On Afghanistan, We Need a Policy, Not a Macho Hissy-Fit

A small delegation from the women's peace group CODEPINK
spent last week in Kabul, on a kind of listening tour, to refine their
understanding of what women in Afghanistan want to see from the US.

They've returned saying just what MADRE has been saying since 2001:
that the US needs to withdraw its military from Afghanistan and do so
in a way that addresses the needs of people there. For MADRE, US
obligations stem from the fact that Afghanistan's poverty, violence
against women, and political corruption are, in part, results of US
policy over the past 30 years.

So why is CODEPINK's co-founder Medea Benjamin being raked over the
coals for allegedly "defecting" from the peace movement? The catalyst
was a snarky article in the Christian Science Monitor that characterized Medea as "disappointed"
when some of the women she met with in Kabul didn't support CODEPINK's
call for a US troop withdrawal. (Remind me again why all women are
supposed to have the same political views?)

After the CSM falsely asserted that CODEPINK is "rethinking their
position" on Afghanistan, Scott Horton posted a piece on Antiwar.com
called, "Is Medea Benjamin Naive or Just Confused?" From there, things got really nasty. Justin Raimondo writing on Antiwar.com had a macho hissy-fit, calling CODEPINK "a gaggle of political whores." The next day, blogger John Walsh tried to one-up Justin, suggesting that CODEPINK be renamed "Whores for Wars."

These sexist rants do nothing to address the substance of CODEPINK's question: what does a responsible exit strategy look like?

If you listen to what the CODEPINK delegates are actually saying,
it's clear they're not naive or confused; they're just saying something
that doesn't fit on a bumper-sticker.

Here's Medea summing up CODEPINK's position after their visit to
Kabul: "we [also] heard a lot of people [in Afghanistan] say they
didn't want more troops to be sent in and they wanted the U.S. to have
a responsible exit strategy that included the training of Afghan
troops, included being part of promoting a real reconciliation process
and included economic development; that the United States shouldn't be
allowed to just walk away from the problem. So that's really our

"Bring the Troops Home" is a bumper sticker, not a policy. We need a
policy. And holding the US accountable for its actions in Afghanistan
is a good place to start.

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