homophobia misogyny racism woke

The Week in Woke, Belatedly: Out of Afghanistan Edition

We’re back for Week in Woke, a couple of days late, but the right-wingers haven’t exactly stopped calling everything they don’t like “woke.”

Here are the latest catches:

The American military in Afghanistan

It was always going to be a debacle when the US finally pulled out of this forever war. But right-wingers seem devoted to learning nothing from the experience, instead turning their attention to a new favorite scapegoat: military “wokeness.”

No, Afghanistan didn’t fall because the Generals were so “woke” that they forgot to do their jobs. It’s because we never should have been there in the first place. As Jacob Silverman notes in The New Republic,

nation-building at gunpoint is a moral and administrative disaster; and practically everything we did made the country worse and the Taliban, who now sport an impressive array of U.S. armaments, more powerful. 

In short, our loss in that impossible war had nothing to do with anyone’s pronouns.

Megan Rapinoe makes a sandwich woke

The anti-woke chuds still can’t get over the American women’s soccer team kneeling for the national anthem at the Olympics. Now they’re directing their ire at Subway — the cheapo sandwich chain — for featuring the alleged “anti-American traitor” and team captain Rapinoe in a commercial.

“Far left American soccer player Megan Rapinoe … won’t stand up for the American national anthem,” complains Mike LaChance in the reliably batty Gateway Pundit,

but apparently she can be paid to stand up for fast food products. …

People are tired of the woke garbage. And why is Rapinoe profiting from an American business if she won’t even stand for the anthem?

Hey, LaChance, which one of you brought home a medal for America in the Olympics? Pretty sure it was Rapinoe, not you.

The Alternate Woke Royal Family

Ok, so Meghan Markle, widely hated by racist royal family buffs, put out a birthday statement on behalf of her and her hubby Prince Harry addressing COVID, the chaos in Afghanistan (where Harry served for two tours) and urging readers to send money to help with the current humanitarian catastrophe in Haiti.

Somehow this caused the haters to hate the two even more. In the Express Chloe Davies writes:

[T]he statement has been referred to as a “vague publicity-seeking word salad” on social media, with criticism facing the Duke and Duchess as there is no reference to how the couple will be personally helping the crisis. …

The statement which addresses the intention to “alleviate the suffering” of others has come under scrutiny by a royal expert which has branded the scheme as a “phoney” attempt to be “woke” and relevant.

Prince Harry’s biographer Angela Levin told The Daily Mail’s FEMAIL column: “I think Harry and Meghan’s grandiose, comfy and caring comments about [these issues] is another example of them trying to set up some sort of alternate woke royal family”.

Hey, I’ll take it over the original royal family any day.

PS: Still working on that second Plymouth shooter piece.

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39 replies on “The Week in Woke, Belatedly: Out of Afghanistan Edition”

I don’t get it. Why aren’t they cheering the Taliban victory, which is putting women back in what these people would agree is their place?

ETA: Did Tucker have anything to say when the God Emperor initiated peace talks with the Taliban?

Tucker Carlson — who, as always, is the sharpest knife in the drawer — comes out in favor of Taliban-style gender relations in the video above.

“It turns out that the people of Afghanistan don’t actually want gender studies symposia.They didn’t actually buy the idea that men can become pregnant. They thought that was ridiculous. They don’t hate their own masculinity. They don’t think it’s toxic. They like the patriarchy. Some of their women like it too.

There are people — and then there are women.

The Guardian has an article from an Afghan woman (her byline is “A Kabul resident”) who doesn’t like the patriarchy:

An Afghan woman in Kabul: ‘Now I have to burn everything I achieved’A university student tells of seeing all around her the ‘fearful faces of women and ugly faces of men who hate women’

Early on Sunday morning I was heading to university for a class when a group of women came running out from the women’s dormitory. I asked what had happened and one of them told me the police were evacuating them because the Taliban had arrived in Kabul, and they will beat women who do not have a burqa. . . .

