Obama on Afghan Marital Rape Law: Fighting Terror Trumps Women’s Rights

by matttbastard

While holding a press conference the NATO summit in France, Obama was just asked a tough question from Fox News’ Major Garrett (I know, even a stopped clock is right twice a day) regarding the absolutely disgusting Afghan marital rape law and what steps the US intended to take (if any).

Obama sputtered out some mealy mouthed diplo-speak about how the law is “abhorrent” and that  “the views of the administration have been and will be communicated to the Karzai government.”

Not satisfied with this non-response, Garrett followed up, asking for clarity.

The subsequent statement from the POTUS absolutely floored me:

“We have stated very clearly that we object to this law. But I want everybody to understand that our focus is to defeat al Qaeda… .” [statement clarified based on transcript--mb]

Excuse me?!

Ok, reality check time.

Canada’s government? It sucks. Big time.

And yet Parliament is publicly putting pressure on the Afghan government to roll back this despicable proposed legislation (even if the Harpercons could be a bit more muscular in expressing their ‘deep concerns’).

President Barack Obama? He basically said that the war effort trumps human–women’s–rights–in other words, “screw the wimminz, our primary interest is rootin’ out terrorism!” Yeah–the amoral influence of Brzezinski on the Obama admin’s foreign policy (to paraphrase, “winning the war on terror is more important in the long run that a few violated women”) is definitely shining through like a lighthouse beacon.

Update: Video and transcript of the exchange, courtesy Think Progress:

Q Thank you, Mr. President, and good afternoon. I’d like to ask you about a law that’s recently been passed in Afghanistan that affects the 10 percent of the Shia population there. A summary of it says it negates the need for sexual consent between married couples, tacitly approves child marriage, and restricts a woman’s right to leave the home. The United Nations Development Fund for Women says this legalizes the rape of a wife by her husband. I’d like your assessment of this law, number one. Number two, will you condition future troop movements of the U.S. to Afghanistan on the basis of this law being retracted or rewritten? And if not, sir, what about the character of this law ought to motivate U.S. forces to fight and possibly die in Afghanistan?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, first of all, this was actually a topic of conversation among all the allies. And in our communication — communiqué, you will see that we specifically state that part of this comprehensive approach is encouraging the respect of human rights. I think this law is abhorrent. Certainly the views of the administration have been, and will be, communicated to the Karzai government. And we think that it is very important for us to be sensitive to local culture, but we also think that there are certain basic principles that all nations should uphold, and respect for women and respect for their freedom and integrity is an important principle.

Now, I just want to remind people, though, why our troops are fighting, because I think the notion that you laid out, Major, was that our troops might be less motivated. Our troops are highly motivated to protect the United States, just as troops from NATO are highly motivated to protect their own individual countries and NATO allies collectively. So we want to do everything we can to encourage and promote rule of law, human rights, the education of women and girls in Afghanistan, economic development, infrastructure development, but I also want people to understand that the first reason we are there is to root out al Qaeda so that they cannot attack members of the Alliance.

Now, I don’t — those two things aren’t contradictory, I think they’re complementary. And that’s what’s reflected in the communiqué.

Q But do you object to the law –

PRESIDENT OBAMA: We have stated very clearly that we object to this law. But I want everybody to understand that our focus is to defeat al Qaeda and ensure that they do not have safe havens from which they can launch attacks against the Alliance.

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10 thoughts on “Obama on Afghan Marital Rape Law: Fighting Terror Trumps Women’s Rights

  1. I cannot believe he openly declared that freeing women from abuse is secondary to US battle against Al Queda. I just want to scream hello idiot a free society for women means a free society for all thereby reducing “the terrorist” threat.

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  2. I have a bit of a different take on this. Of course he doesn’t like the law. I don’t the increased militarism, but there’s a slippery slope of interference and meddling with other gov’ts. Now of course the US can make it difficult but they cannot dictate culture. Because the flip side of that is to impose “US Values” onto another sovereign nation. Get rid of the Taliban and their influence and others will be able to reinstate some humanity where the women have a lot of their rights restored. My other question though is about the efforts of the people in their own countries to restore balance. It’s not like the US has it all figured out either. Other people have to be willing to fight for their rights too.

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  3. Everyone expects Obama to have all of the answers and solve the worlds problems. Hello people, are you not aware of the economic crisis that we have going on at home. Other countries cannot expect the US to come in and solve all of their problems when we have no universal health care, poor school systems, high homeless rates, immigration issues, drug problems…I could go on.

    That DOES NOT make Obama an asshole for not making this 1 issue a priority.

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  4. Rape law is abhorrent. No question about it. I believe what Obama is saying is that forces which are behind such laws if they can be defeated then you can attempt to change the laws too. Although it looks mission impossible because it is a completely botched up war. Now Al Queda and Taliban forces are spread right across Pakistan. Where is it headed? No one knows.

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  5. Yeah. I won’t compare Obama to Reagan or either of the Bushes or even Clinton, but it’s worth noting that Jimmy Carter had exactly the same attitude – never mind the attitude of the Islamists towards women, never mind that a chief reason the Islamists saw fighting the Communists as a sacred duty was because the Communists were all for educating women and women working outside the home – huh, no. Being anti-Communist was all that was needed: never mind if – on balance – the Communists were actually better on human rights and equality and freedom than the people the US was funding.

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  6. Oh, good goddamn, Obama. Could you be a little more outspoken regarding denial of human rights? Please? I might even vote for you next time if you do (assuming my state doesn’t secede before then, forcing me to move to Canada).

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  7. *headdesk*

    I want to say that I am surprised by this. He has been wishy washy on women’s issues since the beginning, lukewarm on the important ones at best. Am I disappointed? You bet I am.

    The simple fact of the matter is that you can’t fight a battle while ignoring the rights of half the population.

    Fundamentally it starts at equality.

    And, where is Clinton on this? Isn’t this her kind of thing? I want to hear from her on the President’s statement.

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