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NAMA Politics war World

Peace, Freedom and Democracy

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

Categories
Favourites war World

Stop Press: Benazir Bhutto Killed

Breaking news. Bhutto murdered. Is anyone surprised?

When word of Benazir Bhutto’s murder came in, I immediately referred the matter to our political analyst Colonel Bleep. (You might recall that Bleep and I have had some influence on the Indian sub-continent in the past, though we’re entirely blameless in this present case).

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What’s our position on the Bhutto killing? I demanded. We need to put out a statement.

His reply didn’t take long.

Benazir much closer to UK / USA than her father, the message read. She is seen as more acceptable than Pervez Musharraf. Islamists want to eliminate her, but so do Musharraf and Nawaz Sharif, and both would be glad to blame Islamists. The attack on Sharif makes it even more confusing.

I might add that the US and the Uk could also be seen to benefit. Having put forward a supposedly democratic option, they could now claim with credibility that their strong-man is the only one who can impose order on Pakistan. I ask myself if Bhutto was as much a puppet as Musharraf is, and if her intended role is now complete as far as the US and UK are concerned.

Nothing is clear at the moment, but it seems to me this killing couldn’t have been achieved without the connivance of the Pakistani security forces. This kind of operation, in my opinion, could not be carried out without careful planning, inside information and cooperation from the intelligence services. Whether Musharraf is behind it, or Islamists within the State apparatus isn’t clear, but it’s hard to imagine the elections going ahead now, with any credibility. On the surface, it looks like the cavemen are flexing their muscles, but I’m wondering if something deeper and more subtle is afoot. Maybe this is simply a way of bolstering Musharraf, or of replacing him with Sharif.

This is a very dangerous time for Pakistan. I’ll keep a close eye on developments and update when I have more information.

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UPDATE

Al-Qaida claims responsibility.


Send for Ghoti of the Yard

Categories
Crime Humour Politics Religion war World

Suicide Bombers

Well, another day, another atrocity.

MacDara commented on yesterday’s post that religions should get better killers.

It reminded me of an old post, from back in the days when very few people read this site.  It seems appropriate.

Imagine Being a Dead Muslim

Categories
Politics World

Benazir Bhutto

UPDATE Since this post was written, Benazir Bhutto has been murdered. The post about that is HERE.


Original postI’m out for a quiet evening with friends when my phone buzzes that irritating text-buzz that I must change some time.

It’s Colonel Bleep.

Watchin news from Karachi?, the message says.

Oh no! I think. Dear God, not again!

You see, in the old days, when Colonel Bleep was probably Corporal Bleep, and I was nobody at all — not even the disembodied internet presence I am today — we were in the habit of meeting up at an undisclosed watering hole during working hours, to discuss matters of great national and international import. And football. With drink. And driving.

We were a disgrace. I admit it, and we’re still a disgrace, with drink but without the driving. Did I mention being considerably older?

I digress.

In those days, meeting up at an undisclosed watering hole, we noticed a disturbing pattern emerging.

The first hint we noticed was just as Bleep was about to order our fourth round of drinks, when a hush fell over the pub. The barman turned up the news, and we learned of Indira Gandhi’s assassination. Now, I have to admit I was a little biased against Indira. It wasn’t too long since I’d read Midnight’s Children (. . . the Widow’s hair is green and black . . .) and my sleep patterns were just coming back to normal, so I wasn’t massively desolated by the news. But still, I had to admit it was a bit of a shock. After all, you couldn’t have all these Gandhis being assassinated all the time. And not just Gandhis! Ali Bhutto was whacked not all that long before, by Zia ul-Haq. What the hell was India coming to?

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Bleep turned to me. I turned to Bleep.

Jesus, that’s serious.

Pint?

Yep.

A short four years later, we found ourselves in the same undisclosed watering hole, tucking into our third round of pints when a hush fell over the pub and the barman turned up the news. General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq had just been killed in a mysterious air-crash.

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Bleep looked at me. I looked back at Bleep.

Do you know what? he said.

What?

These nefarious meetings of ours are having a disastrous effect on the Indian sub-continent.

True, I replied. Pint?

Yep!

We never again met at that undisclosed watering-hole, and it seems to have worked, because there were no further assassinations of Indian or Pakistani leaders.

Well, that’s not strictly true. I thought I’d gloss quickly over the unexpected exit of Rajiv Gandhi the following year, but Devin was too quick for me and swiftly saw through my subterfuge. The truth is, we only had one quick shot at the bar, thinking it would take at least three to do any lasting damage. How wrong we were.

That was why Bleep’s text message worried me so much.

Karachi? I replied. You can’t mean . . . ?

Indeed, came the ominous reply. Benazir Bhutto convoy attacked.

But, I texted back, we’re not at the undisclosed watering hole.

Indeed not, answered Bleep. And just as well. Bhutto safe!

Thank God we never again drank in that pub.
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See also

Benazir Bhutto Killed

Imagine being a dead Muslim

Peace, Freedom and Democracy

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kick it on kick.ie

Categories
Humour Politics

For a few rupees more

What’s with all this effigy-burning in the Indian sub-continent?

