It gets weirder and weirder. As his helicopters are falling out of the sky
over Iraq, President Bush tells us things are getting even better. The more we
succeed, he says, the deadlier the attacks will become. Thank God the Americans
now have a few - a very few - brave journalists, like Maureen Dowd, to explain
what is happening.
The worse things are, the better they get. Iraq's wartime
information minister, "Comical Ali", had nothing on this; he claimed the Americans
weren't in Baghdad when we could see their tanks. Bush claims he's going to introduce
democracy in the Middle East when his soldiers are facing more than resistance
in Iraq. They are facing an insurrection.
So let's take a look at the latest
lies. "Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom
in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe," he told us on Thursday. "Because
in the long run, stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty." Well
said, Sir. George Bush Jr sounds almost as convincing as, well, Tony Blair. It's
all a lie. "We" - the West, Europe, America - never "excused and accommodated"
lack of freedom. We endorsed lack of freedom. We created it in the Middle East
and supported it.
When Colonel Ghaddafi took over Libya, the Foreign Office
thought him a much sprightlier figure than King Idriss. We supported the Egyptian
generals (aka Gamal Abdul Nasser) when they originally kicked out King Farouk.
We - the Brits - created the Hashemite Kingdom in Jordan. We - the Brits - put
a Hashemite King on the throne of Iraq. And when the Baath party took over from
the monarchy in Baghdad, the CIA obligingly handed Saddam's mates the names of
all senior communist party members so they could be liquidated.
The Brits created
all those worthy sheikhdoms in the Gulf. Kuwait was our doing; Saudi Arabia was
ultimately a joint Anglo-US project, the United Arab Emirates (formerly the Trucial
State) etc. But when Iran decided in the 1950s that it preferred Mohammed Mossadeq's
democratic rule to the Shah's, the CIA's Kim Roosevelt, with Colonel "Monty" Woodhouse
of MI6, overthrew democracy in Iran. Now President Bush demands the same "democracy"
in present-day Iran and says we merely "excused and accommodated" the loathsome
US-supported Shah's regime.
Now let's have another linguistic analysis of Mr
Bush's words. "The failure of Iraqi democracy," he told us two days ago, "would
embolden terrorists around the world, increase dangers to the American people,
and extinguish the hopes of millions in the region." Here's another take: the
failure of the Bush administration to control Israel's settlement-building on
Arab land would embolden terrorists around the world, increase dangers to the
American people and extinguish the hopes of millions in the region. Now that would
be more like it. But no. President Bush thinks Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
is "a man of peace".
And then there's that intriguing Bush demand for a revolution
in undemocratic Iran. Sure, Iran is a theocratic state (a necrocracy, I suspect),
but the morally impressive President Mohamed Khatami, repeatedly thwarted by the
dictatorial old divines, was democratically elected - and by a far more convincing
majority than President George Bush Jr in the last US presidential elections.
Yes, "democracy can be the future of every nation", Bush tells us. So why did
his country support Saddam's viciousness and war crimes for so many years? Why
did Washington give its blessing, at various stages, to Colonel Ghaddafi, Hafez
Assad of Syria, the Turkish generals, Hassan of Morocco, the Shah, the sleek Ben
Ali of Tunisia, the creepy generals of Algeria, the plucky little King of Jordan
and even - breathe in because the UNOCAL boys wanted a gas pipeline through Afghanistan
- the Taliban?
A break here. Fouad Siniora is the finance minister of Lebanon.
He is a believer in the American way of life, a graduate of the American University
of Beirut and a former lecturer there, an ex-executive of Citibank. He has a valid
American visa in his passport. Yet he has been telephoned by the American embassy
in Beirut to be told he will not be permitted entry to the US.
last year he gave $660 at a Ramadan fast-breaking iftah to a charity that runs
educational projects and orphanages in Lebanon. The organization is run by Sayed
Mohamed Fadlallah - once described by the Western press as the "spiritual adviser"
to Hizbollah. CIA sources long ago revealed that they tried to kill Fadlallah
- they failed, but their Saudi-prepared car bomb killed 75 civilians - so Siniora,
an Americanophile to his fingertips, is persona non grata in the US. Fadlallah
is not Hizbollah's "spiritual adviser" - so he could hardly withdraw his support
for its victory over the Israeli army in Lebanon three years ago - but the loony-tune
"security" legislation in the US has deprived Siniora of any further contact with
a country he admires.
Yes, roll on democracy. Bring 'em on. The new "Rummyworld"
war on terror is in Iraq. Ban the press from filming the return of dead American
soldiers to the US. Liberty is what it's about, democracy. "Accommodating the
lack of freedom in the Middle East", indeed. We created this place, drew its borders,
weaned their grotesque dictators. And we expect the Arabs to trust Mr Bush's promise?
© 2003 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd