Monday, November 09, 2009

Blind Spot in the Progressive Vision in Afghanistan

In a post last Friday about the resignation letter of an American State Department  employee in Afghanistan, I listed helping Afghan women as one of the goals of our presence in Afghanistan. 

In a piece in Countercurrents, Cage Wagenvoort  looks at American policy in Afghanistan and challenges that reason for being there.  He argues that we in the West have regularly gone into other cultures under the banner of noble ideals.  Unfortunately, he writes,
Ideals have the habit of coalescing into absolutes, and absolutes have a habit of shedding blood when one nation attempts to impose them on another. . .
We now see this same missionary zeal at work in Afghanistan where we are told that ours is an effort to liberate Afghan women from the yoke of oppression that has been placed on their shoulders by a misogynist regime. It has appeal because in truth, women in that country are treated as if they’re chattel.
The paradox, here, is that women’s rights will never ride into Afghanistan astride a drone. In Vietnam we destroyed villages to save them; in Afghanistan, we destroy wedding parties to free them.
You can read the whole piece here.  (The "blind spot in the progressive vision" in the title of this post comes from the last sentence of Wagenvoord's piece.)

How is it that Americans feel outraged when non-Americans tell us what to do (remember how French fries and toast were banned after 9/11?), or tell us what is right and wrong, yet we can't understand why other cultures respond the same way when we tell them how to live?

1 comment:

  1. As far as I know, it is the USA who has more wars than Presidents. I wanted to count the military operations of the US but around 60 I stopped.

    Hungary in 1100 years had less wars than the US in less than 300 and we had fights with Turks for 150 years, struggles with Mongols, Besenyős, Ruthinians, Austrians etc...

    Hungary has not been an extremely peaceful country but it is like a joke what the US has done.

    Answering the questions we (non-Americans) don't like when American politicians act smart because they are even more hypocritical than the politicians in other countries. For me Obama can talk about freedom and these stuff but does it sound good from the leader of a country which commited a kind of genocide on Native Americans.


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