Bushmen who rule the world
October 24, 2004
By Raffique Shah
THERE was a time when, in criticising successive US governments' foreign policies, I made a clear distinction between the American people and their government and its various agencies. Now I am not so sure there is a clear demarcation between the two. Oh, I know there are millions in America who see George W Bush and his associates for what they are-hypocrites who use God's name to wreak the kind of misery on people less-equal to them in a manner only Satan would. But when all the polls suggest that in the upcoming elections Bush is likely to beat John Kerry, it tells me that many, if not most, Americans, have fallen into the Orwellian mode in which they can be easily manipulated any which way by their misleaders.
Let me establish my position on Bush and Kerry: I do not believe they are poles apart in their policies, either domestic or foreign. Should Kerry win, we are hardly likely to see any dramatic change in Iraq since Bush has left little by way of an escape route for his soldiers and their country. They have created hell out of what was a relatively normal country as Middle East governments go (some of them have far worse human rights records than Saddam Hussein did). Now, to extricate themselves, they will leave behind scorched earth in a once-thriving nation, and take home with them personal time-bombs in the form of depleted uranium and the multiple crippling conditions that flow therefrom. Add to that the warped minds that are moulded in rubble of an unjust invasion and occupation, as evidenced by barbaric actions at Abu Gharaib and Guantanamo, and you have the Gulf War Syndrome, a chilling sequel to the Vietnam Syndrome.
In both domestic and foreign policies, Kerry will have little leeway to institute change. America's traditional ruling class, the big industrialists and corporate fat cats, will continue to pull the strings that dictate what the puppet in the White House does. Not only will a President Kerry not be able to get out of Iraq easily, but he will have hell rolling back the generous tax cuts Bush gave to the wealthy, or to reinstate the medical and other social benefits that poor Americans could fall back on-before Bush. Even if he has the will, Kerry would not be able remove the "ugly American" image that has spread around the world like wildfire. A recent poll in Europe (including Britain) showed that if Europeans had to vote in the US elections, Bush would be dead meat.
Readers must be aware of the minor differences between the two main parties in the US, much the way they remain elsewhere in the world, including Trinidad and Tobago. Which is why the two-party system that is so highly touted by those who want to maintain the status quo has turned off the majority of people worldwide. Why vote when you know you are seeking to replace Tweedledee with Tweedledum? So many Americans will simply refuse to be part of the charade that passes for democracy in their country. Still, in the current circumstances in which Bush and his Bible-toting, foot-stomping, maniacal supporters seem to have established a lien on power, a warmer, more sensitive Kerry, comes across almost as a breath of fresh air-which he is not.
But this presidential election is of critical importance since it may very well determine the fate of the world. Bush's policy of "pre-emptive" wars-hit them before they hit us-is a recipe for worldwide disaster.
In Iraq, for example, where Saddam ruled over a secular state (Christians, Sunnis, Shias and the rest were forced to live in relative harmony), terrorism and fundamentalism have been the result of his unjust invasion. Iraq's instability could well have a ripple effect throughout the Middle East. Now that Iran has tested its long-range missile, its government is telling the world: "We are now ready to talk nuclear!"
And while I am no fan of fundamentalists of any persuasion, I cannot help but agree with Tehran. Why should Israel and India and Pakistan be allowed to have weapons of mass destruction, and Iran and North Korea be excluded? Who decides what is a "rogue state", what is an "axis of evil"? If I were questioned on the latter, I would point at the Pentagon.
So a re-elected Bush will be forced to take on Iran, which would be quite a different story to Iraq. Worse, with his armed forces stretched to their manpower and equipment limits (witness the virtual mutiny in the ranks last week), he will more than likely rush in like a fool where angels fear to tread. By then the entire Middle East would be engulfed in turmoil-the Saudi monarchy, already teetering, would more than likely be toppled. That would mean a domino effect in all the Arab countries.
In other words, the recipe for a full scale nuclear war in that region will become a distinct possibility, since Israel would feel most threatened, and remains the country most likely to first use nuclear weapons. It has nothing to lose but stolen land and a few million lives.
Yet, Americans do not see this bigger, grimmer picture. In fact, and this is a sad indictment against the people of the most powerful nation on earth, they do not see beyond their noses. Which is why Bible-toting quacks, who preach fire and brimstone against sins ranging from homosexuality to paganism (any religion that is not Christian), blindly support Bush.
Matters not to these bigots that Dick Cheney's daughter, who mans the Republican campaign headquarters, is an avowed lesbian. Or that the hatred they preach against those who are of different religious persuasions is contrary to all edicts of the very Bible they swear by. They, and they alone, will dictate how this world will be run, how it will be policed, who will die and who will live.
Meanwhile, wallowing in their collective stupidity, they fail to see that America is mired in debt that seems to be intractable, that they (in their individual capacities) owe more than they can ever pay, that they, more than anyone else on earth, are the main culprits in global warming that's wreaking havoc on all the world. The wild hurricane season we experienced this year was not accidental. And from what scientists say, worse is yet to come, more so if America fails to rein in its insatiable appetite for fossil fuels.
If Americans have this burning desire to return to the bush, no pun intended, then let them be. For Bushmen they are cavemen who rule the world.