THE SPIN: FREEDOM
I tried to watch the war on television some last night. It made my head hurt. Carl says he's ready to abandon the word "freedom" since it has become meaningless. I hate giving up such a beautiful word to those who would abuse it. But I understand the sentiment.
The new spin is that the Americans are "liberators" of the Iraqi people. Who can argue with that? Sadaam Hussein is a bad man, right? He has committed atrocities against his "own" people. He used the wealth of his land for his own means. He scares his people on a regular basis. I heard a young Iraqi being interviewed on CBC radio a couple of nights ago. He said Americans and Canadians could not understand what it means to live without freedom. Americans and Canadians have freedom. The dictatorship of Hussein is absolute and overpowering. He is right, of course. I don't know what it is like to live under a dictatorship. I'm certain that the oppressions this man felt in Iraq are quite foreign to my life.
But he is also wrong. America is not the land of the free for all Americans. It never has been. The fact that the Americans got good at masking their atrocities and oppressions does not make them the great liberators. Their track record speaks for itself: Black Slavery and subsequent Apartheid, Native massacres, the gap between rich and poor, Korea, Cuba, VietNam, Cambodia, Chile, Grenada, Panama, Iran, Iraq (Sadaam, the early years). Isn't it ironic that the Iraqis are turning to the very people who taught Hussein how to make these "weapons of mass destruction" to "liberate" them? Oh, yeah, it's a spin. My guess is that the Iraqis are probably uneasy about this liberation. They probably understand better than I do exactly what the American influence is capable of creating in a foreign land.
For those of us who have never been in a country "liberated" (though, I often wonder if Florida and the Southeastern United States shouldn't count -- but I'll leave that discussion for another time): read Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategies, Forces and Resources for a New Century a report by The Project for the New American Century (PNAC), published in September 2000 (that's two months before the coup by Bush and one year before the attacks on New York and Washington). This document is long and difficult to read, but it is important to understand that the current militarism isn't just in reaction to terrorist attacks. It is a philosophy espoused by America's leadership. This philosophy is about American domination. If you don't think the PNAC document is influential on Bush's policies, consider who the members of PNAC include: Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
So the spin may sound good: Liberation!! Freedom!! All hail the conquering rescuers. But I fear for the Iraqis after the fact. Only a strong United Nations would have made it possible to keep American aggression in check and now the security council is just there to pick up the humanitarian pieces after the war.
This is not a good time for this planet. Not a good time at all.
THE SPIN: FREEDOM