- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 14, 2004

The transfer of sovereignty to the Iraqi government marks a new day for Iraqi women. Thanks to the courageous actionby the Bush administration and its allies, Iraqi women have renewed freedom. The administration has insisted women receive educational and small business opportunities, as well as active participation in government.

For months, radical feminists have been silent on the plight of Iraqi women. Instead, this hypocritical bunch have condemned the war in Iraq and its subsequent liberation of women simply because the war is supported by conservatives.

In March, feminists gathered in front of the White House to protest military action against Saddam Hussein. The protest was called “Code Pink: Women’s Pre-Emptive Strike for Peace.” On the other side of the world, Iraqi women were being denied the most basic rights and freedoms. Iraqi women lived in fear knowing Iraqi law freely allowed male relatives to murder them in the name of honor. In Iraqi prisons, women were raped and tortured for being related to Iraqi opposition activists. Videotapes of the acts were sent to the families.

Despite his obvious human-rights violations and limits on freedom, feminists, led by the National Organization for Women, ignored Saddam Hussein’s reprehensible treatment of women. Under Saddam, Iraqi women were not allowed to work outside the home. Feminists, on the other hand, talked about America’s “tyrants” and the threat of “tyranny in our homes, our workplaces and our schools.”

Radical feminists witnessed a legitimate case of tyranny and violence against women in Iraq, but they remained steadfastly against policies and actions of America and the Bush administration that helped these women.

NOW President Kim Gandy said, “The real terrorism is the Bush administration’s disregard for international law and destruction of civil liberties at home. This has become an issue of one dictator vs. another.”

Feminists are more comfortable allowing Iraqi women to endure torture than supporting the Bush administration. For example, a report by Amnesty International documented the beheading of 50 young women in Baghdad. The report also said, “The heads of these women were hung on the doors of their houses for a few days.” Saddam’s son Uday led the group of men who beheaded the women and terrorized their families.

The U.S. State Department reports human-rights organizations receive continuous testimony on the psychological trauma women have suffered after being tortured and raped by Iraqi military personnel.

Despite this overwhelming evidence, U.S. feminists praised Iraq and cited a suspicious United Nations report that Iraq “scored highest in women’s empowerment.” Before Saddam’s capture, NOW said on its Web site that Iraqi women “currently enjoy more rights and freedoms than women in other Gulf nations, such as Saudi Arabia.”

At an International Alliance for Justice press conference in 2002, Safia al-Souhail, an Iraqi woman whose father was murdered for opposing Saddam, said, “We are here begging the support of the Free World to liberate us from the nightmare we have been living in for the past three decades.” She added, “Disarmament alone will not end our suffering. This regime should be indicted for its crimes against humanity.”

NOW and its cohorts were deaf to these women’s pleas and still condemn the war in Iraq. Feminists invent problems in the United States and ignore the real problems faced by women around the world. NOW accuses President Bush of “reversing women’s rights here and abroad.” Feminist Majority leader Eleanor Smeal odiously said the Bush administration “needs to construct a foreign policy as if women mattered.”

The deceptively titled March for Women’s Lives in April brought thousands of feminists and leftist supporters to Washington, D.C. Rather than march against the atrocities and violence against women in Iraq and other countries, feminists waved coat hangers and demanded taxpayer-funded abortions. Cybill Shepherd held a sign saying, “Too bad John Ashcroft’s mother didn’t believe in abortion.” Amid “Fire Bush,” “Tarts for Choice” and other placards, feminist icon Gloria Steinem told the crowd, “This government is the greatest danger on Earth.”

Echoing the hateful and hysterical rhetoric, Sen. Hillary Clinton, New York Democrat, with no apparent sense of irony regarding her husband’s previous administration, said she was there to criticize President Bush for “not upholding laws against sexual harassment and discrimination.”

These radical feminists’ stance on military action in Iraq and the global war on terrorism illustrate how they have consistently fallen short of their purported mission to “eliminate sexism and eliminate all oppression.” Their motives are clearly political and not based on advancing the rights of women around the world. Faced with a war that liberated the Iraqi people, a majority of whom are women, feminists would much rather turn a blind eye to the horrors of Saddam than support America and the Bush administration.

LISA DE PASQUALE

Program director

Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute.

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