FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

A Season of Depressing Political Reruns

by JOHN CHUCKMAN

Recent political events resemble nothing so much as re-runs of movies that should never have been released the first time.

Bush has gone to Europe to “ease tensions” in the NATO alliance. Of course, those very tensions were his work entirely, but a sense of the ridiculous never discourages a Jehovah’s Witness with a long list of house calls to make.

If you read the fine print under the marketing blurbs for Bush’s trip – much like the microscopically-printed disclaimer for a new prescription drug that hasn’t undergone adequate testing – you will see that Bush’s effort is directed at nothing more than securing European help in the mess he has made of Iraq. This is just a new, more subdued episode of previous Bush whining about being “either with us or against us.” He wants a shred of legitimacy for what he’s done, and he wants other people to help pay his enormous bills. Fortunately, it appears at this writing that Europe, while listening politely and offering a cookie to soothe Bush’s whining, is not about to alter its sensible course.

In another dreary re-run, America’s Republicans have focused their vicious rage against Kofi Anan, now attacking his son to get at him. This might seem bizarre coming from the friends of Enron, WorldCom, and Halliburton, people whose President made his first dollar in an oil-stock deal that should have seen the SEC sending him to jail, but hypocrisy has become almost a point of pride with Republicans, particularly the Sequined Christian Warrior Wing of the party.

The personal attacks against Anan and his son recall the attacks on former President Clinton and his wife. When it wasn’t about real estate, it was about sex, and when it wasn’t about sex, it was about a friend’s suicide. Whatever it was, it had nothing to do with governing the country or policy differences. The noise went on for eight mind-numbing years, revealing an immense store of hatred and the finances to promote it.

Anan was actually America’s compromise to replace Boutros Boutros Ghali, an intellectual and diplomat, hated and pushed from his post by Americans. His crime was being too cosmopolitan and not pro-American enough, Americans so often blurring the initials U.N. into U.S. Well, since Ghali’s departure, the standard of adequate pro-Americanism has swelled like a malignant brain tumor. The soft-spoken, urbane Anan is just not good enough now, having quietly said during Bush’s re-election campaign that the American invasion of Iraq was illegal, which it clearly was. Anyway, urbanity alone can get you into serious trouble with the Grand Ole Opry crowd running Washington.

A pathetic re-run was the election in Iraq. We saw it in Vietnam and in other places, the claim that some great change had come through forced, much-photographed (and rigged) elections. All those light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel columns and press releases when all that was at the end of the tunnel was a stupendous pile of burnt Vietnamese corpses, mainly civilians. Well, that part too is being repeated in Iraq. Dead civilians. Piles of them every week.

It is reported on the Internet that the Shiite coalition actually received a much larger vote than the figure set to headlines by America’s Office of Auxiliary Propaganda, usually only known by names such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, and CBS. The vote apparently was shaved behind the scenes from around 60% to 48%, so that the new Iraqi government wouldn’t come in feeling its oats. After all, they have a lot to swallow, including indefinite occupation, the establishment of permanent American airbases, and a new embassy big and well-equipped enough to provide a Middle East White House and Spa for the convenience and comfort of future visiting American dignitaries.

Ah, such faith in democracy! But that is how the game of democracy is played in America itself. The man with the never-explained electronic hump on his back during television debates was “elected” twice using just such methods or variants. Bush holds office with about the same sense of legitimacy as the White House press credentials of a Karl Rove operative with nude pictures on the Internet.

Palestine’s new President, Mahmoud Abbas, is working extremely hard to satisfy every demand of Israel. It is hard to avoid the unpleasant impression of a new maid polishing every spoon and fork late into the night. What is not apparent right now is that Sharon and Abbas have very different ideas of what it is that Abbas is working towards. Abbas certainly has in mind the end of occupation and a genuinely independent Palestinian state. Sharon has in mind the privilege of Abbas continuing through an endless maze called the peace process.

The word “process” should be retired from the English language for a while. Everything has become a process. We have education processes instead of education, political processes instead of politics, and peace processes instead of peace. Sticking “process” onto other words represents an effort to make whatever is happening seem bigger and more impressive than it actually is. I could be convinced to exclude “peace process” from the proposed ban, the inflated nothingness of the phrase pretty much fitting reality in this one instance.

