Ron Rosenbaum

Modest Proposal: An International Women's Brigade For Afghanistan

Okay I’m not the right guy to do this. Make this suggestion. First of all I’m a guy and what I’m suggesting probably should be proposed by a woman.

Second, I believe that the Afghanistan situation is probably hopeless as it is. What I’m suggesting is not likely to be a “solution,” but I can’t see any other paths to a “solution.” If we stay in, tens of thousands will die for people who don’t seem to want to fight the Taliban.

In some ways I’m glad Obama’s “dithering”: there’s a wall in D.C. with the names of 60,000 people, many of whose children and families probably wished LBJ had dithered a lot more before committing us to a hopeless mission and death for those on that wall. I agree that “dithering” is not good for the troops there, but maybe he’ll dither his way to a better decision than LBJ, and many more current and future troops will be grateful.

I think Obama’s looking for a fast way out because he knows there’s no way to win. He was trapped into mouthing John Kerry’s disingenuous campaign ploy: Iraq, Bush’s war, was the wrong war; Afghanistan was always the right one.

And then there was the growing group of Afghan war enablers, the best and brightest bloggers on the liberal left who were entranced by “the cult of counterinsurgency.” Even though almost all predicted the surge in Iraq wouldn’t work they seem to have been so stunned by its “success” and became cheerleaders for sophisticated counterinsurgency (or COIN) tactics when General Petraeus seemed to use them to turn things around in Iraq. (Even though, as we now now, bribes and targeted assassinations played an equal or greater role than the brilliant COIN tactics and the “success” itself is looking more fragile).

But a kind of Boys Club of cheerleaders for COIN grew up around its evangelists and became enablers for the original McChrystal March master plan, now with its 40K troop addon, which Obama initially bought into and is now apparently trying to extricate himself from. With good reason.

But while I see nothing but tragedy and rising body counts in Afghanistan (as I’ve blogged here before), I still find the plight, and the pleas of the Afghan women, compelling. The girls’ schools being blown up by the Taliban out of their insane fear and hatred of women. Killing, stoning, and driving women back to the stone age of sharia law. It’s horrible.

That’s why I say I don’t favor either option, to favor either option is to favor a lost cause or the triumph of injustice. I see tragedy either way.

But what about this? Remember the International Brigades of volunteers, mostly leftists, yes, who sought to rescue the Spanish Republic from a fascist coup in the 30s? What about an in-international Brigade (or Brigades) of women volunteering to protect and rescue the women of Afghanistan? Forget the men. Let them fend for themselves and make excuses for their cowardice in the face of the Taliban. I bet women from armies around the world would want to join.

Might this not offer a glimmer of hope? What if women from all over the world, preferably those already trained in the use of RPGs, formed a volunteer army, like the International Brigades in Spain (only better at fighting and less free of ideological commissars)? What if the UN or NATO served to authorize and supply with arms an all-woman volunteer force that would protect girls’ schools, fight for women’s rights, and drive the woman-hating Taliban back to their caves with modern weapons and old fashioned shame.

Yes, i know it’s men’s responsibility for the horror of theocratic fascism, but the symbolic value of an all-woman, heavily armed force kicking Taliban butt would be electrifying.

Maybe it would shame the rest of the world into realizing that standing up for women’s rights shouldn’t be the sole decision–dithered over or not–of the U.S.

Wouldn’t it be inspiring to women everywhere who are being oppressed and put fear into the hearts of cowards who are doing it?

Men could be involved. As support troops under the command of a woman general. As cooks and bottle washers for the women’s brigade. But let the women take out the Taliban and you’ll change history forever.

It could happen. Well I can dream can’t I? Hey, maybe this is the role Sarah Palin was made for.