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IN A FEW days, a US president with more blood of innocents on his hands than any president since Richard Nixon and Lyndon B. Johnson will step down.

George W. Bush, son of a former, one-term incompetent, will leave the White House unrepentant that he set in train events that have taken the lives of hundreds of thousands of non-Americans (as well as more than 4000 American military personnel).

They were lives he saw as expendable “in defence of Americans and the American way of life”.

Bush has failed in Iraq. He has failed in Afghanistan. He has failed on Israel/Palestine. He has failed on Iran. He has failed on North Korea. He has failed in Africa, even on AIDS (by allowing his fundamentalist born again-Christian prejudices to prevent more effective use of the money he committed).

And, at home, he was asleep at the helm while the world’s biggest economy lurched towards catastrophe; and he will never be forgiven by the people of New Orleans for his Katrina ineptitude.

As his calamitous presidency wore on, Bush revealed to the world that he is even dumber than he was thought to be when in late 2000 — through sibling trickery in Florida — he stole the top US job from Al Gore.

George W. Bush is destined to be remembered as the greatest presidential disaster since US independence.

The tragedy for the US (and the world), is that, in September 2001 — a time when the West most needed strong, courageous, considered leadership — it had as its commander-in-chief a malevolent simpleton manipulated by a dangerous pack of neocon pals of his ex-CIA chief father.

And across the Atlantic, panting to lick his backside, was a narcissistic British leader just waiting to do something big, something dramatic, something he would be remembered for.

Tony Blair, a Christian (but dithering over his denominational preference), was ready to jump just as high as Dubya asked him. And he did, in the process getting his hands covered in the blood that still sullies those of his American master.

And now (try not to laugh), Blair is a Middle East “peace envoy”.

Here in Australia, we had a pocket-sized, belligerent sycophant just dying to tie tighter the knot that has bound us to Uncle Sam’s apron strings ever since, in the mid-1960s, PM, Harold Holt raved on about going “All the way with LBJ”, and his Liberal-Country (now National) Party coalition proceeded to put at risk the lives of luck-of-the-draw Digger conscripts (in the killing fields of Indochina) just to keep the east and southeast Asian anti-communist dominoes upright.

What a tragedy it has been for the West!

What a tragedy it has been for the world!

When we most needed a wise response to a spectacular and embarrassing but far from mortal wound to American pride — September 11, 2001 — we had at the helm of the most influential Anglo nations two of the most irresponsible leaders in Western history.

And Howard?

And, in Australia, we had a PM who was already condoning inhuman policies — with the diligent assistance of an Amnesty-member immigration minister — that would result in children, some from infancy, being deprived of their childhoods by having to spend them in razor-wire enclosures, some for more than a decade.

The fear of anything not-quite-white was palpable in much of our community. What an opportunity it was for John W. Howard and his cabinet to leap in and massage those fears to gain support for immoral, cowardly, murderous 40,000-feet onslaughts on innocents in lands that to this day trigger unwarranted uneasiness in our Judaeo-Christian psyches.

And, with parliamentary support (extracted by deceit in the case of Iraq), Howard sent our troops off to start wars.

A man of his political experience — stretching back over the better part of three decades in which he had become probably our most slick politician — should have known better than to have relied on the intelligence of spook bodies notorious for their incompetence.

You name any national intelligence gatherer — ASIO, JIO, CIA, KGB, MI5 . . . — they are all synonyms for words that mean “getting it wrong”.

Afganistan and the Middle East

Afghanistan? A reasonable case could have been argued for a brief intervention in retaliation to September 11, 2001. The evidence still indicates that Al Qaeda operatives were/are in its mountains, and, in 2001, they were there with the blessing of the then ruling fundamentalist Taliban.

But Iraq supporting Al Qaeda? What a joke! Saddam Hussein was a scourge of the likes of fundamentalist Osama bin Laden; and the chances of finding WMDs in Iraq, despite the dictator’s braggadocio, were remote.

As we now know, Iraq was all about oil and Israel and its US Jewish lobby — and remains so.

What an opportunity, on September 11, 2001, Osama presented to the US: now it had the perfect excuse to “do something” about the Middle East.

So “Saint George”, safe from Islamist threat in the by now (by law) even more impregnable White House fortress, was ready to send others to do his fighting.

As payback for the 3000 or so twin-tower American fatalities, he would spread death, destruction, starvation and misery abroad — but, of course, only in countries that weren’t quite white.

