Shame has vanished from Western “civilization.” Hypocrisy has taken its place.
On September 28, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown could be heard on National Public Radio decrying the use of violence against democratic protesters by the government in Burma. Brown declared the British people’s revulsion over the violence inflicted by the Burmese government on its people. But Brown said nothing about the violence the British government was inflicting on Iraqis and Afghans.
George W. Bush also struck the blameless pose when he declared: “The world is watching the people of Burma take to the streets to demand their freedom, and the American people stand in solidarity with these brave individuals.”
Bush and Brown do not have the same sympathy for the peoples of Iraq and Afghanistan. Neither Bush nor Brown stand in solidarity with those who are demanding their freedom from foreign occupation by American and British troops. Indeed, Bush and Brown, as commanders in chief, are on a killing spree that makes the government in Burma look extremely restrained by comparison.
Why were British soldiers sent to kill Iraqis and Afghans? September 11 had nothing whatsoever to do with the UK. No doubt but that the corrupt Tony Blair was paid off to drag the British people into Bush’s Middle East war for American/Israeli hegemony, but Brown has done nothing to terminate Bush’s use of the British military as mercenaries.
The NPR announcers also supported the Burmese people, but they, too, show little disturbance over Bush’s five-year old wars that we now know were based entirely on lies. Al Qaeda is not the Taliban, and Iraq had no WMD. Neither country was a threat to the US. Now that we know this, why does the media still give Bush and Brown a free pass to use violence against Iraqis and Afghans?
To cut to the chase, what is the difference between Bush and Brown on one hand and the murderous Burmese government on the other? Bush and Brown are actually worse. They pretend to be democrats concerned with what people actually want. The Burmese government doesn’t pretend to be anything but a military dictatorship. Moreover, the Burmese government is clean by comparison as it hasn’t committed acts of naked aggression–war crimes under the Nuremberg standard–by invading other countries and attempting to occupy them.
Despite all the killing Bush has accomplished, he thirsts for yet more blood. Iran is in his and Israel’s sights. All indications are that Bush is going to attack Iran. Propaganda, demonizations, and crass lies are pouring out of the Bush regime and its media and academic propagandists such as Columbia University president Lee Bollinger. Both parties in Congress have lined up behind the coming attack on Iran. The despicable senator Joe Lieberman even snuck language into a bill to give Bush the go ahead.
Who is going to stop Bush from a third war crime? Not his vice president, Not his national security adviser, not his secretary of defense. Not his secretary of state. Not Congress. Not the US military. Not the corporate fat cats. Not the Israel Lobby. Not the bought and paid for “allies.” Not the anti-war movement. Not the American people. Certainly not the media.
Americans are content with whatever crimes their government commits as long as the justification is Americans’ safety.
Americans’ willingness to murder others out of fear for their own safety is a result of September 11. The antiwar movement is impotent, because it has accepted the government’s 9/11 story. To oppose a war when you accept the government’s reason for the war is an indefensible position.
The Bush regime knows that if people will believe its 9/11 story, they will believe anything. Propaganda silences facts, and Americans fall for one set of falsehoods after another. The alleged 9/11 hijackers all came from countries allied with the US, principally Saudi Arabia, but Americans believe the government’s lies that Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, and Syria are responsible. Americans have been convinced that without “regime change” in these countries, the American superpower will remain helpless in face of stateless Muslims armed with box cutters.
Americans have been brainwashed to believe that Muslims hate us for our “freedom and democracy,” whereas in fact the problem is the US government’s immoral foreign policy and interference in the internal affairs of Muslim countries. Bush’s message to the Middle East is clear: Be a puppet state or be destroyed.
In the meantime, to prevent democracy and civil liberties from getting in the way of making Americans safe, Bush has set aside habeas corpus, due process, right to legal representation, privacy, and the separation of powers mandated by the US Constitution. Otherwise, Bush says, we will lose the “war on terror.”
Bush says he has made Americans safe by ridding them of these constitutional impediments to their safety. And once American bombs fall on Iran and Syria, those countries will be free and democratic, too, like Iraq and Afghanistan.
In leading Americans to this conclusion, Bush has sunk the United States to a new low in human intelligence and morality.
PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be reached at: PaulCraigRoberts@yahoo.com