Peace, Freedom and Democracy

 Posted by on January 2, 2008  Add comments
Jan 022008
 

With a heavy dose of fear and violence, and a lot of money for projects, I think we can convince these people that we are here to help them.

That’s what Col Nate Sassaman of the 4th Infantry told the New York Times in 2003.

Now, although I recoiled initially when I read this quote, I have to confess there’s a certain grim logic in there somewhere — a sort of logic the Americans are good at. The comment reminded me of the immortal statement by a US officer in Vietnam: it became necessary to destroy the town to save it.

Operation Iraqi Freedom? No. It isn’t a joke: that is what they actually called the invasion. Americans don’t do irony, which is both their strength and their weakness.

The strength lies in the fact that they’re able to breed hundreds of thousands of people who can say Sir, step away from the car without laughing.

The weakness is that they never know when they’re making complete fools of themselves, as they have been doing in Iraq for nearly five years, but the problem doesn’t stop there. Americans’ lack of irony also makes them blind to another fact: their entire nation has been hijacked by Bush and Cheney with a view to making money for themselves, and it doesn’t matter how many American troops or Iraqi civilians are killed in the process. Just as long as Bush, Cheney and, of course, Halliburton, make a lot of cash.

It doesn’t matter that they had a valid war of necessity in Afghanistan where the Taliban were harbouring the people who had directed the attacks on New York. It doesn’t matter that Bush chose to pursue a war of choice against a country that had nothing whatever to do with the 9-11 attacks: Iraq. It doesn’t matter that in doing so he stressed his forces to breaking point and diluted their power to tackle al-Qaeda. It doesn’t matter that he turned the formerly-secular Iraq into a breeding ground for Islamic zealots. It doesn’t matter that the world was teeming with brutal ruthless dictators, each one of them just as bloodthirsty and repulsive as Saddam, and that Bush cared not a jot about them.

No.

None of that matters in America once you start pushing the buttons. Patriotism. Our troops. Global war on terror. Peace. Freedom. Democracy.

I see Bush has been at it again in recent days. Now he’s worried about Pakistani democracy.

Pakistani what??

Listen, George, I know you have a room-full of highly-paid advisers, and I know that every last man-jack of them will have more Harvard degrees than you could shake a cruise missile at, but I need to point out one thing to you. There’s no democracy in Pakistan. There never was and there never will be.

And I’ll tell you something else: the Pakistanis don’t care.

Pakistan is a tribal nation, just like Iraq, just like Syria, just like Afghanistan, just like the United States in many ways, and when George sees elections, he thinks he’s looking at democracy, but he’s not. He’s looking at assemblies of serfs pooling their votes to get their feudal lords into high office. Nobody in Pakistan is weighing up the options. Will I vote for Candidate A or Candidate B? The PPP’s supporters are so upset because their feudal champion has been killed and they don’t know who’s going to look after them now. Benazir Bhutto was a huge feudal landowner in Sindh and it was through the votes of tenants that she formed her power-base.

You don’t believe me that Pakistan is a feudal society? You think the PPP is an ordinary democratic party just like any other? Right then. Tell me of another party where the leadership can be passed on to a nineteen-year-old boy through somebody’s last will and testament.

And you know something else? It’s not necessarily a bad thing to have a feudal, tribal society. It works in many of the Gulf States. It worked for the First Nations until the Americans came and slaughtered them. You could even argue that the Republicans and Democrats have many characteristics of tribes and that their four-yearly presidential elections are no more than a show to cover up the fact that feudal lords rule the US. You think not? You think perhaps, that a poor man could be President of the USA? Well, all right. Bush is a poor human being but he isn’t a poor man.

The United States has been fairly selective about the feudal, tribal societies it wants to bring peace and democracy to. For example, it was in no hurry at all to bring peace and democracy to its friends in Saudi Arabia, despite the fact that the majority of the 9-11 attackers were Saudis, funded by Saudi money. Likewise, though the US made great play of the famous Iraqi weapons of mass destruction — which turned out to be non-existent — there was another brutal dictator, who was known to have nuclear missiles, and who, that same year, was threatening to fire them at an ally of the US. Of course I’m talking about North Korea. Did you notice anything in the news about Operation North Korean Freedom? No. Funnily enough, neither did I. Just like we never heard of Operation Chinese Freedom.

On the other hand, the US hasn’t been too keen on some democratically-elected leaders. Salvador Allende was elected President of Chile in 1970, but because the US didn’t like the stripe of his politics, he was deposed and killed in a CIA-backed coup three years later.

Let’s not forget the United States’ active support for other vile, ruthless dictators. For example, we had the appalling Noriega, the military dictator of Panama, a cocaine-dealer and money-launderer who was on the CIA payroll for many years. Eventually, the Americans deposed and arrested him, but it wasn’t because he was a criminal, murdering drug-dealer. It was because they thought he might be spying for Cuba.

Then there’s the support for the ridiculous and corrupt Somoza of Nicaragua, and their continuing support for the Contras after the Sandinistas took over. You might recall this was the time Ollie North was selling arms to Iran and passing the money on to the Contras to get around a Congress ban on funding them.

They supported the vile Reza Pahlavi, self-declared Shah of Iran, who wrought terror throughout his domain through the medium of the dreaded Savak secret police.

In South Vietnam, they supported an absolute crook Ngo Din Diem, who came to power through a ludicrously-rigged election. They supported him militarily and after his assassination they went to war in his country, visiting misery and destruction on the people there for no good reason and with no gain for anyone. Muhammad Ali refused to join the Army:- Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on Brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights?