The last controversy I mentioned here was the Shilpa Shetty outcry in India which, you might remember, involved the famous Bollywood actress being verbally attacked by Jade Goody, a lard-monster. Well, on that occasion, there were villagers in the remotest mountain redoubts setting fire to effigies of everybody involved. Amazing.

And then, at the weekend, we saw the incredible spectacle of riots in the streets because Ireland beat Pakistan at cricket. Riots! Death-threats! More effigies!

Even more incredible is the fact that, wherever an effigy is burned, there you will find a Sky News tv crew. Isn’t it amazing how Sky is able to find out that a crowd of viillagers are about to burn an effigy, half way up the side of the Himalayas? What’s more, they’re able to find out weeks in advance because it’s no easy thing, I imagine, to get a tv crew up the side of a mountain.

Oh yes. Effigies and India. You can’t have one without the other.

I just had an idea, and it’s going to make us all rich.

I’m going to open a chain of effigy shops right across India and Pakistan. Forget the silly scarecrows you see on television. These effigies are going to of a high-class sort, yaar. Indeed. I’m going to offer the discerning effigy-burner such a range of choice that he won’t know where to turn.

What to protest next? he’ll be asking himself. All these possibilities.

I’ll start with your basic mannikin, suited to the villagers’ limited resources, but make no mistake: the quality will be the same right across the range. Your basic effigy will be anatomically correct, in case the villagers want to castrate it, or fuck it, depending on the direction their anger takes them. For a few rupees more, you can have a life-like latex mask and of course that opens up other possibilities. You might remember my idea for sex aids which continues to bring in vast quantities of money. Well, if you’re particularly enraged, you might opt for the embedded tongue-vibrator so that you can humiliate your new effigy before you set fire to it.

I mean, imagine forcing your George W Bush effigy to suck your dick before you set fire to him. If you really wanted a buzz, you could set fire to the effigy and then try to fuck it, but we’d have to print a disclaimer on the back of its neck. Fucking this dummy while on fire could lead to severe injuries. That kind of thing, you know, but these are mere details. What enraged villager would not want to have such a fine effigy?

Another step up involves implanting a voice-box so that your effigy can plead for mercy. Oh Jesus, no, not that, please, oh Jesus please not that nooooooooo! That kind of thing. It’ll cost a bit extra but it will be worth it. You can have any voice you want. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Mother Teresa. Bambi. Frodo Baggins. The Rolling Stones. Gandhi.

This is going to make us all so wealthy.

I’m preparing a special Spielberg effigy for the rich movie fuckers in Bombay. It’ll be fireproof so they can burn it over and over again every time he wins an Oscar.

kick it on kick.ie

Categories
Sport

Pakistan vs Ireland

Well, it’s hard to know where to go from here. You see, originally I was going to write about the reaction in Pakistan to the defeat of their cricket team by Ireland, but in the circumstances that seems a bit insensitive. After all, a man has died and despite what you might hear about me, I’m not a complete monster.

Ok. Explanations are necessary for our transatlantic cousins. These days I’m conscious that – for whatever reason – Bock seems to have developed a substantial American readership. God knows why this is. Perhaps they recognise a fellow lunatic. A future president. No really, I’m not going to invade anywhere, I promise, but the reason I mention it is simply because of the need to explain.

So. For our American readers, here’s what’s going on. Ireland are in the Cricket World Cup. You didn’t know that? Good. Neither did I until yesterday. You’ll have gathered that cricket is not a majority sport in Ireland. Neither is [tag]rugby[/tag], except in Munster, and especially here in Limerick where it isn’t so much a [tag]sport[/tag] as a religion. Everywhere else in Ireland, rugby is a form of ritual followed by the more successful thieving classes who can afford to send their children to private schools. Thus we have a ready-made class divide. Dublin middle-class gobshites versus Limerick working-class thugs who win everything and are much better at rugby. Hahahahahaha.

Enough puerile sneering. Ireland are in the cricket world cup, and yesterday they beat Pakistan.

Now, how could I make a comparison? Well, it’s like Jamaica winning the skiing competition. It’s like Saudi Arabia winning the cross-country race. It’s like Mexico winning the World Series. Well, it isn’t but you know what I mean. It’s like Ireland beating Pakistan. In rugby terms, it’s like Pakistan beating Ireland. It’s ridiculous.

People who never heard of cricket are so excited by this that they’re saying things like Really?

Now, all this would have been great – especially on a day when we should have, but didn’t, win the six nations, except for the awful news today, that the Pakistan coach died. Appalling news, and we don’t have the full details yet, but it takes much of the gloss off the victory.

What I was originally going to write about was the reaction in Pakistan to the defeat. I thought it was great that they came out on the streets burning effigies and demanding the execution of the team captain and the management. Great, I said. that’s the kind of spirit we need in Ireland. Fuck it, if we had that kind of support for our soccer team, we wouldn’t be hammered by the likes of Cyprus, for fucksake. But then, when I heard that a man had actually died as a result of all the maledictions, I began to revise my view.

I began to think, what if? The thought occurred to me, how could we build a following in Pakistan? It just seems obvious to me that this is the future of Irish soccer. I mean, what a great thing it would be if, every time we get beaten by some unknown tiny European island team of barbers and postmen, our supporters would start to focus. And they would beam evil thoughts at the Football Association of Ireland. And the FAI would all drop dead.

Wonderful.

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