Posts Written by Agnieszka

Unmaking equality: Everyone can kill

On Thursday, January 24th Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced that the US military will lift the ban on women serving in combat. Many women’s groups and feminist activists saw this announcement as an unqualified victory. According to Kiki Cardenas, writing in Feministing’s Community blog in 2011, “People asked me: ‘Well, do you know what you would be fighting for? DO you believe in the war?’ Yes and No. I would have been fighting for women’s equality in the world and here in the U.S. and that was reason enough for me.”

Lurking in the background of sentiments such as these is the common perception that the United States military invasions into Iraq and Afghanistan were motivated by a desire to liberate burqa-clad women in these countries. Cardenas isn’t fighting for women’s equality, she’s fighting for the exploitation of her gender’s struggle to further the ends of imperialism via the military industrial complex. One way we may examine this idea is by way of post-colonialist philosopher Gayatri Spivak’s observation that, “White men will not save brown women from brown men.”  This is not a racially reductionist formula—”white men are the root of all evil”—but rather a provocative entreaty to wake us from our imperialist dreams. The need for such reminders is exemplified by former First Lady Laura Bush, who on November 17, 2001 shortly after the invasion of Afghanistan addressed the American people on a radio show, “Civilized people throughout the ...

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