The administration even supported the Khmer Rouge, for God’s sake, after the Vietnamese overran them and ended the slaughters of the killing fields.

But would you like the ultimate proof that they don’t mind who they support? Well then, I offer you one Mr Saddam Hussein, whom the Americans cheerfully backed for decades, until it became expedient to drop him. (Expedient for Halliburton, I mean).

Now. Let’s just get back to this freedom business for a minute. What exactly, I wonder, does George have in mind when he talks about freedom?

Let’s take the United States itself as a yardstick. I know the US is the freest nation in the world, because I’ve seen all the Bruce Willis movies.

So, in the US, are you free to take a picture of a factory that you think might be polluting a river? No. You’ll get arrested under the Patriot Act.

Well then, surely you have more religious freedom? Nope. At least not if you want to open an Islamic school.

Ah, but they surely have a constitutional safeguard for the sanctity of human life? Eh, that’d be a no. They have one of the highest judicial execution rates in the world.

But your skin colour doesn’t matter? Oh gimme a break.

They must have guaranteed health care like in any civilised democracy, mustn’t they? Yes, if you can afford it.

And education? The same.

Oh right. And these are the people invading countries that didn’t attack them? In the name of freedom? And lecturing people like you and me when we voice misgivings or dare to disagree with them?

These are the people who, in the name of peace, reduced Iraq to a smouldering, bloodied wreck, multiplied the misery of its people a hundredfold, spat on their dignity and customs, installed a bunch of crooks in government and proudly declared Iraq a free, democratic land.

I see.

As Judge Judy says, Don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining.


Cheney’s Thoughts on Invading Iraq

Greenspan’s View

Winning Hearts and Minds

Saddam’s Hanging

The War on Terror

  64 Responses to “Peace, Freedom and Democracy”

Comments (64)
  1.  

    Absolutely excellent article!

  2.  

    Well said, sir.

    Now, if only there was a way to get the message out to the masses ‘ cos as the famous git once said ” if a tree falls in the forest…”, etc., etc., etc.

  3.  

    I think you mean:-

    if a man speaks in the forest and there’s no woman to hear him, is he still wrong?

  4.  

    I’m of the opinion that most Americans wouldn’t tolerate the gross hypocrisies perpetrated in their name…if they only knew about them or gave a shit about finding out. This is largely the fault of the media over here. I have nothing for disdain for news producers over here. We’re drip-fed on sugar water by the 24-hour news channels and we get mentally lazy, bloated and apathetic on it. Hearing about anything that matters is just too difficult and so people switch off. Our evening news broadcasts resemble what would be called magazine or lifestyle shows anywhere else with hosts that just want to chat and be folksy and health and gardening advice taking up more room than world affairs which are given pretty short shrift.

    Many Americans have no idea of the political space they occupy in the world – only that America is the greatest country in the history of mankind; more than half of all college graduates still can’t find Iraq on the map; Americans think they’re informed about the world because they have no idea how much better other countries report world news.

    If the vast majority were served better by the media I have no doubt but that they’d be appalled at what they saw, and the way their own government routinely hoodwinks them in its foreign affairs.

    Physical isolation from the world’s hotspots adds to US apathy about current affairs. Plus an abominable education system. The top universities are excellent here, world class – supposing a kid gets that far – but schools are so utterly, utterly terrible compared to other Western countries that it beggars belief. This is the most powerful country the world has ever known but somehow we can’t teach our kids more than the dumbed down version of anything.

    I love Americans. I love the spirit that founded the country and the can-do attitude out here. But something went wrong somewhere and excellence is not something the country seeks unless you can make money out of it. Generally speaking the culture is not conducive to learning anything other than what your immediate circumstances demand you know. The information is there, but there is no culture of curiosity. This, to me, is not a failure of the people although they let it happen (I think people everywhere would behave like Americans if they’d lived all their lives in an American system) – it’s a failure of leadership in the media and in the government. Both want people pliable, credulous and ignorant. Both, by and large, get it.

    Before anyone shoots back with a defense of Americans – I get it that there are millions of very smart, engaged people that do give a shit, and who do get hard news from good sources. Some of the cleverest people I’ve ever met are Americans but being informed shouldn’t have anything to do with IQ or class. All people should have a basic level of knowledge and understanding about their own country and its role in the world. A dustbin man who left school at 16 in Britain has a better grasp of politics, current affairs and has a better all round general knowledge that many people with the advantage of a college graduate education here. The gap between the informed and the ignorant in America is enormous adn far wider than in other developed countries.

  5.  

    …and then you get a small country like, say, ireland, which produced so many great writers and musicians and has world class universities and look at how the place has gone.
    Voted FF back in again even in the face of horrendous corruption [that probably says more about the quality of the opposition though…], third world quality hospitals as a direct result,
    newspapers that pander to the lowest quality denominator, TV the likes of which has to be seen to be believed and a population who’ve given up.

    Doesn’t matter where you are it’s the same old, same old.
    Could be worse, though, could be in Oz.

  6.  

    *Shame.* I hate being from DumbFuckistan.

  7.  

    Bock: Like the article. Add Guatemala to that list, one of the original “inconvenient” leftist democracies that had to undergo regime change. The even went so far as to plant marxist material for the benefit of US TV stations in order to drum up the right PR image (good old Bernaise eh?). And why did this all happen? To protect thre profits of a big US fruit corporation.

    problemchildbride: It’s not just the suppression of news from abroad. I met a pilot who was retraining to move back to Ireland after 20 tears in the US. One of the reasons he was leaving was the way the media swept all of the crap happening in New Orleans under the carpet. Manufacturing Consent indeed.

