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Godmother of Baghdad: Who will be more accepting of the new Bush-chosen female "Mayor of Baghdad" ^ | Tuesday, April 8, 2003 | By Lowell Ponte

Posted on 04/08/2003 4:51:46 AM PDT by JohnHuang2

Godmother of Baghdad
By Lowell Ponte | April 8, 2003

THE NEXT KING TO RULE BAGHDAD WILL BE a Queen, much to the consternation of some misogynist, macho Muslim males.  But she will also be attacked in Washington, D.C., by the same Leftist Democrats who fought to keep Saddam Hussein in power.

A joke of late is that President George W. Bush plans to divide Iraq into three parts – Premium, regular and unleaded. 

Coalition forces indeed have announced creation of a northern, southern, and central zone of the de facto administrative government of Iraq, the Pentagon’s “Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance” headed by 64-year-old retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General Jay Garner.

This central zone, including Baghdad, is to be administered by career foreign service officer Ambassador Barbara K. Bodine.

This tough, two-fisted, blue-eyed professional was Ambassador to Yemen when the destroyer U.S.S. Cole was bombed by terrorists there in 2000, killing 17 sailors. (She angered conspiracy theorists by refusing maverick FBI agent John O’Neill a visa to re-enter Yemen.) 

[Yemen (which borders the southern desert edge of Saudi Arabia and fronts the Indian Ocean), as a female U.S. diplomat working there described it to my wife and me while we dined in Cairo, “is the black hole of the universe…the closest place to hell on this planet.”]

As Deputy Chief of Mission, Bodine lived through a 137-day siege of our embassy in Kuwait after Saddam Hussein invaded in 1990, staying behind without supplies until all U.S. citizens who wished to leave the country had done so, thereby earning the Secretary of State’s Award for Valor.

Ambassador Bodine survived amid flying bullets as a passenger aboard a skyjacked airliner in 2001. In 1999 she negotiated for hours to release three Americans kidnapped in Yemen.

“An American diplomat with a taste for danger and an ambition to advance the cause of Arab women,” as she has been described, Bodine was born in St. Louis in 1948. She was educated at the University of California Santa Barbara and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and earned her spurs in U.S. outposts in Hong Kong and Bangkok.  She was Deputy Principal Officer in the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad during the Iran-Iraq War.

She has also served as Dean of Professional Studies at the State Department’s Foreign Service Institute and as the Department of State’s Acting Coordinator for Counter-terrorism. She is author of the 1993 study Patterns of Global Terrorism.

You might think that a professional of Ambassador Bodine’s immense experience, skill and intelligence would be welcomed as the new “Mayor of Baghdad” (as she already is being called) in Iraq and on Capitol Hill alike. But some in both places will try to undercut her.

Iraq, like the rest of the Arab world, is a land of machismo marinated in high-test testosterone. If anything, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq accorded more rights to women than Taliban Afghanistan or paternalistic Saudi Arabia.  The two heads of Saddam’s biological warfare program, Huda Salih Mahdi Ammash and “Dr. Germ,” Dr. Rihab Taha, are women.

But Iraq is also a land of 150 tribes subdivided into 2000 clans, all of them cemented by male bonding and a macho culture. Bodine understands that men in this culture are unaccustomed to taking orders from a woman. She has a proven track record of success in Yemen, Kuwait and as an under-diplomat in Iraq.

As Middle East-native Betty Balsam reveals in a new book Veil of Terror: The Secret Roots of Terrorism (available at, the most extreme Arab and Al-Qaeda terrorism may be rooted in the twisted sexual relations widely found in the Middle East. 

A medical professional who speaks fluent Arabic and Persian, Balsam has witnessed behind closed hospital and clinic doors the warped impulses that arise from Muslim sexual segregation and misogyny – and that explode as female sexual mutilation, wife-beating, honor killings, rage and terrorism in many Muslim males.

It is no coincidence, explains Balsam, that Osama bin Laden was born of a soon-to-be-cast-off concubine as one of his father’s 53 children, or that Muhammad Atta left instructions before flying an airliner into the World Trade Center that no woman was to attend his funeral or touch his body.

Perhaps it is no coincidence that Saddam Hussein’s father and uncle died before Saddam was born, leaving him to be raised motherless by a male relative in the violent streets of Tikrit, home of the legendary Kurdish warrior Saladin. (How emasculated must he have felt as a young thug who once disguised himself as a woman to escape capture? Or as a soldier in this conflict, ordering his troops to hide behind women? Why did Saddam’s former mistress say he needed Viagra but became aroused while watching people being tortured?)   

Look deeply into the past of an Arab terrorist, or leader like Saddam who ruled through terror, or culture like those of the Middle East that routinely terrorize and mutilate women, writes Balsam, and you will find distorted, unnatural sexuality at the root of this violence. The details and insights in Balsam’s 250+ page book are truly eye-opening.

The most extreme and twisted male Islamists will be horrified by the sight of a strong woman like Ambassador Bodine ruling the heartland of Iraq from Baghdad. Imagine the ideas that her presence might give to the wives and mistresses these men have heretofore been able to dominate.