If September 11 had been perpetrated by German Turks, British Islamists or rebellious Basques, there is no way the governments of those people would have been held responsible for the actions of a disgruntled few.

But Afghanistan (a place few Americans to this day can pick out on a map)? And Iraq (ditto)?

(I’m told that a recent survey of young Americans discovered that something nearing 20 per cent of them were unable to pick out even the USA on a globe; and a survey a few years ago in Britain found a substantial number of students thought Adolf Hitler was a British wartime prime minister. So much for Western public awareness of affairs foreign.)

Israel

When I think back over my life, a most vivid memory of the late 1940s is of my mother, a devout Christian, rejoicing in the news that a Jewish nation, known as Israel, had at last been sanctioned by the West. It would, she believed, mean an end to the wanderings in the wilderness of the Jewish people that they had been condemned to since being banished from their homelands 2000 years ago. It seemed to me, in my juvenile ignorance, a good idea, too.

With hindsight, I still feel it could have been a good thing — if only the Palestinian people (then colonial subjects) had been more closely consulted; and a formula for two nations (each contiguous) had been the basis for negotiations.

But that’s not the way it has worked out. Israel, although it has been subjected to intense if disorganised Arab pressure over the past half century, has failed miserably in promoting its cause for long-term survival. Instead, it has pursued a course reliant on violence or the threat of it, a policy that can only ever give it short-term security.

Whichever way it is viewed from, at the heart of Middle East instability is Israel and the lack of a sovereign Palestinian nation that is not constantly subject to Israeli control.

The greatest tragedy and crime of the twentieth century was the Holocaust.

Another great tragedy was the establishment of Israel.

What now?

On January 20, the last of three tragically disastrous Western incompetents will depart public office. Yet still there is not much to inspire hope.

The US is economically near-mortally injured and politically riven; capitalism is on the nose (but we all know that will bounce back after, god forbid, socialistic measures have brought us back from the brink); Iraq has only a fragile stability that is still too frequently shaken by people foolishly talked into sacrificing their lives (and taking those of others) in return for loins-stirring promises of rewards in Islamist heaven; Afghanistan, daily, is being reclaimed by the Taliban; Iran is still not being afforded the respect it deserves if the West is to achieve compromise with it; and, yet again, the Koreas are barely speaking to each other.

Well done, George W. Bush.

Considering the appalling global damage Bush and his Anglo-Western lackeys Blair and Howard have inflicted, a solution to the West’s dilemma might be to put each of them on trial (fair trials of course, and no capital punishment).

The charges could be along these lines:

• For Bush and Blair, war crimes, mainly for their actions over Iraq; and for Bush alone, a charge of human rights violations (for condoning torture and humiliation at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, and probably all sorts of places we’ll never know of).

• For Howard, being an accessory to war crimes in Iraq; child abuse (of children detained for years in Australian high-security holding centres for “illegals”); and human rights violations (for keeping incarcerated for years thousands of people who eventually would be found to be genuine refugees).

They might all be found innocent. They might all be found guilty. At least the trials, if properly run, would help clear the air for our still confused and divided populaces.

As Westerners, we are supposed to be defenders of a judicial system that espouses an “innocent until proven guilty” mantra.

So we would have to ensure that these three men continued to be viewed as innocents. Just as we must remember those hundreds of thousands of innocents (who Bush, Blair and Howard never knew) who are now dead or maimed simply because a vengeful US president, after September 11, 2001, lapsed into “Kill, kill, kill” mode in retaliation for 3000 or so American dead in a tragedy perpetrated by a small band of fanatics.

Those same fanatics, in the years since, have gleefully watched the West panic itself into contortions as George W. Bush has tried to persuade the rest of the world that a “war on terror” is not a nonsense concept.

Bob Hawkins


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bob Hawkins
Bush has failed in Iraq. He has failed in Afghanistan. He has failed on Israel/Palestine. He has failed on Iran. He has failed on North Korea. He has failed in Africa, even on AIDS (by allowing his fundamentalist born again-Christian prejudices to prevent more effective use of the money he committed).

And, at home, he was asleep at the helm while the world’s biggest economy lurched towards catastrophe; and he will never be forgiven by the people of New Orleans for his Katrina ineptitude.

As his calamitous presidency wore on, Bush revealed to the world that he is even dumber than he was thought to be when in late 2000 — through sibling trickery in Florida — he stole the top US job from Al Gore.

George W. Bush is destined to be remembered as the greatest presidential disaster since US independence.

Bob Hawkins