Just Above Sunset Archives
December 21, 2003- Bitter Brits
Bitter Brits: They may be our allies, but it seems they really don't share our values, or our insights into causation.
In the December 20th issue
of The Guardian one finds a bit of a disconnect with our kipper-breakfasting friends.
America's wealth and power are inescapable realities. It seems self-indulgent to lavish emotional and intellectual energy on deploring the shortcomings of the world's only superpower. From Tony Blair downwards, all of us must focus on coming to terms with the US, rather than figuratively waving placards to demand that this great nation should be something other than it is.
How generous of
Max. He doesn't want to change us at all.
Yet, it is hard not to hate George Bush. His ignorance and conceit, his professed special relationship with God, invite revulsion. A few weeks ago, I heard a British diplomat observe sagely: "We must not demonise Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz." Why not? The US defence secretary and his assistant have implemented coalition policy in Iraq in a fashion that makes Soviet behaviour in Afghanistan in the 1970s appear dextrous. The British are hapless passengers on the Pentagon's juggernaut.
Hey Max, what's the problem?
The president's personal odyssey touched a new low this week, when he asserted publicly that Saddam Hussein should die. After a fair trial, he says, Iraq's former dictator should swing or be shot, though Washington thinks it expedient to delegate Iraqis to do the business.
There will be no trouble with the British government about this scenario. Downing Street's
line suggests a script originally written for Pontius Pilate. Tony Blair declares that what an Iraqi administration
chooses to do with Saddam is absolutely no business of Britain's. If the powers-that-will-be in Iraq decide he should
take an early bath on the scaffold, then what can Britain's prime minister do, save shrug?
Max, Tony won't say a thing.
Tony sold the UK to us lock stock and barrel - or to put it another way, Tony is George's bitch now.
Isn't it a bit presumptuous for a Brit to tell us we have facts wrong?
Just because one event follows another, it doesn't mean one causes the other. Which is why it
would be ludicrous to link resistance to the occupation of Iraq with the occupation of Iraq. And we shouldn't link the US
throwing its weight around like a drunk sailor at an Amish wedding with turmoil in North Korea, South Korea, Turkey, Iran,
Saudi Arabia, Bali, the Philippines, Taiwan, Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Russia, Georgia - oh, just pick a name in your atlas,
if it's not right now it soon will be.
Well, everyone makes mistakes.
And as for that Gaza reference, well, George Bush has said Ariel Sharon is "a man of peace." Al, who are you
going to believe?
When the US secretly deports Canadian citizen Maher Arar to Syria, it's not because prisoners are known to be tortured there. And it's a coincidence when he happens to end up being tortured. And a complete fluke that US companies export "crime control" equipment to regimes known to torture systematically. Torture is not US policy.
Indeed, torture is not
our policy. As Donald Rumsfeld is fond of saying, however, democracy is messy and things happen. And
we may apologize to Canada - maybe - if they're good.
You also shouldn't link: a) Draconian suppression of US dissent by hardline police chiefs like
Miami's John Timoney, the FBI and private security companies with Republican funding; b) "embedding" of Republican journalists
with police departments during anti-war demonstrations; c) Cheney and Halliburton kickbacks; d) Perle and Boeing kickbacks;
e) the epidemic introduction of dodgy Diebold voting software before the next presidential elections; f) the Universal National
Service Act 2003. If you do link them you'll just get this queasy, déjà vu, Nazi feeling and have to lie down.
Look here, Al, we are told
these are NOT connected. We're patriots and must agree.