Remember when communists used to be our mortal enemies? Now, apparently they’re our mortal friends, ‘cause if weren’t for reds, particularly those of a Chinese bent, we’d be hard-pressed to find anyone else to regularly buy ever-riskier U.S. Treasury bonds to enable our continued borrowing of over $1 billion a day to throw away on Iraq, make our aristocrats even more aristocratic, and prop up a ridiculously unsustainable lifestyle fostered by an infantile belief that we possess a birthright to unrelentingly consume the world’s resources like the compulsive, spiritually empty, wasteful automatons that we are but it still don’t matter, dammit, ‘cause, you know, we’re, like, Americans.
Plus, without our good Chinese friends and their blessed abundance of forced labor, not only would I not have been able to purchase about 95% of the goods I needed for my new apartment (precipitated by impending Divorce Number Three; I plead guilty without an explanation), but the U.S. would also be sans its new moral compass. You see, China recently issued a report excoriating America for its human rights record.
Yes, that China.
There once was a time when the image of China, arguably the planet’s most oppressive regime, issuing an assessment criticizing anyone for human rights violations would have been laughingly dismissed out-of-hand. Even by the Chinese. In fact, such a report would have undoubtedly been written in symbols even more squiggly than the ones that comprise the normal Chinese alphabet because of the unsteady penmanship caused by members of the Running Imperialist Dogs Report and Silly Committee Title Composition Committee giggling uncontrollably over the wholly absurd idea of the pot (stickers) calling the kettle black.
No longer. Given America’s current dubious behavior under the devious George W. Bush, we are presented yet again with another example of a once-unthinkable occurrence now manifesting itself, sort of like how Americans just assumed for so many years they’d never have presidents who weren’t elected.
The Chinese report, according to Peter Edidin of the New York Times, is entitled “The Human Rights Record of the United States” and is China’s response to the “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices” (CRHRP) produced yearly by the U.S. State Department. Edidin says “China’s assessment…is a frank indictment and draws a picture of America that approaches caricature.”
Hmm. With due respect to Edidin, I suggest, dear readers, we proclaim “Fox that!” and then do this: I report, you decide. The following quotes (with errors and terminology intact) are directly from the Chinese report as reported by reporter Peter:
“The United States claims to be a ‘paragon of democracy,’ but American democracy is manipulated by the rich and malpractices are common.”
I concede the Chinese stretch things a bit here: For one thing, I’ve never, ever heard anyone call the U.S. a “paragon” of democracy, but that isn’t really what bothers me. I’m referring to the “democracy” part. Anyone who still believes that simply wasn’t paying attention last November 2.
“Elections in the United States are in fact a contest of money.”
Well, elections used to be contests of money. But nowadays, even though the parties still clamor for cash from anyone who can write a check or punch in a credit card number, modern American elections are now decided beforehand by GOP-dominated electronic “voting” machine companies whose own considerable financial remunerations are funded by, yep, you got it, tax receipts from the same suckers (us) who nonetheless continue shoveling buckets full of the precious green stuff to the Republicans and Dems in a pointless but nostalgic ritual that must remind us of the days when we thought we actually had a say in choosing our government. So, yes, every election still involves tons of money, but it sure ain’t no contest, ‘cause we always lose.
“Campaign advertisement and political debates were full of distorted facts, false information and lies.”
I’m afraid this data is a little suspect, too. If only our political campaigns, even if now only meaningless sideshows, were that clean.
“Poverty, hunger and homelessness have haunted the world richest country.”
This is certainly accurate, but I’m thinking the Bushies must have an ironfisted -- sorry, ironclad -- business-model plan for turning this into an advantage for America, since every policy the White House advances pushes those numbers higher. Using good old American know-how-to-screw-‘em-and-how-know-how, perhaps the idea is to actually start exporting poverty, hunger and homelessness to other countries that don’t produce enough of their own. ‘Twould be brilliant: we’d both tackle our astronomical trade deficit and right America’s floundering ship in the process by making our shiftless ne’er-do-wells walk the proverbial plank. I assume the details are being worked out as we leak.
“Upper middle- and upper-class families that constitute the top 10 percent of the income distribution are prospering while many among the remaining 90 percent struggle to maintain their standard of living.”
Whoops! Gotta be a tiny little bit of dropped text there, probably. Perhaps I’m just anal, but that passage actually most likely reads “while many among the remaining 90 percent struggle to maintain their standard of living for no earthly reason whatsoever other than that the mass murdering, power-craving, money-licking, utterly depraved Bushian fascists hell-bent on destroying America are pathologically addicted to the disgustingly sick kick they get from remorselessly and repeatedly sticking it right up the asses of the masses, making sure to always withhold any and all lubrication and never, ever use disease-preventing devices -- ever.”
Picky, I know.