It’s all a re-run because, despite many failings, no one worked harder for an extended period to build the foundations of a Palestinian state and peace with Israel than Arafat. He turned his back on the written reason for his party’s founding, fought a fierce battle with other Palestinian parties, and worked hard for the Oslo Accords. It was all for nothing. At Camp David he was offered the statehood-equivalent of a set of empty barracks at several abandoned Israeli military bases surrounded by barbed wire. Sharon, assisted by the Electronic Hunchback of Washington, grotesquely shoved Arafat into a corner with no permission to speak or travel. Sharon publicly threatened Arafat several times with murder, and of course the circumstances of Arafat’s death remain quite unclear.

And it will prove the same for Abbas. A huge and crushing disillusion lies ahead. Israel’s idea of a “peace process” is endless delays and excuses while establishing “new facts on the ground” (a.k.a. seizing other peoples’ homes, orchards, and water supplies) with the regularity of around-the-clock operations at an automobile stamping plant.

John Chuckman lives in Canada.

More articles by:
May 30, 2016
Ron Jacobs
The State of the Left: Many Movements, Too Many Goals?
James Abourezk
The Intricacies of Language
Porfirio Quintano
Hillary, Honduras, and My Late Friend Berta
Patrick Cockburn
Airstrikes on ISIS are Reducing Their Cities to Ruins
Uri Avnery
The Center Doesn’t Hold
Rodrigue Tremblay
Barack Obama’s Legacy: What happened?
Matt Peppe
Just the Facts: The Speech Obama Should Have Given at Hiroshima
Deborah James
Trade Pacts and Deregulation: Latest Leaks Reveal Core Problem with TISA
Michael Donnelly
Still Wavy after All These Years: Flower Geezer Turns 80
Ralph Nader
The Funny Business of Farm Credit
Paul Craig Roberts
Memorial Day and the Glorification of Past Wars
Colin Todhunter
From Albrecht to Monsanto: A System Not Run for the Public Good Can Never Serve the Public Good
Rivera Sun
White Rose Begins Leaflet Campaigns June 1942
Tom H. Hastings
Field Report from the Dick Cheney Hunting Instruction Manual
Weekend Edition
May 27, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
Silencing America as It Prepares for War
Rob Urie
By the Numbers: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are Fringe Candidates
Paul Street
Feel the Hate
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
Basic Income Gathers Steam Across Europe
Andrew Levine
Hillary’s Gun Gambit
Jeffrey St. Clair
Hand Jobs: Heidegger, Hitler and Trump
S. Brian Willson
Remembering All the Deaths From All of Our Wars
Dave Lindorff
With Clinton’s Nixonian Email Scandal Deepening, Sanders Must Demand Answers
Pete Dolack
Millions for the Boss, Cuts for You!
Gunnar Westberg
Close Calls: We Were Much Closer to Nuclear Annihilation Than We Ever Knew
Peter Lee
To Hell and Back: Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Karl Grossman
Long Island as a Nuclear Park
Binoy Kampmark
Sweden’s Assange Problem: The District Court Ruling
Robert Fisk
Why the US Dropped Its Demand That Assad Must Go
Martha Rosenberg – Ronnie Cummins
Bayer and Monsanto: a Marriage Made in Hell
Brian Cloughley
Pivoting to War
Stavros Mavroudeas
Blatant Hypocrisy: the Latest Late-Night Bailout of Greece
Arun Gupta
A War of All Against All
Dan Kovalik
NPR, Yemen & the Downplaying of U.S. War Crimes
Randy Blazak
Thugs, Bullies, and Donald J. Trump: The Perils of Wounded Masculinity
Murray Dobbin
Are We Witnessing the Beginning of the End of Globalization?
Daniel Falcone
Urban Injustice: How Ghettos Happen, an Interview with David Hilfiker
Gloria Jimenez
In Honduras, USAID Was in Bed with Berta Cáceres’ Accused Killers
Kent Paterson
The Old Braceros Fight On
Lawrence Reichard
The Seemingly Endless Indignities of Air Travel: Report from the Losing Side of Class Warfare
Peter Berllios
Bernie and Utopia
Stan Cox – Paul Cox
Indonesia’s Unnatural Mud Disaster Turns Ten
Linda Pentz Gunter
Obama in Hiroshima: Time to Say “Sorry” and “Ban the Bomb”
George Souvlis
How the West Came to Rule: an Interview with Alexander Anievas
Julian Vigo
The Government and Your i-Phone: the Latest Threat to Privacy
Stratos Ramoglou
Why the Greek Economic Crisis Won’t be Ending Anytime Soon
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail