December 11, 2006

Rape Used as Major Weapon in Darfur

A group of international women leaders has called for sending peacekeepers to Darfur to protect women from an onslaught of rapes committed by the pro-government Arab Janjaweed against mostly black African women and girls. Other than murder, rape is a favored, ultimate tool used by men to exert power and control over women, not just in Darfur, but in the United States as well.

We continue to behave like bystanders, watching the murders and rapes in Darfur and doing absolutely nothing to protect the women, children and men there. We learned nothing from our failure 12 years ago in Rwanda, despite all our crocodile tears and our earnest commitments to never let it happen again.

If you want to help, go here or here

December 10, 2006

What is the Bush Administration Thinking?

Juan Cole asks the obvious question about how serious the Bush administration is about Iraq being the epicenter of our fight against terrorism: How can we be serious about such a fight if only 33 out 1000 people who work at our embassy speak Arabic, and only 6 of them speak it fluently?

From Reuters

- Among the 1,000 people who work in the U.S. Embassy in Iraq, only 33 are Arabic speakers and only six speak the language fluently, according to the Iraq Study Group report released on Wednesday.
"All of our efforts in Iraq, military and civilian, are handicapped by Americans' lack of knowledge of language and cultural understanding," the bipartisan panel said in its report. "In a conflict that demands effective and efficient communication with Iraqis, we are often at a disadvantage."
The report, written by five Republicans and five Democrats, recommended the U.S. government give "the highest possible priority to professional language proficiency and cultural training" for officials headed to Iraq.