Rape as a Weapon of War in Libya

I wasn’t able to embed this video for some reason, but Al Jazeera has good coverage of this issue, here (you can watch the video on their site)

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About Stacy

Attorney, Publisher, Foreign Policy wonk

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12 Comments on “Rape as a Weapon of War in Libya”

  1. Carolyn-Rodham Says:

    Thanks for posting this, stacy. It’s an important story in it’s own right, but it gives me a perfect excuse to cross-post something I wrote over on your Hillary blog, under the story about Hillary’s speech in Lithuania on “Women Enhancing Democracy” — a speech widely covered in the media. Not.

    “I’m going to say something provocative:

    While I appreciate the importance of keeping up resistance to US foreign policy vis-a-vis Israel and while I have joined the ranks of those who want to see justice done for the Palestinian people, I have to say that the issues Hillary has outlined in this speech are nearest and dearest to my heart, and are NO LESS IMPORTANT than the rights of Palestinians. And yet, I rarely see comments here from my liberal-minded brothers-in-arms applauding Hillary’s initiatives for women’s rights — even when Thain and other guys were still frequenting this blog! It’s like, women’s rights, ho-hum, move on. I am absolutely sure, if asked, fellow male bloggers here (I don’t want to single you out, Thain! love ya!) if asked would of course express their total support for the causes Hillary espouses. But I don’t see that support expressed much in virtual ink. I don’t hear the same indignation and outrage as I do in their posts about Israel. And I frankly don’t get it. It smacks of something I heard Ted Kennedy said to Hillary when she was exploring a run for the Presidency: “Wait your turn.” I’m sick of “waiting our turn” for women’s rights to be first on the agenda.
    I’m with Hillary: Now is our time.

    And goddammit! I’m so distraught she’s not running again because there goes our last best chance in my lifetime.”


    • thainjacobs Says:

      I left a long, rambling response to you over there.

      So I’ll ramble some here too.

      One thing that influences my reaction to current events lately is that I am disgusted with this administration and am not really in the mood to spend a lot of time cheering how wonderful they are. I see a lot of hypocrisy in this administration on human rights and even women’s rights which I alluded to over in my comment on the other site. I totally support women’s rights- ALL women’s rights, not just when the women are members of groups or nations that are non-controversial. But I guess I should make that clear and talk about it more.

      There are some allegations of rape being used against women in Bahrain. Are we going to hear about them? No. The women and children we threw in prison and tortured in Iraq? No. If we attack Iran will we care about those women? Not really. We say we care about Neda but the hawks just use her and those other Iranian protesters as an excuse to lash out at Iran.

      I know all this stuff isn’t Hillary’s fault and she shouldn’t have to answer for it but I guess right now I’m focused on people this administration and every other administration ignore and who we treat as invisible irrespective of gender.

      I give hillary a lot of credit for constantly talking about women’s rights but sometimes I can’t reconcile some of the things she says with some of the things she does. Behind our violent, hawkish foreign policy are actual people- particularly women and children- who are really being fucked over by us. I haven’t heard her talk much about that. So I’m kind of conflicted. On the one hand she does amazing things for women but on the other hand she doesn’t seem to make the connection between our policies and the damage they are doing to women and children around the world. We support women and democracy activists in Egypt and the State Dept. talks about that. But there’s a caveat- they have to abide by our rules and not be provocative and tow the US party line. With the US there is always a caveat. We care about people insofar as they are useful to us.

      I have a lot of respect for someone like Hedy Epstein who won’t be winning any fancy awards and who won’t EVER be mentioned by name by Hillary Clinton or the Washington establishment because she’s speaking out for people who our government hate. I give her a lot of credit for that because that’s much harder and much more dangerous than speaking out about an issue that everyone agrees on.

      Anyway, I don’t fault Hillary for a lot of things I mentioned above and maybe I’m being unfair but at the same time I don’t really want to be lectured to about what people think I do and don’t care about. Along those lines I’m also not going to apologize for caring about Palestinians because it certainly seems like this administration doesn’t and it’s because it seems like so few people care that I do.

      I’m rambling again and not making any sense.

      I have to go get ready for work. Bye.


      • Carolyn-Rodham Says:

        I wrote a reply (apology) over there. I’m realizing I was reacting to the absence of some male voices over there whom I have enjoyed reading and learning from. And I was reacting to a sense of stacy decathecting from the other blog. My attempt to rally the feminist troops before we throw Hillary totally under the bus. It certainly wasn’t fair — or even accurate — to single you out as not fighting hard enough for women.
        I do apologize.


