Behind the Jargon Lie Thousands of Dead

Polite society’s bombers may not have to wait long
for round two. The US vice-president, Dick Cheney,
warned last week that America could take action
against "40 to 50 countries." Somalia,
allegedly a "haven" for al-Qaeda, joins
Iraq at the top of a list of potential targets.
Cheered by having replaced Afghanistan’s bad
terrorists with America’s good terrorists, the US
defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, has asked the
Pentagon to "think the unthinkable,"
having rejected its "post-Afghanistan
options" as "not radical enough."

Polite society’s bombers may not have to wait long
for round two. The US vice-president, Dick Cheney,
warned last week that America could take action
against "40 to 50 countries." Somalia,
allegedly a "haven" for al-Qaeda, joins
Iraq at the top of a list of potential targets.
Cheered by having replaced Afghanistan’s bad
terrorists with America’s good terrorists, the US
defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, has asked the
Pentagon to "think the unthinkable,"
having rejected its "post-Afghanistan
options" as "not radical enough."


Somalia will provide an ideal practice run for the
final destruction of Iraq. However, as the Wall
Street Journal reports, Iraq presents a
"dilemma," because "few targets
remain." "We’re down to the last
outhouse," said a US official, referring to
the almost daily bombing of Iraq that is not news.


Having survived the 1991 Gulf war, Saddam
Hussein’s grip on Iraq has since been reinforced
by one of the most ruthless blockades in modern
times. Safe in his British-built bunkers, Saddam
will survive a renewed blitz – unlike the Iraqi
people, held hostage to the compliance of their
dictator to America’s ever-shifting demands.


In England, veiled propaganda will play its usual
leading role. Like the attack on Afghanistan, the
issue will be how "we" can best deal
with the problem of "uncivilised"
societies.


The most salient truth will remain taboo. This is
that the longevity of America as both a terrorist
state and a haven for terrorists surpasses all.
That the US is the only state on record to have
been condemned by the World Court for
international terrorism and has vetoed a UN
Security Council resolution calling on governments
to observe international law is unmentionable.


Recently, Denis Halliday, the former assistant
secretary general of the UN who resigned rather
than administer what he described as a
"genocidal sanctions policy" on Iraq,
incurred the indignation of the BBC’s Michael
Buerk:


"You can’t possibly draw a moral equivalence
between Saddam Hussein and George Bush [Senior],
can you?" said Buerk. Halliday had referred
to the needless slaughter of tens of thousands of
Iraqis, mostly civilians, by the Americans during
the Gulf war.


He pointed out that many were buried alive, and
that depleted uranium was used widely, almost
certainly the cause of an epidemic of cancer in
southern Iraq.


That the recent history of the west’s true crimes
makes Saddam "an amateur," as Halliday
put it, is the unmentionable; and because there is
no rational rebuttal of such a truth, those who
mention it are abused as
"anti-American."


The twin towers attacks provided Bush’s Washington
with both a trigger and a remarkable coincidence.
Pakistan’s former foreign minister Niaz Naik has
revealed that he was told by senior American
officials in mid-July that military action against
Afghanistan would go ahead by the middle of
October.


The US secretary of state, Colin Powell, was then
travelling in central Asia, already gathering
support for an anti-Afghanistan war
"coalition." For Washington, the real
problem with the Taliban was not human rights;
these were irrelevant.


The Taliban regime simply did not have total
control of Afghanistan: a fact that deterred
investors from financing oil and gas pipelines
from the Caspian Sea, whose strategic position in
relation to Russia and China and whose largely
untapped fossil fuels are of crucial interest to
the Americans. In 1998, Dick Cheney told oil
industry executives: "I cannot think of a
time when we have had a region emerge as suddenly
to become as strategically significant as the
Caspian."


Indeed, when the Taliban came to power in 1996,
not only were they welcomed by Washington, their
leaders were flown to Texas, then governed by
George W. Bush, and entertained by executives of
the Unocal oil company. They were offered a cut of
the profits from the pipelines; 15 per cent was
mentioned. A US official observed that, with the
Caspian’s oil and gas flowing, Afghanistan would
become "like Saudi Arabia," an oil
colony with no democracy and the legal persecution
of women.


"We can live with that," he said. The
deal fell through when two American embassies in
east Africa were bombed and al-Qaeda was blamed.


The Taliban duly moved to the top of the media’s
league table of demons, where the normal
exemptions apply. For example, Vladimir Putin’s
regime in Moscow, the killers of at least 20,000
people in Chechnya, is exempt. Last week, Putin
was entertained by his new "close
friend," George W Bush, at Bush’s Texas
ranch.


Bush and Blair are permanently exempt – even
though more Iraqi children die every month, mostly
as a result of the Anglo-American embargo, than
the total number of dead in the twin towers, a
truth that is not allowed to enter public
consciousness.

The killing of Iraqi infants, like the killing of
Chechens, like the killing of Afghan civilians,
is rated less morally abhorrent than the killing
of Americans.

[ also see related items:

Uri Avnery on the Holy Alliance, Past and Present – http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1579

Rabid Journalists and Pundits Push Bush to Extremes – http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1579

War on Terror: False Victory – http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1563

U.S. Bombs Al-Jazeera and the BBC Off the Air – http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1562

Al-Jazeera TV Leads the New Arab Free Press – http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1555

Civilian Casualties We’re Not Hearing About in the U.S. – http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1554

The War in Afghanistan 101: 47 Questions and Answers – http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1539

U.S. is Dropping World’s Biggest Non-Nuclear bomb in Afghanistan – http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1553

Taliban Agreed to Bin Laden Handover in 1998 – http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1545

Channel 4 News Special Reports: Oil Rush – http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1537

Are You A Terrorist? Read the FBI’s Definition! – http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1531

US ‘Planned Attack on Taleban’ – http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1528

The Oil Behind Bush and Son’s Campaigns – http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1513

Bush’s [May 2001] Faustian Deal With the Taliban – http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1491

Remembering the Last U.S. Retaliation Against Terror – http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1482 ]

Author: John Pilger

News Service: The New Statesman – 23 Nov, 2001

URL: http://pilger.carlton.com/print/88462