FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Mahatma Bush

by NORMAN SOLOMON

Evidently the president’s trip to India created an option too perfect to pass up: The man who has led the world in violence during the first years of the 21st century could pay homage to the world’s leading practitioner of nonviolence during the first half of the 20th century. So the White House announced plans for George W. Bush to lay a wreath at the Mahatma Gandhi memorial in New Delhi this week.

While audacious in its shameless and extreme hypocrisy, this PR gambit is in character for the world’s only superpower. One of the main purposes of the Bush regime’s media spin is to depict reality as its opposite. And Karl Rove obviously figured that mainstream U.S. media outlets, with few exceptions, wouldn’t react with anywhere near the appropriate levels of derision or outrage.

Presidential rhetoric aside, Gandhi’s enthusiasm for nonviolence is nearly matched by Bush’s enthusiasm for violence. The commander in chief regularly proclaims his misty-eyed pride in U.S. military actions that destroy countless human lives with massive and continual techno-violence. But the Bushian isn’t quite 180 degrees from the Gandhian. The president of the United States is not exactly committed to violence; what he wants is an end to resistance.

“A conqueror is always a lover of peace,” the Prussian general Karl von Clausewitz observed. Yearning for Uncle Sam to fulfill his increasingly farfetched promise of victory in Iraq, the U.S. president is an evangelist for peace — on his terms.

Almost two years ago, in early April 2004, the icy cerebral pundit George Will engaged in a burst of candor when he wrote a column about the widening bloodshed inside Iraq: “In the war against the militias, every door American troops crash through, every civilian bystander shot — there will be many — will make matters worse, for a while. Nevertheless, the first task of the occupation remains the first task of government: to establish a monopoly on violence.”

The column — headlined “A War President’s Job” in the Washington Post — diagnosed the problem and prescribed more violence. Lots more: “Now Americans must steel themselves for administering the violence necessary to disarm or defeat Iraq’s urban militias, which replicate the problem of modern terrorism — violence that has slipped the leash of states.” For unleashing the Pentagon’s violence, the rationales are inexhaustible.

In an important sense, it’s plausible to envision Bush as a lover of peace and even an apostle of nonviolence — but, in context, those sterling invocations of virtues are plated with sadism in the service of empire. The president of the United States is urging “peace” as a synonym for getting his way in Iraq. From Washington, the most exalted vision of peace is a scenario where the occupied no longer resist the American occupiers or their allies.

The world has seen many such leaders, eager to unleash as much violence as necessary to get what they want, and glad to praise nonviolence whenever convenient. But no photo-op can change the current reality that the world’s most powerful government is also, by far, the most violent and the most dangerous.

NORMAN SOLOMON is the author of War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.

 

Norman Solomon is executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, where he coordinates ExposeFacts. Solomon is a co-founder of RootsAction.org.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
May 26, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Anthony DiMaggio
Swamp Politics, Trump Style: “Russiagate” Diverts From the Real White House Scandals
Paul Street
It’s Not Gonna Be Okay: the Nauseating Nothingness of Neoliberal Capitalist and Professional Class Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
The ICEmen Cometh
Ron Jacobs
The Deep State is the State
Pete Dolack
Why Pence Might be Even Worse Than Trump
Patrick Cockburn
We Know What Inspired the Manchester Attack, We Just Won’t Admit It
Thomas Powell
The Dirty Secret of the Korean War
Mark Ashwill
The Fat Lady Finally Sings: Bob Kerrey Quietly Resigns from Fulbright University Vietnam Leadership Position
John Davis
Beyond Hope
Uri Avnery
The Visitation: Trump in Israel
Ralph Nader
The Left/Right Challenge to the Failed “War on Drugs”
Traci Yoder
Free Speech on Campus: a Critical Analysis
Dave Lindorff
Beware the Supporter Scorned: Upstate New York Trump Voters Hit Hard in President’s Proposed 2018 Budget
Daniel Read
“Sickening Cowardice”: Now More Than Ever, Britain’s Theresa May Must be Held to Account on the Plight of Yemen’s Children
Ana Portnoy
Before the Gates: Puerto Rico’s First Bankruptcy Trial
M. Reza Behnam
Rethinking Iran’s Terrorism Designation
Brian Cloughley
Ukraine and the NATO Military Alliance
Josh Hoxie
Pain as a Policy Choice
David Macaray
Stephen Hawking Needs to Keep His Mouth Shut
Ramzy Baroud
Fear as an Obstacle to Peace: Why Are Israelis So Afraid?
Kathleen Wallace
The Bilious Incongruity of Trump’s Toilet
Seth Sandronsky
Temping Now
Alan Barber – Dean Baker
Blue Collar Blues: Manufacturing Falls in Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania in April
Jill Richardson
Saving America’s Great Places
Richard Lawless
Are Credit Rating Agencies America’s Secret Fifth Column?
Louis Proyect
Venezuela Reconsidered
Murray Dobbin
The NDP’s Singh and Ashton: Flash Versus Vision
Ron Leighton
Endarkenment: Postmodernism, Identity Politics, and the Attack on Free Speech
Anthony Papa
Drug War Victim: Oklahoma’s Larry Yarbrough to be Freed after 23 Years in Prison
Rev. John Dear
A Call to Mobilize the Nation Over the Next 18 Months
Yves Engler
Why Anti-Zionism and Anti-Jewish Prejudice Have to Do With Each Other
Ish Mishra
Political Underworld and Adventure Journalism
Binoy Kampmark
Roger Moore in Bondage
Rob Seimetz
Measuring Manhoods
Edward Curtin
Sorry, You’re Not Invited
Vern Loomis
Winning the Lottery is a State of Mind
Charles R. Larson
Review: Mary V. Dearborn’s “Ernest Hemingway”
David Yearsley
The Ethos of Mayfest
May 25, 2017
Jennifer Matsui
The Rise of the Alt-Center
Michael Hudson
Another Housing Bubble?
Robert Fisk
Trump Meets the New Leader of the Secular World, Pope Francis
John Laforge
Draft Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapons Unveiled
Benjamin Dangl
Trump’s Budget Expands War on the Backs of America’s Poor
Alice Donovan
US-Led Air Strikes Killed Record Number of Civilians in Syria
Andrew Moss
The Meaning of Trump’s Wall
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail