Indictment of Bush
`Newhouse's book is a perceptive and mercilessly critical account of the wasted opportunities of the Bush Administration, post-9/11.'
OPPRESSION or unjustified imposition can never be tolerated. "Any structure of hierarchy and authority", writes Chomsky, "carries a heavy burden of justification, whether it involves personal relations or a larger social order. If it cannot bear the burden . . . then it is illegitimate and should be dismantled. When honestly posed and squarely faced, that challenge can rarely be sustained".
The larger forces of capitalism, of market economy, of military intervention abroad, and support for dictators for economic and political benefits are ominous signs for the future. The U.S. war crimes in Iraq or in the American supported Israeli aggression largely go unreported owing to the expediency of supporting the State. The reportage on Vietnam was often one-sided, unashamedly supporting the U.S. intervention. Genocide in this region was largely overlooked.
Neutrality and objectivity of any news report or analysis is a game often played by the lackeys of the people in power at the cost of "truth" and credibility. This is the site where radical politics must step in for putting the spotlight on the hypocrisy and contradictions in the rhetoric of the U.S. foreign policy. The writings of John Newhouse, a former adviser for European affairs in the State Department during the Clinton administration, are more intelligible to the general public especially because of their honest and sincere analysis of "the Bush assault on the world order". According to him, no resolution authorises the military invasion of Iraq; international law and the U.N. Charter are thrown to the wind and sticky issues go unreported. Such a control over the media speaks of the assertion and self-assurance of power as well as the assumption of the right to intervene whenever and wherever the government deems necessary.
Newhouse's book, Imperial America, is a perceptive and mercilessly critical account of the wasted opportunities of the Bush Administration in the post 9/11 wave of worldwide sympathy for Washington's fight against terrorism. Here was an opportunity to bring stability in the Middle East or in South West and North East Asia. Instead, the U.S. foreign policy has been largely misguided and its abrasive arrogance and outright presumptuousness of supremacy in world affairs has resulted in bungling the fight against terrorism and giving rise to insecurities in other nations including her allies. Newhouse is of the opinion that important issues concerning the nuclear threat from North Korea or Iran were overlooked. More serious and perilous is the alliance with Pakistan, a breeding ground for terrorist training camps, the madrassas, and a nation with clear links with the Taliban. The reliability of Pakistan as an ally is highly questionable. America has conveniently ignored the open deal that Pakistan has with North Korea and China in the production of ballistic warheads. The alarming instability within Pakistan and the lack of safety measures against the missiles falling in the hands of terrorist organisations do not seem to worry America. To use Putin's words, America must in all sincerity take action to seriously curb Pakistan's "junta with nukes". Otherwise how serious can the U.S. efforts be to wage a fight against terrorism? And does it not realise the simple truth that its foreign policy leaves it more vulnerable to terrorist attacks now more than ever?
The former Secretary of State, Madeline Albright, does not mince her words when she adopts the posture of a bully: "We will act multilaterally when we can, and unilaterally when we must". Introducing sanctions to starve, then following it up with bombing is antidemocratic and undiplomatic in a country that proclaims its commitment to human rights and international law. The barbaric level of the most devastatingly concentrated bombing attack in history during the first Gulf War along with shocking effects of the embargo are obvious war crimes to be punished under any rule of law. Clinton had used the "starve and bomb" policy; in his election campaign, likewise, Bush promised that he would take all measures to get rid of Saddam. When staying in Iraq became difficult, Bush began to advocate the promotion of democracy in Iraq most vigorously. Before the war, the excuse had been the pre-emptive attack to destroy WMD; the justification now has conveniently changed to a new rationale for making the Arab world congenial for democracy. The enormity of the war including the high costs often pushes the leaders to alter the rationale that would legitimise huge sacrifices of human life for the cause of freedom and equality. The western leaders confidently pose as self-appointed custodians of democracy, an expedient ploy to win over public opinion. The primacy of an American solution to the Iraq problem at an overwhelming cost of human life ignores any reflection on war crimes that have resulted in the massacre of more than a million civilians. This is incongruous to the promise of giving democracy to the Iraqis with a secure and stable future. Hunger, disease and instability in a post-war Iraq caused by bombing the Iraqi sewage system, its electrical powerhouses and the crucial water supply remained only "collateral" or unintended damage which did not at all impinge on the consciousness of the leaders like Dick Cheney, the main sponsor of the genocide of the First Gulf War.
One might ask where lies the conscience of the American nation? Is it not time for the masses to stir so that the Government can rethink its indifference to human life lost for the mere gain of suitable political solutions in the Middle-East and for holding on to the dominant position in the political affairs of the world? A prosperous Iraq or the introduction of democratic institutions in the country along with a concern for human rights is only a façade to misinform the world. The people of the U.S. were apparently manipulated into believing that Iraq's stockpiling of unconvential weapons and links with al-Queda were reasons enough to invade Iraq. It is a known fact that Dick Cheney put pressure on CIA analysts "to make their assessments fit with Bush administration's policy objectives".
It becomes the duty of the intellectuals to analyse this rhetoric as well as find answers to why America interferes in the affairs of other nations. The threat of terrorist attacks will always loom large as long as the U.S. does not come face to face with this reality. Washington must understand that its double standards are now an annoyance to people all over the world, especially when it regards all attacks as terrorist except its own. In the last few months it has become clear that the West is becoming tone deaf in the post-Iraq aura of triumphalism, along with "a heavy self-satisfaction that clouds the society's view of itself". Interestingly, this mood has overshadowed the task of locating bin Laden, "a major piece of unfinished business".
Imperial America: The Bush Assault on the World Order, John Newhouse, Alfred A. Knopf, 2003, p.194, $23.
Send this article to Friends by