15.Jan.2003 The United States of America Has Gone Mad
| || |
HOME – HOJE- https://alfatomega.com
| || |
The author has also contributed to an openDemocracy debate on Iraq at www.openDemocracy.net
by JOHN LE CARRE'
America has entered one of its periods of historical madness,
but this is the worst I can remember:
worse than McCarthyism,
worse than the Bay of Pigs
and in the long term
more disastrous than
the Vietnam War.
The reaction to 9/11
is beyond anything
Osama bin Laden
could have hoped for
in his nastiest dreams.
As in McCarthy times,
the freedoms that have made America the envy of the world
are being systematically eroded.
The combination of
compliant US media
vested corporate interests
is once more ensuring
should be ringing out
in every town square
to the loftier columns
of the East Coast press.
The imminent war
bin Laden struck,
but it was he
who made it possible.
Without bin Laden,
the Bush junta
would still be trying to explain
such tricky matters
it came to be elected
in the first place;
its shameless favouring of the already-too-rich;
its reckless disregard for the world’s poor,
a raft of unilaterally abrogated international treaties.
They might also have to be telling us
they support Israel
in its continuing disregard for UN resolutions.
swept all that under the carpet.
The Bushies are riding high.
88 per cent of Americans want the war,
we are told.
The US defence budget
has been raised
by another $60 billion
to around $360 billion.
A splendid new generation
of nuclear weapons
is in the pipeline,
so we can all breathe easy.
Quite what war
88 per cent of Americans think
they are supporting
is a lot less clear.
A war for how long, please?
At what cost in American lives?
At what cost to the American taxpayer’s pocket?
At what cost
— because most of those 88 per cent are thoroughly decent and humane people —
in Iraqi lives?
Bush and his junta
from bin Laden to Saddam Hussein
is one of the great public relations conjuring tricks of history.
But they swung it.
A recent poll tells us that
one in two Americans
now believe Saddam was responsible for the attack on the World Trade Centre.
But the American public is not merely being misled.
It is being browbeaten
kept in a state of ignorance and fear.
The carefully orchestrated neurosis
Bush and his fellow conspirators
nicely into the next „election“.
Those who are not with Mr Bush are against him.
they are with the enemy.
Which is odd,
because I’m dead against Bush,
but I would love to see Saddam’s downfall —
just not on Bush’s terms and not by his methods.
And not under the banner of such outrageous hypocrisy.
The religious cant
that will send American troops into battle
is perhaps the most sickening aspect
of this surreal war-to-be.
Bush has an arm-lock on God.
And God has very particular political opinions.
appointed America to save the world
in any way that suits America.
to be the nexus of America’s Middle Eastern policy,
and anyone who wants to mess with that idea is
c) with the enemy +
d) a terrorist.
also has pretty scary connections.
where all men are equal
in His sight,
if not in one another’s,
the Bush family numbers
one ex-head of the CIA,
the Governor of Florida and
the ex-Governor of Texas.
Care for a few pointers?
George W. Bush,
Arbusto Energy/Bush Exploration, an oil company;
senior executive of the Harken oil company.
chief executive of the Halliburton oil company.
senior executive with the Chevron oil company,
which named an oil tanker after her.
And so on.
But none of these trifling associations affects the integrity of God’s work.
while ex-President George H. Bush was visiting the ever-democratic Kingdom of Kuwait
to receive thanks for liberating them, somebody tried to kill him.
The CIA believes that “somebody” was Saddam.
Hence Bush Jr’s cry:
“That man tried to kill my Daddy.”
But it’s still not personal, this war.
It’s still necessary.
It’s still God’s work.
It’s still about
„bringing freedom and democracy
to oppressed Iraqi people“.
To be a member of the team
you must also believe in Absolute Good and Absolute Evil,
with a lot of help from his friends,
family and God,
is there to tell us which is which.
What Bush won’t tell us is
the truth about why we’re going to war.
What is at stake is not an Axis of Evil —
Saddam’s misfortune is
to sit on the second biggest oilfield in the world.
Bush wants it,
and who helps him get it
will receive a piece of the cake.
And who doesn’t, won’t.
If Saddam didn’t have the oil,
he could torture his citizens to his heart’s content.
Other leaders do it every day —
think Saudi Arabia,
Baghdad represents no clear and present danger to its neighbours,
and none to the US or Britain.
Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction,
if he’s still got them,
will be peanuts
with the stuff Israel or America
could hurl at him
at five minutes’ notice.
What is at stake
an imminent military or terrorist threat,
but the economic imperative of US-KAPITAL-growth.
What is at stake
is America’s need
to demonstrate its military power to all of us —
to Europe and Russia and China,
and poor mad little North Korea,
as well as the Middle East;
to show who rules America at home,
and who is to be ruled by America abroad.
The most charitable interpretation of
Tony Blair’s part in all this is
that he believed that,
by riding the tiger,
he could steer it.
he gave it a phoney legitimacy,
and a smooth voice.
Now I fear,
the same tiger has him penned into a corner,
and he can’t get out.
It is utterly laughable that,
at a time
when Blair has talked himself against the ropes,
neither of Britain’s opposition leaders
can lay a glove on him.
But that’s Britain’s tragedy,
as it is America’s:
as our Governments
lose their credibility,
the other way.
Blair’s best chance of personal survival must be that,
at the eleventh hour,
an improbably emboldened UN
will force Bush to put his gun back in his holster unfired.
when the world’s greatest cowboy
rides back into town
a tyrant’s head to wave at the boys?
Blair’s worst chance is
that, with or without the UN,
he will drag us into a war
if the will to negotiate energetically
had ever been there,
could have been avoided;
has been no more democratically debated
in Britain than
it has in America
at the UN.
By doing so,
Blair will have set back our relations with Europe and the Middle East for decades to come.
He will have helped to provoke unforeseeable retaliation,
great domestic unrest,
and regional chaos in the Middle East.
Welcome to the party of the
„ethical foreign policy“.
There is a middle way,
it’s a tough one:
Bush dives in without UN approval
Blair stays on the bank.
Goodbye to the special relationship.
I cringe when I hear
my Prime Minister
lend his head prefect’s sophistries
to this colonialist adventure.
His very real anxieties about terror
are shared by all sane men.
What he can’t explain is
a global assault on al-Qaeda
with a territorial assault on Iraq.
We are in this war,
if it takes place,
the fig leaf
of our special relationship,
to grab our share
of the oil pot,
after all the public hand-holding in Washington and Camp David,
Blair has to show up at the altar.
“But will we win, Daddy?”
“Of course, child.
It will all be over
while you’re still in bed.”
Mr Bush’s voters
will get terribly impatient
and may decide
not to vote for him.”
“But will people be killed, Daddy?”
“Nobody you know, darling.
Just foreign people.”
“Can I watch it on television?”
“Only if Mr Bush says you can.”
“And afterwards, will everything be normal again?
Nobody will do anything horrid any more?”
“Hush child + go to sleep.”
Last Friday a friend of mine in California
drove to his local supermarket
with a sticker on his car saying:
“Peace is also Patriotic”.
It was gone by the time he’d finished shopping.
15.Jan.2003 The United States of America has gone mad -John le Carré- Times Online