Stretching Credulity

by Kim Petersen

Dissident Voice

September 11, 2003


The Bush administration ignored the earlier warnings and is caught in a web of its own spinning. Because of the discombobulations in Iraq, President Bush was compelled to address the nation in a speech self-serving to neoconservative interests. No, he didn’t reveal the discovery of the much-hyped weapons of mass destruction. Seems weapons of mass destruction are no longer de rigueur for the neoconservatives.


Instead, in what smacks of perverse pride, he boasted how the aggression on Iraq, in which cruise missiles, cluster bombs, and depleted uranium were rained down from afar on an already devastated country was “one of the swiftest and most humane military campaigns in history.” Trumpeting the swiftness of an invasion -- which at the same time ignores the military instability in Iraq, as attested to by the deaths of one-point-something US soldiers a day since Mr. Bush jumped the gun and declared major military operations over -- is in keeping with the false bravado of the selected president. The oxymoronic “humane military campaign,” where more than 6000 civilians killed are beneath the US administration’s consideration, is merely a further Orwellian skewering of the English language by the neoconservatives.


The president who vacations on a golf course while US troops are under daily attack in Iraq has the gall to use the all-inclusive personal pronoun: “We have carried the fight to the enemy. We are rolling back the terrorist threat to civilization.” (author’s italics) That it must be vicariously absolving for the Commander-in-Chief, who ducked Vietnam and went AWOL from the National Guard, was evidenced by his air-pumping clenched-fist pronouncement of  Feels good” at the commencement of Shock and Awe.


Standards of conventional moral thinking are tossed out the window. Mr. Bush hypocritically criticizes the torture chambers of the Ba’athist regime while ignoring the US slide to the level of a torture nation.  


“The terrorists thrive on the support of tyrants and the resentments of oppressed peoples,” offers the president. Strange statement coming from an occupying power beset with terrorist attacks that necessitate its nervous, light-on-the-trigger troops to don Kevlar-body amour when forced out among the Iraqis.


Mr. Bush blames enemies, which he identifies as Saddam loyalists and foreign terrorists, for forestalling the installation of democracy. On the CBC National newscast of 8 September, the British Minister of War Geoffrey Hoon maintained that there is not a resistance to the presence of the occupiers in Iraq but rather there are “criminal elements.” So now hoodlums are also taking shots at the mighty occupation forces?


In addition, Mr. Hoon had  “all but admitted” to the House of Parliament that the US and UK had underestimated the requirements of occupation.


These “[e]nemies of freedom are making a desperate stand [in Iraq],” said Mr. Bush and “they must be defeated.” The psychological defense mechanism of projection, whereby one attributes qualities of self onto others, seems to be clearly coming to the fore. Returning to the “irrelevant” UN with cap-in-hand and pleading with Old Europe to supply troops to the chaotic occupation reeks of desperation.


As well, Mr. Bush’s tautological harping about the “enemies of freedom” is becoming a little bit tiring -- like a movie seen too often.


The Commander-in-Chief asserts: “We are staying on the offensive, with a series of precise strikes against enemy targets increasingly guided by intelligence given to us by Iraqi citizens.” This leads to the assumption that the terror bombings and the killing of occupation soldiers have been defensive responses.


Mr. Bush makes ineloquent attempts at sophistry. Reports Mr. Bush: “Our military commanders in Iraq advise me that the current number of American troops -- nearly 130,000 -- is appropriate to their mission. They are joined by over 20,000 service members from 29 other countries.” However, despite this “appropriate number of American troops” Mr. Bush sees the need “to share the burden more broadly” and hence “a third multinational division to serve in Iraq” is requested. So are more troops required or is this just for the sake of sharing?


Besides, hadn’t the neo-conservatives dismissed then-Army Chief of Staff General Eric Shinseki’s requirement of several thousand occupation troops as "wildly off the mark"?


Mr. Bush continues his tirade against the freedom-hating enemies. “Terrorists in Iraq have attacked representatives of the civilized world, and opposing them must be the cause of the civilized world.” It begs the question of just what this civilized world is. When asked what he thought of western civilization, Mohandas Gandhi sagely replied that it would be a good idea.


Mr. Bush demonstrates his generosity to the members of the UN by giving them “an opportunity” -- to come in from the darkness of irrelevancy, supposedly -- and accept the gift of “responsibility.” Yes, the UN is invited “to assume a broader role in assuring that Iraq becomes a free and democratic nation.”  Unstated is the implicit surrender of ultimate world authority to the US cabal fronted by Mr. Bush -- a surrender to a regime that committed the “supreme crime” of aggression as defined by international law at Nuremberg. It is a welcome to the morass of despair in a nearly obliterated Iraq, of which the US is a prime accomplice.


Washington style generosity is where the outside world is encouraged to share in the costs and dangers of Iraq but not in the “responsibility” of power or the divvying up of corporate plunder.


Into this morass, Mr. Bush calls for “the orderly transfer of sovereignty and authority to the Iraqi people. Our coalition came to Iraq as liberators and we will depart as liberators. Right now Iraq has its own Governing Council.” This is the Governing Council from which one member has already resigned describing it as window dressing for Washington’s rule. The US has made clear on many occasions that what constitutes an “orderly transfer of sovereignty and authority to the Iraqi people” will be dictated by US interests.


It is a wonder that Americans can so easily have the wool pulled over their eyes. The 2000 election was stolen (Greg Palast has clearly elucidated the scandalous vote rigging in Florida on which even the Democrats fell silent); the Bush regime lied Americans into the invasion of Iraq (plainly exposed by even the Johnny-come-lately corporate media now); Americans sat by as the fat cats soaked up a big tax cut; and they continue to sit on their hands as corporate crooks enjoy their ill-begotten booty. Where are the protests? Where are the people organizing against the stealing of their freedoms, quality of life, and democracy? John Kaminski has elaborated at length about the apparent ease of surrender by Americans of their precious rights and ideals.


The rest of the world stands witness while Americans watch their country being stolen from right in front of their eyes. Part of the solution surely lies in mobilizing against the corporate theft of the US. Insofar as the corporate media were unswerving in the interests of corporate America, it is palpable that Americans must press for their own media free of corporate manipulation. Odd that the people must assert their rights to the airwaves belonging to them. 


Americans have been lulled into suspending disbelief for far too long. The stretching of credulity poses an exceedingly taut challenge to freedom’s elasticity. A ferocious snap is looming.


Kim Petersen lives in Canada and is a regular contributor to Dissident Voice newsletter. He can be reached at: kimpetersen@gyxi.dk


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* Hoodwinked?

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