Is this really what America is all about? [Archives:2003/638/Opinion]

June 2 2003

Hassan Al-Haifi
Anyone, who has lived in the United States for many years, studied there and freely intermingled with the different elements that make up the vast melting pot of every ethnic background, is bound to come to the conclusion that in many respects, the US is one of the most successful social experiments of all time. If one goes further and delves into the history of this dynamic country, then one can not help but recognize that the founders of this nation surely had great foresight in laying down the foundations on which America stands and projects itself to the world. The history of that great nation is so full of great men, who every now and then came to insist that these foundations were to be upheld and promoted to produce the optimum of social cohesion, with all due respects to individual and community rights. Having said all that, one is not blinded by the fact that Americans, like human beings everywhere are not infallible. Moreover, there are also important institutional arrangements that sometimes go beyond what the average Americans may come to have a real grasp of, or their ability to recognize that these arrangements are in fact working against the long term interests of the overwhelming majority of Americans. This does not, by all means, imply that the American people are gullible. Anyone, who lived in the United States during the late Sixties and early Seventies of the Twentieth Century, would quickly refute such a presumption. Yet any perceptive observer of the current scene in the United States is bound to conclude that for some un American reasons, America is being led to behave out of context of what America stands for and what Americans really believes in. On the other hand, one is really surprised to find that American public opinion has in fact become so sedated with a deliberate streak of erratic vengeance pumped into the vast majority of media channels. One might come to even believe that the American people are not really aware of the dubious intricacies that have come to shape American foreign policies and the important role that interest groups have played in the shaping of such a policy. For sure, these interest groups were not recently born or popped out of nowhere. Yet American leadership in the past in many cases had the cunning to determine where lines should be drawn in submitting to these interest groups. This American White House Administration has, as far as any familiar observer can see, for all intents and purposes, not shown that important caliber of leadership one has seen in many previous administrations – Clinton, Johnson, Kennedy, Eisenhower, Roosevelt, Wilson, Lincoln etc, just to name a few. These were men who, when one reads about them or reads or hears their speeches, one is bound to sense the awesome caliber of intellect and vision that project the output which America can produce at its optimum. What went wrong? For sure the present Administration of George W. Bush will be looked upon sooner or later as one that has not proven in anyway that it is shouldering the responsibilities that America bears as a world power of uncontestable strength. Nor does one sense that the Administration is at all capable of projecting its own visions, if it truly has any at all. One is also bound to believe that power, with the least concern about credibility, is just meaningless servitude to narrow interests and for all practical purposes “mob rule”. Yes, one fully understands that America went through a horrible trauma on September 11, 2001, but what we are seeing is that this trauma is being dangerously played out as an excuse for vested interests to play on the emotions of a generally well-intentioned American public, not to mention the added contempt towards the views of America's closest friends overseas and international mass public opinion. Yes, it is becoming ever so clearer that reason in the United States, which was and continues to be said and written was not allowed the deserved attention it should have gotten by the American people. Oh yes, there was a lot of reason being said and written in the United States before and after the First Undoubtedly Unjustifiable War in US History. Even now such sensible views are sneered at by the well paid doublethink wizards behind these vested interests [even here in Yemen, we have received emails that emanate from such wizardry, which never argue any specific points, but turn to dubious remarks of “being sick”, or “anti Semitic” (does it not occur to these attackers that it would be downright stupid for a Semite to be Anti-Semitic?). The observer has also seen how “hawks” have childishly turned against those Americans, who saw and still see no justification for the invasion of Iraq, and very little wisdom in a lot of the nonsense that the Bush Administration is proving to be in all its manifestations. Yet, we have yet to see any of the justifications put out by the hawks for this dangerous precedent in American foreign policy come to light. In fact, these same demagogic interests are already seeking new fields to extend their invasion fever: Syria, Iran and possibly even innocent but proud Lebanon – all with the same dubious rhetoric and play on emotions of 9/11. However, knowing America and knowing Americans, reason is bound to come back and prevail in the United States. The simple reason for this is that the Administration and the dubious councils and committees and the obvious mischievous interests behind them, that are having the upper hand now in dictating American foreign policy have failed in the all important credibility test (near zero). Surely they cannot expect to rely on fooling and misleading a sensible people ad infinitum. We know America and Americans better than to believe that.