02 April 2009

Afghanistan: A Right to Sex?

Part of the reason why more Americans have supported military adventures in Afghanistan than those in Iraq is because the Taliban were a group that most could agree was "evil." A leading proof of their evil was their reactionary misogyny, expressed in laws against education for girls and other atrocities. While the President may argue that the main reason to send more troops to Afghanistan is to make sure that al-Qaeda won't have a safe base of operation or organization, many Americans will root for Obama's strategy because they don't want those sexist Taliban monsters coming back to power.

But it was President Karzai, "our boy" if you will, who signed a new law approved by the post-Taliban legislature that affirms Shiite men's right to sex no less than once every four days with their wives, except in cases of illness. Article 132 of a more general family law has aroused hostility from the international community and its feminist vanguard, who have described the offending article as the legalization of rape.

Every report of this kind out of Afghanistan is sure to strike many Americans as a betrayal of their mission to the country. Better conditions for women were supposed to come with the "liberation" of the Afghans, but Article 132 will make some wonder whether the Karzai regime is any better than its predecessor. This might be the time for someone else to say that Afghan affairs are none of our business, but it could be objected that they are our business as long as we have troops there -- that the U.S. has some responsibility for the character of the regime it imposed. But it's not an occupying army's business to enact women's rights, if those are what's at stake in the current controversy. Americans remain in the country to fight the Taliban. They fight them not because the Taliban are superstitious barbarians, but because they're allies of al-Qaeda and are presumed willing to restore the terrorists' old base of operations. Diplomatically speaking, superstitious barbarians who do not aid or abet terrorist attacks outside their national borders must be tolerated by the rest of the world. They can be hated, denounced and even cursed, but it's no one's business but their own what their laws are. It's up to Sunni men, for instance, to ask why they don't enjoy the same rights as Shiite husbands, and it's up to Shiite women to check whether they're required to produce a signed medical excuse if they don't feel up to their conjugal duties, and it's up to Shiite men to determine whether the same law's reported mandating of a right to sex for wives (albeit within a four-month rather than four-day window) authorizes the rape of husbands. I would rather not figure out such things. I pity people who have to grow up in such a place in the 21st centuries, but until we have a world government they're going to have to figure a way out of it themselves.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Alright!!! I'm moving to Afghanistan. Wait, does the law only say married muslim men are entitled to sex or all men? Because if it's only married Muslim men who get to commit rape it's hardly worth it for an unmarried atheist to move there. Are there at least any goats available?