This past week, a group of 32 American women landed in Pakistan. Their mission was to march from Islamabad to Waziristan, the lawless region on the border with Afghanistan. They were there to participate in a march decrying the use of drone attacks on this region which they claim are raining death on innocent Pakistanis, including women and children.
Their care and concern for innocents would be laudable if it were not also a complete sham and hypocritical. While they were being turned back at the border of the region, a 14 year old girl, Malala Yousafzai, who has become the international poster child for the rights of women and girls in Pakistan, was shot in the head. While she was on her way home from school. Because she has spoken out for the rights of girls to be educated. By the Pakistani arm of the Taliban, who have gleefully claimed responsibility. The response of this group of women, who are so passionate about the rights of women? Nothing. Not a peep. They were too busy protesting and marching alongside Pakistanis who are calling on the US to stop bombing innocents in Waziristan, which is the birthplace, home and center of operations for the Haqqani network, the group responsible for hiding Bin Laden inside Pakistan and the current home of the Taliban since it has been largely pushed out of Afghanistan. In other words, the home region of the same people who orchestrated and claimed responsibility for shooting a 14 year old girl in the head.
What is even more telling is the response of the Haqqani and the Taliban to this show of solidarity with the supposed innocents of the region by these American women. They informed the world, via Al-Jazeera, the BBC and Inter-Services Intelligence, the Pakistani Intelligence agency, that support from secular – particularly western women – sources is neither wanted nor appreciated. I guess shooting a 14-year old girl, who had just received Pakistan’s National Peace Prize was meant to punctuate their thoughts about having infidel women showing the supposed innocents of the region their support.
What does all this have to do with Michelle Obama? For that, we have to go back a few months, to a fundraiser she held in San Francisco. One of the supporters of the group that sent those women to Pakistan bought a $500.00 dollar ticket to attend and meet First Lady Michelle Obama. At this meeting, she presented Mrs. Obama with a petition to "use diplomacy, not crippling sanctions and threats of military intervention - to deal with Iran." Mrs. Obama thanked the supporter, told her to “Keep up the great work” and even grabbed the hand of the supporter as she walked away and said “We really need you”.
Now, it is only fair to point out this exchange happened months before this group’s latest piece of political street theater in Pakistan. But it is only their latest act and arguably if not the most egregious, it is at least in the team picture. And it is quite a large, interesting montage of images they paint.
This group has confronted veterans groups in front of Walter Reed hospital, calling American soldiers terrorists. Their supporters have been caught on tape saying they are glad and celebrate for every US soldier killed. Of course, the back pedaling spin is they are protesting the war, protesting the needless deaths of US military personnel and celebrate the awareness of the unjustness and illegality of the war that enters public consciousness on the heels of each military death. They say this is their opportunity to bring to light the plight of the poor, innocent civilians killed by our military. And they call our soldiers murderers.
When I first heard this group of activists were heading to Pakistan to protest American military presence and actions in the region, my knee-jerk reaction was to question if this did not constitute treason. By lending their voices – and physical presence – to the anti-American rhetoric spewing out of Pakistan, they are giving aid and comfort to the enemy. However, this charge can’t really be leveled at them when the enemy they are trying to support doesn’t want their help.
So, perhaps it is not fair to say Michelle Obama supports traitors just because she thanks this treasonous group for their efforts; it is more than fair, however, to point out the hypocrisy of the First Lady’s supposed support of our military and their families, while thanking this group for what they do. No military family wants their soldier in harm’s way; no military family wants their soldier to go to war. But, no military family wants the First Lady supporting a group that gives aid and comfort to our enemy, either. Really Mrs. Obama, neither we the people nor you as the First Lady “...really need…” this kind of support.
The latest salvo from this group is one of the best examples of political irony I’ve ever seen. They have just released a statement saying Obama is worse than Bush because Obama has ordered more drone bombings in three and a half years than Bush did in eight. I really do hope this is the kind of support Obama continues to see and Michelle continues to court. Perhaps in the eyes of the President she is, after all, supporting traitors.