Saturday, April 11, 2009

Building Afghan Democracy, One Marital Rape at a Time

Teddy Roosevelt spoke softly and carried a big stick.

Woodrow Wilson was louder, and used the stick to make the world safe for democracy.

But enabling democracy was not enough for us. Now we find it necessary to take failed states and engage in “nation-building”. We attempt to create civil society, forge a plurality of institutions, establish the rule of law, and then engineer democracy, all in just a few short years.

It took thirteen hundred years of Anglo-Saxon tradition, more than a millennium of Christian culture, and five centuries of English Common law to establish the English parliamentary democracy that gave birth to the American constitutional republic.

But because we’re can-do Americans, we can do the same thing in Afghanistan in seven years. Seven years!

So how’s it all working out? Let’s take a look at the fruits of our labors.

This is what democracy in Afghanistan means:

Afghan cleric defends contentious marriage law

KABUL — A key backer of an Afghan law that critics say legalizes marital rape and rolls back women’s rights rejected an international outcry as foreign meddling on Saturday and insisted the law offers women many protections.

The law, passed last month, says a husband can demand sex with his wife every four days unless she is ill or would be harmed by intercourse, and regulates when and for what reasons a wife may leave her home alone.

“It is essential for the woman to submit to the man’s sexual desire,” the law says.

[…]

Mohammad Asif Mohseni, a top Afghan cleric and one of the law’s main drafters, said the legislation cannot be revoked or changed because it was enacted through a legislative process — passed by both houses of parliament and signed by Karzai.

“The Westerners claim that they have brought democracy to Afghanistan. What does democracy mean? It means government by the people for the people. They should let the people use these democratic rights,” Mohseni told reporters in the capital, Kabul. [emphasis added]

Unfortunately, he’s right. This is what democracy means.

They got their ballot boxes and their purple fingers, and this is what they voted for. It’s democracy at work.

Luckily for the women of Afghanistan, the law has been nullified — but not by democratic means:
- - - - - - - - -
Following an international uproar over the new law, which President Barack Obama called “abhorrent,” Afghan President Hamid Karzai put it under review. The move puts enforcement on hold.

That’s right: the law was overturned by non-democratic means, by ignoring the expressed will of the Afghan people.

The United States is not an empire. America invaded Afghanistan, removed the Taliban, installed democracy, and then invited the Afghan people to control their own destiny.

Yet this week the President of the United States looked up from his desk, scowled, and said, “Will no one rid me of this troublesome law?”

By some mysterious means, the law in question — a piece of fully constitutional legislation enacted by a democratically-elected parliament in a sovereign nation — was immediately put on hold.

What a strange coincidence.


Hat tip: TB.

14 comments:

Profitsbeard said...

The delusion is about "democracy" as a detached ideal.

As if, without a secular Constitution and Bill of Rights that underpin and guard human freedom, first, the mere "demos" or the majority rule ~of a group inculcated with anti-liberty leanings from birth through the Koran~ would bring anything but a slightly different theocratic tyranny from the Taliban crazies if the brainwashed were given the power to vote.

We should spread "Constitutional liberty and a Bill of Rights" before the "democratic" process is blithely and blindly unleashed.

Otherwise, the entire effort at "nation building" or "spreading democracy" was a foredoomed folly.

Changing nothing but the name on the same door to hell.

Henrik R Clausen said...

It is worth recalling that the Vietnam War was a democracy-building project, too.

I expect these wars to drag on for decades. Noone seems interested in winning and getting it over with.

Anonymous said...

Woodrow Wilson was louder, and used the stick to make the world safe for democracy.

Wilsonian meddling in European affairs ultimately created the two great totalitarianisms of the 20th century as well as the ethnic powderkeg of eastern Europe. There are great US statesmen, and not so great ones. Wilson? Definately not so great.

joe six-pack said...

Democracy is a way to power for Islam. However, it is a one-way street. Islamic law is hostile to democracy. The two are not compatiable.

BTW: The Koran actually says that a man may take his wife by force if necessary.

Anonymous said...

"Unfortunately, he’s right. This is what democracy means."

I respectfully disagree. There is another very important component of democracy that for some reason is often forgotten: The majority will not abuse use its power to violate the basic and inalienable rights of the minority.

So what is happening here is clearly undemocratic, even if its decided by a majority vote!

http://www.democracyweb.org/majority/principles.php

Zenster said...

Paging Lorena Bobbitt to the white courtesy telephone.

Marital rape is a problem that could be rather easily solved by a few determined neophyte lady surgeons. They might even have to be martyrs to their cause but the overall low quality of reattachment proceedures in such backwater countries means that just a very, very few such incidents would make men one helluva lot more circumspect about imposing themselves upon their wives.

Henrik R Clausen: I expect these wars to drag on for decades. No one seems interested in winning and getting it over with.

There is no adequate way to stress the importance of this observation. It forms the core of my next submission to Gates of Vienna.

Towards that end, America was insane to give these Muslim savages any right to self-determination. Compared to most historic governmental systems, democracy is a hothouse flower ill-suited to taking root in the sere political soil left by Islamic tyrannies.

