In reply to a comrade in arms

My comrade in arms, and all round good egg, Harpy Marx, has written a post with me in mind today – well, I’m mentioned at the very least.

It’s in response to a blog I wrote in response to one written by Laurie Penny on women’s rights and the cod-feminist narrative for entering into Afghanistan.

I have replied to the response to the response by HM (response to the response – do keep up) on her comments thread.

For purposes of posterity I recall that response here:

It goes without saying that women’s rights under the Taliban was dreadful, reports emerged last year that women’s rights were put back a few notches before the election when Karzai resorted to dreadful inter-marriage rape – beyond the pale – just to notch up a few Shia votes.

But I detect two things with the argument that the imperialists made it worse: a) that we’re simply unable to hold our hands up and say there are people in Afghanistan who really want to make women’s lives tough – we have to explain this away by inserting the imperialists into the picture, and b) it follows logically that when “foreign imperial invaders” enter a country, a set of things will necessarily happen, like suicide bombing will increase, like Taliban membership will rise, and that women’s rights will be set back further.

They both look like this to me: unpalatable Afghans have only become so unpalatable because of the Americans.

Now of course it is not that simple, rather it is because of these unpalatable types, the size, the power and the networks of these unpalatable types that justifies a military effort by NATO forces to strengthen the Afghan state and army to contain the Taliban where it had no chance of doing so before, and it also necessitates the need to empower Pakistan for the reason that on the border between the two countries is where the Taliban are at its most effective and bloody – setting women back hundreds of years.

I’ll throw my hands up and say, most unorthodox I know, as a staunch socialist, but I think intervention in Afghanistan is justified; what grows in Afghanistan and Pakistan puts into jeopardy peace on this earth as much as any imperialist strategy.

The difference is that I don’t think the US went in too fussed about this myself; I think they wanted to get Osama, eventually they thought that Saddam Hussein had links to al-Qaeda – both flawed – but yet, crucially, I think whether neoconservatives were behind the the venture into Afghanistan or pinko lefty peaceniks, eventually the bubble that had been created by global terror networks al-Qaeda and the Taliban would have burst and necessitated NATO forces of all stripes to enter and strengthen the armies of both Afghanistan and Pakistan to beat a domestic problem and contain a global one (which terror cells pose now).

I’m happy to accept that the strategy hasn’t been always successful in Afghanistan, but I refuse to accept that because NATO forces entered the country, that by causality, so women’s rights have suffered – my finger most directly is pointing towards domestic movements in those countries who have had a historical part to play in putting women back a 1000 years.


One Response to In reply to a comrade in arms

  1. harpymarx says:

    Sorry I haven’t replied before……Forgiven?!

    “but I think intervention in Afghanistan is justified; what grows in Afghanistan and Pakistan puts into jeopardy peace on this earth as much as any imperialist strategy.”

    Why? What has “grown” in Afghanistan and Pakistan? If you mean Al-Qaeda then it grew after 2001. AQ was washed up in 2001. Afghanistan was a last desperate refuge for Osama Bin Laden. A remote mountain hideout is not an ideal place to command a global campaign. 9/11 was conceived in Saudi Arabia and planned and prepared for in Germany. The destablisation of Afghanistan and Pakistan along with the creation of a terrorists playground were the work of the warmongers. Wars mean destruction of societies and the people within them. Yes war is presented here in the West almost like rugby with high explosives. It is not. That is why you cannot have a just war other than one in genuine self defence. War will never by a simple process of taking out some bad guys and then everything will be OK. War can of course act as an instrument of oppression and imperial dominance. The wars of the last decade are about this and nothing else.

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