Laura Bush touts women's rights
Why is Miss Laura all of a sudden concerned about women in Afghanistan? I mean, why now? This problem did not crop up yesterday.
The answer is very simple. My unwavering position that I will promote women's equality in fact is the real reason that Laura has been brought out to say a few words.
Talk is cheap. Let's see little george or Tricky Rick actually allocate half of their future appointments to women as I have promised to do as governor. It's not going to happen.
All they can do is have Laura give this little speech in hopes that women are not noticing that george and Rick are not going to give women equality in fact. Women's equality is not a Republican thing.
The next governor of Texas
November 18, 2001
First lady rails against Taliban's treatment of women and children
By James Gertstenzang and Lisa Getter
The Los Angeles Times
Sunday, November 18, 2001
CRAWFORD -- Seeking to draw attention to the treatment of women and children in Afghanistan, the White House assigned President Bush's weekly Saturday radio address to first lady Laura Bush, who said the war against terrorism was "a fight for the rights and dignity of women."
Her speech -- the latest in a series of steps by the first lady toward a more public role -- was coordinated with the release of a U.S. State Department report condemning conditions for women and children in Afghanistan under the Taliban and al Qaeda terrorist network.
The broadcast marked the first time a presidential wife has given the entire radio address alone.
Although Bush's remarks and the State Department report contained little new information, they served to spotlight conditions that the administration thinks should help it gain international support for the United States' campaign in Afghanistan.
With the regime "in retreat across much of the country," Bush said, "the people of Afghanistan, especially women, are rejoicing."
"The plight of women and children in Afghanistan is a matter of deliberate human cruelty, carried out by those who seek to intimidate and control," she said.
The first lady said the "brutal oppression of women" was one of the terrorists' central goals.
Under such conditions, she said, 70 percent of Afghan people are malnourished; lacking health care, one in every four children won't live past the age of 5; women are denied access to doctors and have not been allowed to work outside their homes or leave their homes without an escort.
"Muslims around the world have condemned the brutal degradation of women and children by the Taliban regime," she said.
Bush said that, in Afghanistan, "we see the world the terrorists would like to impose on the rest of us."
Saying the campaign to protect women should not stop with the military success in much of Afghanistan, the first lady said the terrorists there "now plot and plan in many countries."
"They must be stopped," she said. "The fight against terrorism is also a fight for the rights and dignity of women."
Immediately after her speech, the State Department released an 11-page report about the Taliban's "War Against Women."
The report, issued by the department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, said the systemic repression of women in Afghanistan was "particularly appalling."
"Islam is a religion that respects women and humanity. The Taliban respects neither," the report said. "The Taliban perpetrated egregious acts of violence against women, including rape, abduction and forced marriage."
In a statement released Saturday, Amnesty International officials agreed with the sharp criticism of the Taliban's "systemic torture and abuse of women." But the human rights group cautioned that neither the first lady nor the State Department mentioned "that the Northern Alliance does not have a perfect record with regard to women's rights."