  8.  

    Good job. Reads like a condensed Howard Zinn and Noah Chomsky anthology. Ever read Lies My Teacher Told Me?

  9.  

    Thoroughly enjoyed that, Bock. A rant after my own heart. Though I very rarely tackle politics on my own blog, you went at that like… Well, almost like Bill Hicks in his pomp.

  10.  

    Great post Bock. Happy new year.

    xxx

  11.  

    Great post…again…

    As for Americans not realizing what is going on because of the media…how many Americans use the internet? How many have access to more than one stream of media? It’s no excuse to say they don’t know. They do know, the rest of the world is constantly telling them. Maybe they don’t want to know but that is a huge difference. Ignorance can’t be an excuse, how many disasters could have been prevented in this world if people “knew” what was going on. I just can’t believe that so many people don’t know…

  12.  

    Fuck it Bock, double fuck it.

    Three weeks of John Wayne, Great Escapes, Willy Wonkas, Top Guns (god dammit Bock), and luvly choccies and bicckies and Baileys.

    And now you fuck it up with your reality shit.

    Why, why couldn’t you just leave it alone with the good guys and the bad guys?

    Why not?

    You’ve gone and wrecked the scene Bock, bad enough being back on the grind-stones, spinning the mill-wheels and listening to the man shouting, the fucking man Bock, shouting. And now the coercions, and your reality bull-shit Bock.

    What the fuck do you want, that I think for myself?

    What the fuck do you want? Are you demanding that I take a stand?

    Well I won’t and you can’t make me ……., because.

    Double fuck it Bock.

  13.  

    Hey, what can I do? It’s my job.

  14.  

    The Caribbean nations in particular have been plagued with a series of despotic leaders put in power by the U.S. and supported by them with carte blanche as long as they didn’t go red like Castro. Papa Doc and Baby Doc, in particular, were 2 of the most ruthless dictators the world has known.

  15.  

    That’s right Medbh. Have you ever researched the connection between Baby Doc and Mother Teresa? (Honest – not joking).

  16.  

    I’m a complete fuck-head based in New York. I amuse myself by leaving half-witted comments on other people’s blogs because I haven’t the imagination to write anything original myself. I love drunken bigots who know how to type and who think they are clever. And I love more their brown-nosing sycophants.

  17.  

    I see the troll prick slithered in the back door. Fuck off, moron.

    (Shit, I thought I’d blacklisted him after his previous behaviour. I think his attitude pretty clearly illustrates my point about the sort of mindset we’re dealing with.)

  18.  

    I think your post could have been more balanced Bock. I don’t think it’s fair to say Americans lack a sense of irony, anymore than it would be fair to say the Irish are a nation of alcoholics. It’s hard to tarnish a nation of 300 million with the same brush. I think you need to separate the current American regime from American citizens.
    I think polls show in the US that opposition to the war is higher than alliance with it. The entire nation has not been hijacked by any means. I think ironically it’s ignorant of you to say that. :)
    You know while you were at it, you could have gone on about slavery, the era of Jim Crow laws or such things as the removal of Japanese American citizens during WWII. Or something like the shooting down of Iran civilian Flight 655 or things like this (http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=3977702&page=1) about the rape and cover up of a female Halliburton employee.
    I don’t believe the US has a perfect history, neither has Ireland But you have to be careful in the tarnishing of a whole nation and the spreading of hatred.
    Aren’t we exuding the same self righteous crap we accuse them of when we think we are more informed, more intelligent than them? (rhetorical question) You remind me of Bill O’Reilly with your banter. (American social commentator)
    You do see Americans become defensive when you are just trying to gauge their personal opinion on the war in Iraq but given posts such as yours I can see why.

  19.  

    Audrey, did you read what I wrote at all?

  20.  

    I did Bock. Ah I’m being factitious in parts and referring to comments also … I agree with you.. Americans don’t want the war either and the ones that do are just pawns that don’t really give a rats ass about anyone but themselves and need to objectify the ppl in places like Iraq to make the loss of life there ok.
    I recently heard my four year old American nephew very cutely reciting the pledge of Allegiance that he was just taught in school. Scary stuff. I think that kind of patriotism breeds a climate of confusing dissent with disloyalty. Hitler was the most patriotic man alive!

  21.  

    What bothers me is the inability of some Americans to tell the difference between criticism and hatred. It speaks of a very fragile sense of self-worth.

  22.  

    Yea very true bock.
    Ah if only the world was ruled by women there’d be no conflict.. :)

  23.  

    Dead right, Audrey. You only have to think of renowned peacemakers like Margaret Thatcher, Indira Gandhi and Golda Meir.

  24.  

    Hey Audrey,

    Why the fuck do you care what Bock says about Merikans. You can say what you want about Ireland; I couldn’t give a flying fuck. It’s not about nations, not about nationalities, not about patriotism. It’s about humanity, the common psyche and shared values.

    Jesus, I’m angry and the New Year is but a pup. It’s a fucking mess Audrey, here as much as over there, we’re only trotting in your wake. But we don’t have a fuck-off monstrous army and nukes, and so many bland mad fuckers in power. We have our own brand of corrupt fuckers and robbing bastards.

    Audrey is you want o stand in front of something good and true, look after yourself, your family and your community. That’s all you’re really accountable for.

  25.  

    Okay, where to start – Sorry, but this will be long and tedious – Bock, you do indeed seem to have a long memory (despite your self-confessed drunken Christmas) and a very clever turn of phrase. However….

