Howard Dean’s Imperialism – Apply Liberally

Howard Dean was on the program Democracy Now! on Friday when co-host Juan Gonzales departed from the subject of Health Care reform to a question about Afghanistan:

JUAN GONZALEZ: In terms of the—to get back again to other issues right now, I’d like to ask you about the continuation and expansion of the American war in Afghanistan. Do you have concerns about—that this is becoming really President Obama’s war—

HOWARD DEAN: It is.

JUAN GONZALEZ: —and the impact on our country in the future?

HOWARD DEAN: Look, again, you know—and I don’t have to say anything nice; I’m not in the administration. But I’m with Obama on his conduct of the war. I always said, when I was running against the Iraq war, that Afghanistan was different.

Let me tell you what the stakes are now. And what I find incredibly refreshing about this president is he uttered words that Lyndon Johnson never said, which is that we cannot win this war militarily. He knows that from the get-go. Here’s what’s at stake. It’s not just the Taliban. I think we could probably control the Taliban and the al-Qaeda in the Northwest territories by doing some of the things we’re already doing—drones and air power and so forth. Roughly 50 percent of the Afghan people are women. They will be condemned to conditions which are very much like slavery and serfdom in a twelfth century model of society where they have no rights whatsoever. So, I’m not saying we have to invade every country that doesn’t treat women as equal, but we’re there now. We have a responsibility. And if we leave, women will experience the most extraordinary depredations of any population on the face of the earth. I think we have some obligation to try and see if we can make this work, not just for America and our security interests, but for the sake of women in Afghanistan and all around the globe. Is this acceptable to treat women like this? I think not.

AMY GOODMAN: We just interviewed an Afghan parliamentarian, Dr. Wardak. She said the opposite. She said, yes, she agrees with you on the way women are treated, but that this is worsening the treatment, that the increased number of civilian deaths in Afghanistan, the huge number of troops that are coming in right now, are alienating the Afghan population.

HOWARD DEAN: Well, that—and that is the clear challenge for this president and for the generals who are over there, is can they stop that? Because if they don’t, we’ll be out of there much faster than we ought to be, and we will be leaving behind 50 percent of a population who are going to experience horrendous depredations and set back the cause of women’s equality around the world by decades.

There you have it folks! All these years later, Liberals are still using Afghan women as justification for the continuing occupation of the country! In this, there is little difference between the words of Howard Dean and any radio address given by Laura Bush during her husband’s administration. Of course, in these remarks, no analysis is ever given to the fact that warlords and other anti-women politicians make up a good part of the nucleus of the “post-Taliban” government.

Time and time again, by both parties, the women of Afghanistan have been used as a prop. It’s simple folks. War, as a phenomenon that disproportionately effects women, will not liberate them. What? Am I supposed to believe that the gusts of winds generated from the blasts of U.S. bombs will be so forceful that they will just blow those burqas right off for good? Liberation!

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