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Different Worlds

To a happily captive and wildly enthusiastic audience of cadets at West Point on May 27 Bush announced that “Difficult challenges remain in both Afghanistan and Iraq, but America is safer and the world is more secure because these two countries are now democracies and they are allies in the cause of freedom and peace.”

Three days later “US forces killed two Iraqi women – one of them about to give birth – when troops shot at a car that failed to stop at an observation post.”

Then “a US artillery round landed in a small Iraqi town and police reported afterwards that two civilians were killed in [the] blast and one woman later died from her wounds, the US military said on Sunday. Three other people were also reported wounded and six houses were damaged in the town of Hibhib, north of Baghdad, after a US artillery unit fired a 155 mm round during training on Friday, it said in a statement.”

“The world is more secure” because American troops kill a pregnant woman and shell small Iraqi towns? Is this what the graduating class at West Point is looking forward to?

In Afghanistan US soldiers have been behaving in the same way as their colleagues in Iraq, opening fire on unarmed crowds and killing three Afghan policemen at a roadblock among other instances of undisciplined havoc, including the murder of helpless prisoners. Do these atrocities make the world more secure? They certainly make Afghans hate America even more, but it’s difficult to understand how that makes America safer.

Then there is the wondrous report from Iraq that “. . . the US military on Sunday . . . said it had detained 19 ‘terrorists’ during a search operation in eastern Baghdad on Saturday. One of the detainees ‘reported having difficulty breathing’ and died of a heart attack.” That would be funny if it did not describe such a devastating example of the treatment US soldiers and marines (especially marines) have been dealing out to detainees and others who have not been charged with carrying out a crime.

And it should be asked what transgression of whose laws the guerrillas effect when they fight against occupation troops in Iraq. After all, no member of the occupation forces is subject to Iraqi law or international law, or the Geneva Convention. But why should US soldiers be exempt from Iraqi national law in what Bush describes as a “democracy”?

No ‘Contractor’ (which is Newspeak for ‘Mercenary’) employed as a guard in Iraq or Afghanistan can be held accountable for killing an Iraqi or Afghan. And neither are soldiers of US, British and Australian Special Forces answerable to any sort of law. They kill people secretly and without being held to account for their actions by anyone on this earth. They act as police, judge, jury and executioner, all in one protected and inviolable majesty. They are the only beings in the world who can kill with complete assurance that their actions will never, ever, be questioned. How can their killings bring democracy to any country?

But we are assured by Bush and his minions that these people are making the world more secure by their blood-crazed cowboy antics. Not only does he make that fatuous claim but he announces, presumably seriously and without a knowing grin, that “the world is more secure because these two countries are now democracies”.

If Bush believes that Iraq and Afghanistan are democracies he is a lunatic. And when West Point cadets cheered his statement it showed, alas, that they have been thoroughly brainwashed. They are as blindly loyal to Bush as any member of the SS was to Adolf Hitler.

In Iraq and Afghanistan, both under US military domination, there is no semblance of democracy. Does anyone really think there are equal rights for women, for example? OK, if you do, then tell me this : How many women judges, clerics and police chiefs are there in Iraq and Afghanistan? How many female shopkeepers, even? And how many Christians are in positions of public responsibility? Are women’s rights covered in the West Point syllabus?

Both countries are Islamic. Fine. Islam is as good a religion as any other, providing brutal extremists don’t control innocent Believers. But has anyone ever seen a photograph of the wife of a political leader in Iraq or Afghanistan? There was one a few months ago when the wife of President Karzai of Afghanistan was made to sit with Laura Bush for an uncomfortable few minutes in a photo-op. Have there been any others, in these “democracies”? There are a few women politicians, for form’s sake. But women’s rights in Iraq and Afghanistan are on the same level as they are in Saudi Arabia, another Bush ally “in the cause of freedom and peace”. Women’s rights do not exist, and will never be permitted. For this reason alone it is bizarre that Bush to pronounce that there is ‘democracy’ in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Here’s a report from the San Francisco Chronicle’s Declan Walsh on June 25:

“Last month, inside the new national assembly in Kabul, turbaned lawmakers hurled water bottles and bloody threats at Malalai Joya, a firebrand female deputy who criticized the country’s mujahideen fighters. Now Joya says she stays in different safe houses every night and travels with three armed bodyguards.” This is democracy? How on earth can Bush state categorically that Afghanistan is ‘democratic’?

