FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Bush’s Big Democratic Hoax in Iraq

President George Bush told the nation on Tuesday night that we are in Iraq to fight terrorism and spread democracy. Joseph Goebbels, Adolph Hitler’s minister of propaganda said, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it people will eventually come to believe it.”

Goebbels had it right. Bush didn’t invade Iraq to fight terrorism and promote democracy. He invaded Iraq to establish a military stronghold in the oil rich Middle East. But he has repeated that lie often enough that more and more people have come to accept it as the truth. Recently, for example, Michael Ignatieff, the President of Harvard University’s Carr Center of Human Rights bought what has become the Bush administration’s latest line on why we are in Iraq hook, line and sinker.

In a convoluted article that appeared in the New York Times Magazine on June 26, Ignatieff makes the argument that Bush is the first President to link fighting terrorism to promoting democracy in the rest of the world and suggests that liberals and others on the left should be applauding him for it. After all, says Ignatieff, if Bush succeeds he “will be remembered as a plain-speaking visionary.” Nonsense.

The rhetorical title of Ignatieff’s article is: “Who are Americans to Think that Freedom is Theirs to Spread?” Well Thomas Jefferson was one, suggests Ignatieff, and Bush is simply picking up the Jeffersonian mantle. That is why he went to Iraq: To promote the exercise of reason, the rule of law, human rights and democracy. More nonsense.

Well, some might say, even if that wasn’t the original intention if that is the likely outcome what’s the difference? The answer is that it is not the likely outcome. We already know the outcome: a hundred thousand Iraqis killed, a country split into warring factions, and a rising tide of hatred for our occupying army.

Still we shouldn’t be surprised that Bush continues to lie about our mission in Iraq. In order to inspire soldiers to fight you must convince them that they are fighting for a cause they believe in. Bush often sounded like a military recruiter on Tuesday night, hoping to overcome the dramatic decline in enlistees for the army. It is not easy to get soldiers to put their lives on the line for the Halliburton corporation. So you tell them that they are fighting to spread freedom to the citizens of Iraq and convince them that when they win the battle they can visit the Empire State building because no Iraqis will be piloting planes into skyscrapers in the United States. Then perhaps they can be sent back to the Gulf to fight against the democratically elected government of Iran. .

Ignatieff, to give him credit, does point out in his article that President Bush heads an administration that has demonstrated “the least care for consistency between what it says and does of any administration in modern times.” But then he makes no effort to explore why that is true. Had he done so he might have come to understand that the Bush administration represents the interests of wealthy plutocrats, reactionary fundamentalists, and corporate executives. In attempting to further those interests democracy and the rule of law are violated left and right.

The examples are by now legion: The invasion of Iraq despite United Nations’ opposition; the torture of prisoners in Iraq, Guantanamo, and Afghanistan; the promotion of key officials connected with torture; the use of doctors to assist in that torture; the holding of prisoners indefinitely without charges; the rendition program that whisks alleged terrorists off the streets in countries like Italy to sends them to Egypt to be tortured; the refusal to recognize the International Criminal Court; the attempt to justify violating the Geneva accords; and the promotion at home of legislation such as the Patriot Act that undermines the Bill of Rights and helps stifle dissent.

All this is done in the name of fighting terrorism and promoting democracy. But as the June 25th edition of the conservative weekly The Economist points out, “it cannot help the war on terror that so many people regard America as an unprincipled bully.” And as many others have pointed out, what the Bush administration is seeking in Iraq is not a democratic regime but a regime that will do its bidding.

Nevertheless, Ignatieff maintains that by not supporting the Bush administration’s nearly unilateral occupation of Iraq, his critics have abandoned the Jeffersonian ideal of promoting democracy and the rule of law around the world. Hence after reading his article one is left to wonder whether the author himself hasn’t lost something as highly prized as democracy by Jefferson and other Enlightenment thinkers-i.e. the capacity to reason. Goebbels must be smiling.

Paul Cantor is a professor of economics at Norwalk Community College in Connecticut and a human rights activist.

