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Published in the 16-31 May 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Ugly American

From denial and feigned ignorance to acceptance to apology to conceding that more damaging stuff is yet to come, a lot has changed for the Neocon clique in Washington. The Neocon agenda of grabbing the world resources under the smokescreen of the war on terror may well have been buried in the dungeons of Abu Ghraib.

Brave Iraqi resistance fighters’ job has been half accomplished by those photographs which showed to the whole world the despicable nature of the Ugly American: ruthless, rootless, uncouth and arrogant as anyone can be on this planet. Rumsfeld stands naked but a beleaguered president in a re-election year cannot chuck him out as that would logically lead to his early exit as well. What we have watched since 28 April when the CBS showed some of the least explosive photographs is plain damage control only because the photographs came out.

The habitual criminals who have done it for decades in dozens of Asian, African and South American countries and allowed their protegé Israel to do it with impunity in occupied Palestine, are claiming today that it is against American values, whatever that may mean. The world has only suffered whenever these values crossed American borders in any direction. Even within their own borders these values meant death, destruction and slavery for millions of Red Indians and blacks. What happened in Abu Ghraib goes on in Guantanamo and in Afghanistan where 3000 were killed in captivity including hundreds who were allowed to die out of suffocation. The value-loaded Americans did not spare even 12-year old girls in Abu Ghraib’s torture and rape chambers. Arabs’ worst enemies too have been involved in the scandal. Israel's criminal Mossad has been training the Americans how to interrogate and torture Arabs - the 'hoods' and torture techniques are right out of the Israeli playbook.

Hundreds of Iraqis have been "picked up" in random sweeps and then "interrogated" in the hope that one or two might be from the resistance - a little more extreme from the way Muslim immigrants were treated in the US after 9-11 when hundreds would be arrested and subjected to physical and psychological mistreatment in the hope that one or two of them might turn out to be "terrorists."

Letter columns in American newspapers betray these values: people are not disgusted at the crimes of their leaders and soldiers; they are only concerned that the publication of these damning photographs will “endanger” the lives of “our boys” who are killing, maiming and destroying thousands of lives and have flattened two countries in a row using the 9-11 excuse. The lives, honour and dignity of the victims have no meaning to the self-seeking American leaders who apply two sets of laws: a civilised one for internal use and a jungle law for foreign consumption. This is why America has opted out of the International Court of Justice and the Bush administration has been busy concluding bilateral agreements with countries not to hand over Americans to the international court. Aid has been cut off from countries which voted for the international court.

An international thug has every reason to fear an independent court. American presidents starting from Reagan to Clinton to Bush have been lobbing bombs into other countries on slightest pretexts, sometimes for domestic or even personal reasons as Clinton did during his Monica scandal.

At this point of time value-based America is holding two presidents of sovereign countries in its prisons: Panama’s Noriega held in a Miami jail since the American invasion of his country in December 1989 and now Saddam Husain. The US armed Saddam to the teeth while he was fighting America’s war against Iran, then pushed him into the trap of invading Kuwait once the war was over and the large arsenal in Iraqi hands had to be destroyed lest it harm America’s protegé, Israel. The American ambassador in Iraq, April Glaspie, gave a green signal to Saddam to invade Kuwait. Soon America brought its fleets to liberate Kuwait and the retreating Iraqi army was butchered in what the value-loaded Americans called “turkey shoot.” They killed hundreds of thousands of retreating Iraqis on their way out of Kuwait. Crippling sanctions were imposed on Iraq for a decade, killing two million Iraqi children and rendering a prosperous country into a sub-saharan economy. And when Iraq was weak enough, 9-11 was used (though Iraq had nothing do with those events) to invade the poor country. The value-loaded Americans could not even enter into an honourable fight. They bribed Saddam’s generals with millions of dollars each so that they do not put up a fight... After the despicable Saddam was gone, Iraqi people started a resistance movement, their birthright to fight and defeat an aggressor. Now the value-loaded Americans started to disseminate lies that these are remnants of Baathists, Saddam loyalists, foreign fighters and so on and so forth. They could not stomach that sons of the oldest civilisation on earth know what to do when an aggressor, in this case the arrogant sons of the youngest civilisation, plans to enslave them because somehow their country was endowed with oil wealth.

How insensitive to the victims these value-loaded Americans are may be gauged from President Bush’s remark on April 23, 2004 that “the world should thank Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for his plans to withdraw settlements from Gaza” which remains under Israeli occupation since 1967 and which will be used as a bargaining chip to usurp large chunks of the West Bank and to enlarge the illegal Israeli settlements there. This statement may very well go down in history as the most insensitive and insulting one ever uttered by the leader of a nation. 

— Zafarul-Islam Khan

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