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The Fallacy of Righteous America

By Ghali Hassan

13 June, 2004
Countercurrents.org

“God is not on the side of any nation, yet we know he is on the side of justice. Our finest moments have come when we have faithfully served the cause of justice for our own citizen, and for the people of other land”. George W. Bush.

It is easy to read words without knowing how corrupt language can be. Most people “know” that God is on the side of justice. However, in America “justice” is defined according to American standard. The media act as a megaphone for those in power to propagate America’s “justice” and America’s “divine mission” or the “messianic mission”, as it is called in mainstream media, to bring “democracy” to the Middle East and the world.

The American war on Vietnam that killed more than 3 million Vietnamese people was portrayed in America as a “just war” to “defend” the world from the threat of communism. The opposite was true. Many years later America’s elites acknowledged that the war on Vietnam “was a mistake”. It was one big atrocity. The U.S. army was forced to leave Vietnam. America’s imperialism in Vietnam has suffered a stunning defeat at the hand of peasant and defenceless people. The result of the war was: Vietnam is a country left shattered and its people suffering from America’s immoral war.

For more than a decade the U.S. is engaged in an illegal war against Iraq. In 1991, the U.S. orchestrated the first U.S. war on Iraq, followed by more than twelve years of genocidal sanctions and bombing, which decimated the Iraqi society, and took the lives of more than two million Iraqis.

According to UNICEF, the sanctions against Iraq resulted in the death of 500,000 Iraqi children under the age of 5 years old. In May 1996, “60 Minutes” correspondent Lesley Stahl asked Madeline Albright, US Ambassador to the UN: “We have heard that half a million children have died [as a result of sanctions]. I mean, that is more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it”? Albright responded: “I think that is a very hard choice, but the price, we think, the price is worth it”. UNICEF estimated that the under-5 infant mortality in Iraq in 2001 was 109,000, which has a population of 24 million, compared with about 1000 in Australia, which has a population of 20 million. Iraqi death toll is not being reported and publicly discussed, fearing it will amount to genocidal war crimes against those responsible for the wars (1).

To increase the destruction and atrocities wrought by the sanctions, the U.S. and Britain continued to bomb Iraqi infrastructure for thirteen years. Professor Joy Gordon quotes a Pentagon official: “What we were doing with the attacks on infrastructure was to accelerate the effect of the sanctions” (2). Many thousands of children died as a result of contaminated water and the inability of hospitals to function without electricity and running water. What right does America has to destroy nations and killed so many innocent human beings?

Former assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury, Dr. Paul G. Roberts, writes: “America’s brutal and barbaric 14-year old policy toward the Iraqi people has reduced a literate and emerging country to rubble. Soccer fields are turned to graveyards. Two decades of infrastructure accumulation is destroyed. Hundreds of thousands of families are impacted by deaths or injuries. A population is impoverished. Why”? The former secretary asks (3).

This followed by the second U.S. war on Iraq, which rightly condemned and called by many law experts as the “supreme crime [that] contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole”. The London-based health organization MEDACT reported last November a rough estimate of between 22,000-55,000 Iraqi dead, and also reported rising maternal mortality rates, near doubling of acute malnutrition, and an increase in water-borne diseases and vaccine-preventable diseases as a result of this crime (also cited in Noam Chomsky, ZNet 09 June 2004). The war completed the destruction of Iraq infrastructure.

Both American wars on Iraq were unnecessary and were based on fabricated pretexts. All along, the U.S. war machine showed little concerns for civilians and civilian infrastructures. The people of the “free world” rarely saw the full horror of “shock and awe” that the Iraqi children saw. A former president of the Australian Liberal Party, Mr John Vader, has recently called for war crimes trials of the leaders of the occupying forces in Iraq, adducing the illegality of the war (4). Gideon Polya, an Australian scientist calculated the death of Iraqis and concluded that in “ignoring mass human mortality in Iraq amounts to holocaust denial” (1).

All this is conducted with total Western media compliance in service of power, and in the name of “democracy”, and “moral” authority. “This collusion of the Western media in the epic crime in Iraq is rarely discussed. Saddam Hussein regime is now [America’s and] the West’s moral compass” (writes John Pilger). To be fair, Saddam Hussein was never a “champion” of “democracy” and never an advocator of “human rights”. These are the “virtues” of the West. Saddam was unique in his own way. He was a dictator not unlike many who have been welcomed in the White House. He jailed and tortured dissidents, and (at the same time) he allowed Amnesty International and the Red Cross to do sightseeing of Abu Ghraib. Saddam proved to be rational, and anti-war activist. Sadly, America’s atrocities against the Iraqi people surpassed those of Saddam’s by many folds.

