Inconvenient News,
       by smintheus

Saturday, May 20, 2006

  Chronology is the lens of history

And Theodor Mommsen might have added, it can be a bitch. What in the world was Laura Bush talking about today in her commencement address at Roger Williams?

In the weeks that followed September 11th, Americans were shocked by the pictures that emerged from Afghanistan. Especially haunting were the images of Afghan woman denied their rights -- the right to work, even the right to be educated. Seeing those pictures, American women realized that we had taken these rights for granted. And during those weeks, as I traveled around our country, I was impressed by how proud American women were to stand with the women of Afghanistan, and how eager they were to help in any way we could.

The 'eye of history' works equally well from either direction, however. As often as not, a person's version of chronology is a good window into her mind, even her soul. In this instance, the chronology we're given is both warped and egocentric.

The 'theme' of Bush's speech, if that's not too grandiose a term, was that you can't go through your life ignoring others who are in need. Yet to judge by her own chronology here, until 9 months into her husband's presidency, she had pretty successfully ignored the plight of Afghans, male and female, under the Taliban. That was while the rest of the world was up in arms over the bastards' treatment of everyone and everything in Afghanistan.

You may remember that the Taliban's ill treatment of women was notorious long before May 2001, when for example Robert Scheer wrote this editorial in the LA Times: Bush's Faustian Deal with the Taliban.

Enslave your girls and women, harbor anti-U.S. terrorists, destroy every vestige of civilization in your homeland, and the Bush administration will embrace you. All that matters is that you line up as an ally in the drug war, the only international cause that this nation still takes seriously.

That's the message sent with the recent gift of $43 million to the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan, the most virulent anti-American violators of human rights in the world today....

Never mind that Osama bin Laden still operates the leading anti-American terror operation from his base in Afghanistan, from which, among other crimes, he launched two bloody attacks on American embassies in Africa in 1998.

Sadly, the Bush administration is cozying up to the Taliban regime at a time when the United Nations, at U.S. insistence, imposes sanctions on Afghanistan because the Kabul government will not turn over Bin Laden....

At no point in modern history have women and girls been more systematically abused than in Afghanistan where, in the name of madness masquerading as Islam, the government in Kabul obliterates their fundamental human rights. Women may not appear in public without being covered from head to toe with the oppressive shroud called the burkha , and they may not leave the house without being accompanied by a male family member. They've not been permitted to attend school or be treated by male doctors, yet women have been banned from practicing medicine or any profession for that matter.

But the LA Times is such a provincial paper; little wonder that Laura Bush did not encounter the story.

You may remember that there was a bit of a to-do the world round in March 2001 as the Taliban began systematically destroying ancient rock carvings in rural Afghanistan. It was in all the papers. But it was for the rest of the world to focus on the Taliban outrages, not for Mrs. Bush.

You may remember that that summer foreign aid workers were held by the Taliban, accused of preaching Christianity. Mrs. Bush did not notice, evidently.

As late as August 2001, according to reports, her husband's government was trying to cut a deal with the Taliban to get their cooperation with the Turkmenistan to Pakistan oil pipeline.

The last meeting between U.S. and Taliban representatives took place five weeks before the attacks on New York and Washington; on that occasion, Christina Rocca, in charge of Central Asian affairs for the U.S. government, met the Taliban ambassador to Pakistan in Islamabad on August 2, 2001. Rocca said the Taliban representative, Mr. Zaeef, was aware of the strong U.S. commitment to help the Afghan people and the fact that the United States had provided $132 million in relief assistance so far that year.

Somehow, all the attention that Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney were devoting to the Taliban that summer did not even pique her interest in Afghanistan, not even a little bit to judge by her speech. Then, after Sept. 11, Laura Bush suddenly noticed that the Taliban were bad, bad people. Chiz.


  • And there wouldn't have been any Taliban running Afghanistan, had Ronald Reagan not given Stinger missiles and logistical support to these radical fundamentalists whose slavelike treatment of women and hatred of all things American were already known around the world. But they were attacking the "socialist" government of Afghanistan, that nasty bunch who were already sending women to college, so any enemy of socialists is a friend of ours, even if these Asian Sandinistas were in the opposite corner of the globe.

    By Anonymous Joyful Alternative, at 7:42 AM  

  • joyful, it's the case that the screw-ups in our foreign policies don't just self-correct or go away. They come back to haunt us, as much as the U.S. would like to pretend that we're insulated from whatever we as a nation are happy to forget about. The Reagan policies of the early 80s were disastrous, and continue to be, just as our mid-Eastern policies in the 1940s and 1950s had consequences that we're still reading about every day in the headlines.

    So I'm just appalled when George and Laura Bush behave as if they can get away with rewriting history to suit their current propaganda.

    By Blogger : smintheus ::, at 5:14 PM  

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