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:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

April 27, 2017
Darlene Dubuisson – Mark Schuller
“You Live Under Fear”: 50,000 Haitian People at Risk of Deportation
Karl Grossman
The Crash of Cassini and the Nuclearization of Space
Robert Hunziker
Venezuela Ablaze
John W. Whitehead
Trump’s America is a Constitution-Free Zone
Ron Jacobs
One Hundred Years That Shook the World
Judith Deutsch
Convenient Untruths About “Human Nature:” Can People Deal with Climate Change and Nuclear Weapons?
Don Fitz
Is Pope Francis the World’s Most Powerful Advocate for Climate Stability?
Thomas Mountain
Africa’s War Lord Queen: The Bloodstained Career of Liberia’s Eleanor Sirleaf Johnson
Binoy Kampmark
Short Choices: the French Presidential Elections
Paul C. Bermanzohn
Monetizing My Mouth
Michael Barker
Of Union Dreams and Nightmares: Cesar Chavez and Why Funding Matters
Elier Ramirez Cañedo
“Let Venezuela give me a way of serving her, she has in me a son.”
Paul Mobbs
Cellphones, WIFI and Cancer: Will Trump’s Budget Cuts Kill ‘Electrosmog’ Research?
Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee
The Closing of Rikers: a Survival Strategy of the Carceral State
April 26, 2017
Richard Moser
Empire Abroad, Empire At Home
Stan Cox
For Climate Justice, It’s the 33 Percent Who’ll Have to Pick Up the Tab
Paul Craig Roberts
The Looting Machine Called Capitalism
Lawrence Davidson
The Dilemma for Intelligence Agencies
Christy Rodgers
Remaining Animal
Joseph Natoli
Facts, Opinions, Tweets, Words
Mel Gurtov
No Exit? The NY Times and North Korea
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Women on the Move: Can Three Women and a Truck Quell the Tide of Sexual Violence and Domestic Abuse?
Michael J. Sainato
Trump’s Wikileaks Flip-Flop
Manuel E. Yepe
North Korea’s Antidote to the US
Kim C. Domenico
‘Courting Failure:’ the Key to Resistance is Ending Animacide
Barbara Nimri Aziz
The Legacy of Lynne Stewart, the People’s Lawyer
Andrew Stewart
The People vs. Bernie Sanders
Daniel Warner
“Vive La France, Vive La République” vs. “God Bless America”
April 25, 2017
Russell Mokhiber
It’s Impossible to Support Single-Payer and Defend Obamacare
Nozomi Hayase
Prosecution of Assange is Persecution of Free Speech
Robert Fisk
The Madder Trump Gets, the More Seriously the World Takes Him
Giles Longley-Cook
Trump the Gardener
Bill Quigley
Major Challenges of New Orleans Charter Schools Exposed at NAACP Hearing
Jack Random
Little Fingers and Big Egos
Stanley L. Cohen
Dissent on the Lower East Side: the Post-Political Condition
Stephen Cooper
Conscientious Justice-Loving Alabamians, Speak Up!
Michael J. Sainato
Did the NRA Play a Role in the Forcing the Resignation of Surgeon General?
David Swanson
The F-35 and the Incinerating Ski Slope
Binoy Kampmark
Mike Pence in Oz
Peter Paul Catterall
Green Nationalism? How the Far Right Could Learn to Love the Environment
George Wuerthner
Range Riders: Making Tom Sawyer Proud
Clancy Sigal
It’s the Pits: the Miner’s Blues
Robert K. Tan
Abe is Taking Japan Back to the Bad Old Fascism
April 24, 2017
Mike Whitney
Is Mad Dog Planning to Invade East Syria?    
John Steppling
Puritan Jackals
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail