Laura's Dreamy Bubble

by digby

Julia finds that somebody forgot to give Laura Bush a briefing since about 2003:

The Bush family have recorded a Story Corps interview about George W. Bush's presidential legacy, and what they're most proud of. This is what Mrs. Bush had to say

Well, it’s certainly been very rewarding to look at Afghanistan and both know that the president and the United States military liberated women there; that women and girls can be in school now; that women can walk outside their doors without a male escort.

Well, then. I would have been more charitable, but since Mrs. Bush has chosen this as her legacy, allow me to introduce you to Mrs. Bush's legacy:

Afghan police have arrested 10 Taliban militants involved in an acid attack against 15 girls and teachers walking to school in southern Afghanistan, a provincial governor said Tuesday. "Several" of the arrested militants have confessed to taking part in the attack earlier this month, said Kandahar Gov. Rahmatullah Raufi. He declined to say exactly how many confessed.

High-ranking Taliban fighters paid the militants a total of $2,000 to carry out the attack, Raufi said. The attackers came from Pakistan but were Afghan nationals, said Doud Doud, an Interior Ministry official.

The attackers squirted acid from water bottles onto three groups of students and teachers walking to school in Kandahar city on Nov. 12. Several girls suffered burns to the face and were hospitalized. One teenager couldn't open her eyes days after the attack, which sparked condemnation from around the world...

Kandahar province's schools serve 110,000 students at 232 schools, Raufi said. But only 10 of the 232 are for girls. Some 26,000 girls go to school, he said.

Arsonists have repeatedly attacked girls' schools and gunmen killed two students walking outside a girls' school in central Logar province last year. UNICEF says there were 236 school-related attacks in Afghanistan in 2007.

Read on

I've always felt kind of sorry for Laura Bush. She certainly didn't offend me the way she did some people. She just seemed like someone trapped in a role she really didn't care about. I never could see that she cares about much of anything.

Needless to say, things are not better for Afghan women. The Taliban and the rough Islamic culture of the area are barbaric.Indeed, the plight of women in Afghanistan was a cause among feminists long before anyone gave a damn about the place. Also needless to say, Laura wasn't among them.

In fact, her adoption of this issue was nothing more than a public relations ploy thought up by the precursor of the infamous White House Iraq Group:

"We’re getting the Band together," White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett told the group on their first conference call last week.

The "Band" is made up of the people who brought you the war in Afghanistan—or at least the accompanying public-relations campaign. Their greatest hit: exposing the Taliban’s treatment of women.

Now, they’re back for a reunion tour on Iraq. The Band's instrument, of course, is information.

I guess that was the only time Laura was given her own propaganda portfolio and she's hung on to it ever since.

The sad fact is that life for women in Afghanistan is still a nightmare, although I'm not sure how you change that at the point of a gun (seems like part of the problem, not the solution.) The Bush administration has been as ham handed about this issue as it's possible to be. (Remember Karen Hughes running around the mideast telling women everywhere that she's a "mom" just like them?)

And yet, women do make up more than half the population of the planet and some solutions to big problems (like poverty and education, which contribute to terrorism) might actually lie with dealing with them as something other than afterthoughts by the first lady. In fact, this might be one area when Clinton could have a serious impact --- she's long been involved in global women's rights and empowerment. It certainly can't hurt to have someone involved in foreign policy who is serious and knowledgeable about the issues associated with half the global population. Maybe it will create some fresh thinking, who knows?