, Volume 36, Issue 3-4, pp 147-160
Date: 09 Oct 2012

Imperialist feminism redux

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Ever since 9/11, there has been a constant effort to build a broad consensus around the need for a sustained U.S. military presence in Afghanistan. In the early days of the war, the idea of retaliation and revenge for the attacks on the World Trade Center had an obvious appeal for a wide range of the political spectrum. The argument about protecting “our way of life” from a global network of Islamic extremists proved persuasive as well. All through this period, there was one claim which proved instrumental in securing the consent of the liberals (and, to some extent, of the Left)—the need to rescue Afghan women from the Taliban. As the United States begins to draw down its troops in Afghanistan, we have begun to see variations of the same argument emerge once again from a variety of constituencies both within the United States and internationally. In this brief paper I undertake to identify and analyze the deeply problematic position of one such constituency which locates itself on the