Winter in America

Gen­er­al William West­more­land, US Com­man­der in Viet­nam, when asked about Viet­namese civil­ian casu­al­ties:

Yes it’s a Prob­lem but it does deprive the ene­my of the pop­u­la­tion, doesn’t it?

I have to say some­thing about this. I’m almost speech­less and I’m not very good at this sort of thing but I have to have my say any­way.

The first thing, once the hor­ror of what has been wrought has sub­sided a lit­tle is how in gods name did we get to this place.

I remem­ber New Year’s Eve as the mil­len­ni­um turned. There was, and I think it was a glob­al thing, such hope, a tan­gi­ble feel­ing at that very moment, that a cor­ner had per­haps been turned. That some­how we were going to be able to put the 20th Cen­tu­ry and all the spilt inno­cent blood, state spon­sored as most of it was, it rep­re­sent­ed, behind us.

But, alas, we reck­oned with­out 9/11, and, worse, we reck­oned with­out George W Bush and his bunch of self-serv­ing scoundrels and camp fol­low­ers. And yet, in ret­ro­spect, it was all rather obvi­ous. That Iraq would fall vic­tim, soon­er or lat­er to Amer­i­can impe­r­i­al demands was inevitable, even under the Democ­rats, as Mrs Clinton’s whole­sale con­tin­u­ing sup­port for this blood­bath makes clear.

I want to scream lots of four let­ter words, a litany what­ev­er else comes out mind­less­ly. Maybe it will help me feel bet­ter about the shit­ty place these pricks have tak­en us all – and par­tic­u­lar the peo­ple of Iraq – to.

I lis­ten to the news and I hear Bush dis­miss­ing this survey’s results and I want to say, you shit­ty sleazy prick all over again. What does it mat­ter if it’s 50,000 or 500,000 dead as a result of your liable actions, how dare you try to lessen what you have done, to make excus­es or dis­miss these num­bers so cru­el­ly. You despi­ca­ble fuck­ing human being, once again defend­ing the inde­fen­si­ble; writhing and worm­ing your way around your lia­bil­i­ty. As I said, what does it mat­ter if it’s 100,000 or 800,000, the blood of each and every one of those peo­ple is on your hands.

Then, pre­dictably, there are those who say that most of these deaths are the result of Iraqi on Iraqi vio­lence as if that too lessens the respon­si­bil­i­ty of the “coali­tion”, and in par­tic­u­lar the USA. That these peo­ple would not have died if it had not been for the dis­hon­esty and deceit of the elect­ed gov­ern­ment of the Unit­ed States, with the col­lec­tive respon­si­bil­i­ty that democ­ra­cy and the much-tout­ed free­dom brings, is with­out ques­tion, and to deny it only deep­ens the respon­si­bil­i­ty.

Respon­si­bil­i­ty is such a big part of this: a respon­si­bil­i­ty to accept what has been done in your name and accept the respon­si­bil­i­ty to both make an attempt at a res­o­lu­tion and make some sort of amends, what­ev­er each takes. And that doesn’t involve, as so many Democ­rats want, wash­ing your hands and walk­ing away. A solu­tion has to be found and if that involves many many bil­lions more of Amer­i­can mon­ey so be it. My gut says that the world will nev­er for­give the Unit­ed States for this, regard­less of its gov­ern­ing par­ty, if they don’t. But, I have to be real­is­tic and I don’t hold any out any hope that the US will do the right thing. The coun­try that gave the world the Mar­shall Plan no longer exists. It’s dead and buried in Fal­lu­jah and a thou­sand oth­er bloody places around the globe, in the ham­lets of South Viet­nam, and the vil­lages of Guatemala.

So many of us have been accused, in recent years, of being Anti-Amer­i­can. I know I have and I’ve strong­ly and repeat­ed­ly denied the accu­sa­tion. I’d like now to with­draw that with­draw­al and proud­ly state that I’m firm­ly Anti-Amer­i­can. Not Anti-Amer­i­cans mind, but strong­ly and proud­ly, like it seems so many are now (the cho­rus of approval for Chavez in NY recent­ly was tan­gi­ble), Anti-Amer­i­can.

Quite frankly fuck Amer­i­ca and all the pain it’s deliv­ered to the plan­et in the past fifty years, from the death squads in Cen­tral Amer­i­ca to the pain of South East Asia to the cur­rent Impe­r­i­al mega­lo­ma­nia of the Mid­dle East. How much death can one nation sub­ject the plan­et to in the name of its damned gift of free­dom. Chavez might be a lit­tle bit tin pot but I applaud him stand­ing up at the UN and stat­ing what much of the plan­et is say­ing. And I also say a big fuck you to the Demo­c­rat Con­gress­man from NYC who crit­i­cised him for say­ing what he did, stat­ing that only Amer­i­cans have the right to crit­i­cise Bush. Mr Rangel, your pres­i­dent is a liar, and a mur­der­er of many many non-Amer­i­cans so take your com­plic­it whinge and stick it some­where.

So where do we draw the line? When do we say enough and make peo­ple account­able? Fifty-five years ago in a Ger­man city called Nurem­berg good peo­ple, many of them Amer­i­can, made a bunch of evil peo­ple account­able for their actions. Now the Amer­i­can gov­ern­ment, elect­ed as they are by the peo­ple of the USA, are the bad guys who need to be made account­able for their actions, for their state sanc­tioned breach­es of the bound­aries that we try to gov­ern our world by.

My friend Damien Christie warned me about link­ing the Nazis’ crimes and the Bush admin­is­tra­tion and I under­stand the fine point but dis­agree. Pure evil is pure evil, espe­cial­ly when per­pe­trat­ed under the guise of state pol­i­cy, and Bush and his lieu­tenants are as guilty as those Nazis who were strung up in Nurem­berg, and indeed Sad­dam Hus­sein, cur­rent­ly on tri­al for heinous crimes in Bagh­dad of a great and pun­ish­able evil. They lied, they con­tin­ue to lie, they had a rea­son­able under­stand­ing that their actions would bring us to this place, or if they didn’t they are guilty of crim­i­nal neg­li­gence, and yet they will­ing­ly took us, and in par­tic­u­lar, the pop­u­la­tion now sub­ject to their whims, to this place. We have to draw the line some­where but Bush, Cheney, Rums­feld, Blair and com­pa­ny walk freely, sleep sound­ly, increase their net worths, smile as they face the press, and lie and twist with­out a momen­tary obvi­ous con­cern for the hell they have wrought.

Scum.

And once the troops are home, Amer­i­ca will analyse a lot, but most­ly for­get and in twen­ty years Bush will have a state funer­al. He will be giv­en a get out of jail free card, as Nixon was.

I don’t want to come on as too self-right­eous­ly naive, but, fuck it all, I despise them for it.

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