FEMINIST FOREIGN POLICY
"freed" the women of Afghanistan, Ms. McSally and
her legal team want to extend the gains of the feminist revolution
to Saudi Arabia and to anywhere else US troops are
six continents in 141 nations?
as George W. Bush and his Secretary of State try to reassure
our Arab allies that this is not a war against Islam but against
terrorism, McSally's lawsuit (and its sympathetic
treatment not only by the US media, but by
the military) tell the real story. The Americans won't
be satisfied until Saudi women are dressing like Madonna and
Mecca is the name of a record label. The idea that Western
customs and mores are being exported at gunpoint by American
Amazons piloting jet fighters is an image that might have
been conjured by Osama himself.
from having to wear the abaya off base, female military
personnel stationed in Saudi Arabia must also have a male
escort and are forbidden from driving beyond the perimeter
of their compound. McSally has been fighting this regulation
ever since she was first stationed there as part of the team
patrolling Iraq's "no fly zone." For 13 months,
military columnist Tom Philpott,
a devout Christian, has declined to leave base, except on
official business, to avoid having to wear a robe of the Muslim
faith, called an 'abaya,' and behave subservient to men,
which, she contends, harms military discipline and morale."
McSally Principle, applied consistently and universally, means
the US must be willing to break with its allies and even risk
war, lest any American woman stationed anywhere feel "subservient."
Now there's the perfect feminist foreign policy: US
imperialism conceived as a gigantic feat of social engineering.
the National Organization for Women has been backing this
case, yet it isn't just leftie-feminists who have jumped on
the McSally bandwagon, but, curiously, some of their biggest
enemies on the Christian Right. As The Age astutely
cause has been taken up by strange bedfellows. She has the
ear of the National Coalition of Women's Organisations and
is being financed by the Rutherford Institute, a right-wing
advocacy group. The colonel insists, however, that she is
no feminist. She has said 'the last thing I ever wanted to
do was make a big deal out of being a woman,' demonstrating
perhaps the extent to which she has imbibed feminist values."
not only her, but her ostensibly conservative defenders at
the Rutherford Institute, the main legal arm of the Christian
Right, who are willing to overlook their bitter opposition
to feminist initiatives in the interest of making McSally
into the anti-Saudi, anti-Muslim poster girl. The pro-war
Left joins the pro-war Right in a deliberate provocation aimed
at our principal allies in the Middle East: this unusual alliance
gives new meaning to the slogan "United We Stand."
Finally a project the feminists and the neoconservatives
can get together on: a campaign to export American culture
at gunpoint and turn the whole world into an American suburb.
really amazing is that McSally wasn't discharged the moment
she even hinted at a lawsuit. Michael
New was court-martialed
for refusing to wear the blue beret of the UN in Macedonia,
but McSally gets away with not only flouting orders but whipping
up a legal and political movement to get those orders changed.
That's the kind of "gender discrimination" we're
not supposed to talk about.
AIN'T SEEN NOTHIN' YET
a rational world, McSally would not even be in the military,
which is no place for women as her lawsuit makes all
too clear. How many more lawsuits will it take before the
Pentagon becomes so entangled that military readiness is undermined?
Oh boy, I can't wait until the victimology lobby pushes
through gays in the military that'll really
rile the Saudis, eh?
a set-up for a blow-up: GI Joe and GI Bruce are walking hand-in-hand
down a Saudi street, when suddenly they are set upon by the
Mutawah, the religious police. I can see the headlines
now: SAUDI GAY-BASHING SPARKS CRISIS! SAUDIS NAB SAUCY SODOMITES,
PRESIDENT DENOUNCES 'ACT OF WAR'! The New York Times
would solemnly compare them to Matthew
Sheppard. Andrew Sullivan would have a hissy fit and demand
that we commence bombing Riyadh. Barney Frank would get up
on the floor of Congress and call for a declaration of war.