@Kat, ambassador, feminist revolution (in exile)

An Afghan woman in Kabul: ‘Now I have to burn everything I achieved’

Oh goddess. My heart goes out to her, and every woman in the Taliban’s path. In that line I cannot help but contemplate my own life and how I’d feel if I had to do the same or die/get seriously hurt.

My hopes, poof. My dreams, gone. Anything I could be other than an adjunct to a man – no longer possible. And that’s the better case for me – the more likely case is that I will be killed, my identity erased, the name I spent so long considering and fashioning for myself scattered to the winds, and I will be misgendered and lied about in any histories told.

One of the crueler things we did as a nation was lie to these people. Was pretend that we’d be there. Was pretend we gave a damn about their survival instead of just oil and the re-election potential of being a “wartime president”.

Yeah, I can’t help but wonder, What would happen to me if I were an Afghan woman in Afghanistan right now.

If only the woke soyboys Americans who were driven out of Afghanistan were like the manly masculine men Russians who…were driven out of Afghanistan.

When it comes to those who think that the US army would have triumphed in Afghanistan if only it would have been more brutal, I can only refer to them to Maslow’s Hammer. Also, I’m rather appalled that news pundits and politicians either know so little, even if it has been raging for almost 20 years, about the war in Afghanistan they would say such stupid things or that they would lie to cater to an audience that is generally misinformed.

If only the woke soyboys Americans who were driven out of Afghanistan were like the manly masculine men Russians who…were driven out of Afghanistan.

I think the rightwingers might counter that by saying that the Soviets tried to install a communist puppet regime, which was obviously going to be wildly unpopular with the local people, whereas the Americans just tried to build a stable allied government, which is different and should have been much more feasible (/snark)

More seriously, rightwingers might be inclined to argue (at least now, in the wake of this disaster) that the US shouldn’t have been the there to begin with, because building nations abroad isn’t America’s responsibility and/or because people who live in third world hellholes are probably inherently uncivilized. But then, it’d be difficult to blame the current fiasco on Biden and/or wokeness.

I am of the opinion the USA presence in the Afghanistan was inevitable but should have been much shorter. Occupying a country hoping the population will suddenly like you is akin to waiting for a miracle.

Also, apparently Trump might have done a deal to make the Taliban back in power faster after America’s retreat ? That seem in character for him at least. Perhaps too complicated for him tho.

I can’t really understand why the Taliban are in any way or shape popular even compared to American, but it’s the choice of enough Afghan that there isn’t much to do about it. Let’s just hope at some point their califate emulate more the middle age califates.

Unpopular opinion perhaps, but I think the USA should run a refugee program for Afghans instead of leaving the surrounding nations and Europe to take in the diaspora. Again.

Don’t get me wrong, I am 100% in support of housing refugees wherever they go but there is something off about the USA starting a war, creating a mess and leaving others to tend to the victims while it packs up and sashays away.

My heart is breaking for the women of Afghanistan in the meanwhile. Taliban says “women will have rights within the framework of Islam” but misogynists are ALL extremely dishonest about what they mean when they’re talking to the general public.

There’s a reason why Afghanistan has been known as the burial ground for empires for over two millennia. The only time Afghanistan has been occupied for any length of time was during the reign of Genghis Khan and that was only because the Mongols killed every male in Afghanistan above the age of ten.

@IgnoreSandra, @Kat

Yeah, all of that. No words, only anger and hopelessness.


Not that unpopular an opinion, I absolutely agree. Accepting pretty much anyone who wants to get away is the very least we can do.


I used to believe that too about the “graveyard of empires” thing… then I read this Twitter thread.

Turns out it’s more complicated than that, and also the phrase was originally propaganda to distract from the horrific war crimes of the British there.


Sorry for the vanishing act 🙂 My life’s been a world of chronic pain lately, and also I just started a new job, so things have been hectic.


My life’s been a world of chronic pain lately, and also I just started a new job, so things have been hectic.

I’m very sorry to hear about the chronic pain. Best wishes for that vanishing very, very soon. And congratulations on the new job. I hope it works out well.


Thank you so much. Unfortunately I’m probably stuck with at least some of this pain for life. Rheumatoid arthritis is a bastard of an illness, even with the highly effective modern drugs for it.

I’m just so disgusted (although not remotely surprised) with the way the discussion of Afghanistan has played out. Very little analysis of how we got here. No connecting the dots of how the military industrial complex and the oil industry profit from endless was in the Middle East and how that controls our foreign policy. No discussion of how militaristic nation building comes at the expense domestic investment and services. No reckoning of how this little project was carrying out a long tradition of white supremacist colonialism. Just partisan bickering over who’s tactical errors are to blame for this, Trump or Biden. Obsessing over how this could effect future elections. Right wingers pretending to give a fuck about Afghan women to own the libs.

Meanwhile the corporate media is falling all over themselves to relegitimize the Republicans who’ve spent the last several months openly cheerleading their own base’s attack on democracy, letting them retake the always false narrative that they are the party of national security.

It’s all so exhausting and depressing. No one ever learns anything or wants to. Well, no one with any power anyway.

Hey all. Not really related, but I’m finally trying to leave my abusive spouse.

Problem is, I’ve found resources for LGBTQ+ (youths only, no parents with kids), or for women (FULL!)

Which means that even though I have a credible threat to my and my daughter’s life, I have nowhere to go.

There’s a big gap in the system here, no help for LGBTQ+ adults with children to get out of abusive situations.

I might be able to get a slot in the bigger city 60+ miles to the north, but I’m in my final year getting my physics degree and the commute will take so much study time away from me, especially with an early start class this semester (which starts Monday).

Even if I wanted to go to my parents’, which I REALLY don’t, because they’ve attached all kinds of strings to whether I live there, like church attendance and not being able to transition, I’d have a hard time justifying it, simply because he knows where they live and that’s the first place he’ll go looking for me if he wants revenge.

I’m really just kind of venting because there’s not much I can do… I can’t get out, without a place to go to and I don’t make enough money to get an apartment myself.

@Seth S : I don’t have good advice for that, but I can wish you good luck at least :/

Let’s hope you find enough resources to get away despite the lack of of societal support.

@WWTH : You are spot on the lack of analysis or anything. Very few people even say out loud that “bringing democraty with an army” isn’t something that can ever work anywhere, even tho it would be like the minimal amount of reflexion on that whole endeavor. I guess there’s too many “war for democracy” with big scare quotes going around a bit everywhere in the world.

Is the oil comment about the USA war in general or is there actually oil in that country too ?


told my 13 &14 year old sons you have three choices there

1) get killed as non taliban outright today
2) forced join the taliban army and get killed
3) become a slave worker for a while, eventually get accused of a heretical transgression and get killed

all three choices are get killed and as bad as, worse than girls their age.

Meanwhile, a lot of GCers are saying that the Taliban is actually good for women’s rights because they aren’t woke enough to ask for preferred pronouns.

@bcb : I have an hard time believing any of the GC who held that opinion that honestly believe that the rest of what the Taliban do isn’t worse than pronouns.

Also get added to the “GC actions are impossible to tell from MTGOW actions” pile.

The irony is, in Farsi/Persian, you use ‘they’ as a singular pronoun if you want to be polite anyway.

In colloquial Persian, the third-person plural pronoun ایشان išān is used exclusively as a polite/formal variant of the third-person singular. In written materials, however, it may be used instead of آنها ānhā. Therefore, in the written language both ایشان išān and آنها ānhā might represent ‘they.’

I guess it’s cold fact vs. colonialist bullshit time again:
1) The very moment we invaded, this precise outcome became inevitable. If we’d left in 2 years or stayed another 20, this would still be the outcome. This is because
2) Our imperialist puppet regime had negative legitimacy. No significant number of Afghans considered it a valid government, and the vast majority of our local “allies” were trying to glom onto as much money/valuata as possible before the wheels inevitably came off. Many of them (e.g., the “president” we installed) planned to use that money to skip town, because
3) We were never going to make even the slightest effort to bring our local stooges and running dogs out with our troops, because that’s not what empires do. Never have, never will, and anyone with even a passing grasp of history knows this full well. Afghans of all people know it, because it’s happened to them every couple generations for most of recorded history.
4) Everyone involved in planning the invasion knew 1-3 before they ever started. They never gave a half dram of stale rat piss about the Taliban or anyone in Afghanistan (or anyone in the US military, come to that). They did it to test out their new bang toys and funnel ever more money into their pockets and those of their profiteering cronies.
5) Every single person who ever supported this fucking atrocity has Afghan blood on their hands, and really needs to re-examine any commitment they have to anti-racism and anti-colonialism. This war, like all US military adventurism, was a crime against humanity, and people who actually consider brown foreigners people wothy rights have been pointing this out since before the beginning.

@Seth S
I’m so sorry you’re going through this.

I don’t want this to sound patronizing, and I’m sorry if you’ve already ruled this out. Depending on how big your university is, they might have housing options for you. At my old university the undergrad students with families were offered housing in the grad apartments and there was discounted/emergency housing for (at least grad) students who needed the financial help.
Your university might also have an office for diversity affairs (possibly even people specializing in LGBTQ+ issues). If you contact them, they may be able to put you in touch with the right housing people and negotiate a place for you to stay.
If you’re not sure who to contact and you have a professor you’re comfortable reaching out to and explaining things to, they may be able to get you in touch with the correct office as well.


I’m reaching back into my memory banks from almost 20 years, so sorry if I’m too vague. Afghanistan is not an oil producing country. However, through the 90’s there was a corporation (can’t remember which one) connected to Bush administration people (again can’t remember which ones) that was looking to put an oil pipeline in Afghanistan but the Taliban was too unstable and unreliable to do business with. So there was a real good incentive to install a government a bit more friendly to oil interests.

The book/pamphlet Dreaming War by Gore Vidal lays out in really good detail the ways there was a profit motive for occupying Afghanistan. I think I still have it somewhere. Now I kind of want to dig it out. I’ve been thinking about it a lot this week.

@WWTH From Wikipedia that would be Unocal Corporation, which got bought out by Chevron in 2005. And thanks, I had never heard of this. 😐

Every time I think my disgust with Bush and his cronies can’t grow any further… I know all US Presidencies are colonial and ultimately evil, but Bush lowered the bar and paved the way for Trump on so many levels.

Bush the Younger is a classic example of what you get when somebody has managed to live a reasonably long life while only ever being allowed to fail upward thanks to family connections. He’s a living demonstration that the concept of ‘Upper Class Twit’ is not uniquely English. None of his business failures ever really affected him negatively, after all.

(Unlike Trump, who just simply responded to the failures that did affect him negatively by being negative right back until he got his way through sheer bullying and the desire of others to be rid of him.)

WWTH : many thanks. Knowing that do color my understanding of that war, since it do show there were more private interest in it than I initially thought.


Agree with every word.


The book/pamphlet Dreaming War by Gore Vidal lays out in really good detail the ways there was a profit motive for occupying Afghanistan.

It seems to me that war is pretty much always instigated for capital acquisition. Just note what is typically done by the victors, in each era:

Bronze age to medieval — full wars (as opposed to e.g. Viking raids) between feudal kingdoms led to territorial conquest. The focus was on capturing arable land. Arable land was the primary means of production in these times. Empires like Rome expanded to obtain a flow of tribute. Typically this was then used by senators to purchase land in the conquered provinces. A bit more indirect, but the end result is the same: wealthy aristocrats increasing their land holdings.

After the industrial revolution — for a while, wars to annex arable land continue, but by the early 20th century war begins to shift its pattern. Capturing factories intact, and trashing them to deny them to arriving conquerors, becomes a big thing: 20th-century earth-salting. Part of World War II escalated out of an oil embargo against Japan, which was starving Japanese capital of needed inputs to productivity. In a way, Japanese involvement in the war was about regaining the use of their own pre-existing capital.