  2. Stacy Says:

    I don’t think anyone is throwing Hillary under the bus but I do think there is an accountability issue. It would be dishonest to not note the contradictions, some of which are glaring. I’ve always liked, respected and admired Hillary a lot even though I usually didn’t agree with her foreign policy hawkishness.

    But I have to keep reminding myself that the reality is that she’s SOS and she may have limited room to maneuver on some issues. Also, the other reality is that our foreign policy is very paternalistic and quite violent and the only way a politician can get very far in their career in Washington is to take on the mantle of militarism. I think Hillary did that in part to prove to our sexist society that a woman has what it takes to be Commander in Chief. It’s unfortunate that women have to basically adopt men’s rules to be taken seriously but that’s obviously still the case.

    I realize it’s not Hillary’s fault that we have to kiss Bahrain’s ass or that we have to totally ignore Saudi Arabia’s horrendous human rights abuses. And of course with Israel, well, we all know one can’t be a successful politician and rock that boat…

    But I was pretty stunned at Secy Clinton’s comments about the Flotilla. She could have made it clear the U.S. didn’t want the Flotilla to try to break the siege while still sending a message to Israel that killing Americans was NOT ok. But instead she painted them as terrorist-supporters knowing full well they aren’t. She made a thinly-veiled threat about the possibility of them being prosecuted. And she seemed to give Israel the green light to do anything it wanted by saying that Israel has an absolute right to self defense.

    But I guess I just have to suck it up and ignore it. No high-level govt official is going to do anything other than publicly prostrate themselves at the altar of Israel.


  3. Stacy Says:

    Another thing- I had to look up the definition of decathecting 😉 Now that I know what it means I am going to use it often 🙂

    Based on the definition, that’s not what I’m doing. I sort of set up a bad situation where I focused very heavily on Israel-Palestine at the exclusion of other issues and that made some people happy but it alienated others. It also set up a situation where I would be in the awkward position of criticizing not only Obama, but Hillary and THAT certainly alienated some readers of the blog. That was kind of stupid on my part because while I consider myself a loyal Clintonista, I simply will not keep my mouth shut when I disagree with something because I think it would be hypocritical of me and I can’t stand hypocrisy. In 2008 a lot of PUMAS took issue with me because I would sometimes dare to disagree with them- I got booted off No Quarter for saying I really didn’t think the Larry Sinclair blow job story was a) true or b) helpful to Hillary. Naturally, I was called an Obot.

    I bring that up because I’ve always believed I can lurve Hillary but still disagree with her and I know to some Hillary fans that’s breaking a big rule.

    The reason I started this blog was in part because I was so frustrated with the administration on the Middle East and wanted to be able to freely rant w/o pissing off some people who go to the other blog for pictures and videos and not much more. I didn’t intend for people to leave that blog en mass and only come here.

    But obviously Thain, that’s your choice.

    I will admit I was very pissed at this administration, including Hillary, over the Flotilla flap. But I’m slowly getting over it. Lets face it, if you support Palestinian rights you get used to being disappointed 🙂

    So, I’m going to try to go a little easier on this administration because there is no point just being pissed off and also, Obama and Hillary are simply continuing the same crappy foreign policy that every other president has advocated. While I hoped they would change it/modernize it and make it more just, that’s not going to happen, at least not with respect to the Middle East, where our top priority is Israel. As I said above, I don’t think you can consistently support human rights irrespective of the countries involved and get elected- too much pressure from special interests and the military industrial complex.

    So, I’ll work on the other blog over the weekend and try not to decathect.

    But I’ll also probably post over here too, just because.

    And no, I can’t say anything in less than 600 words, thank you very much!


  4. thainjacobs Says:

    @Carolyn- Apology accepted.

    I’m disappointed in how Hillary has handled Israel-Palestine even knowing the she isn’t in control of the policy. And lets admit, if Hillary were POTUS she would likely be more hawkish and pro-Israel than Obama- that’s her history as NY Senator and she knows better than anyone that unless you keep the Jewish community happy you don’t get the big bucks. Of course I supported her in 2008 knowing that she was a hawk. I rationalized it because at the end of the day, you can’t get elected unless you pound your chest, pander to the military and pander to the Israel Lobby. Obama was a liar regarding Iraq. He would have voted for it too- just look how he is acting now. The guy loves war.

    All she had to do was come out and state that the US doesn’t support the Flotilla because we are worried about a violent confrontation. I don’t expect her to suddenly become a pro-Palestinian activist but I do expect her to side with Americans and not give a green light for Israel to kill American citizens just to appease the Jewish community in the run up to 2012.

    That doesn’t mean I don’t think she’s done really great things as SOS.

    I’m starting to think the litmus test for a real human rights advocate is not whether they stand up for human rights only when it’s easy, but when it’s controversial and hard. Hillary did that back in Beijing when I was only a wee pup but I’ve seen the video. I miss that side of Hillary.