RETURN OF THE UGLY AMERICAN
someone will spare us this ugly spectacle. Does the US really
mean to impose its sexual mores and cultural tics wherever
its troops venture? Is US foreign policy now to be a war to
make the world safe for Gloria Steinem? Do we really want
to wage a culture war internationally, violating norms and
traditions that were old before our nation was founded? The
McSally case is almost a parody of the worst left-wing anti-American
caricature: she exemplifies the arrogance bordering on hubris
that characterizes our foreign policy. She personifies the
stereotype of the
Ugly American to a tee.
applied consistently, the McSally Principle "we're
above it all" would be a disaster for the US,
not only in the Arab world but on a global scale. No one could
seriously propose barging into a foreign country and making
a point of abrogating and openly mocking their deeply-ingrained
religious and cultural strictures. So when Gen. Tommy Franks,
head of the US Central Command, announced last week that US
no longer be required to wear the abaya off base
although it "is strongly encouraged" it seemed
like the sort of provocation designed to enrage Riyadh. But
that's the idea, you see: After all, you can't fight an endless
war without a constant supply of fresh enemies, which brings
us naturally to one of the most interesting aspects of this
easy to see why the left-wing crowd would support McSally.
But why is the Rutherford Institute, the ACLU of the Christian
Right, pushing this case? A very interesting question, one
only superficially answered by McSally's claim that wearing
the abaya forces her to practice a religion
Islam and she is a Christian. But Saudi law is Islamic
law so does this mean US soldiers are similarly exempt
from laws that prohibit alcohol on religious grounds?
seems to me McSally and her lawyers are making a pretty weak
argument, but there's a lot more to this than a simple case
of "discrimination": it is but the latest angle
in the anti-Saudi campaign being waged in the media, which
I discussed in
my last column. We went through the Taliban in a few short
months, and let Osama slip through our fingers: we can't really
take on Saddam without using the Arabian peninsula as a launching
pad, but the Saudis won't allow it and so they, too,
have to go.
is the program of the War Party: diametrically opposed, in
many ways, to this administration's announced war aims. Colin
Powell's anti-terrorist coalition, the President pointedly
to kowtow to crude anti-Arabist demagoguery on the home
front, the relatively unexciting future targets so far announced
(Somalia, the Philippines, Yemen yawn!)
none of this has endeared Bush to the war hawks. The McSally
case is yet more pressure on the Bushies to bend with the
wind, sideline the President's father and his ally, Colin
Powell, and get with the program: to not only abandon but
actively destabilize our former Saudi allies. Unlike Bush,
the neoconservatives and their Christian Right and feminist
allies really do want a US war against Islam.
NO TRIALS LIKE SHOW TRIALS
is a scenario that will employ legions of "experts"
on the subject of "Islamo-fascism,"
sell plenty of shiny new weapons, and inspire suckers left
and right to get behind World War III. Show trials are an
essential part of war propaganda, but in this case it is necessary
to have two: one to provoke our enemies abroad, and another
to intimidate the opposition at home. The McSally case fits
the bill in the first case, and the trial of John
Walker Lindh in the second but I'll save the Tali-Boy
for Monday's column.
CHECK THIS OUT
want to welcome our new British columnist. Christopher Montgomery
is an historian who is currently writing a book on the historiography
of the Suez crisis. He has also recently taken some time out
to run the Iain Duncan Smith campaign office, and for a while
was working in the private office of the Leader of the Opposition.
A young representative of the diehard tradition, he believes
that Enoch Powell was right on everything apart from immigration.
For a while, the pseudonymous "Emmanuel Goldstein,” the originator
of "Airstrip One,” had been telling me that he wanted to devote
more time to the fight the encroaching Euro-socialist super-state
on British sovereignty, but I kept trying to delay his departure:
after all, who would want to lose one of their best columnists?
But he promised to get someone I would be really pleased with
and that he certainly did. The first "Airstrip One”
by our newest columnist is simply magnificent: check it out.
also want to draw your attention to the latest piece by Christopher
Deliso on the Macedonian front. Deliso is reporting
from the front lines in Tetovo, where fanatic Muslim terrorists
have revived their insurgency against the elected government,
and the story he has to tell isn't being told anywhere else
but on Antiwar.com but that's why you come here, isn't
of $50 or more will get you a copy of Ronald Radosh's out-of-print
classic study of Old Right conservatives, Prophets on the
Right: Profiles of Conservative Critics of American Globalism.
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