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Friday, August 17, 2007
(9:52 AM) | Stephen:
What We've Accomplished

Behold what we have wrought:
The women are too afraid and ashamed to show their faces or have their real names used. They have been driven to sell their bodies to put food on the table for their children -- for as little as $8 a day.

"People shouldn't criticize women, or talk badly about them," says 37-year-old Suha as she adjusts the light colored scarf she wears these days to avoid extremists who insist women cover themselves. "They all say we have lost our way, but they never ask why we had to take this path."
Suha has three children. She's married; her husband thinks that she cleans houses.

"I don't have money to take my kid to the doctor. I have to do anything that I can to preserve my child, because I am a mother," she says, explaining why she prostitutes herself.

Anger and frustration rise in her voice as she speaks.

"No matter what else I may be, no matter how off the path I may be, I am a mother!"
Karima, another woman forced into prostitution to feed her family, has five children. Her oldest son is old enough to work, but she doesn't allow it because of how dangerous Iraq is. Another woman lives with her three children in just one room. She hosts her "clients" in that room, with each child in a different corner, facing the wall.

The cost of living in Iraq has risen. The nation's infrastructure is of course horribly damaged. Women who once could drive cars, travel freely outside their homes and hold legitimate jobs now are denied drivers' licenses, must cover themselves with scarves or burkas, cannot travel anywhere without a man's permission, and are denied many of the jobs that were once open to them. Women in today's Iraq don't go to school even if there happens to be a school nearby that hasn't had its fresh coat of paint bombed and burned off.

As is always the case, the same fanatics who deny women a place in society because of "religion" are the ones who ensure that they can earn money as prostitutes, indeed are much happier with prostitution being the main way that a woman can make money independently of a man, because it allows them to indulge their own dark desires while maintaining their own auras of purity and piety in their public facade.

This is the American legacy in Iraq. There is no functioning democracy. The few freedoms enjoyed by Iraq's citizens under Saddam are functionally gone even as pieces of paper proclaim their existence, even as American rhetoric claims the presence of far more. The Iraqi people simply are not better off now than they were under Saddam Hussein.

Nor are we, with North Korea's possession of nuclear weapons due in large part to the Bush administration's indifference, Osama still free due completely to the Bush Administration's indifference, the strong possibility that Iran is developing nuclear weapons to counter the threat they see in the USA due to the Bush Administration's provocation, and Iraq as the most effective propaganda tool and training ground for terroristic organizations the world has ever seen.

People of course argue that if the USA were to withdraw its forces - and, one would hope, its thumb from on top of the Iraqi government - things there would become far worse. That may be, but the point is that we simply don't know for sure. What we can know definitely is that continuing to do what we have been doing, only more of it, will ensure the exact same results we have been getting, only more of them.

The Iraqi women and children - always the most vulnerable in war - are living in Hell. The more bombs we drop, the more people we kill, the more instability we instigate and allow to fester throughout that country, the worse it will get for them. It's time to get out. It's time to stop this insanity, this monument to foolishness, this disaster of American arrogance and ignorance.

cross-posted at Ezra's place

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