Reflections Liar, liar [Archives:2003/650/Opinion]

July 14 2003

By Sadaf Shah
For Yemen Times

One is absolutely astounded at the deceptive rhetoric of the world's most foolish pair of leaders, Bush and Blair. Is it just a fiction of my wild imagination or does anyone else also believe that these two should be held accountable for the numerous war crimes that they have committed not only against the people of Iraq, but also the people of Afghanistan and the whole Middle East in general? Why should they be immune from justice, just because one of them is a president of the world's superpower and the other a prime minister who is trying to restore the glory days of the 'crown'? It is imperative that they be tried in the name of justice that they themselves so passionately uphold.
The number of American casualties after the war is a clear indication of Iraqi mistrust of American intentions. Iraqis attacking American soldiers are not the last loyalists of Saddam Hussein as claimed by the Bush administration. These loyalists are of Iraq, resisting foreign occupation of land that belongs to them historically. Much the same way the Palestinians have been resisting against Israel. They are not terrorists, only freedom fighters. But, alas, this is something outside the narrow scope of Bush's understanding, 'you're either with us or against us'. He has chosen to view the world and everything in it as black and white, and ignored all the other beautiful colours that life can present to someone broad-minded enough to step away from their paradigms and prejudices.
In the history of the world, there have been thousands of examples of people believing something to be the absolute truth, and then with the greater enhancement of knowledge and passage of time, those 'absolute truths' have become mere myths. At one point, the whole world was believed to be flat, and who in the past knew about the existence of the pyramids buried for thousands of years underneath the Egyptian desert until just recently? When knowledge and opinion keep changing over the years, we cannot claim that our opinions are perfect. This has now been perfectly illustrated with the recent allegations against both Bush and Blair for presenting the world with fraudulent and exaggerated evidence against Iraq. The imminent threat of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, and the constant reminder not to forget the horror of 9/11 has been the tactic of the Bush administration to win support for the waging of war. Notwithstanding the fact that more people have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan than were on 9/11.
I am not of the opinion that the victims of 9/11 should be forgotten. However, how can they be remembered respectfully by ruthless killing of innocent people? 9/11 never justified the war in Afghanistan and Iraq. Sure, the world was rid of repressive regimes, but they had been in power long before the tragedy of 9/11. And, where do you stop? Israel has been practicing ethnic cleansing for half a century now, are Bush and Blair ready to view her as an 'imminent threat' with 'weapons of mass destruction' and so 'must be disarmed'? How many more resolutions will Israel have to ignore before Bush declares, 'enough is enough'?
The road map to peace in the Middle East is already showing signs of ending up in the junkyard of the previous Mitchell and Tenet plans with deadlines past and no cessation of violence by either side. Israel continues to expand settlements, and Hamas continues with its suicide bombings. Both using the other's non-compliance to justify its actions. And who gets 'squashed' in the middle? The average innocent civilian, both Palestinian and Israeli. Arrogance is the only threat to peace in all conflicts, where one side views itself above the other. This is the situation now in Iraq as well, where the American administration has so far failed to install an interim government, or restore basic facilities, or even security despite having won the war “heroically”. American arrogance is evident in the way they treat Iraqi prisoners, or suspected militants. It is evident in American foreign policy, and it is evident in its decision to disregard all human rights conventions concerning court hearings and fair trials of “suspected terrorists” who will be tried in American military courts, with American prosecutors, defense lawyers, judges with easy access to the death penalty. Who is to say the so-called 'criminals' will get a fair trial for they will be tried behind closed doors, without the watchful eye of the world!
It has now also been proven that the U.S did target media outlets in both Afghanistan and Iraq in an effort to cripple the information coming out of the war torn countries about civilian casualties and the destruction of the bombing campaigns that made the coalition forces look 'bad'. The careless bombing, the illegal use of cluster bombs, and the destruction of infrastructure are live eye-witnesses of the injustices inflicted upon already distraught nations.
This is the extent to which the world's superpower is also the world's biggest hypocrite. On the one hand, they (and by that is referred to the Bush administration and to some extent Blair as well) advocate freedom, justice, and peace, while on the other hand exercise the most blatant forms of oppression, discrimination, and racism against those not yet proven guilty without a doubt.