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Palin: The Real 'American Taliban'

By       Message Dave Lindorff       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   3 comments

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By Dave Lindorff

Back in the early days of the seemingly interminable Afghan
conflict, a young American, trapped in Afghanistan by the US invasion
of that country, was captured along with Taliban fighters and, after a
bit of captivity and “enhanced interrogation” at the tender mercies of
US troops, was transported back for trial in the US, where then
Attorney General John Ashcroft excitedly labeled him the “American

But John Walker Lindh, railroaded into a 20-year jail sentence and
slapped with a gag order that bars him from talking about how he was
tortured for the entire length of his incarceration in Afghanistan, is
not the real American Taliban. That title surely belongs to our new
Republican vice presidential candidate, Sarah Palin.

According to reporting in the latest edition of the National Enquirer,
a paper routinely maligned as a grocery-store scandal sheet, but
actually boasting a skilled investigative reporting team that makes
what passes for investigative reporting these days at most corporate
media shops look like bad jokes (it was the Enquirer that
exposed John Edwards’ extra-marital affair and blew his political
career out of the water), Palin sought to cover up, perhaps even from
John McCain, her 17-year-old daughter’s pregnancy until after she was
safely nominated. Her plan, says the Enquirer, which spoke to
acquaintances and neighbors in Palin’s hometown of Wasilla, Alaska, had
been to get through the convention, then get daughter Bristol married
off to the infant-to-be’s father, 18-year-old Levi Johnston, and only
then disclose the pregnancy.

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That devious scheme was reportedly scotched by Bristol, who the Enquirer reports was “at war” with her mother over the idea of a politically motivated shotgun wedding.

According to the Enquirer, it was that paper’s disclosure
to both Palin and the parents of Johnston, that it was ready to publish
the pregnancy story, that led Palin to break the bombshell news about
the pregnancy ahead of her nomination—a move that left the McCain
campaign embarrassed and exposed to ridicule over its obvious haste and
undeniable lack of any vetting of its vice presidential nominee.

Why should we care about this domestic melodrama? Because, besides
revealing the casualness with which the 72-year-old, health-impaired
McCain is willing to treat the job of picking his alternate and likely
mid-term successor, it reveals the deceptiveness and the inhumane,
ruthless fanaticism of Palin, a candidate who is trying to market
herself to voters as “Everymom.”

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Few real moms or dads in their right mind would try to force a
17-year-old daughter and an 18-year-old boy to get married, simply
because they had accidentally conceived a baby. All the odds predict
that such parentally imposed pairings are doomed to failure, with much
unnecessary trauma and psychic damage to both kids and to their future
child along the way. Is Palin afraid her fellow believers on the
religious Right would condemn her if her daughter were allowed to bear
her child as a single parent? Is she afraid the child would be a (gasp)

This kind of religious fanaticism, in which the welfare of young
children is run roughshod over for the sake of biblical correctness,
has been evident and roundly condemned by Americans when practiced in
Taliban-run Afghanistan, or Wahabi-run Saudi Arabia, where women don’t
get any choices about their futures. We don’t need it coming from the
White House.

I say, three cheers for Bristol for standing up to her tyrannical mom and saying no instead of “I do” on command.

Given the domestic drama, it was shameful that the Palins dragged
their daughter and Johnston down to the Twin Cities to be paraded in
front of the nation for the sake of their self-described pit bull mom’s
political career in a faux display of family togetherness. You knew
what the real story was by the embarrassed deer-in-the-headlight looks
on the two unsmiling teens’ faces as they were on put on display. You
knew it too by the way Palin, who devoted a considerable portion her
acceptance speech to talking up her family life, said not a word about
her daughter’s impending marriage—the date for which has been left

My guess is that the supposed wedding will be conveniently pushed
back past Election Day, after which, if those two kids are lucky, or
plucky enough, it will be quietly forgotten.

With any luck, Palin’s vice presidential hopes will be history by
then too, and with them, the era of “Just Say No” sex education in our
nation’s schools.

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Teens have enough trouble making their way in this crazy,
high-pressure world without having loopy, self-involved, religious
fanatic parents mucking their lives up further. And the last thing
they, or the rest of us, need is a national “imom” pushing her Taliban-like moral agenda on the whole nation through laws and the appointment of like-minded judges.


DAVE LINDORFF is a Philadelphia-based journalist and columnist. His latest book is "The Case for Impeachment" (St. Martin's Press, 2006 and now available in paperback edition). His work is available at



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Dave Lindorff is a founding member of the collectively-owned, journalist-run online newspaper He is a columnist for Counterpunch, is author of several recent books ("This Can't Be Happening! Resisting the (more...)

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