over the war in Iraq are arising in families throughout our society. I know
because they are arising within mine. With one relative in Qatar and a nephew
at draft age, disagreements — even debate about nailing down the financial
cost of war — can become emotionally charged.
And they should. The questions surrounding the war impact our futures and
those of our children. There would be something wrong with us if we didn't
care passionately about a pivotal event in our lives.
Yet the people with whom we argue are family members, friends, and neighbors
beside whom we will live long after Saddam Hussein is buried in the sand.
He is an enemy; they are not. And the very fact of the war's importance,
increases — not eliminates — our need to talk together with good will and
Some voices are making that dialogue more difficult. These are political
opportunists who use the blood of soldiers and civilians to score cheap points.
They trivialize the war by attaching petty little agendas to it in an attempt
"to make hay while the war shines."
On this score, the recent antics of left-leaning feminists have been reprehensible.
Like petulant children who throw temper tantrums because the attention no
longer centers on them, these feminists are using the war as a podium and
a publicity stunt.
Consider Martha Burk. The shrill feminist has spearheaded a demand that the
privately-owned Augusta National Golf Club, sponsor of the Masters Golf Tournament,
admit women as members. Burk states, "The war ... has enhanced our message.
We have women fighting for American values in Iraq. Women fighting for their
country. But ... women can't get into Augusta."
As a matter of fact, almost every male soldier in Iraq can't get into the
expensive and ultra-elite club either. But facts don't stop Burk. Nor does
She uses women soldiers — including POWs like Shoshana Johnson, whose terrified
visage on TV haunts us all — to argue for the "right" of affluent women to
play golf in a private club where they are not wanted. Speaking for Augusta
National, Glenn Greenspan said it all: "If she is invoking the troops to
draw more attention to herself, only three words apply 'shame on you'!"
Consider Suzanne Fields, a columnist for the Washington Times. She wrote
an article entitled "A new front in the war (of the sexes)" in which she
uses the Iraq war to slam the sexism in rap music.
Fields begins with a description of the women who make up 15 percent of active-duty
soldiers. Then she writes, "but back on the home front men are reverting
to big-time piggery as women invade traditional male turf. You can hear the
snorts, grunts and oinks throughout the pop culture." Quoting another columnist
for support, she continues, "'ho' and 'bitch' are just about the nicest words
used [by rappers] to describe young women." She concludes that women at the
"lower end of the social order" will pay "of resurgent male chauvinism as
reflected in rap music" — a resurgence that she clearly connects to the war
Consider renowned feminist Dr. Helen Caldecott. Her recent speech for the
anti-war organization Code Pink became an article entitled "Men: Natural
Born Killers." She declared, "when the scent of blood metaphorically enters
the male nostril, it triggers the psychological imperative to kill — a primitive
autonomic reflex located in the male midbrain." I have news for Ms. Caldecott.
One fear expressed about my nephew, who is deeply religious, is that he won't
be able to kill another human being, even in self-defense.
Caldecott's solution for men's savagery? Remove men. She declares, "53 percent
of us are women. We've had the majority and we've been absolute wimps. And
it's time we smacked their [men's] bottoms, removed them, and we took over.
I'm not just joking —this isn't funny. I am deadly serious." She is deadly
contemptuous of the majority of adult, self-respecting women who are expressing
their preferences but with whom she disagrees.
The next candidate for shame is Eve Ensler, famous for her play The Vagina
Monologues, which centers around women speaking as though they were their
vaginas. Ensler recently staged the play in Pakistan where Hibaaq Osman,
the play's representative, declared, "having these Pakistani women talking
about vibrators — that's what it's all about."
A scene from the original Monologues was not performed; it celebrated child
molestation. Specifically, it featured a 13-year-old girl/vagina named 'coochi
snorcher' who is plied with alcohol by a 24-year-old woman and sexually seduced.
The child declares, "Now people say it was a kind of rape.... Well, I say
if it was rape, it was a good rape." In Pakistan, the good rape was replaced
by a bad rape: a Serbian woman raped by a group of soldiers.
The list of opportunists could scroll on.
It is ridiculous but necessary to state that the war in Iraq has nothing
to do with "the right to golf," rap music, replacing men in society, or vibrators.
By attaching their wagons to the war, these feminists make it more difficult
for others to discuss the real and complex issues surrounding Iraq. They
manufacture conflict in a situation already overflowing with it. I can't
say it better than "Shame on you!"
Wendy McElroy is the editor of ifeminists.com and a research
fellow for The Independent Institute in Oakland, Calif. She is the author
and editor of many books and articles, including the new book, Liberty for
Women: Freedom and Feminism in the 21st Century (Ivan R. Dee/Independent
Institute, 2002). She lives with her husband in Canada. Reprinted with permission of ifeminists.com.
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