Revolution #162, April 19, 2009

As Obama Sends More Troops

Afghanistan: Lackies of U.S. Legalize Marital Rape and Other Anti-Women Laws

On March 27, Barack Obama laid out his plan for another 4,000 troops on top of the 17,000 he's already sent (and another 10,000 likely before the end of the year, bringing the U.S. total to 70,000).

Among the rationales for this escalation, Obama claims that the U.S.'s ongoing war and occupation "is a cause that could not be more just," including because a goal is helping the Afghan people, "especially women and girls." "For the Afghan people," Obama stated, "a return to Taliban rule would condemn their country to brutal governance, international isolation, a paralyzed economy, and the denial of basic human rights to the Afghan people—especially women and girls."

But "the denial of basic human rights to the Afghan people—especially women and girls" is exactly what the U.S. and its puppet regime are enforcing in Afghanistan.

Just four days after Obama's statement, it was revealed that the Afghan government—which was installed by the U.S.—had passed (in February) one of the most vicious anti-women bills in the world based on Islamic religious law (sharia). This bill was supported by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who was handpicked by the U.S.

This new law will apply to Afghanistan's Shia population, which is about 10-15 percent of the Afghan people. And it sets terrifying precedent for all Afghan women. It explicitly legalizes rape in marriage by banning women from refusing to have sex with their husbands. The law states, "Unless the wife is ill, the wife is bound to give a positive response to the sexual desires of her husband."

But that's not all. This reactionary, medieval law also:

One woman parliamentarian called the law "worse than during the Taliban," and said that "Anyone who spoke out was accused of being against Islam." (Independent and Guardian UK reports, 3/31/09)

In the midst of international outcry over this law, Obama denounced it as "abhorrent." But this law is the product of a regime installed by, propped up by, and serving U.S. imperialism. And Obama made clear that it wouldn't change the U.S. mission in Afghanistan. (ABC News, 4/4/09).

A statement issued for International Women's Day this year from the March 8 Women's Organization (Iran-Afghanistan) points to a basic reality: "U.S. imperialism invaded Afghanistan and Iraq in the name of a 'war against terror' and the 'liberation of women.' It ended up pouring terror on the people of Afghanistan and Iraq and reinforcing all patriarchal, tribal, and religious authorities."

What is urgently needed now, from people in the U.S., is opposition to the occupation of Afghanistan by the U.S.– which is responsible for the by-far greater part of the horrors and suffering in the Middle East. The more this kind of movement and powerful struggle against the war emerges in the U.S., the more it will give air to breathe and initiative to genuine revolutionaries in parts of the world that are quite righteously hotbeds of hatred against U.S. imperialism, and who are going up against both U.S. imperialism and reactionary Islamic fundamentalism.

Send us your comments.

If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.

What Humanity Needs
From Ike to Mao and Beyond