Roger Burbach is director of the Center for the Study of the Americas (CENSA) and a Visiting Scholar at the Institute of International Studies, University of California, Berkeley. He is co- author with Jim Tarbell of “Imperial Overstretch: George W. Bush and the Hubris of Empire,” He released late last year “The Pinochet Affair: State Terrorism and Global Justice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekend Edition
December 07, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Steve Hendricks
What If We Just Buy Off Big Fossil Fuel? A Novel Plan to Mitigate the Climate Calamity
Jeffrey St. Clair
Cancer as Weapon: Poppy Bush’s Radioactive War on Iraq
Paul Street
The McCain and Bush Death Tours: Establishment Rituals in How to be a Proper Ruler
Jason Hirthler
Laws of the Jungle: The Free Market and the Continuity of Change
Ajamu Baraka
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70: Time to De-Colonize Human Rights!
Andrew Levine
Thoughts on Strategy for a Left Opposition
Jennifer Matsui
Dead of Night Redux: A Zombie Rises, A Spook Falls
Rob Urie
Degrowth: Toward a Green Revolution
Binoy Kampmark
The Bomb that Did Not Detonate: Julian Assange, Manafort and The Guardian
Robert Hunziker
The Deathly Insect Dilemma
Robert Fisk
Spare Me the American Tears for the Murder of Jamal Khashoggi
Joseph Natoli
Tribal Justice
Ron Jacobs
Getting Pushed Off the Capitalist Cliff
Macdonald Stainsby
Unist’ot’en Camp is Under Threat in Northern Canada
Senator Tom Harkin
Questions for Vice-President Bush on Posada Carriles
W. T. Whitney
Two Years and Colombia’s Peace Agreement is in Shreds
Ron Jacobs
Getting Pushed Off the Capitalist Cliff
Ramzy Baroud
The Conspiracy Against Refugees
David Rosen
The Swamp Stinks: Trump & Washington’s Rot
Raouf Halaby
Wall-to-Wall Whitewashing
Daniel Falcone
Noam Chomsky Turns 90
Dean Baker
An Inverted Bond Yield Curve: Is a Recession Coming?
Nick Pemberton
The Case For Chuck Mertz (Not Noam Chomsky) as America’s Leading Intellectual
Ralph Nader
New Book about Ethics and Whistleblowing for Engineers Affects Us All!
Dan Kovalik
The Return of the Nicaraguan Contras, and the Rise of the Pro-Contra Left
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Exposing the Crimes of the CIAs Fair-Haired Boy, Paul Kagame, and the Rwandan Patriotic Front
Jasmine Aguilera
Lessons From South of the Border
Manuel García, Jr.
A Formula for U.S. Election Outcomes
Sam Pizzigati
Drug Company Execs Make Millions Misleading Cancer Patients. Here’s One Way to Stop Them
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Agriculture as Wrong Turn
James McEnteer
And That’s The Way It Is: Essential Journalism Books of 2018
Chris Gilbert
Biplav’s Communist Party of Nepal on the Move: Dispatch by a Far-Flung Bolivarian
Judith Deutsch
Siloed Thinking, Climate, and Disposable People: COP 24 and Our Discontent
Jill Richardson
Republicans Don’t Want Your Vote to Count
John Feffer
‘Get Me Outta Here’: Trump Turns the G20 into the G19
Domenica Ghanem
Is Bush’s Legacy Really Much Different Than Trump’s?
Peter Certo
Let Us Argue Over Dead Presidents
Christopher Brauchli
Concentration Camps From Here to China
ANIS SHIVANI
The Progress of Fascism Over the Last Twenty Years
Steve Klinger
A Requiem for Donald Trump
Al Ronzoni
New Deals, From FDR’s to the Greens’
Gerald Scorse
America’s Rigged Tax Collection System
Louis Proyect
Praying the Gay Away
Rev. Theodore H. Lockhart
A Homily: the Lord Has a Controversy With His People?
David Yearsley
Bush Obsequies
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail