FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

700 Dead and Counting in Egypt

by JOHN GRANT

Watching the White House squirm over the on-going massacres in Egypt one doesn’t know whether to laugh, cry or resort to the vaudevillian method and throw rotten vegetables at them.

President Obama’s “condemnation” of the Egyptian military’s massacre of civilians sounded like obligatory ass-covering. Then there was the slippery boiler-plate verbiage spouted by the White House’s new spokesman with the wonderfully apropos name of Josh Earnest. I wouldn’t josh you, that’s his name. And trust me, he’s the personification of earnestness.

The sense of absurdity in the air takes one back to the halcyon days of Richard Nixon and his “credibility gap,” which now seems like child’s play. Incredibly, even John McCain has a more critical analysis of the Egyptian coup.

It’s a real low point in the Obama presidency. They no doubt have the capacity to go lower, but the President golfing and cocktail partying with rich corporate donors on Martha’s Vineyard while the Egyptian military shoots over 700 citizens to death in the street is pretty bad.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry has been shuttling around the world trying to make everyone believe night is day and, somehow, a deal between a settlement-focused Israel and a sovereign Palestine is possible. These days Kerry sounds like the man who ate the canary spouting optimistic sound bites as he spits out little yellow pin feathers.

Here’s Earnest Josh on the Cairo problem:

“We have repeatedly called on the Egyptian military and security forces to show restraint.” It was like the US was saying to General Sisi, “We wish you could be nicer. C’mon, show a little restraint. Please!” If a satiric novelist like Christopher Buckley had come up with a name like Josh Earnest for a guy delivering flak to cover up a massacre readers would balk. It makes you wonder if there is a God and maybe he has a sense of humor.

As he squirmed for the press, Earnest Josh didn’t parse the facts and declare whether the Egyptian military was blowing off the US government as an impotent paper tiger or whether it was the usual wink-and-nod operation in which Egypt’s imperial patron was dishing out the usual line of crap about human rights with one side of its face while the real policy of establishing facts-on-the-ground in support of the US choice for stability in the Middle East was going down on the streets of Cairo.

Having watched two-faced US operations for decades now, I tend to lean toward the latter. That is, that policy formulators in Washington and Tel Aviv have concluded that an Egypt cleansed of Islamic influence is in their interests. So, therefore, it’s necessary to crank up instruments of public relations like Earnest Josh to run interference with reality.

A spinelessly anonymous Obama official was quoted in The New York Times this way:

“The violence is intolerable, but clearly they [the Egyptian military] feel the nation of Egypt is facing a sovereign, existential crisis. So while the violence is intolerable, we may be able to eventually accept these decisions if the violence ends, and quickly.”

When you break down this anonymous official’s gobble-de-gook he or she is essentially saying the following:

1) All the killing, the shooting of kids and such in the head and heart, is very distasteful — a true bummer not to be tolerated. It’s really depressing.

2) But there’s a “sovereign, existential problem” facing the Egyptian military, which we all know is notorious for being a sophisticated kleptocratic institution that employs torture and killing to perpetuate itself. And, of course, this military institution is largely a creation of the United States thanks to generous annual gifts of cash ever since the Camp David deal with Israel in 1979.

3) So, accordingly, the US has no choice but to tolerate the intolerable until the Egyptian military has killed enough people to effectively shove the Muslim Brotherhood back underground. At that point, the US will be able to “accept” the original decision to massacre Egyptian citizens — because the massacres will be over and new facts-on-the-ground will have been established. Then the White House can crank up Earnest Josh to advocate for peace.

With a few differences, this, of course, is the policy/strategy employed by Israel and the United States vis-à-vis the Palestinian people and their demand for sovereignty. Relentlessly shove them around with superior military violence until you have them where you want them; then welcome negotiations with the PR centered on your glorious magnanimity toward the people you just crushed. The only problem is, right now in Egypt the citizens in question are very pissed off and seem willing to provide more martyrs for killing before they’ll be ready to accept the new facts-on-the-ground. This really must bum them out in the White House.

Unfortunately, this is not a new policy for the United States of America. In fact, it goes back to the genocide of Native Americans and the nice reservations they were given once they were duly crushed.

Whether ordinary Americans or the most remote leaders in Washington choose to see it this way or not, it’s nevertheless a key part of the legacy of empire all Americans are living through in 2013. Too many Americans passively believe all the PR propaganda about American Exceptionalism and a devotion to Human Rights and how Americans are so good we naturally find human slaughter distasteful. Sadly, that’s all smoke and mirrors and self-delusion. In the current case of Egypt, US imperial influence in the Middle East is intricately linked with Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Arab Emirates. US hegemony and oil. The cynical realities of violent facts-on-the-ground strategic thinking is the cornerstone of this disastrous imperial triangle.