These were the last truly large-scale wars for direct territorial expansion, as it became apparent that factories were too fragile compared to arable land, and the capital one often conquered was a bombed-out ruin by the time you got to it. War aims shifted then to obtaining money, which could be used to buy plant; obtaining oil, especially, and other resources needed as inputs; and access to cheap labor to work in those factories. Vietnam was largely about whose factories the Vietnamese working class would toil in, NATO’s or the Warsaw Pact’s. Iraq I was about oil — good oilfields are still worth the cost of a territorial war and long-lived occupation, unlike arable land these days. So Iraq invaded Kuwait and the US pried it back out of their hands. Not only Kuwaiti oil, but the petro-dollar system that funnels tribute to the American empire, was at stake in that one. Shrub’s wars were about a pipeline route: potential future capital, if they could magically stabilize the region. (Bond film The World is Not Enough is sort of a fictionalized version of this. Control over pipeline routes through Afghanistan turns out to be what’s motivating the players.)

The overall amount of direct, army-to-army combat has been decreasing for a century, for a combination of reasons.

One, war is getting more and more expensive, due to the growing power of war technologies, both offensive and defensive. So it takes a bigger potential windfall to motivate it … though the defense industry always makes out like bandits, and thus always lobbies for war.

Two, the aims of war (nation-state capital acquisition by seizing foreign assets) are increasingly easily doable without firing a single shot. With the modern interconnected economy, all you really need to do is steal a large enough amount of money from a foreign country, launder it, and then buy capital assets with it: factory equipment, or just stocks, bonds, and real estate. So war is being gradually replaced by international heists, in effect. Physically stealing these is difficult, dangerous, and expensive, so it doesn’t actually take the form of plots like that of Die Hard with a Vengeance. Instead it’s pretty much all done online.

If you want to see the news stories about truly 21st century warfare, drop those army rags full of NRA-sponsored advertisements and browse on over to Krebs on Security. You’ll see story after story about big institutions hit by ransomware hacks; credit card fraud on a massive scale; cryptocurrency heists carried out by impersonating the owner to a phone company or bitcoin exchange; and assorted money laundering tactics. These are all warfare, or almost all, and most of it is Russia warring against the United States. (There’ll also be some comparatively penny-ante intranational organized crime, such as ATM heists, if there’s a tech angle.)

Check this out:

Turns out configuring a dual keyboard layout with English and Russian on your Windows box will make a lot of ransomware and other malware abort without doing anything evil. Why? Because the criminals responsible for a large proportion of this stuff are not pirates, they’re privateers. They have a letter of marque from the Kremlin, conditional on their not stealing from their own countrypeople. Why is that, in turn? Because if Russians steal (cryptocurrency heists, credit card fraud) or extort (ransomware) large sums of money from the US and other non-Russian states, and then buy things with that money, which purchases then get taxed, the Russian state enriches itself in money and, ultimately, capital at the expense of other nation-states. The goals of war, achieved without firing a single shot! Some of the hackers work directly for the Russian government, too, and thus generate revenue for it more directly.

Cyberwar. You hear about it like it’s some future thing, but Russia, Iran, and a few other nation-states have been waging it for a while now. As, no doubt, has America.

@rabid rabbit: That was months ago, so Tucker’s forgotten all about it. As ordered to.

I think the US (and others who were there, proportionately) should take in all the Afghan women who can make it here.

@Seth S: You could stay with me if I lived near you, as long as you and the kid aren’t allergic to cats. There’s a bed, a sofa, a small bathroom, and great Wi-Fi. I’m in California. But do check with your university for help. Good luck!

@Soma: I knew a teen back in the late 80s whose mom had sent him here — alone — so he wouldn’t have to join the Taliban and fight the Russians. Nearly 35 years ago. Gosh, he’s middle-aged now. That’s how long it’s been.

Maybe I’ll have me a Subway sammich for dinner.

I bet if Her Royal Boringness Kate had asked for donations for Haiti and sorrow about Afghanistan, they’d be praising her to the skies. I’m sure Meghan and Harry are donating something, but they seem to have that quaint old belief in not publicly bragging exactly how much and how/where. And I’m sure Harry is particularly affected about the news from Afghanistan — he literally had skin in the game.

@Seth S.

[E]ven though I have a credible threat to my and my daughter’s life, I have nowhere to go.

