Face to Face with the Absurd
The US self-declared war president, George W. Bush, declared that the enemy terrorists “murder in the name of a totalitarian ideology that hates freedom, rejects tolerance, and despises all dissent.” Yet, the enemies of Bush’s attack are also dissenting against the undemocratic regimes in the Middle East that quash freedoms and reject religious expression. It was one of the many falsehoods and absurdities that permeated Bush’s address to the servicemen and women at Fort Bragg on June 28.
Bush declared that his enemies “have continued to kill -- in Madrid, Istanbul, Jakarta, Casablanca, Riyadh, Bali, and elsewhere.” Yet Bush’s obedient troops have likewise continued to kill -- in Afghanistan, Colombia, Haiti, Iraq, Yemen, and elsewhere.
“Iraq”, said Bush, “is the latest battlefield in this war.” Bush omitted to say, “because I launched a war based on lies and a false pretext.”
By unleashing violence, Bush claimed, “We are removing a source of violence and instability, and laying the foundation of peace for our children and our grandchildren. Others would argue that Bush’s “we” are creating violence and instability and would ridicule the notion of a peaceful foundation laid through perpetual war.
Bush reported the killing or capturing of “hundreds of foreign fighters in Iraq.” Excuse the English, but what the hell are Americans, Britons, Koreans, Japanese, Poles, etc. if not foreign fighters in Iraq? They certainly number in excess of hundreds. And who are the “foreign fighters in Iraq”? Bush names Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran, Egypt, Sudan, Yemen, and Libya. Readily apparent is that all these “foreign fighters” are from Muslim states. Aside from neighboring Iran, all these countries are Arab as are the Iraqis. Pan Arabia is non-existent because the imperialist powers, including the principals in Iraq now, divided the Arab world. So just who are the actual foreigners?
Bush asserted that Iraqi insurgents fight to preserve “their hateful ideology.” One wonders what kind of ideology is responsible for the bombing the countryside of Iraq to smithereens, littering the landscape with depleted uranium, burning people with napalm, obliterating the history of an ancient civilization, and pilfering the natural resources. Is this a loving ideology?
Bush continued his harangue: “They know that as freedom (1) takes root in Iraq, it will inspire millions across the Middle East.” Why should Palestinians who have languished at the lethal hands of an Israeli state fully backed by the US government feel inspired by the US invasion of a fellow Arab state? Why should Egyptians be inspired while they continue to languish under the US-backed dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak? Why should the dictatorship of the absolute monarch Abdullah II inspire Jordanians? What kind of commitment to freedom and democracy is someone to extrapolate from the US’ closest friends in the Middle East?
Bush posited, “And when the Middle East grows in democracy and prosperity and hope, the terrorists will lose their sponsors, lose their recruits, and lose their hopes for turning that region into a base for attacks on America and our allies around the world.” This flies in the face of Bush’s pronouncements that 9-11 was carried out by people who hate American freedoms. If US-imposed freedom develops, then logic would dictate that the enemies and their sponsors would be motivated to increase their militancy against such freedom. Besides, they should feel emboldened because these so-called haters of American freedoms witnessed the deprivation of many of the American freedoms through the implementation of the Bush regime’s Patriot Act.
Bush asserted that, “there is no limit to the innocent lives they are willing to take.” [italics added] One might similarly ask what is the limit of the US to the taking of innocent life? The US military has certainly killed many, many more civilians than the Iraqi resistance. For that matter, how many American military lives will be sacrificed for the aggression and occupation of a country that posed no credible threat to the US or any other country?
The “we” of Bush “see the nature of the enemy in terrorists who exploded car bombs along a busy shopping street in Baghdad, including one outside a mosque.” What then should one surmise about the nature of the US commanders and forces that were responsible for the carnage in Fallujah -- the City of Mosques? Bush’s “we” also “see the nature of the enemy in terrorists who sent a suicide bomber to a teaching hospital in Mosul.” The argument is again tu quoque, but what about the willful destruction of hospitals and ambulances and the obstruction of medical care in Iraq by US military? (2) Bush’s “we” sees “the nature of the enemy in terrorists who behead civilian hostages and broadcast their atrocities for the world to see.” Just who is behind all the beheadings and hostage takings is unclear. There is much to suggest that the US imprint is behind some of these happenings. (3) What is clear is that the US corporate media will toe the US regime’s line and pin any atrocities as dictated by government officials on the “enemy”.
