“I will stand with you for about five hours…or until cocktail hour. Whichever comes first.”

Having stopped the scourge of young men joining gangs in America, Laura “Straight Outta Crawford” Bush takes her roadshow to Afghanistan to show solidarity with women who are forced to stand in the shadows of their men:

Laura Bush says she has been waiting a long time to tell the women of Afghanistan that American women stand with them.

The first lady arrived in the country for a five-hour visit early Wednesday with plans to visit women who are training to be teachers and others who have made a business of selling handicrafts. She was also to meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and have dinner with U.S. troops stationed at Bagram Air Base north of Kabul.

Mrs. Bush had wanted to visit Afghanistan for a couple of years but delayed the journey, mostly because of security concerns about travel to the war-torn country, where American forces are still battling a stubborn Taliban-led insurgency. Her trip was kept secret until just before she left from Andrews Air Force Base near Washington.

“I have been so looking forward to going to Afghanistan,” she told reporters on the tarmac of the military base in suburban Maryland. “When I really realized the plight of the women under the Taliban, I also found that American women really stand in solidarity with the women in Afghanistan.”

Yes. They really really do.

A former teacher and librarian, Mrs. Bush has expressed concern about the limited educational opportunities for Afghan girls under the former Taliban regime.

“We want to encourage them to send their girls to school to get educated,” Mrs. Bush said Tuesday. “We are very, very interested in their well-being and then, of course, in the broader Middle East as well. I think it is a message to them that the United States stands with people who are building their democracies.”

And it’s very important that these women (whom she is standing with in a symbolic but still very meaningful way) know that there is nothing more important than gettng an education which can lead to a career that can last up to five years before they land a man, quit working, pump out a few Afghanizoids, and then retire to a life of quiet desperation and private drinking broken up by occasional symbolic gestures about standing with people whom they will cease to consider once the plane leaves the tarmac and the first Harvey Wallbanger is served.

Girls outside of cities still do not often go to schools. Some are back to wearing burkas, or all-covering veils. White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the Bush administration is working to advance the rights of women in Afghanistan.

“We will continue to support those efforts and do all that we can,” he said Tuesday from the White House as Mrs. Bush was en route to Afghanistan.

The first lady was accompanied by Education Secretary Margaret Spellings. Her twin daughters, Barbara and Jenna, did not go along.

Standing not being one of their talents…

And with Laura out of town, well, you know….

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Yeah. Like I would tell you....