Her remarks were outrageous, if not treasonous. Certainly, they gave aid and comfort to an enemy of the United States. The fact that they were made before impressionable high school students made them irresponsible as well. The fact that the remarks were made by a United States Senator is appalling. The fact that there has been no outrage from her colleagues is unbelievable.
They should be demanding an apology. They should be issuing repudiations of her remarks. Indeed, they should be demanding her resignation. Instead, her colleagues in the Senate rewarded her a few days later by making her one of their four executive team advisors is a stunning act of in-your-face politics. When she should have gone down in flames; she has been elevated to leadership.
Her remarks were unambiguous on that mid-December day at a Vancouver high school. When asked about the anti-Americanism of the Arab world and the popularity of Osama bin Laden, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), praised Osama’s generosity in “building schools, building roads, building infrastructure, building day care facilities, building health care facilities.” The people in Afghanistan indeed, the people of the entire region, according to the good senator are “extremely grateful” to bin Laden. In contrast, Murray blurted out condemnation for her own nation: “We have not done that. We haven’t been out in many of these countries helping them build infrastructure.” What HAVE we been doing? According to the good senator, we are “just being the people who are going to bomb in Iraq and go to Afghanistan.”
Her colleagues and the media have ignored this spewing out of misinformation and spurious attacks against her country.
It’s strange how things work up on the Hill and in the Newsrooms of the nation. Trent Lott made incredibly stupid, racially-charged remarks ineptly trying to honor a very old man and he is, appropriately, railroaded out of leadership. Patty Murray makes incredibly ignorant remarks praising an evil man who masterminded unprecedented attacks against America a man who killed nearly 3,000 innocent people and destroyed two of the most visible symbols of America’s economic and trade supremacy and she is elevated to leadership.
Murray’s ignorance is mind-boggling. Where has she been during the post-World War II era when the United States has spent billions — if not trillions of dollars on foreign aid around the world? Where has she been while the United States has sent billions of dollars in aid to Middle East countries? Where has she been since 9-11 while the U.S. has been rebuilding Afghanistan?
To cite just one example: the United States is providing more than $3.5 million for projects targeted to help the women in Afghanistan. Last Fall, through the auspices of the U.S. State Department, 14 outstanding women came from Afghanistan to the U.S. for special training to assist them in developing the technological, business and leadership skills to help rebuild the nation. The U.S. Afghan Women’s Council is providing visible as well as emotional support for the women of Afghanistan. Strangely, the emotional encouragement may be more important than the monetary and technological support.
Mazia Basel, who was featured in a Dot.Commentary that I wrote last Fall, is a judge in Kabul. She is one of the more articulate Afghan women on the Women’s Council. When she returned from the U.S. visit, she was subjected to criticism for speaking out, for not wearing the traditional head scarf, and for “immodest” demeanor in interacting with American male leaders (i.e., making eye contact).
Sadly, Judge Basel gave up her job upon her return to Kabul in the face of intense pressure from Islamic forces. The Taliban is still feared by women especially in the countryside and even in Kabul there are still evidences of the Taliban regime. A surprising number of women continue to wear the burqas and some are still hesitant to appear out in public. In addition to providing millions of dollars to build a modern infrastructure in Afghanistan, the Bush Administration is pouring money and influence into Afghanistan on behalf of women’s needs, including education, legal, health, business and technological development.
One would think a U.S. senator would know this and would proudly inform high school students about the important assistance their nation is providing not just for one tiny war-torn nation that needs help to recover from the 5-year totalitarian rule of the Taliban but also for the whole region, including about $2 billion to Egypt, an ungrateful nation where the majority of the public (76%) scorns America. Osama bin Laden is a terrorist who virtually destroyed the entire region for his own deluded purposes. For the sake of his terrorist agenda, he is willing to utilize the underground drug lords, abduct and enslave children to labor in his marijuana farms, close schools and squash women’s lives and utilize any means to indoctrinate the populace.
Patty Murray’s tirade is inexcusable. What bin Laden did to Afghan women is beyond contempt. And, what he did to America overshadows any minor good deeds that he did in his evil and misguided quest to please Allah.
Murray is also misguided and her ideas are just plain malarky. She, too, ought to go.