    • Carolyn-Rodham Says:


      I will be curious to read her unvarnished autobiography — the 1992 election, the heathcare debacle, coming into her own as First Lady, Monica, Senate years, 2008, SOS and beyond. It’ll be grand, if she doesn’t whitewash it all.


  5. Stacy Says:

    This just in: The US Captain of the Audacity of Hope has been arrested and charged with a felony. What felony, I don’t know.

    I need a Valium, it’s the only way I can support this administration- being totally out of it like a Stepford Wife.


  6. Jerica Kenndey Says:

    We’re from Berlin, Germany, and plenty of human beings right here are actually ashamed that Germany just isn’t fighting together with NATO in Libya. We didn’t comprehend the mental attitude of our federal. In terms of the military, Germany is simply ridiculous.


  7. thainjacobs Says:

    Maybe someone can explain something to me since Hillary is the US rep on the Mideast Quartet:


    Stacy has talked about this multiple times. The US uses its position on the Quartet to prevent any criticism of Israel and to prevent other countries from helping push forward the peace process. So what the f*ck is the point of the Quartet. Yet another way for Israel and the US to pretend they give a damn about Mideast when really all it is is another venue to protect Israel. The last 3 Quartet meetings have been cancelled by the United States because that’s what Israel wanted.

    So Bibi comes to Washington and pissed all over this administration. This administration gives Israel everything it wants and then some. The response from Israel? To claim Obama isn’t pro-Israel enough. The response from Democrats- they prefer Bibi over their POTUS. So the Obama admin jeopardizes US national security and puts us on the wrong side of history with the Arab Spring by vetoing the settlement resolution, screwing over the americans on the Flotilla, working day and night to prevent the Palestinians from going to the UN and what’s the response from the US Jewish community? Endless whining and moaning about how Obama is too hard on Israel.

    What EXACTLY do the lobby and the Jewish community want? To see Obama drop on his knees and blow Bibi on live television while wearing a waiter’s outfit? Or maybe he could just shine Bibi’s shoes?


    The Jewish community has a lot of ‘splaining to do. I’m not seeing too many editorials defending Obama. In fact, I’m hearing nothing but a lot of veiled threats and entitled kvetching.


  8. Stacy Says:

    I have to say, I’ve been debating, or trying to debate, Jewish Americans on Twitter today and all they do is call me a terrorist, loser, bitch, anti-semite, Israel-hater. There is no talking to these people.

    I’m starting to see that our national obsession about Islamic political (not violence) extremism hides the fact that the so-called pro-Israel contingent are made up of quite a few hateful, racist bigots. The media plays a big role in hiding this in order to keep promoting the narrative that everything Israel does is right and everything the Arabs do is wrong.

    Interestingly, the Palestinians on Twitter and the Jordanians, Egyptians etc. are totally polite. It’s fascinating really. If I were a psychologist I’d study this discourse and how the power imbalance seems to make the pro-Israel folks more emboldened and unafraid to let their biases and outright racism show. Probably because they know there are never any consequences and they have the full weight of the status quo behind them. But if Arabs say racist, hateful things it’s front page news.

    And the hateful stuff I am hearing on twitter, not just from ordinary people, but from former govt officials, journalists, Jewish leaders etc. is unbelievable. Remember that Tweet I highlighted the other day that promoted the IDF killing Americans? That was a member of the Bush administration!


  9. Stacy Says:

    @Thain- I almost hate to show this to you but you’ll see it somewhere else if not here 😉

    Obama to go on offensive to convince US Jews he doesn’t hate Israel. You know what that means. Get the knee pads! Now THAT is something I don’t want to see!


    Here’s my theory. The Jewish community knows damn well that Obama’s not anti-israel at all and if they don’t know that then they should do their research and educate themselves before they pass judgment. But anyway, Obama’s advisers, Democratic Jewish members of Congress and members of the Jewish community try to scare Obama into thinking he’ll lose the Jewish vote if he questions israel at all. So in this way they get him to back off Israel, they end up getting the US to blame everything on the Palestinians and this in turn ensures that Israel can continue to do whatever it damn well pleases including continuing to build settlements in the Occupied Territories, etc.

    I think it’s a very conscious political strategy to ensure that whatever Israel wants, Israel gets.

    And of course, the main group that has been promoting this idea that Obama will lose the Jewish vote is a) republicans and b) the media.

    It’s nonsense and quite honestly, it all really makes Jewish organizations look bad. It sort of leaves one with the rather unpleasant impression that a few zillionaire Jewish donors have out-sized influence over our foreign policy and that sort of plays into a lot of anti-Semitic tropes.


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