Thursday, April 9, 2009

legitimizing the 'war on terror'

When news of Afghanistan's recently created legislation regarding the rights of women hit Western media, political leaders were quick to condemn it and newspapers across Canada called on Harper to pressure Hamid Karzai to withdraw the law. Editiorials sparked up in newspapers as people flooded the media with their concerns over our mission's 'purpose in Afghanistan. Lord Malloch Brown argued that protecting women was "one of the first reasons why the UK and many other Western countries threw themselves into this war."

No, it is not.

Canada entered Afghanistan to find Osama bin Laden, and so that we could avoid Bush's demands that we fight in Iraq. Right or wrong, we are there to fight against those who would do harm to the West, not to force Afghans to adapt to our way of life. While I fully despise and find despicable this law which would make women imprisoned to their husbands, I absolutely disagree with the way that women's rights are being exploited to provide justification for a failing war.
Harper and Western leaders knew when they invaded Afghanistan that the Taliban was treating women horribly, and that women's rights were being violated. Yet this did not matter when there was a bigger, more looming threat; bin Laden. Only when they realize that we cannot defeat bin Laden did politicians try to shift justification to the protection of women's rights. If the protection of women's rights is such an important cause for Harper and Western leaders, then why have they not invaded Pakistan or Turkey, where honour killings and crimes against women are an enormous problem?
The answer? Because Western leaders are not truly concerned with the rights of women in the Middle East. Harper needs to justify a war that a vast number of people are opposed to. The invoking of women's rights has only served to confuse Canadians as to what our actual purpose is in Afghanistan; this is something which can only be pleasing to Harper and other leaders involved in this war. Human rights are a much more emotive and volatile issue than simply embarking on a manhunt, and is more likely to garner the support of Canadians.
Canadians, already mystified by the Arab world, are more likely to support the goals of Western democratic imperialism if it is disguised as being a fight for women's rights. In reality, this war is quickly turning into nothing more than a way of destroying that which, right or wrong, is different from the way that we live our lives.

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