A recently leaked cable from America’s embassy in Iraq stated that :

“Two of our three female employees report stepped up harassment beginning in mid-May. One, a Shia who favors Western clothing, was advised by an unknown woman in her Baghdad neighborhood to wear a veil and not to drive her own car. She said some groups are pushing women to cover even their face, a step not taken in Iran even at its most conservative.”

“Even at its most conservative” is Newspeak for “when Saddam Hussain was President”. But is this democracy? How can Bush even dare to speak of democracy in Iraq when his own foreign service officials are sending back information that directly contradicts his assertions? But he can. He does. And he will continue to do so.

Bush lives in a different world to the rest of us. It seems that nobody dares tell him what is really going on.

Take Afghanistan where “On June 12, representatives of Afghanistan’s major media outlets were summoned to a meeting at the National Security Directorate where they first received the list of press restrictions [which restrict] among other things, ‘Those reports that aim to represent that the fighting spirit in Afghanistan’s armed forces is weak,’ and ‘Negative propaganda, interviews and reports which are provocative or slanderous and which are against the presence [in Afghanistan] of the international coalition forces and ISAF [International Security Assistance Force]’.”

How can this sort of tyranny be equated with democracy? Why can nobody tell Bush what is really going on in the world?

His complacent and dangerous ignorance is equalled by that of the Legislature where “Michigan Senator Carl Levin, the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said extending amnesty to anyone responsible for killing US troops was “unconscionable.” “For heaven’s sake, we liberated that country,” Levin said on Fox News Sunday. “We got rid of a horrific dictator. We’ve paid a tremendous price. More than 2,500 Americans have given up their lives.”

Forget the amnesty nonsense, if only because no genuine guerrilla will take up the offer. What is astonishing is that the moron Levin imagines Bush “liberated that country”.

Levin’s country has certainly “paid a tremendous price” in American soldiers’ lives following the illegal Bush invasion of Iraq. (What price has Levin paid, himself, one wonders?) Nobody knows how many Iraqis have been killed, but Levin and his tub-thumping friends don’t care about them. They simply do not matter.

What Levin demands is that the subjugated Iraqi people who are crushed by the boots, fists and rifles of occupying troops and terrified by equally brutal Islamic militias should welcome their conquerors. They should, according to Levin, rejoice that they are liable to be blown up at any time of the day or night. They ought to be happy that their houses can be wrecked, their men tortured and killed and their women and children murdered by gung-ho happy killers wearing the uniform of liberation. The fact that US “liberators” are unable to stop them being killed by other people is irrelevant to dolts like Levin.

Saddam Hussain is a lousy bastard who killed thousands of people. And he, like lots of dictators round the world who either died in their beds, were killed by their own people, or prospered and are still in power, enjoyed the support of the US government for a long time. But during his regime there were never headlines like ­ and I choose this one at random from today’s news ­ “BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) June 26 – Bombs killed at least 40 people at markets in two Iraqi cities Monday.” That sort of thing simply didn’t happen before the US invasion. But Bush and Levin and the rest of the morons don’t care about reality. It doesn’t matter to them.

What matters to all the rest of us, however, is the conviction of the booby Levin and his dingbat followers that Iraq was in some fashion “liberated”. This is self-delusion on a grand scale.

But the greatest concern is the pronouncement by Bush that Iraq and Afghanistan “are now democracies and they are allies in the cause of freedom and peace.” If he truly believes this to be a fact, then there is no hope for either Iraq or Afghanistan. And there isn’t much hope for America, either.

BRIAN CLOUGHLEY writes on military and political affairs. He can be reached through his website www.briancloughley.com

 

 

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Brian Cloughley writes about foreign policy and military affairs. He lives in Voutenay sur Cure, France.

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