“The United States frequently commits wanton slaughters during external invasions and military attacks. Spain's Uprising newspaper on May 12, 2004, published a list of human rights infringement incidents committed by the United States troops, quoting two bloodthirsty sayings of two American generals, ‘The only good Indians I ever saw were dead’ by Gen. Philip Sheridan, and ‘we should bomb Vietnam back to the Stone Age’ by Air Force Gen. Curtis LeMay.”
Certainly, the entire Iraq fiasco is a wanton slaughter, but I daresay the above quotes lack a certain, um, topicality. My nomination for a more contemporary WINDBAAG (Worst Imaginable Nitwitted Declaration by an American General) would have to go to Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin, U.S. deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence, who, while preaching to an Oregon revival gathering in June 2003 (in dress uniform, no less) about the dangers of Osama bin Saddam Laden Hussein, infamously spaketh the following, according to Sidney Blumenthal of The Guardian: “Satan wants to destroy this nation, he wants to destroy us as a nation, and he wants to destroy us as a Christian army.” The evil-doers “will only be defeated if we come against them in the name of Jesus.”
No comment needed. Sometimes, some words just speak for their ugly, insane little selves.
“In 2004, United States Army service people were reported to have abused and insulted Iraqi prisoners of war, which stunned the whole world.”
Well, not the whole world, exactly, since, unfortunately, it seems that millions of Americans either 1) couldn’t care less that Iraqis, Afghanis, and others, many of whom are guilty only of being in a country the U.S. chose to invade, are regularly mistreated, 2) have gone into deep denial about the fact that their freedom-spreading, chest-thumping country routinely tortures, “renditions,” and indefinitely imprisons human beings all in the name of democracy and unfettered corporate profits (not necessarily in that order) or, 3) think such effronteries are just peachy and that those tick-ridden raghead camel jockeys deserve everything they get, plus some.
A few paragraphs on, the Chinese actually cut the U.S. some slack by noting the deaths of “only” twenty Iraqi and Afghani detainees in American custody, seven fewer than the number reported recently by the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command. Strangely, these homicides don’t show up in the State Department report, which also, as Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post notes, conveniently “sidestep[s] mention of U.S. prison abuse scandals in Iraq and Afghanistan…”
Now let’s take a peek at some of the things the State Department has to say. As brutal as the Chinese are (and, my, they are brutal), it’s still not too hard to understand how such official American hypocrisy concerning human rights could result in raisin’ higher their Asian ire. Consider just these tidbits offered in CRHRP’s preface:
“Over the last 12 months, [America has] worked closely with the international community to enable citizens in countries such as Guatemala, Indonesia, Ghana, Ukraine, and Afghanistan to make their votes truly count in selecting their governments.”
Dang! Too bad we didn’t work closely with ourselves last year to assure our ballots mattered in our own election.
“We take seriously our responsibility to report as accurately, as sensitively, and as carefully as possible the information in these reports.”
Except when we don’t -- like in this report.
“The information contained in this report allows us to construct strategies for promoting freedom and individual liberty.”
Present country excluded, of course.
Signed: The Wicked Witch of the World. Check that, Condoleezza Rice.
The choicest part, though, comes in CRHRP’s introduction when the administration assails alleged misdeeds of Iran (high on our next-to-do list) in 2004:
“There were numerous reports that security forces tortured prisoners and detainees. Additionally, there were arbitrary arrests, extended incommunicado detention, poor and overcrowded prisons, lack of access to counsel…and violation of personal privacy.”
Remind you of any other nation you know?
The self-congratulatory puffery, sanctimonious finger-pointing, and obvious inconsistencies of the State Department report are apparently too much even for our typically timid media to silently swallow as its release remarkably prompted them to pose queries. Kessler writes:
“Acting Assistant Secretary of State Michael G. Kozak [who presented a CRHRP briefing] was peppered with questions about the administration's support of nations with less-than-stellar records on democracy. Last week, for instance, the administration announced it would sell F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan, which is ruled by a general who seized power in a bloodless coup in 1999.
“Kozak said it is difficult to apply a ‘scientific cookie-cutter approach’ that works consistently. ‘Sometimes it's the carrot, and sometimes it's the stick,’ he said, adding that the right combination will vary by country. ‘You can slice and dice this any way you want. Hopefully, you know, the sausage machine produces something that's halfway coherent at the end.’”
This “explanation” by Kozak, no matter how many times it’s run through the Hedge-O-Matic, is certainly not in danger of ever approaching coherency, but it does sound like it went through some kind of contraption: one that mixes spiked half-truths with watered-down rationalizations and ultimately spits out loads of vapid shredded metaphors.
Whatever. Anyone who still hopes for a molecule of truth from the Bushies does so at his or her own peril, for, under them, our nation’s slide into immorality is so complete and our beautiful American ideals have become so corrupted that is makes just as much sense to flip a coin to determine who is actually more honest if, for example, one is presented with dueling reports on human rights abuses from the White House and, say, China.
Yes, that China.
Mark Drolette is a political satirist/commentator who lives in Sacramento, California. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Copyright © 2005 Mark Drolette. All rights reserved.
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