Missing the USSR
November 19, 2001
comments powered by Disqus
An article in today's New York Times reports on the reaction of American feminists to the Bush administration's decision to take up the banner of women's rights in Afghanistan. The Times reports: "Gloria Steinem still was not having it, and, unlike the politicians in Washington, had no qualms about saying so. 'I can't think of any motive other than the gender gap,' she said last week. 'But they should understand that the gender gap is smart, and can tell the difference between rhetoric and reality.' Women might also remember back 20 years, she said, when the United States was supplying arms to the mujahedeen, or the 'freedom fighters' trying to rid Afghanistan of their Soviet invaders. The Soviets built schools and educated women, actions that the fundamentalist mujahedeen despised. Many of those mujahedeen now make up large parts of the Northern Alliance, America's current ally, and the Taliban."
Well, this sure is an interesting rewrite of history, in which the benevolent Soviets occupiers of Afghanistan built schools and educated women. The suggestion seems somehow to be that women were better off because of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
That's preposterous. Not that the Taliban were any picnic. But neither were the Soviet Communists. The Journal of the American Medical Association published an August 5, 1998, article on "Women's Health and Human Rights in Afghanistan" in which 160 Afghan women were interviewed. The article reported, "Following the invasion of Afghanistan by the former Soviet Union in 1979, more than 6 million Afghans fled to the neighboring countries of Pakistan and Iran, among others. It is estimated that more than 1 million people were killed in Afghanistan before the withdrawal of Soviet troops and the change in government in April 1992." The article reported, "the majority of study participants were long-term residents of Kabul and were likely affected by the violence and abuses that had occurred during the Soviet occupation followed by subsequent factional armed conflicts."
Or maybe Gloria Steinem should check out the Planned Parenthood Web site, which reports that "Among the many dramatic changes in the former Soviet Union is increased access to family planning: the abortion rate plummeted as a result."
Even that great cold warrior Jimmy Carter said in his 1980 State of the Union address: "now the Soviet Union has taken a radical and an aggressive new step. It's using its great military power against a relatively defenseless nation. The implications of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan could pose the most serious threat to the peace since the Second World War. The vast majority of nations on Earth have condemned this latest Soviet attempt to extend its colonial domination of others and have demanded the immediate withdrawal of Soviet troops. The Moslem world is especially and justifiably outraged by this aggression against an Islamic people. No action of a world power has ever been so quickly and so overwhelmingly condemned. But verbal condemnation is not enough. The Soviet Union must pay a concrete price for their aggression. While this invasion continues, we and the other nations of the world cannot conduct business as usual with the Soviet Union. That's why the United States has imposed stiff economic penalties on the Soviet Union. I will not issue any permits for Soviet ships to fish in the coastal waters of the United States. I've cut Soviet access to high-technology equipment and to agricultural products. I've limited other commerce with the Soviet Union, and I've asked our allies and friends to join with us in restraining their own trade with the Soviets and not to replace our own embargoed items. And I have notified the Olympic Committee that with Soviet invading forces in Afghanistan, neither the American people nor I will support sending an Olympic team to Moscow."
If Ms. Steinem had only gotten word to President Carter that all the Soviets were doing in Afghanistan was expanding educational opportunities for women, Mr. Carter surely would have realized he had it all wrong, and American athletes could have competed in the 1980 Olympics. What a missed opportunity.
Nuclear Terror: The lead editorial in today's New York Times says, "For most Americans there is no more frightening threat than terrorists with nuclear weapons. Assuming Osama bin Laden does not already have them -- the assumption most experts make -- everything possible must be done to prevent him or other terrorists from obtaining them."
The Times definition of "everything possible" seems to extend to lavishing more American taxpayer dollars on Russia. It doesn't extend to bombing the Iranian nuclear reactor under construction at Bushehr. In fact, the $800 million reactor construction effort by Iran, a terrorist state that doesn't exactly lack for non-nuclear energy resources, doesn't even rate a mention in the Times editorial. When Israel took out an Iraqi nuclear reactor, the New York Times wrote a June 9, 1981, editorial headlined "Israel's Illusion" that said, "Israel's sneak attack on a French-built nuclear reactor near Baghdad was an act of inexcusable and short-sighted aggression."
So it's pretty rich to see the Times now claiming that "everything possible" must be done to prevent terrorists from obtaining nuclear weapons.
Subscribe to the Mailing List
© 2017 FutureOfCapitalism LLC