How can those “intellectuals” and “social libertarians” in America and the West know that Iraqis are better now that Saddam and the sanctions are removed? On the contrary, the sanctions continue and Saddam was much lesser problem then than invasion and occupation. From an Iraqi point of view, since the invasion and occupation of Iraq by U.S-British armies, Iraqis are now jailed, tortured and murdered randomly by brutal foreign invaders. Iraqi women and girls lost their freedom to venture outside their homes, and gave up their education for safety. Kidnapping and extortion are daily business. Iraqis have lost the good days of Saddam’s free food rations. Most Iraqis are unemployed, and they have barely enough for surviving. The unique Iraqi health services were destroyed, and the schools, and universities of once proud nation are converted to American army barracks. America is joining the OPEC cartel to sell Iraqi oil on the free market and skimming the profits. Asian workers are replacing Iraqi workers, and Iraq is becoming a dumping ground for subsidised and contaminated U.S. products. Saddam is gone, but the people who replaced him were once his worst thugs. The “liberators” piggybacked them to Baghdad and immediately put Saddam’s aftershave on. For Iraqis, democracy is becoming a fantasy, like the “weapons of mass destruction” fantasy. Iraqis are left bewildered about Western virtues.

President George W. Bush, believes because he has been “born again”, “nothing [he] dose can be challenged on moral grounds, however unethical or evil it might appear, because all of his actions are directed by God. He can twist the truth, oppress the poor, exalt the rich, despoil the earth, ignore the law--and murder children--without the slightest compunction, the briefest moment of doubt or self-reflection, because he believes, he truly believes, that God squats in his brainpan and tells him what to do” (5). Furthermore, according to Bob Woodward, the author of Bush at War, the president has told his advisers that he does not worry about alienating other nations. “At some point we may be the only one left” he has said. “That’s OK with me. We are America” (6). Iraq already is showing the cracks in the American empire’s foundation and may prove to be the prelude to its inevitable crash landing.

George W. Bush, writes David Moberg, “was reasserting the powerful and dangerous collective self-delusion that America is a uniquely privileged nation, set apart from history and embodying a divine mission. This deep-rooted sense of American exceptionalism that goes back to the Puritans underlies the justifications for the creation of a new, benign American empire” (7). Sadly, most Americans don't have an opinion about their country foreign policy. “Worse than that”, Ramsey Clark, former attorney general said, “when they do think about it, it's in terms of the demonization of enemies and the exaltation of our capacity for violence”. According to Richard Falk, the distinguished Professor of International Law and Practice, “this Iraq war is a war of aggression and, as such, that it amounts to a Crime against Peace of the sort for which surviving German leaders were indicted, prosecuted and punished at the Nuremberg trials conducted shortly after the Second World War”(8).

In response to the new U.S. imposed restrictions on travel to Cuba, president Fidel Castro told George W. Bush recently: “You have neither the morality nor the right to speak of freedom, democracy and human rights. No one is born equal in the U.S. In the black and Latino ghettos and on reservations for the natives there is no other equality but that of being poor and excluded”(9). In a word, no nation has the right to invade and subjugate other nations to foreign views.

According to Buddhism philosophy, “right action means to act kindly and compassionately, to be honest, and to respect the belongings of others. The same type of energy that fuels desire, envy, aggression, and violence can on the other side fuel self-discipline, honesty, benevolence, and kindness”. It follows, had America behaved in self-discipline, honesty, benevolence and kindness manner; the world, including America would be a safer place to live for every human being.

My advice to Americans is to take a hard look in the mirror, and ask yourselves why your country is committing horrendous terrorist acts on the soils of other countries. The destruction of Iraq and the horror brought forth by American war on the Iraqi people, and America’s other countless atrocities rob America of all moral authority and idealism.

Ghali Hassan lives in Perth, Western Australia. He can be contacted on: G.Hassan@exchange.curtin.edu.au

[1] Gideon Polya, Iraq death toll amounts to a holocaust, Australasian Science, June 2004, http://www.control.com.au/bi2004/255conScience.pdf
[2] Joy Gordon, Cool War, Harper’s Magazine, November 2002. http://harpers.org/CoolWar.html.
[3] Paul G. Roberts, A country Destroyed, 20 April 2004, http://lewrockwell.com/roberts/roberts38.html.
[4] Mark Forbes, Iraq conflict like Vietnam, says Fraser, The Age, 09 April 2004.
[5] Chris Floyd, The Revelation of St. George: “God instructed me to strike Saddam”. Counterpunch.org /floyd06302003.html.
[6] Bob Woodward, Bush at War, Simon & Schuster, 2004.
[7] David Moberg, Imperial Barbarians, In These Times, 25 May 2004.
[8] Richard Falk, Resisting the global domination project, Vol: 20, issue 08, April 12-25 2003.
http://flonnet.com/fl2008/stories/20030425004002300.htm
[9] Faiza Rady, ‘Cuba sera pronto libre’, Al-Ahram Weekly No. 691, 20-26 May 2004.