    There is the old saying “take the plank out of your eye before you criticize the speck in your neighbour’s” or at least something to that effect, and I think there may be an element of hollowness — no, a definite stench of hypocrisy — about such trenchant criticism of actions that we here in Ireland have never gotten particularly upset about. Okay, we went on an anti-war march or two and one or two of us (not me I, hasten to add) have gotten our teenage annoyance out of our systems by vandalising fences and an American air force plane in Shannon. But, many, many American military planes, soldiers, and God forbid, maybe even the odd secret rendition or two, have gone through your own local (well, sort of) international airport in Shannon, and nobody really seems to mind. We like the friendly view America has of us, and all the consequent benefits that flow from that. — (I’ll list just a few: Dell Computer Corp. presence in Limerick and Dublin; truckloads of American corporate cash floating around the IFSC that really shouldn’t be here at all; the absolutely staggering philanthropic gestures of Chuck Feeney and several others like him who made their money mostly from other Americans; the sympathy and charm of the likes of Bill Clinton, Ed Kennedy, and Bill Morrison, and their extremely diligent, good faith efforts to get us to stop slaughtering one another on this little Island give thousands of us free visas to go and live in their country, even after we’ve already gone there illegally and built nice low-tax lives for ourselves there etc etc etc…..Sorry, I digress).

    Anyway, this isn’t a newfound preference for America and Americans we’ve only just adopted; We’ve been at it since the famine, with much enthusiasm. Heck, we even went and helped kill the Indians to make more room for millions more of us starved European serfs to emigrate there.

    In other words, we like the benefits of the many contracts we have with the USA but we really don’t like paying the price. Ah, human nature, you can’t beat it.

    Most importantly, we we seem not to mind our own abject failure closer to home to get to grips with Kosovo and Bosnia until the American government decided to intervene. – and actually stop Muslims from being slaughtered. Okay, so they missed the target with a few cruise missiles and bombed the Chinese embassy. Great, I’m delighted, and I’m very sure a lot people in Southern Sudan would cheer if they knew about that one. Also, in another part of Sudan, yet another human catastrophe unfolds of even greater magnificence than old Iraq while, in Darfur the horror continues pretty much unabated and we sit – once again – on our hands, saying we don’t have enough helicopters to provide adequate ground support for our own troops to go in there and stop that slaughter. We look to the other great ‘powerhouses’ of Europe like France and Germany to assist us, and they look back at us blankly. Ah, yes, Germany, that great civilization rescued from total annihilation by the Marshall plan, and France, also restored to freedom and democracy (of sorts) by thousands of young American troops, a great many of whom didn’t survive beyond their first steps off the boats on D-Day.

    Meanwhile, we in Ireland sit in traffic guzzling the (still plentiful) supply of oil others have made available to us — and you can be sure that wouldn’t be happening so easily if we had to beg for it from our friends in the middle east all by ourselves. Only a few days ago, yet another – fairly harmless and somewhat brave American – just doing his job helping to spread a bit of cheer and, yes, even freedom in a place that does really badly need it, gets shot on his way home from a party by thugs (maybe, just maybe, not unlike the ones who killed Ms. Bhutto) in Khartoum, along with his Sudanese driver, also an American State Dept. employee, and this is certainly not the first American to lose his life in a place like that, simply doing his job, with no absolutely malice intended as far as I can tell anyway.

    Bock, I suppose I can understand your disgust with stuff you see as cruel and arrogant. But, what we criticise in others, we really should also take some ownership for, like grown-ups. We happily take the benefits of the “dirty work” being done elsewhere without having to go and fight for them ourselves against people (- a specific type of people with a specific type of so called “Islamic” belief system, and not a creation of America by any means -) who would be only too happy to kill either of us, and themselves too in the process. We all live in glasshouses.

  26.  

    Collywobbles, if you want to stand in front of something good and true, look after yourself, your family and your community. That’s all you’re really accountable for.

    Apologies Bock, but you got me angry.

  27.  

    Collywobbles: I’m slightly confused by your contribution. Do you want me to do more or do you want me to do less?

    And as a supplementary for five points, maybe you’d deal with the parts where you think I’m factually wrong as opposed to the what-about ad hominem arguments you’ve been making so far.

  28.  

    Bock, I would like you to do a little differently I suppose: – Take a more balanced view of what America and its people do that helps improve things, and the risks they have taken that we have not, to build stuff that makes us all better off, and to rid the word of fascism and other nasty stuff in that vein. It ain’t all bad!

    Thanks Sniffle&Cry for your views. I think you may be onto something there. Much to consider…

  29.  

    Collywobbles: If you read the piece again, you’ll notice that it wasn’t actually about America. It was about Iraq and Pakistan. There is nothing balanced about the destruction of Iraq and to ask for a balanced view of it is absurd.

    Very few generalisations were made about the USA as a country except perhaps those you thought you read but if you have another look you’ll find that every paragraph is in illustration of the central point.

    I modified my previous comment, which you might have missed, so I’ll repeat it here: please stick to the point and say what areas in this post are factually wrong.

  30.  

    Not disputing any facts of yours Bock.. but I did think the part where you say: ‘Americans’ lack of irony also makes them blind to another fact: their entire nation has been hijacked by Bush and Cheney…’ is a little contemptuous and not true. They are not blind to this.

    In reference to you saying your post was not actually about America. Well what else is talking about all the flaws that you mention.. i.e their healthcare system,education, racism, judicial system about then?
    You know what I like about Americans that some people in Ireland and the UK mistake for showing a lack of irony or being overly sentimental, is that they value the attributes of being positive, sincerity and that cynicism and sarcasm isn’t a great thing. You may or may not agree with me there, it’s not to dispute any of your facts that I say that.

