Bush, Blair and their crude morality play
In the early days of America the native Indi ans preparing for battle sounded their war drums as the invading white man took their lands. In later years the native Indians were forced into signing treaties with the American government that confined them to reservations.

Some of those treaties which the Indians hoped would be faithfully observed by those who forced them into such agreements, were broken. Some Indian tribes beat their war drums again as they took to arms against such duplicity.

"White man speak with forked tongue", they said in anger and desperation.

Today the war drums sound again in America as a president burning with evangelical zeal prepares to lead a reluctant people into war with an enemy several thousand miles away.

President George W. Bush's personal transformation from a bottle-scarred youth to a Bible-waving Puritan partly accounts for his vision of the world seen in stark terms of black and white, of good and evil.

In the aftermath of the tragic events of September 11 and the consequent "war against terror", Bush claimed to have realised the divine calling of his office. "He was not involved in a legitimate defence of the national interest but a Manichean struggle between good and evil", as author Tristam Hunt ably put it in a recent article. Mani was a Persian prophet whose religious teachings were based on the supposed primeval struggle between light and darkness.

Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush snr. saw the then Soviet Union as the "evil empire". But the collapse of the Soviet Union left the reformed George Bush jnr without the dark forces of evil that confronted his father and the American nation.

So President George Bush has set out to lead the religious crusades of the 21st century into the same lands as the 11th century crusaders, and founded his own evil empire- the Al Qaeda, Taliban and Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. And here in Britain, the war drums are sounding their staccato beat like some distant echo of the noises emanating from the White House and the Pentagon.

The drum major is nobody else but the prime minister of this country Tony Blair who has increasingly assumed the governing style of an American president than a British prime minister.

Blair's own war-like speeches over the last few weeks about the dangers to the civilised world from dictatorial regimes such as that of Saddam Hussein might have mesmerised his master at the White House, but has certainly not convinced the vast majority of the British people or their elected representatives, as Bush has failed to carry the American people on unilateral American military action against the Iraqi leader.

Increasingly Tony Blair is being characterised as Bush's pet poodle and as the two bulls that are preparing to charge the china shop without any serious consideration for the consequences.

Yes, New York's twin towers symbolised American corporate power that had spread its tentacles worldwide. Yes, the Pentagon represented US military strength that has been often misused and abused since America entered the last world war against Japanese imperialism and German Nazism and its dreams of lebensraum.

But have the terrorist attacks on these two symbols of American global power in any way diminished that power and made the American leadership any more conscious of its international obligations? Rather, has it not roused a latent imperialism that has been with right-wing presidents since the gradual diminution of Soviet power and the official end of the Cold War?

Those who listened to President Bush addressing the United Nations on Thursday, urging the world body to accept its responsibility and damning Saddam Hussein to purgatory for consistently ignoring UN resolutions would have been convinced of his sincerity had they been ignorant of or oblivious to, 20th century history.

President Bush might be far better informed of corporate boardrooms and shady big businesses such as Enron, than of American foreign policy including the period when his father served in the White House.

Had he paid as much attention to these aspects of his country's history and the consequences of his own actions in the past few years he would have sounded less hypocritical and less certain of America's moral purity.

On September 11, America mourned for what happened one year earlier. It might have been an appropriate day to mourn also for what happened 19 years earlier when the United States helped topple the democratically elected president of Chile, Salvador Allende who was later executed along with several of his leading supporters. The military coup brought to power General Augusto Pinochet, whose pro-American foreign policy was heartily welcomed in Washington.

The fact that during Pinochet's 17- year rule, thousands of Chileans (and others) were tortured, executed, locked up and thousands of others simply disappeared, did not disturb America's moral conscience.

A couple of years back, the Blair government did a quick cover up and only got rid of Pinochet after a month or more in London when a Spanish judge asked London for his extradition to be charged for violating human rights.

Even Mr Blair, who only the other day told trade unionists that he could not live with his conscience if they did not move against Saddam Hussein, found no conscience racked with guilt at allowing a mass murderer to remain here while his government argued about the legality of the extradition.

Why this tolerance? Because Pinochet passed on intelligence to Britain during the Falkland War against Argentina- Pinochet's enemy-and saved British lives.

So Mr Blair is ready to pay a "blood price" to the US by committing British troops to battle.

But these two great democrats- Bush even spoke of democracy in the UN speech- are willing to drag their countries to war when all public opinion polls in both nations reject unilateral military action and the elected representatives are sharply divided.

But most hypocritical of all is the fact that Saddam Hussein, evil personified in the perception of Bush and Blair, was the creature of the western powers.

The Satan then was Iran's leader Ayatollah Khomeini who had ousted from the peacock throne the Shah of Iran, guardian of the Gulf and a puppet of the west. Because the west feared that Iran's militant Islam was a danger to the pro-western Arab states in the Gulf and therefore a threat to western( particularly American) oil supplies, they encouraged Saddam Hussein as a counter, just as they did the Taliban and Al Qaeda until they turned against the US.

When Saddam invaded Iran in 1980, these present advocates of political and moral rectitude such as US and UK remained silent, but under cover helped the Iraqi leader.

It is strange that Bush and Blair talk of Saddam using chemical weapons against the Iraqi Kurds in 1988 but make no mention of the chemical weapons used against thousands of Iranians including civilians in 1983.

Why? Because Iraq was then their friend and the Sunni Arab bulwark against Shiite Iran.

The two Bs insistence on fighting terror and evil is just a fig leaf for their moral nudity.
Like in Afghanistan, the fear is that the west will lose their oil supplies, particularly if the pro-western Gulf leaders fall from their sheikdoms.

Good and evil is the moral cover. Beneath it lies oil.

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