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Baghdad Burns While Bush Does Lunch

by LINDA HEARD

America’s great commander George W Bush has surely to be admired for his amazing sangfroid. If he had any worries about the impending ‘Shock and Awe’ campaign, he didn’t show them as he played with his pooch on the White House lawn on the day the war kicked off. After an intimate dinner with the missus, the wondrous leader took time out to give the order to attack Baghdad before delivering his mushy message to the nation.

But unfortunately for him Aunty Beeb, also known as the BBC, erroneously broadcast Dubya preparing for his Churchillian moment in history. There he was practicing his speech totally unaware that the cameras were rolling. As his mouth moved soundlessly evoking a guppy in an aquarium a middle-aged ma’am primped his locks, spraying every offending hair in to place.

Worse, the small man deliberately contorted his facial features in an effort to convey passivity, emotion and greatness as though he were looking into a mirror, which he probably was. The result was an orchestrated pre-written blurb absent of sincerity or sympathy. Lee Strasburg must be turning over in his grave.

By the time it was over and my tears of mirth (and sorrow) had dried it was well past Dubya’s bedtime and determined not to lose any beauty sleep over a silly thing like a war, he went off to bed. That’s the true mark of leadership. After all, why should he worry when he’s got Eritrea in his Coalition of the Callous?

No doubt, the chilling Rummy Rumsfeld didn’t have to practice to face his audience. He did what he does best – gleefully warning of the carnage to come. He told the world that Baghdad was facing an attack of the scope and scale the world had never seen before, but of course the US has nothing at all against the Iraqi people, he tells us.

Indeed, why would the Iraqi people grumble when cruise missiles are devastating the heart of their capital? Why should they mind when a neo-imperialist occupying force invades their sovereign integrity? How churlish! Isn’t this being done to free them from that dastardly Saddam who as we have heard hundreds of times has ‘gassed his own people’?

As I write, the Kurds are dreading the arrival of their old foes the Turks and the bloodbath, which could ensue. They have been sold to the Turks for US rights to fly over Turkish territory. This is far from being the first time that the luckless Kurds have been betrayed by opportunist US administrations.

The conscripted Shias in southern Iraq around Basra are being bombarded and urged to come out with their hands up by hundreds of thousands of propaganda leaflets dropped with the bombs. The Shia population has long hoped to have a say in the way its country is run but they haven’t a hope in hell. Their close relations with the Iranian ayatollahs will rule out their dreams as long as the US is pulling the strings.

The people of Baghdad are hiding in their bunkers hoping they will still have a home, nay a city, when it’s over. Terrified refugees have fled their homes and are gathering around the Jordanian border, and Bush has lunch with Cheney. ‘Have another breadstick Dick!’

As the plumes of smoke rise over the ancient Mesopotamian metropolis, Britain’s Tony Blair and France’s Jacques Chirac face one another over the dinner table. Chirac has said that Blair is the rudest person he has ever met; Blair has been spouting disingenuously that if it wasn’t for France menacing its veto, peace could have been achieved. In earlier times it could have been pistols at dawn. Today, it may mean the demise of the entente cordiale and the possible fragmentation of the European Community.

In purely humanitarian terms, surely the French proposal of containment would have made far more sense. War should always be a last resort, especially one with so much potential for destabilizing other countries, wrecking economies and widening political divisions worldwide. Did I say ‘humanitarian’? How passe! Humanitarian isn’t part of the ‘New American Century’.

Instead war has been reduced to a flippant exercise as a British newspaper recently did with its ‘Let’s Roll’ on the front page, a disingenuous attempt to link Iraq with 9-11.

Included in A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm, our leaders will not shirk from lies if these serve as a pretext for war. Britain’s Blair used his honest face to good purpose when trying to pass off a plagiarized paper as intelligence and forged correspondence concerning Iraq’s alleged attempts to purchase uranium. Sadly for him the plagiarisers and the forgers were less professional in their efforts.

The jingoistic Fox News anchors are already sporting their flag pins, and the almost 50 per cent of Americans who believe that Saddam Hussein was involved with September 11 are flying the Star Spangled banner from their balconies. The patriots are pouring bottles of the finest Bordeaux and Beaujolais down the drain, while Russian vodka and Chinese beer stays on the shelves.

As the embedded, or rather entombed, US/UK government selected reporters are issuing their censored reports, we are left to seek for the truth and sift through the lies.

Those reporters who remain in Baghdad have been warned by the US to leave. Veteran war reporter Kate Adie said that those journalists using satellite uplink to file their stories would be fired upon by American pilots.

The American media, which had recently begun to loosen its nationalistic shackles, is regressing into being a propaganda arm for its government once again.

I noticed Lou Dobbs, the host of CNN’s Moneyline, successfully intimidating the international philanthropist George Soros in mid-sentence for daring to criticize his beloved leader.

Dobbs had previously invited a dubious duo to warble ‘Have you forgotten?’ against the emotive background of crumbling twin towers. On Lou’s website, Kofi Annan comes under attack for daring to suggest that a war without United Nations approval might be illegal.

British television is little better. Last Saturday’s worldwide anti-war demonstrations warranted hardly any coverage, the protesting schoolchildren covered with fake blood and the thousands who have downed tools even less.

They say that the first casualty of war is truth, and it already looks as though that is going to be a rare commodity in the weeks and months ahead. If the White House and Downing Street get their way, we will never know the true effects of their aggression on the Iraqi people.

We will be shielded from the broken limbs, the fearful screams, the blood and the gore. We will see what they want us to see and we will know what they want us to know and if we find out anything that they don’t want us to know, then we will be called anti-American, pro-Saddam Hussein or crazed conspiracy theorists.

No. We are destined, instead, to witness Iraqis dancing in the streets, dispensing candy as the good old American cavalry arrive to save them from Saddam. The Bush administration will justify the ‘collateral damage’ by either finding Iraq’s infamous weapons of mass destruction, or planting them and then Iraq will get a Karzai clone who will salivate at the idea of privatizing Iraqi oil.

Even before the war is over, Iraqi diplomats are being kicked out of their embassies and consulates, their real estate seized ‘for the next Iraqi (puppet) administration’. Some 1.6 billion dollars of Iraqi funds in the US, which were frozen after the Gulf War is to be grabbed too ‘to help pay for Iraq’s reconstruction’. Arms manufacturers are already laughing all the way to the bank, while Bush’s cronies rub their hands together waiting for their lucrative post-war contracts to be implemented.

The human shields, or those who are still living, will return home to write their memoirs, the peace movements will be stripped back to the leftist stalwarts and another American protectorate is born. The New World Order is here…until it is challenged, as it must surely be.

 

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