Henry Kissinger was no amateur when it came to illegally bombing and invading countries that he and the evil President Nixon considered did not meet American requirements of unconditional servility, but even he must be intrigued about the latest antics of Washington’s finest. The vice president of the United States, a charmless and despotic bully, and his president, he of the close-set eyeballs and pretensions to dignity, recently excelled themselves in self-delusion concerning their unlawful invasion of Iraq and their fury with nations whose governments fail to toe the Washington line.
In their latest spasm of bizarre fantasy both Bush and Cheney condemned Russia for its military reply to Georgia’s merciless rocketing of South Ossetia and the killing of scores of its citizens. There is no doubt that Russia had been waiting for an opportunity to teach Georgia a lesson for its treatment of Russian-origin inhabitants of the enclave, and when the US-educated, US-supported Georgian president, Mikheil Saakashvili, was so stupid as to send in troops following his slaughter of civilians, the Russians gave them a hiding. In spite of all the training they received over the past five years from US instructors, and the generous amounts of equipment they acquired, they fled the Russian advance. But Washington intends to have Georgia continue as a US-supporting military base area along Russia’s border, and in order to emphasize its anti-Russian stance Washington arranged for NATO to hold a high level meeting in Georgia last week (which, it was claimed, was planned “a=2 0long time ago.”).
As usual, rather than trying to engage Russia through diplomacy, Washington chose confrontation. And this is where the funny bit is, because Cheney declared that “We believe in the right of men and women to live without the threat of tyranny, economic blackmail or military invasion or intimidation.”
It is difficult to believe that the man was being serious, but there was no shade of irony in his delivery. He believed what he was saying, while ignoring the fact that the US has manipulated the UN to impose savage sanctions (economic blackmail) on countries that don’t toe the US line. Of even more importance he ignored the fact that only a few days before his pronouncement there had been gross violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty by the US when its troop s crossed Pakistan’s border and killed civilians. The people of North West Frontier Province – the people of Pakistan – suffered “military invasion and intimidation.”
Last month Bush declared that “We insist that Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity be respected” which might have been a fairly good point to make were it not for the fact that he has no respect for the sovereignty or territorial integrity of any country when criminal violation suits his purpose. The illegal cowboy foray into Pakistan was not denied by Washington; it was merely ignored with that degree of would-be-majestic superiority that is the hallmark of colossal colonial arrogance. Associated Press reported that “a spokesman for the US-led coalition in Afghanistan said it had “no information to give” about the alleged operation, while a spokesman for NATO troops denied any involvement. The US embassy in Islamabad declined to comment.” No surprises there.
It doesn’t seem to matter to Americans that the blitz conducted by their troops resulted in the deaths of six women and two children, citizens of Pakistan. There has been no indication of regret or sympathy ; not a shred of remorse for killing children. For how long can the non-American world tolerate this sort of barbaric malevolence? In America it doesn’t matter, because ‘Support Our Troops!’ is the American mantra, especially in election year, and if a US citizen doesn’t wave the flag and say that American troops are wonderful, even when killing kids in Pakistan, then they are regarded as unpatriotic, which is a dreadful crime.
To justify the slaughter the usual highly-placed anonymous US official told20the New York Times that “The situation in the tribal areas is not tolerable. We have to be more assertive. Orders have been issued.”
You can hear the Hitlerian resonance in this, straight from Cheney and Bush. It has hideous echoes of “My patience is exhausted,” before Fascist Germany invaded its neighbors – and of the justification that “Befehl ist Befehl” : “an order is an order,” as the Gestapo herded terrified women and children into concentration camps and then to gas chambers. (In fact some of the victims in the Guantanamo Bay concentration camp would welcome death by gassing, it being preferable to the vicious torture they are undergoing.) The American attitude, under Bush, is one of intolerance and macho contempt for any who dare to display independence. “We have to be more assertive” is a chilling declaration of what motiva tes the Washington administration. It is unlikely to change, irrespective of who is the next president.
President Zardari of Pakistan showed considerable courage last week when he said that “We will not tolerate the violation of our sovereignty and territorial integrity by any power in the name of combating terrorism,” if only because we have learned what happens to presidents and countries who offend the mighty empire. Pakistan has been dumped before by America. It appears that it is important for the moment, but neither sovereignty not diplomacy are of concern to Washington. Pakistan’s government had better be very careful.
BRIAN CLOUGHLEY lives in France. His website is www.briancloughley.com
A version of the above appeared in The daily Times (Pakistan).