  31.  

    Audrey.

    You see, I didn’t introduce the relative virtues of different countries. Bush did.

    I wouldn’t be mentioning anything about the flaws of the US if their army wasn’t occupying Iraq and their government wasn’t lecturing us about freedom and democracy. Why would I? Every country has flaws, especially my own.

    However, when one country invades another it leaves itself open to special and searching scrutiny. If it justifies the invasion using the kind of moral criteria quoted by the Bush administration, it cannot be immune from the sort of comparisons I’m making here.

  32.  

    You know colly wobbles, you’re not the first to justify imperialism with words. It’s typical of empire to have word-smiths weld together some set of banal profundities, as an excuse for robbing and killing. My suggestion to you would be to stand up for yourself, and not be an apologist or a puppet. Or maybe you prefer it the way it is……….

  33.  

    Bock: Sorry it took me awhile to get back to you.

    I’d say, for example, the part of your post that begins with –

    “Americans don’t do irony, which is both their strength and their weakness….

    …and ends with…

    …. and it doesn’t matter how many American troops or Iraqi civilians are killed in the process. Just as long as Bush, Cheney and, of course, Halliburton, make a lot of cash.”

    – this is really far more your own opinion than objectively verifyable fact.

    Also, this bit –

    “It’s not necessarily a bad thing to have a feudal, tribal society. It works in many of the Gulf States.”

    – This statement could keep a college debating society busy for a year.

    Also, as far as justifying imperialism goes, the question arises as to what other empires might we be living in instead, and how might they have treated us, and others too? How might a Chinese empire take our criticism? Or an ‘Islamic’ fundamentialist empire, for example? How well do the Russians take criticism? Ask a Chechen.

    The French, the Brits, the Belgians, the Netherlands, the Spanish, the Chinese, and their dependencies and ex-dependencies (Sierra Leone, Congo, Indonesia, Timor, Sudan, Zimbabwe, etc etc….), their hands are all very dirty and bloody for sure. But, we seem to keep going on about America as a nation, and about the alleged stupidities of Americans as individuals, yet we really don’t seem to want to intervene to stop the slaughter in other places when we could if only we really were serious about it.

    I really hate the idea that any human being would be enslaved or oppressed by another. But, sadly, it seems to have always been happening, and still happens in too many places to far too many people, for reasons that have nothing to do with the USA. Indeed (in my experience), it is not unusual to find Americans working in these places, at some risk to themselves, when others won’t.

    (Sorry to go on at such length again; I hope it’s not wasted storage space on your server)

  34.  

    Collywobbles: don’t worry about taking up space on the server. That’s what they’re paid for.

    I don’t mind you disagreeing with my opinions, but you aren’t challenging any facts. You’re also bringing in a lot of irrelevancies. The article isn’t about France, Britain, the Netherlands, Spain or China, so why would I mention them?

    That’s a very old and rather feeble debating ploy: the old “what-about” to divert attention from the point. When the need arises, I’ll write about those countries, but this is about Bush and his talk of freedom, peace and democracy. Can you try to stay focussed please.

  35.  

    What you can’t see Colly and Audrey, is beyond you SUVs and your Kellogg’s cornflake lifestyles. Your refusal to see the situation for what it is, the rape of a nation or any nation who has the resources to keep your SUVs on the road, this denial is naïve in the extreme.

    I find this sad and when I think about it a little more, I can empathize with your potential loss of a fabricated life-style.

    But what stops you from seeing the slaughter right now, seeing the robbery right now.

    Your justifications are sometimes mistaken for arrogance by the countries you rape and pillage. Pause and consider a while.

  36.  

    Ah, finally! Another one of those rare blogs actually worth reading. Now when I have the time to do some decent research and spend more time reading your posts (I just got here ya’ know), I just might give Collywobbles a run for space.

    However, as a matter of introduction, I’m one of those American’s and a Cold War Submariner (fast attack) as well so my opinion, like those others who were considered insane enough to poke holes in the water during the Cold War, might be a bit less narrow (a lot) and a hell of a lot more dry and ironic than most folks (present company excluded).

    And since I just arrived and haven’t had much time yet, I’ll say this:

    The majority of American people at large (meaning the “average” American) are very aware of what’s going on, especially the younger generations who, when you get right down to it, are going to be the ones to do any changing (has it ever been otherwise?). And things do need changing…they always need changing to avoid becoming static. An the young I have increasingly noticed over the years have quite a different outlook on things. Almost makes me wish I had another 50-60 years to stick around and watch how they handle things.

    Bush and his cronies are (hopefully) the last of the “old school” where “big business” and the “Goog Ol’ Boys” club have had way too much influence on how things are run on capitol hill but it takes time to move a mountain. It’s moving now but we need to push a bit harder.

    The US of A is young yet. A cop out you say? Nope, just stating a fact. We have a lot of growing up to do yet. Hopefully we’ll reach some point of overall maturity before we destroy ourselves. Would be nice.

    Anyway, this is just my way of dropping by to say hello. The injuries I sustained during that aforementioned time under the water have finally taken me out of the workforce so I’ll have a lot of time on my hands to become a total nuisance. I’m looking forward to it.

    Oh by the way, I can verify that just about anyone can take a picture of a factory pouring toxic waste into a river and not be arrested for any reason. Anyone who actually were arrested for doing this we’re in the minority. You’ve been listening to the media too much. :P

  37.  