The fact is the highly militarized, post-9/11 government of the United States of America has moved beyond a belief in meaningful democracy. And nothing makes this clearer than the White House hand wringing in face of the post-coup slaughter going on in the streets of Cairo. Finally, it’s a moral no-brainer the US should cut off the annual $1.5 billion it sends to the corrupt Egyptian military.

JOHN GRANT is a member of ThisCantBeHappening!, the new independent three-time Project Censored Award-winning online alternative newspaper. His work, and that of colleagues DAVE LINDORFF, GARY LINDORFF, ALFREDO LOPEZ, LORI SPENCER, LINN WASHINGTON, JR. and CHARLES M. YOUNG, can be found at www.thiscantbehappening.net

JOHN GRANT is a member of ThisCantBeHappening!, the new independent, uncompromised, five-time Project Censored Award-winning online alternative newspaper. 

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
July 01, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Four Morning Ducks
June 30, 2016
Richard Moser
Clinton and Trump, Fear and Fascism
Pepe Escobar
The Three Harpies are Back!
Ramzy Baroud
Searching for a ‘Responsible Adult’: ‘Is Brexit Good for Israel?’
Dave Lindorff
What is Bernie Up To?
Thomas Barker
Saving Labour From Blairism: the Dangers of Confining the Debate to Existing Members
Jan Oberg
Why is NATO So Irrational Today?
John Stauber
The Debate We Need: Gary Johnson vs Jill Stein
Steve Horn
Obama Administration Approved Over 1,500 Offshore Fracking Permits
Rob Hager
Supreme Court Legalizes Influence Peddling: McDonnell v. United States
Norman Pollack
Economic Nationalism vs. Globalization: Janus-Faced Monopoly Capital
Binoy Kampmark
Railroaded by the Supreme Court: the US Problem with Immigration
Howard Lisnoff
Of Kiddie Crusades and Disregarding the First Amendment in a Public Space
Vijay Prashad
Economic Liberalization Ignores India’s Rural Misery
Caroline Hurley
We Are All Syrians
June 29, 2016
Diana Johnstone
European Unification Divides Europeans: How Forcing People Together Tears Them Apart
Andrew Smolski
To My Less-Evilism Haters: A Rejoinder to Halle and Chomsky
Jeffrey St. Clair
Noam Chomsky, John Halle and a Confederacy of Lampreys: a Note on Lesser Evil Voting
David Rosen
Birth-Control Wars: Two Centuries of Struggle
Sheldon Richman
Brexit: What Kind of Dependence Now?
Yves Engler
“Canadian” Corporate Capitalism
Lawrence Davidson
Return to the Gilded Age: Paul Ryan’s Deregulated Dystopia
Priti Gulati Cox
All That Glitters is Feardom: Whatever Happens, Don’t Blame Jill Stein
Franklin Lamb
About the Accusation that Syrian and Russian Troops are Looting Palmyra
Binoy Kampmark
Texas, Abortion and the US Supreme Court
Anhvinh Doanvo
Justice Thomas’s Abortion Dissent Tolerates Discrimination
Victor Grossman
Brexit Pro and Con: the View From Germany
Manuel E. Yepe
Brazil: the Southern Giant Will Have to Fight
Rivera Sun
The Nonviolent History of American Independence
Adjoa Agyeiwaa
Is Western Aid Destroying Nigeria’s Future?
Jesse Jackson
What Clinton Should Learn From Brexit
Mel Gurtov
Is Brexit the End of the World?
June 28, 2016
Jonathan Cook
The Neoliberal Prison: Brexit Hysteria and the Liberal Mind
Paul Street
Bernie, Bakken, and Electoral Delusion: Letting Rich Guys Ruin Iowa and the World
Anthony DiMaggio
Fatally Flawed: the Bi-Partisan Travesty of American Health Care Reform
Mike King
The “Free State of Jones” in Trump’s America: Freedom Beyond White Imagination
Antonis Vradis
Stop Shedding Tears for the EU Monster: Brexit, the View From the Peloponnese
Omar Kassem
The End of the Atlantic Project: Slamming the Brakes on the Neoliberal Order
Binoy Kampmark
Brexit and the Neoliberal Revolt Against Jeremy Corbyn
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Alabama Democratic Primary Proves New York Times’ Nate Cohn Wrong about Exit Polling
Ruth Hopkins
Save Bear Butte: Mecca of the Lakota
Celestino Gusmao
Time to End Impunity for Suharto’’s Crimes in Indonesia and Timor-Leste
Thomas Knapp
SCOTUS: Amply Serving Law Enforcement’s Interests versus Society’s
Manuel E. Yepe
Capitalism is the Opposite of Democracy
Winslow Myers
Up Against the Wall
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail