths of many people there. They know it isn’t particuarly genuine, and no one likes a hypocrite.

That said, it is better than nothing. But I’m also afraid that this will backfire. The war on Iraq has brought up so much anti-Americanism that anything we do is going to be looked at skeptically, and in an effort on behalf of mid-Eastern nations to be “not America,” women’s rights may only be lessened. Middle Eastern countries, and the people in them, feel as if they are under attack from the United States — from what I can tell, there seems to be a sense that we’re out to change their culture, their religion, their forms of government and their social structures. And when people feel as if their way of life is under attack, they’re more likely to cling to all vestiges of it more tightly. In this case, that may include the history of poor treatment of women under authoritatian governments and Sha’ria law. So while I’m cautiously glad that the Bush administration is even mentioning women’s rights, I’m disgusted that it’s only being done as part of their war-mongering in the mid-East, and that they’re ignoring women’s rights issues everywhere else, while actively violating women’s rights at home and abroad.

Dada Calls Bullshit

Bullshit it is.

What’s really amazing about this is the speed at which ‘Newsweek Lied, People Died’ became a mantra for the Right; within 24 hours, every winger with a blog was parroting this shit ad infinitum and ad nauseam. The right-wing echo chamber is truly a well-oiled propaganda machine.

Fucking worthless hypocrites all of you. Fuck you to every one of you assholes pretending to suddenly care about how many Muslims die.

The comments on this post are fantastic. Relatedly, The Poor Man takes Glenn Reynolds to task for his take on the story.

via Liberal Avenger

Posted in War

Monday Must-Read

Lynn writes on her meeting with a “Lost Boy” from Sudan:

It was only after he was living in the US that Dane learned that most of his family did escape, and are now refugees in Uganda and Kenya. His father is dead.

There are more “Lost Boys” than girls for a reason: small boys had the job of taking care of the family herd animals. Girls had chores which kept them closer to home. So often, when troops came into the villages, the boys could see from a distance the village burning, and flee. Dane said about 30,000 boys had wound up as refugees, and 5000-7000 girls; many girls, instead, wound up as slaves. There has been an effort to buy slaves back, but they are hard to find, for they are scattered, and have lost their own language, knowing only the language of their captors.

Please read the rest for the personal story of Benson Dane.