The key to Balsam’s analysis is optimistic.  If women can become liberated and equal in these cultures, the roots feeding Arab terrorism will mostly wither and die. Ambassador Barbara Bodine by both her example and her ability is a brilliant choice to accelerate the liberation of women in Iraq and adjoining nations.

You might think that liberals and feminists here in the United States would rejoice that President George W. Bush has chosen Bodine to govern Baghdad. One small step for woman. One giant leap for womankind, no?

These Leftists will not rejoice, writes libertarian feminist Wendy McElroy in her regular column at  At most, she expects Leftist feminists to condemn Bodine with “faint praise with a punchline of criticism.”

Why?  For the same reason they refuse to allow a full Senate vote on Miguel Estrada’s nomination as the first Hispanic to the highest appeals court in the land. He is not a Leftist, and therefore Leftists want him and anybody else who refuses to be their puppet destroyed or enslaved, including Muslim women. 

Leftists have the same view of Bodine.  As McElroy notes, Bodine “has served under Reagan, George Bush Sr. and the current Bush presidency. Bodine has also worked for Bob Dole and Henry Kissinger. And Democrats have criticized her loyalty to Republican administrations before.”

The irony is that machismo Arab men in Iraq will probably accept Ambassador Bodine more graciously and honorably than will Marxismo Leftist feminists in the United States.

TOPICS: Editorial; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: barbarabodine; bodine; iraq
Tuesday, April 8, 2003

Quote of the Day by rageaholic

1 posted on 04/08/2003 4:51:46 AM PDT by JohnHuang2
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To: JohnHuang2
2 posted on 04/08/2003 4:55:02 AM PDT by dennisw
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To: JohnHuang2
Can we all please keep in mind that when MacArthur was the Occupation Governor of Japan, one of the first things he did was insist that the Japanese constitution include women's suffrage?

Men and women do not think alike, even Muslim men and women, despite the Palestinian kookburgers who throw their sons into suicide attacks.

3 posted on 04/08/2003 4:57:12 AM PDT by LS
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To: JohnHuang2
The irony is that machismo Arab men in Iraq will probably accept Ambassador Bodine more graciously and honorably than will Marxismo Leftist feminists in the United States.

Too true! In any case, I think appointing Barbara Bodine was a stroke of genius. One of the many I have seen during this presidency, that is.

4 posted on 04/08/2003 4:58:06 AM PDT by livius
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To: JohnHuang2

From the WSJ article: "Not only are feminists averting their eyes from the truth that only Western-style democracies have made the feminist principle of the full rights and dignity of women a reality, more perversely, they are lending support to the oppression and tyranny they profess to hate."

I knew the feminist movement was dead when NOW supported Clinton.

5 posted on 04/08/2003 5:00:56 AM PDT by jjm2111
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To: JohnHuang2
I sincerely question the choice.

If true, then it's an incredible insult to future generations of Iraqis. Perhaps warranted, but hardly the best possible leadership.
6 posted on 04/08/2003 5:05:43 AM PDT by Cvengr
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To: JohnHuang2
excellent article.
I have long had a notion that one way to "fix" the middle east would be to reduce the male population to 1/20th the female population. That way, everyone'd be happy and no more problems for the rest of us.
This (article) is not exactly what I had in mind, but it should at least prove interesting.
7 posted on 04/08/2003 5:12:43 AM PDT by demosthenes the elder (The Jesuits TRAINED me - they didn't TAME me)
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To: JohnHuang2
She angered conspiracy theorists by refusing maverick FBI agent John O’Neill a visa to re-enter Yemen.

April Glaspie redux.

O'Neill was on to bin Laden like white on paper . . . he then died in the WTC, if I recall.

8 posted on 04/08/2003 5:13:12 AM PDT by Ironword
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To: Ironword
PBS did an interesting 1 hour documentary on agent O'Neil entitled "The Man Who Knew".Bodine did not come off real well.
9 posted on 04/08/2003 7:46:17 AM PDT by Dixiekraut
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To: Dixiekraut
"PBS did an interesting 1 hour documentary on agent O'Neil entitled "The Man Who Knew".Bodine did not come off real well."

PBS is not a credible source for the truth on any matter.

In other words, PBS = "Pure BS" 99.9% of the time.

10 posted on 04/08/2003 7:57:15 AM PDT by Matchett-PI (Saddam, like the Marxist DemocRATS who support him, is a clear and present danger.)
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To: Ironword
April Glaspie redux.

Absolutely not. This article omitted an important point - Bodine advised Clinton's State Department against sending the USS Cole to Yemen on the "good will mission" in the first place. She was right, but her advice was ignored with disastrous consequences.

She learned a lot from Glaspie's mistakes - which is understandable since she volunteered to remain at her post in Kuwait and protect American citizens during Saddam's invasion in 1990.

