“Humanitarian” interventions tend to be the imperialistic wars of choice for the left, so it’s not surprising that despite the president’s clear words to the contrary, some progressives are still holding out on the belief that our involvement in the Middle East is about human rights. In Afghanistan, for example, they claim that the invasion has improved the lot of women, who were much abused under the Taliban’s misogynistic rule. Afghan women’s rights activists don’t agree.
The Afghan politician and activist Malalai Joya has warned that “Obama’s military buildup will only bring more suffering and death to innocent civilians.” Another woman, who goes by the pseudonym Zoya, has appeared in various U.S. media calling for “withdrawal of the troops immediately.” She is a member of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan, a Kabul-based political group that has fought for human rights and social justice since 1977. And Sakena Yacoobi, who founded a network of underground schools for Afghan women and girls, says “most foreign troops are not primarily focused on protecting women and children. Their focus is on beating the enemy, which is very different, and ordinary citizens become collateral damage in the process.” At least Obama and Yacoobi are in agreement: This mission is not about human rights and democracy. It’s about defeating an enemy.
This war is not about human rights, and the people of Afghanistan are not benefiting from our continued presence there. Why is our government ignoring requests to be left alone from the very people we are supposedly “saving”?
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