By Ted Rall
May 08, 2009 “Information Clearing House” — LOS ANGELES–American soldiers serving in Vietnam wondered what they were fighting for. U.S. troops in Afghanistan don’t have that problem. They know exactly what they’re fighting for: rapists.
After President Obama’s coming “Afghan surge” there will be 72,000 soldiers in Afghanistan. Their primary mission is to prevent Afghans from overthrowing the unpopular regime of Hamid Karzai, the former oil consultant installed by George W. Bush when the U.S. occupation began nearly eight years ago.
America’s media repeatedly claimed that Afghan women would be better off under the U.S.-supported Northern Alliance puppet government headed by Karzai than under the Taliban. But when I went to Afghanistan and asked women what they thought, they had a different story. The defeat of the Taliban brought about the collapse of law and order, making life even more dangerous, especially for women. “Under the Taliban,” a woman told me, “I watched rapists being executed. Now I see them in the government.”
The Afghan women’s rights group RAWA has repeatedly told anyone willing to listen that there hasn’t been much improvement for women and girls since the U.S. occupation began in 2001. But no one–least of all left-of-center Americans eager to embrace the Afghan war–has wanted to hear what they had to say. “Most women still wear the all-encompassing burqa through fear of attack and social pressure, a third of women in Kabul do not leave the house, forbidden from doing so by the male members of the family, and it is still almost impossible for women to get a divorce,” reported The Sunday Herald in 2005.