Now is the time to get intensely creative. I suggest that you call a domestic violence hotline and discuss this issue with them. They will help you put together a safety plan. Nothing, nothing, nothing is more important than your life, not to mention your daughter’s life. All the best to you. I hope you keep us informed.


What Kat says. Seconding all of that.

If a local shelter/helpline can’t help you, try calling a national one. They might be able to identify whether or not a town within reach has a place that can help.

I’m crossing my fingers for you and your kiddo. Keep us updated when you can.

I’m sorry I don’t have any better advice, and I’m sorry finding resources that can help is so difficult for you.

unfortunately, my venting to one of my kid’s therapists wound up getting us reported to child protective services and I was told I should take my daughter and leave him immediately. I’ve had to move to my parents’ house after all (the badgering to go to church has already begun because I Really Need Jeebus now), and my loan application for legal help has been denied. I’ve applied for a lower amount, but even if I get it, it’ll leave me with no savings at all for living expenses and only some hope that he will go to therapy, to buy me some time to figure out what to do next.

Basically, he threatened suicide over the possibility of paying child support and said it in a way that implied he might take her too, and/or me. He is legit under a lot of stress but has never done well at choosing healthy stress coping mechanisms, usually resorting to alcohol, and he struggles with empathy, especially if it’s for someone he feels a lot of contempt for, which has historically been a big problem between us. I REALLY don’t want him to kill himself for a huge variety of reasons, having been suicidal myself, I know how sucky that is, and a part of me is flat baffled why he’d want to literally die on this particular hill. At the end of the day, it’s just MONEY, whereas I’m scared for our PHYSICAL SAFETY because he is so irrational and impulsive when drinking. Studies have even shown that most men come out ahead when it comes to money a year after divorce, so all I can think is he’s been reading and bought into the MRA lies about how women can force a man into bankruptcy and take em to the cleaners on child support. State law here literally forbids that, the split of assets is 50-50, and there’s an income based calculation for child support where the custody holder cannot ask for more without reason. Either he didn’t look it up, or he sees that as “bankruptcy”, somehow (it’s really not… we made enough together that 50% wouldn’t be a poverty-line existence).

I decided I’m relatively okay not pushing anybody about transitioning for the time being. I spent a little over 42 years being mistaken for a woman. A few more months of that probably won’t kill me, but he might. Battle chosen. If he does kill himself… that’s a whole separate pack of problems, because I’ve never had access to his bank account or anything else I’d need to pay the mortgage/utilities/other expenses, but I guess at least we won’t be in physical danger anymore.


That entire situation sounds like it sucks. I’m glad you and the kid are physically safe, at the moment.

Internet hugs and well wishes if you want them, for the pair of you.

@Seth S
I’m so sorry you’re in this awful situation. I’m glad you’ve taken steps to extricate yourself and your daughter from the worst of it. I suggest you call a domestic violence hotline and see what information and advice they have. Several different hotlines were a big help to me when I was in a tough spot. All best wishes in this extremely trying time.

Nothing in that thread changes the fact that many empires have invaded Afghanistan, sunk vast amounts of blood and treasure there, and pulled back out. This isn’t because of the Pashtun people, who aren’t any more violent and bloodthirsty than any other highlanders*, it’s because their highlands lie athwart an extremely lucrative trade route, and are also very rugged mountains. Many empires want to control the trade route and are run by people who don’t realize how impossible invading high mountain country effectively is. This is unfortunate for thr residents.

@Seth: glad you and the kid are safe, even … well, with your parents.

Think of this this way: it’s woman-you who’s “needing”/having to go to church and all that crap. Not real you. You are currently playing a part, undercover in a hostile environment. Temporarily.

Keep trying to find another refuge, though. Presenting as a woman with a kid running from a threatening husband works in your favor for getting help at this point, at least.

Big hugs.

incels made themselves a country in Afghanistan. and defeated the best army in the world, which was the progressive army. with nothing but waiting in caves for 20 years, as incels do. you cannot deny it was impressive. truly, finally, incels have their own country.

it was a good day for incels around the world, perhaps the best day. they can finally move to a country of their own. you can truly create a country, where women have no power at all.

I am surprised David didn´t show that angle.

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