Skip to comments.Godmother of Baghdad: Who will be more accepting of the new Bush-chosen female "Mayor of Baghdad"
Posted on 04/08/2003 4:51:46 AM PDT by JohnHuang2
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 Pentagons 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 ONeill 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 States 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 Departments Foreign Service Institute and as the Department of States Acting Coordinator for Counter-terrorism. She is author of the 1993 study Patterns of Global Terrorism.
You might think that a professional of Ambassador Bodines 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 Husseins Iraq accorded more rights to women than Taliban Afghanistan or paternalistic Saudi Arabia. The two heads of Saddams 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 VeilOfTerror.com), 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 fathers 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 Husseins 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 Saddams 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 Balsams 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 Balsams 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 FoxNews.com. 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 Estradas 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.
Men and women do not think alike, even Muslim men and women, despite the Palestinian kookburgers who throw their sons into suicide attacks.
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.
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.
April Glaspie redux.
O'Neill was on to bin Laden like white on paper . . . he then died in the WTC, if I recall.
PBS is not a credible source for the truth on any matter.
In other words, PBS = "Pure BS" 99.9% of the time.
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.
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".
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."
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.