15th February 1998

A ganglord is a ganglord

By Rajpal Abeynayake

‘‘Take out’’ in everyday parlance used to refer to fast food which could be taken away. In recent times, ‘take out’’ is a new Westernism that is being used to describe eliminating people. Euphemistically, Western TV crews talk of the merits of “taking out’’ Saddam Hussein.

The Americans for instance tried to take out Fidel Castro in the past, but Castro decided he is not going to be the American’s hamburger . Now the Pope goes to see Castro, and Mr. Fidel has acquired respectability that is far out of proportion with the image of the “crazy’’ that the Americans tried to append to him.

The reigning American villain is Saddam Hussein. According to Western television, Saddam Hussein is as mad as a hatter which is why generally polite boys such as Tony Blair get very frenetic when they talk of Saddam .

Though Saddam Hussein has not helped his cause by invading Kuwait and by using chemical weapons to destroy the Kurdish uprising, the Americans too support an international regime that has imposed economic sanctions on Baghdad.

Though many Iraqi children are the direct victims of these sanctions so far nobody has suggested that the American leadership is deranged for imposing them on Iraq.

Past American Presidents have invaded places like Grenada and dropped napalm bombs on civilians in notorious massacres such as the Mai Lai, without qualifying for the lunatic appellation. So how does Saddam necessarily become a lunatic if past American Presidents were not lunatics even though they did some of the same things that Sadaam does?

Somebody else who wears a moustache quite like the one Saddam Hussein wears, by the name of Uncle Sam also possesses weapons with which he can destroy a good part of civilisation. The point about Saddam Hussein is that he is only a small time tough while Uncle Sam is a big time operator who among other things owns the police station going by the name of the UN security council. The psycho spin that dominates the TV channels emanating from the West now is that Sadaam Hussein is unpredictable which is why he should be “taken out’’ like a beefburger.

But while we are on the subject of predictability Uncle Sam seems to be predictable if Saddam Hussein is not. Predictably America plays policeman when the international community has not sanctioned it to, so there is a predictable character to America’s thugishness.

But the American predictability is also associated with the power to project aggressiveness as a humanitarian exercise.

There is no question that America is committing a transgression by seeking to send troops to Iraq when there is no international sanction for that. That of course by simple logic should make America an international villain which appellation Hussein has earned. But generally the mightier villain prevails and in this gangland scheme of international things the Uncle Sam ganglorld is the worthy who keeps the peace by quelling spurts of chaotic aggression by other ganglords. But methinks a ganglord is a ganglord.

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