Global War on Women (reblog)

Posted on August 17, 2012

In honor of new blogger and twitterati @A_Erza I’m reblogging this OPED from one of my favorite writers Ralph Peters. Peters regularly notes that oppressing women oppresses half our human capacity. You can find the “impressions of an albanian, independent and revolutionary Woman” at

By Ralph Peters
The greatest social revolution in history is underway all around us: The emancipation of women. Advanced in our own society, elsewhere the battle for women’s rights lies at the heart of colossal struggles over the future of great religions and civilizations.

The Washington establishment would shrink from any such claim, but the Global War on Terror is a fight over the social, economic and cultural roles of women. The core issues for the terrorists are the interpretation of God’s will and the continued oppression of women. Nothing so threatens Islamic extremists as the freedom Western women enjoy.

Equal partners

The sudden transition of women from men’s property to men’s partners in our own country unleashed dazzling creative energies. In the historical blink of an eye, we doubled our effective human capital — and made our society immeasurably more humane. Our half-century of stunning economic growth has many roots, but none goes deeper than the expansion of opportunities for women.

But such unprecedented freedom threatens traditional societies. Behavior patterns that prevailed for millennia are suddenly in doubt. Relationships that granted males the power of life and death over female relatives have disappeared from successful cultures. Defensively, the failing cultures left behind cling harder than ever to the old ways amid the tumult of global change.

The true symbols of the War on Terror are the Islamic veil and the two-piece woman’s business suit.

The math is basic. No civilization that excludes half its population from full participation in society and the economy can compete with the United States and its key allies. Yet Middle Eastern societies, especially, have dug in their heels to resist change. Some, such as Turkey, Pakistan and Iran, have tumbled backward.

Islamist terrorists have formed the last, great boy’s club, meeting in caves and warning girls to stay out — or, in the case of the 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta, demanding that women be kept from his grave to avoid polluting it. Their vision offers women fewer rights by far than those enjoyed by the wives of the prophet Mohammed. They are women-hating sadists for whom faith is an excuse. Their fears are primal.

The good news is that the forces of oppression can make plenty of tactical mischief but can’t achieve strategic success. No society in which women are veiled and sequestered can achieve the dynamism and force of one in which women are senators, judges, CEOs, doctors and military pilots. Freedom will win, if not swiftly.

The bad news is that this is a truly global struggle involving not only Islamist thugs terrified by female sexuality, but also reactionary forces in our own society. The Global War Against Women is still being waged on the home front, too.

Without questioning the integrity of those who believe that life begins at conception, the struggle to overturn Roe v. Wade can also be viewed as an attempt to turn back the clock on women’s freedom. Opposing such a reversal isn’t a matter of thinking abortion admirable, but of accepting the magnificent revolutionary principle that no man has a right to tell any woman what she can or cannot do with her body.

Attempts to interfere with another citizen’s liberty are worthy of Osama bin Laden, not of Americans.

Likewise, the ideologically driven reluctance of the Food and Drug Administration to approve the “morning-after pill” for general use is a vestige of patriarchal tyranny that would please Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al-Qaeda’s leader in Iraq. Longing to restore the tyrannical pattern that governed social relations down the ages, our extremists demand that women’s options be restricted, that their bodies be treated as chattels of the state.

Women deny rights

Nor should we be surprised that women stand among those who would deny rights to other women. Their counterparts are the African crones who demand that young girls undergo genital mutilation just as they did, or the women of the Middle East who insist that wearing a chador protects them. They are the champions of the small morality of rules over the greater morality of freedom.

The greatest moral advance has been the attainment of basic human rights by women. It’s also the most threatening development to those daunted by change, who cling to a mythologized past and fear the future — whether in a Saudi-funded madrassa or protesting outside a U.S. Planned Parenthood clinic. Around the world, troubled souls continue to insist that women are the source of sin and must be kept in line for their own good. Theirs is a prescription for suffering, dreariness and stagnation.

In traveling the globe, I’ve witnessed far more instances of the mistreatment of women than I care to recall, but the one that always leaps to mind is local and superficially benign: In the southern heat of a Washington summer, it’s common to see a male Middle Eastern tourist comfortably dressed in a polo shirt and shorts trailed by a staggering woman wrapped from head to toe in flapping black robes, eyes peering out through a mask. It offends me to meet that image in my country — or anywhere.

We do not think of our troops abroad as fighting for women’s rights. But they are. This is the titanic struggle of our time, the liberation of fully half of humanity. Islamist terror is only one aspect of it. But we can be certain of two things: In the end, freedom will win. And no society that torments women will succeed in the 21st century.

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