Far better that the USA had set up quasi-benevolent military dictatorships with harsh penalties for all forms of rebellion or insurgency. Any theocratic practices should have been quashed instantly with Afghanistan and Iraq held under such rule until Islam no longer informed everyday life.

The only other functional alternatives involve far more brutal and destructive measures. This should not be any big surprise as Islam always demands payment in its own bloody coin.

Zenster said...

erdebe: I respectfully disagree. There is another very important component of democracy that for some reason is often forgotten: The majority will not abuse use its power to violate the basic and inalienable rights of the minority.

While your point is an important one, it is not democracy in and of itself that guarantees the sanctity of minority rights but a well-written constitution such as that bequeathed to us by America's founding fathers.

As others have already noted, an Islamic democracy by any other name would still stink like $h!t.

Anonymous said...

Democracy is a means, one means among many. Personally, I think this is one, if not the most important assertion if we want to understand why modern western "nation building" fails. We, or better, our leading policy elites, mistake the end for the means.

What is it with this almost fetishist fixation with people throwing notes into ballot boxes? When did this become the defining factor of what constitutes a modern, "western" civil society (implying on my side that this is what is wanted to be achieved)? Why do people believe (and apparently they do) that casting a vote will magically transform tribal societies which often have not moved even an inch since the 7th century? Where does this madness stem from - and why is nobody called out on it?

Orlando said...

If one were permitted to be cynical...the goal with all these installed Islamic democracies is to further legitimize the many Hitler-Mohammedans.

When we speak out about it (which will soon be illegal and punished), the leftists will refute it by saying "but, but, DEMOCRACY".

Robin Shadowes said...

Zenster and Fjordman has very sensible opinions about islam and how it should be handled. One can only wish that world leaders would listen to them but that is probably only a futile and foolish wish of mine.

Ron Russell said...

The reason for a good and strong Constitution is that from time to time the masses will be fooled and get some nuts jobs in leadership positions, at that time the only protection the people have is a binding document--we call it the Constitution. Of coarse, we need fair minded justices to uphold the principles it put forth. I like the idea of the purple ink, except in our large cities where voter fraud is at its worse, we would need white ink.

las said...

My comment is a bit late on this... but what I find quite remarkable, is all the hand wringing about this law. It's as if all the sanctimonious finger pointers and public scolds have had their hands on the pulse of Islamic misdeads since 911... but nothing can be further from the truth.

So it is with anguished skepticism, indeed contempt, that I hold Western Liberals and leftists in their new found concern for human rights on this issue. It's like they suddenly "got religion" and speak with such ease about womens' rights in Muslim nations... when previously they were compliant shills for such things as a Muslim woman's right to wear the hijab and "respect" for "multicultural differences".

It is rank hypocrisy for these forces on the left to now talk about an issue they previously ignored. In fact, in Canada, the New Democratic Party (the socialists) want to withdraw Canadian troops and leave Afghan women to their fate under the Taliban. I'm sorry,,, these Johnny's Come Lately lack credibility.

And another thing... where were all these socially conscientious arbiters of civilizational good when the Afghan Constitution was dreamed up in the first place.

Ch. 1, Art. 3 states that "In Afghanistan, no law can be contrary to the beliefs and provisions of the sacred religion of Islam." This is the groundwork for Sharia for which the US, Canadian, British, Dutch etc. are giving their lives!

The Iraqi constitution has a similar provision. If Western blood is being spilled, the least that could be expected is that the West be allowed a veto over any hint of the enshrinement of foundational Sharia in the Afghanistan Constitution.

Sheesh!

Anonymous said...

While your point is an important one, it is not democracy in and of itself that guarantees the sanctity of minority rights but a well-written constitution such as that bequeathed to us by America's founding fathers.Actually, neither a democracy nor a constitution is sufficient. What is required is a culture that respects minority rights. Islamic culture does not, that's why the form of Afghanistan's government is irrelevant. Even it's nominally a democracy, it will be as oppressive as any dictatorship, owing to its fealty to Islamic culture and law.

Zenster said...

las: If Western blood is being spilled, the least that could be expected is that the West be allowed a veto over any hint of the enshrinement of foundational Sharia in the Afghanistan Constitution.

I could not agree with you more. It is utterly obscene to have free people sacrificing their lives for the sake of entrenching a barbaric, misogynistic and predatory ideology.

It is betrayal writ large.

randian: Actually, neither a democracy nor a constitution is sufficient. What is required is a culture that respects minority rights.

You are correct. While I should have specified the American Constitution in my comment, I know you are not disputing that point. Afghanistan has a "constitution" and, despite being a signatory to the UDHR (Universal Declaration of Human Rights), it is so much balderdash as the lot of it is totally superceded by compliance with shari'a law.

Tolerance is the virtue in question, be it for minority rights, gender equality or religious freedom. The virtue of tolerance is singularly absent in Islam and that disqualifies it as any sort of legitimate participant in the global community.