    Please forgive my lousy grammar. Having a bad day (healthwise) and it messes up my concentration.

  38.  

    Hello Kirk. Isn’t that a welcome change? A US visitor not calling me a knuckle-dragging fucking retard!

    Stick around. Vigorous debate is welcomed. Disagreeing with me is encouraged, even though I’m always right.

  39.  

    I could call you a knuckle-dragging fucking retard if it would make you feel better about things. I know how deviation from the norm can become uncomfortable after awhile. However, in my book, one has to earn such a honorable title as “a knuckle-dragging fucking retard”, not just have it plastered upon you by some ignoramus whose doesn’t know any better, yes?

    I’ve never met someone who’s always right before. Doesn’t that tend to get boring after awhile?

  40.  

    Well, it would be nice, I suppose, to be wrong occasionally, but it’s hard when you see how full of fucking idiots the world is.

  41.  

    Kirk M: Good to have your perspective. – I hope you do stick around, regardless of who you agree or disagree with.

    Sniffle: I don’t drive an SUV and I don’t eat Kellogg’s conflakes I drive a very fuel economic car in fact and generally will choose products made by smaller business over those pushed by the multinationals only because I like to give the small business person a chance in life where I can.

    Bock: I responded in my previous posts to your subjective assertions – not facts – about the American government, America as a corporate entity and about Americans as individuals (three different things), and I disagree with you on a few crucial aspects of your opinions on at least two of these. Your own post seemed to me to include everything but the kitchen sink and so you could have been more focuseed yourself: I don’t know, but maybe this will better address the issue: –

    As far as facts go, while it is of course truly awful that the USA/ UK v Iraq war ever started, it is a fact that, before it began, there was a truly awful tyrant in power who buillied and tortured at will, as did his son Ude (a democratically elected Iraqi leader in waiting no doubt, once he had figured out how to fix an election so that no one would dare to vote against him).

    Prior to the most recent war, there was also a truly awful and corrupt ‘oil for food’ (or was it food for oil’ – or was it the “loadza cash for me and to hell with you” programme?) – This little venture became horribly corrupt because the UN, the organisation charged with its management, was incompetent to run it properly. Even Kofi Annan’s own son was on the take! That’s actually more of a disgrace than Haliburton because it allowed public servants to avoid responsibility for a creating a situation that direcly enriched the few and starved the many, both of food and medical supplies. If the UN had done its job, the whole mess could have been avoided. Easily.

    This is not yet another ‘feeble’ distraction tactic as you call it, but it serves to highlight that the situation is far more complex than we are led to believe, and I for one, for all their faults, am prepared to say that things would be at least as bad, or worse, if America (and Britain, who had created Iraq in the first place for its own convenience) had not confronted Saddam. Yes, the pretext invented for public consumption may have been a load of rubbish. but I think there’s far more to all of it than meets our eyes. Awful as it is, it really was likely to have been even worse without someone saying to Mr. Hussein that he could not expect to get away with what he was at, and the UN and EU are (sadly) too compromised to be able to do that effectively.

    I guess you’ll say Hussein was the creation of America in the first place, and was allowed get away with a lot before anyone started to care: Partly true; Actually, he was a creation of a lot of circumstances. He was, as I think you will understand, the creation of a warring, factional, feudal society given to extremes, that would (in my view) have put someone even more awful in power if he hadn’t come along.

    You think America should have kept it self- interested, oil hungry nose out of things and let Iraq unfold ‘naturally’ from the time it was created? Sounds very noble but I believe that would have led to even worse crimes. It’s not that America is perfect (of course it’s not); only that it is no worse than the rest of us. And, it is really worth taking a hard look at how we – allegedly more enlightened and intellectually sophisticated than our supposedly dumb hick, irony-free American friends – behave on the international stage; We frequently rig things to suit ourselves at the expense of others in some serious ways. I realise you personally aren’t responsible for that(!) but it’s not irrelevant to say it.

  42.  

    Collywobbles: there’s progress. We agree that the pretext for the invasion was spurious. Everything else is only a discussion about how well or badly I expressed myself and that’s not for me to judge.

  43.  

    mmm… ok.

    sadly, governments rarely do explain the real reasons why they do things. I think that’s a universal feature of governments. they probably don’t trust us with the truth, and maybe they’re right….

  44.  

    Just to quickly touch on a few points:

    Situations such as Iraq are always more complicated than meets the eye. And the end goal is never what it may seem or even stated.

    The (American, UK, EU etc) public is only told what it needs to know, never the actual truth. They simply don’t need to know and believe it or not, this is all to their benefit. It all boils down to that “how you use it” point I made in my previous comment. For example; the public at large never knew and will never know just how close this world came to being turned into a nuclear nightmare. A person is smart…people are ignorant, stupid and panicky.

    From a Cold War veteran’s point of view, there are two (American) governments. The “real” government that is never seen or heard by the public and the “dog and pony” show we see, hear and read about everyday. We all get our fill of the “dog and pony” show so no need to get into that but it’s the “real” government that takes care of the world’s business and it doesn’t consist of just one government but several members. This is the entity that makes those 25 or 30 year plans and actually pulls them off simply because there’s no option of failure. Like the fall of the Soviet Union for example.

    This entity will stage a war in a country like Iraq to draw public’s attention away while the real and critical operation is carried out elsewhere. I would surmise that it was also a damn good way to get ourselves into the Middle East en force in preparation for something coming up, something on a much bigger scale. Only my guess here but it’s based on what I experienced in the past.

    Okay, I know…no facts, no figures but both you (Bock) and Collywobbles touched on a couple of good points that I just wanted to basically say…you’re right!

    Just to give you a taste of my rather warped mind. Just think of what might happen if I actually do a little research.

  45.  

    this blogging thing is addictive – I’ll have to take a few days off….this is like drinking, only harder work

    Kirk M: interesting thoughts, considering your background. you might be onto something.

  46.  

    Kirk, sounds like they didn’t break you hard enough when you were in training in the marines :)
    Sniffle, you’ve presumed I’m American it seems,with your stereotyping talk of SUVs and kellogg cornflake lifesytle, due to my lack of sweeping generalisations about Americans and my wanting to put out something positive about ‘them’. It’s not to dispute any facts as I’ve already mentioned that I did that. Or to justify anything. (incorrect presumption)
    I am in fact a proud Irish citizen, albeit one that uses a car the odd time for transportation (and eats cornflakes??! ) and enjoys Bruce Willis movies and likes the fact that I don’t speak German :) Danke schön, but no thanks.

    I’m not even of the opinion that there’s any logic, even a grim one that makes the ends justify the means. Probably why goverments have to hide a lot from us.
    I would never be happy about the loss of any life, (even a few ppl of an embassy from a real imperialistic nation such as China) because we don’t know the heart of any man regardless of his alliances. If that feeling seems to be justifiable to yourself, then you’ll understand a little easier the revelling that happened in some places after the 9-11 attacks..

    Sniffle, I do see the slaughtering that goes on now and since the dawn of mankind, but I think more importantly I understand the reasons for it. There was a reason why it’s been said Love your enemies, i.e. have no enemies..

    And Bock, I think you expressed your facts pretty well, as well as your sentiment. (which I think is always more important, oddly enough)

  47.  

    Isn’t this great? Everybody being nice to each other. Everyone agreeing with me.

    I don’t fuckin like it! Get fighting, people.

  48.  

    @Audry: Submarines actually and that would be the Navy m’lady. They taught us to think independently as well as working as a team. You also had to be insane by civilian standards. It helped.

    Fighting? Alright then. You’re all complete knee biters. Your mothers were hamsters and your fathers smelt of elderberries! I say *nee* to all of you. Now bring me a shrubbery!

  49.  

    Can I go to bed now?

  50.  

    Collywobbles, I’m the most impressed with your knowledge. It is addictive isn’t it.. if you’re taking a few days off you can come over here and give me a more in-depth education on matters if you’re able. :)
    Irish humour – it’s so mischievous I know :)

  51.  

    Thanks Audrey for that compliment. (- I’ll presume you’re not being ironic!)

    Actually I know llttle really, but have some strong views anyway.

    Bock: If it helps, I don’t agree with you in a few respects but, honestly, it’s such a big subject one could easily disappear up one’s own arse talking about it. I hate war, as I’m sure Americans generally do (no matter who starts it); We have the luxury to be able to talk about it and not have to fight it. We have really nice lives – thanks to painful sacrifices made by others, in my view – and I suppose I try not to forget that.

    By the way, I think this perception we have of Americans lacking sense of Irony is mistaken: I was frequently told by Americans when I first went to live there that I had no sense of Irony. Eventually it seemed I adapted to their particular sense of humour – at least in part, and those comments went away – until I came home to Ireland and was told – guess what – I had no sense of irony!

    I was about ready for the nuthouse at that point.

    I think we’re all completely loopy really: It’s only a question of which variety of insanity seems least harmful at any given point in your life. If you’ve ever read Catch 22 you’ll know what I mean.

  52.  

    Colly and Audrey

    It’s a bit sad that you can’t hear yourselves. Say your words out loud and see what you sound like. If you can avoid describing your views as patronising or superior, I’d be surprised.

    For the nation which gave the world capitalism (and yes, someone’ll take issue with that statement too), but from the nation which gave us ownership, you’d think that this nation, above all others, would understand theft.

    The oil doesn’t belong to you. NOT YOURS. LEAVE IT ALONE SO.
    THE OIL BELONGS TO THE ARABS. LEAVE THEM ALONE AND THEY WILL SELL IT TO YOU.

  53.  

    Oh dear Sniffle:

    I wish you could hear your own words. Yes, let the Arabs to themselves, and keep their damned oil. Let’s all invest in alternative energy and drive smaller cars, or better still let’s get the buses to run on time and have to cars at all. Absolutely!

    …And then let’s see how long we have to wait til we hear the first bomb go off. Trust me, it will still happen through no fault of ours.

    In my experience, the average upper class Arab (he of the privileged classes who supports his own government) has no time for you or me or Audrey, or our likes. He truly does not share our sense of Irony! He fears and looks down upon our ‘equality’ and civil rights agenda, and our personal liberties, and our Christian, or Jewish, or atheistic ways.

    I’d be glad to leave him all alone.

  54.  

    Sniffle,
    I don’t intend to be patronizing anymore than anyone else.
    I see the theft and slaughter you talk of. It’s been present in Ireland a while now.
    I don’t think capitalism arose in one particular nation due to the people only in that nation, but due to human nature. As the history of most countries will show you.
    And as I don’t live in an ideal world or am not a hobo and consume all the things that are conveniently provided by due to capalism I don’t tell others how wrong their way of life is.
    I think there is an unbalanced view of the U.S. sometimes, (especially ordinary citizens) that if isn’t balanced is the basis to perpetuate atrocities like 9-11.

  55.  

    Colly,

    I said leave their property alone, you come back with a transparent, soft green argument. Fits nicely with your closed off and brittle justifications for theft of a nation. You’re so far removed from the reality, that you believe you’re own shit and have become an important and willing fabric within a compliant soft under-belly, allowing yourself ( too easily) to be manipulated, allowing yourself to become immune to the slaughter of many for the benefit of a few. And I too also benefit, but at least I don’t couch my denials in bullshit.

    Audrey,

    Surprise yourself with you own nature and say out loud “it’s wrong for them to be there, and it’s wrong for them too kill” Nothing will happen.

    The problem is folks, that it’s the same old bullshit trotted out time after time. But it’s still their property, it’s their oil, and it’s their land. Don’t get too caught up in the judgment game, that’s the man’s way of wrecking heads.

    At least be truthful to yourselves.

    Hey Bock,
    Thanks for the opportunity.
    Sorry to hear about your Christmas ailment, and that fucking mindless violence shit. I see it happening too often these days. Really worries me for my kids and my Da. What can you do?

  56.  

    Sniffle: Well, okay I will admit there are decent Arabs, and good, honourable Muslims, who I really would never want to hurt. That remark about Arabs in my last post was a bit over the top. Actually, the Islamic (and Christian, and Jewish) idea that one should give help to people experiencing difficulty in life, and the emphasis on building a healthy family life and giving children a ‘moral compass’ to live by is admirable in ways, and we could do with a bit more of that here in my view. (See other topic on psychotic behaviour on this blog). Anyway….

    Just ask yourself, though, did the American government start all this, and could they have responded differently, given the circumstances, even if they never needed a drop of oil for themselves?

    What if they all had said, across the pond to Mr. Blair, “fuck off you english twat, this is none of our business. Go and get your own soldiers killed in a fruitless war in some country we barely recognize”?

    Here’s my hypothesis: –

    A great many Iraqi people – many (many) hundreds of thousands, would have been eeking out miserable (short) existences and dying quietly (off television) of painful, protracted, preventable disease, famine and civil strife while Saddam and his progeny lived it up extravagently at their expense, and this would have been set to continue unabated for many years to come despite feeble, non-enforceable UN resolutions about “food for oil” and torture of political opposition and the like.

    And, what might we — you, me and our friends, neighbours, countrymen, EU neighbours etc. –be doing about any of this?

    You have not responded at all to the issue I raised about corruption within the UN, and the real problems that posed for Iraqis far more than for us.

    In that sense, maybe you believe your own bullshit.

    Who supplied most of the chemical weaponry to Saddam Hussein – you know, the sort that was used to kill all those the Kurds and Iranians? Check it out. (No, not America,)

    Let me repeat: I hate war; It is terrible; it should be the absolute last desperate resort to deal with any issue, but no one has given any evidence thus far to show me that Not going to war would have been a good thing. Maybe you have some? If so, I’ll certainly give you a fair hearing.

    I think if Messrs Clinton or Gore had been in power they would have authorised the war too – eventually. Don’t forget the whole ‘war idea’ was publicized heavily (with his full cooperation) as being (quasi-leftie/sort-of socialist) Mr. Blair’s to start with. I hear no one calling him stupid.

    Interesting you identify ‘soft’ with ‘green’ by the way… I would gladly stop buying oil in the morning if I thought it would avoid a war anywhere. I wouldn’t see it as soft or particularly green. I’m really not sure it would matter. But, it seems you think it would, so….

    I don’t know anything about your lifesytle, but IF you see a direct cause-and-effect connection between oil and war, could you cut back on your oil consumption and promote that cause with your own friends, famly, and community?

    Do you, for example, buy home heating oil, or gas, or petrol, or cosmetics, or plastics, or other manufactured goods that were made with the use of oil, or do you take planes or ferries on your holidays or on business trips? Have you changed your lifestyle to put yourself on a higher moral ground when judging others?

    The simple notion that we could have let Iraq get on with business as usual and sell us oil at a fair price, and all would have been well, is a lie. (Sadly.)

    We are all victims of our own bullshit here, but we choose to look across the pond and laugh at the ‘stupid Americans’. That’s the oldest trick in the book and it’s rubbish – or ‘bullshit’ if you prefer that (American) term.

    That’s all I really have to say on this for now – unless some factual evidence comes to light to support one argument or the other – as it seems to have dragged on a bit, but please, anyone who wants to slag off my argument, feel free…Just don’t make any unfair assumptions about my state of mind or my lifestyle unless you do actually know me.

    Was it Abraham Lincoln who said “I might not agree with you, but I’ll defend your right to say it”. – Or, something along those lines anyway.

    (Thanks Bock for the forum)

  57.  

    Collywobbles: It’s not a forum. While I appreciate your efforts at responding, do you think you could keep your comments to less than a million words? It just makes it easier for everyone else around here. Ya know?

  58.  

    Right, people. This is turning into an unseemly squabble. Please knock off the personal sniping or I’ll have to close down comments on this post.

  59.  

    Too right oh mighty one, we had someone wanted to know how to start a new thread over on another post. tsk, tsk, the nerve….

    Mind youse, methoughts that thou didst like the odd unseemly squabble?

  60.  

    Bock: I can’t resist this one: You did ask us to get fighting in an earlier post. perhaps I missed the irony.

    (word count of this post < 30).

  61.  

    When you’ve been doing this a while you’ll understand the difference.

  62.  

    Hey Bock,

    I’m still not there on this one, but I’ll shut up anyway .

    Good luck

  63.  

    bock .. isnt the best way to destroy your enemies is to make them your friends

  64.  

    Don’t know. I’d have thought absolute annihilation would work too.

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