Bush declared the lesson of the Iraqi experience is “clear”: “The terrorists can kill the innocent, but they cannot stop the advance of freedom.” Disregarding the absurd Bushite notion of freedom, what is clear is: The US terrorists can kill the innocent, but they cannot stop the advance of resistance to occupation. Pontificating further on the lessons of 9-11, Bush warned against abandoning the Iraqi people to men like Abu Musaab Al-Zarqawi and yielding the future of the Middle East to men like Osama bin Laden. The lessons of 9-11 are that an invasion was carried out by the US on a country that was uninvolved in 9-11. Bush averred that another attack would not happen on his watch. But the fact is that 9-11 did happen on Bush’s watch and not someone else’s watch. How he managed and manages to elude responsibility, as Commander-in-Chief is unfathomable, especially giving the intelligence warnings of an impending 9-11 type attack. (4)
Bush maintained that one year ago, the US restored sovereignty to the Iraqi people through “free and fair” elections. This is an absurd assertion: declaring elections under an occupation regime as “free” and an election boycotted by most of the Sunni population as “fair”. One would have to be an absolute simpleton to accept such preposterous nonsense.
Bush contended that there has been “significant” progress and that there is a “clear path forward.” Can a path strewn with the bodies of over 100,000 Iraqi civilians and almost 2000 US military can be construed as “clear”? Bush identified as necessary for the completion of his freedom mission the prevention of “al Qaeda and other foreign terrorists from turning Iraq into what Afghanistan was under the Taliban, a safe haven from which they could launch attacks on America.” Ignoring the falsehood that there is any al Qaeda connection to Iraq, if 9-11 demonstrates anything, it is that there are no safe havens for countries that wield lethal force. Attack a country and you plant the seeds for a future reprisal. As Bush’s favorite philosopher warned, those who “take the sword shall perish with the sword.” (Matthew 26:52)
Bush’s “we” noted an embedding of coalition “transition teams” inside Iraqi units and under US command.” Just what kind of sovereignty is it that Bush has restored in Iraq? Sovereignty under US command and occupation?
Bush said, “The new Iraqi security forces are proving their courage every day. More than 2,000 members of Iraqi security forces have given their lives in the line of duty.” But is this a statistic to be proud of?
Bush promised, “After a constitution is written, the Iraqi people will have a chance to vote on it. If approved, Iraqis will go to the polls again, to elect a new government under their new, permanent constitution.” Bush, who has thrashed the US Constitution and international law, apparently ascribes great importance to a new Iraqi constitution -- despite a constitutional process that will exclude legitimately elected representatives of the Sunni population (not that any Iraqi parliamentarians were legitimately elected).
The present situation, he persevered, “demands the courage of our fighting men and women, it demands the steadfastness of our allies, and it demands the perseverance of our citizens. We accept these burdens, because we know what is at stake. So we’ll fight them there, we’ll fight them across the world, and we will stay in the fight until the fight is won.” All the bluster about courage in battle from a man who is labeled as a deserter from the Vietnam War era and his continued use of the all inclusive “we” as if he had demonstrated any courage in battle, must be extremely galling to those who actually put their lives on the line.
Bush stated, “We know that if evil is not confronted, it gains in strength and audacity, and returns to strike us again.” As long as a patriotically deluded people believe in an inherent goodness of their state and its leader, they will have great difficulty to recognize evil before their very eyes, and consequently may instead abet it.
Kim Petersen is a writer living in Nova Scotia, Canada, and has previously lived in China. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Related 4th of July Commentaries
Mourn on the Fourth of July by Norman Solomon
The present author already explored Bush’s risible conception of freedom
in an earlier series. The Freedom Crusade:
Other Recent Articles by Kim Petersen
Counterrevolution: Capitalism’s Ugly Head in China
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* The Pornography of War
Fairy Tale of Liberation