11 posted on 04/09/2003 1:12:00 AM PDT by HAL9000
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To: JohnHuang2; dennisw; LS; livius; jjm2111; Cvengr; demosthenes the elder; Ironword; Dixiekraut; ...
Veteran foreign-service officer Barbara Bodine's appointment as a key player in Iraq's transitional government has angered Defense Department officials and federal law-enforcement authorities who believe that as U.S. ambassador to Yemen, she blocked an FBI investigation into the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole.

Working through a number of channels, including the Pentagon, the Justice Department and the Senate, several high-ranking federal authorities are calling on President Bush to rescind the appointment.
She served in Baghdad during Saddam Hussein's regime, later in Kuwait and then Yemen, where she was ambassador from 1997 to 2001. After the Oct. 12, 2000, suicide bombing of the Cole, which killed 17 U.S. sailors and injured 35 others, she served as chief negotiator between the U.S. and Yemeni governments.

"The State Department has successfully imposed Barbara Bodine on the Defense Department team dealing with a post-Saddam Hussein Iraq," said one former high-ranking Senate official close to the Pentagon. "She is to be the mayor of Baghdad, in essence. The Defense Department is livid, but there seems nothing they can do."

A Pentagon official, who asked not to be identified, said Miss Bodine dismissed warnings of terrorist attacks in Yemen against U.S. ships and allowed the Cole to enter port at a reduced security level because she felt the value of showing a U.S. presence in Yemen outweighed the risks.

FBI executives and agents familiar with the Cole probe said Miss Bodine, as ambassador in Yemen, prevented the bureau from advancing its investigation into the bombing at a time when agents were beginning to focus on Saudi millionaire Osama bin Laden.

The bureau's top terrorist hunter, John O'Neill, headed the Cole probe and was laying the groundwork for a conspiracy case against al Qaeda more than a year before the September 11 attacks. He had been sent by FBI Director Louis J. Freeh to Yemen with a force of 100 agents, laboratory experts and forensics specialists.

But FBI officials said the Cole investigation was stymied by Miss Bodine and that she made little effort to encourage Yemeni authorities to cooperate. Despite a number of death threats against agents by Islamic terrorists, she refused to allow investigators to carry the weapons Mr. O'Neill considered necessary for their protection.

After Mr. O'Neill left Yemen in August 2001 for New York, Miss Bodine refused to authorize his re-entry visa back into Yemen. His colleagues said he was told by Miss Bodine his investigative techniques were too aggressive and undiplomatic, and it was important for the United States to get along with foreign governments.

FBI officials and others familiar with the Cole probe said Mr. O'Neill believed it was important to show the Yemeni security force the FBI meant business in the Cole inquiry. Once he was denied re-entry, however, they said what little cooperation investigators had seen from Yemeni authorities disappeared.

Mr. O'Neill retired two weeks before the September 11 attacks, telling colleagues the government hindered the Cole probe because it was getting too close to several foreign dignitaries. On Sept. 3, 2001, he took a job as chief of security at the World Trade Center, where he died with thousands of others eight days later.

"There's no doubt that denying O'Neill access to Yemen significantly limited the Cole investigation, perhaps even killing it" said one key FBI official. "And that decision was made by Ambassador Bodine."

Mr. O'Neill headed the team that captured Ramzi Yousef in Pakistan in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and led the probe into the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa that resulted in an indictment of bin Laden and 16 al Qaeda associates.
12 posted on 04/11/2003 10:18:36 AM PDT by Jael
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To: Jael
Wow, this thread sure has both sides. Can't we find someone just as knowledgable but less controversial?
13 posted on 04/11/2003 10:26:37 AM PDT by walden
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To: JohnHuang2

What are the chances that Ambassador Barbara K. Bodine is not one of the people heading up the US-led interim government in Iraq.

This whole thing smells of "quagmire", "running out of supplies" and "bogging down". I have a feeling that the crowd over at the State Department are performing their version of "retired General".

14 posted on 04/11/2003 10:40:29 AM PDT by jriemer (We are a Republic not a Democracy)
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To: Jael
John Metzler - World Tribune -

General Anthony Zinni, recently retired Pentagon Chief for Middle East operations defended his original decision to use Aden as a refueling port and the desirability of bringing Yemen closer to American interests. General Zinni told the New York Times that several ship visits had been vetoed by the American Ambassador to Yemen, Barbara Bodine, who worried about the threat of terrorism. -

Walker said that the ambassador to Yemen, Barbara Bodine, advised Central Command in March 2000 not to authorize port calls in Aden, citing "general tension in the region and the feeling that there was a requirement or a need for a new review of the security situation in general in Yemen."

15 posted on 04/11/2003 2:31:12 PM PDT by HAL9000
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To: JohnHuang2
If this comes to fruition, she is the anti-Christ.
16 posted on 04/11/2003 2:34:05 PM PDT by mabelkitty
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To: walden
Can't we find someone just as knowledgable but less controversial?

LOL! Actually, she sounds good to me. I don't think anybody who's got the guts to do that kind of job will have gotten through life without making enemies on both sides. Anybody who's appointed is likely to be controversial, in one way or another.

17 posted on 04/11/2003 6:31:38 PM PDT by livius
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