As Laura and George Bush see their belongings removed for transport to Texas, most of the world, except Albania, is breathing a collective sigh of “it couldn’t be sooner.”
Eight years ago, George W. Bush invaded and occupied the office of the presidency. Soon, he exploited the events of 9/11, destroying Afghanistan and Iraq and blackmailing and threatening Pakistan, while ravaging the US, breaking our military, killing and maiming thousands of US troops, and slaughtering more than a million Afghan and Iraqi civilians. No Afghan or Iraqi wedding party has been safe from the US war machine’s not-so-smart bombs.
The duplicity of the Bush Administration has been breathtaking, one outrage after another, battering, with rapidity, our senses and consciences. “We do not torture,” George said. But Dick Cheney willingly, proudly, and defiantly has admitted what was already obvious. Pictures can be photoshopped but those from Abu Ghraib were not. Waterboarding and rendition, or whatever it takes, have been the ordered electives with approval from Congressional Republicans and key Democrats like Nancy Pelosi.
With a complicit Congress, Bush has mocked our Constitution and the Geneva Convention, immune, so far, from prosecution for crimes not unlike those committed during the Spanish Inquisition. The values in which most of us believe have been soiled. Everything Bush has touched is filthy.
Enter Barack Obama who is unlikely to hold Bush/CheneyCo. accountable. Instead, as president, Obama seems to prefer filing the criminal acts in a folder labeled Forgive and Forget.
He would be wise to follow through with his promise of change, starting with Israel’s massacre of the Palestinian people.
As I write, more than 1000 Gazan Palestinians have been slaughtered. A third of the dead are children. By the time Barack Obama takes the oath of office, the death count will be even higher. His tepid response to the butchery is: “When you see civilians, whether Palestinian or Israeli, harmed, under hardship, it’s heartbreaking.” No condemnation from Obama for Israel’s savagery, the bloody bodies of Palestinian babies, or the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory. Because criticism of Israel is taboo.
During the campaign for the presidency, Joe Biden said you don’t have to be Jewish to be a Zionist. Clearly, what you do have to be is president of the United States, vice president of the United States, running for either office, a majority of Congress, or heartless and conscienceless.
So utterly horrendous, as censurable as imperialism and neoconservatism/Zionism, is our unconditional allegiance to Israel, a relationship that’s psychotic in its dysfunction.
We give Israel billions of dollars annually. Some of this money is, then, sent to AIPAC to be donated to the political campaigns of useful US political candidates. A large amount of the billions goes to the purchase of sophisticated weaponry from our country for Israel to use against Palestinians who have the audacity to demand the right to a dignified existence. With affirmation from the United States, Israel continues its military occupation, shunting the Palestinians to areas barricaded from the flow of food, water, electricity, and medicine thus creating a humanitarian catastrophe. And, then, at will, Israel fires on schools, homes, hospitals, and the headquarters of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency while the world, excluding Zionists, watches in horror.
Barack Obama subscribes to American exceptionalism. He told New York Times columnist Roger Cohen:
Our exceptionalism must be based on our Constitution, our
principles, our values and our ideals. We are at our best when
we are speaking in a voice that captures the aspirations of people across the globe.
He’s right. There’s no doubt we inspire people across the globe–our conquest-oriented foreign policy has provoked scorn, hatred and terrorism. Exceptionalism can be exceptionally negative. Still, despite world opinion, our elected officials place our nation on a pedestal, elevated to an honorable stature to which other countries should strive, even though we are anything but honorable. Our human rights violations are glaring, our self-righteousness is nauseating, our greed is conspicuous, and our hypocrisy is egregious.
As long as peace and justice for the men, women, and children of Palestine are denied by the governments of Israel and the United States, none of us should believe in peace and justice for ourselves.
Missy Beattie lives in New York City. She’s written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. An outspoken critic of the Bush Administration and the war in Iraq, she’s a member of Gold Star Families for Peace. She completed a novel last year, but since the death of her nephew, Marine Lance Cpl. Chase J. Comley, in Iraq on August 6,’05, she has been writing political articles. She can be reached at: Missybeat@aol.com