how dare they criticise others now

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    'Do as we say, but not as we do' is the new US message

    By Linda S. Heard
    Online Journal Contributing Writer

    WASHINGTON, 15 October 2003—As US President [sic] Bush berated the Cuban regime for its oppressive policies and imprisonment of dissidents on Friday, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) launched an unusually stinging criticism of the US for its open-ended incarceration of so called "war on terror" detainees.

    The normally reticent ICRC cited dozens of suicide attempts and severely depressed inmates as evidence of the psychological damage inmates are suffering. This was an irony surely lost on the "Patient Man" complaining that Cuba lacked democracy while the US is doggedly occupying part of that troubled island. There was also a hollow ring to American Viceroy L. Paul Bremer's boast, the day before, that Iraq now has a free press. This came on the heels of criticism from Reporters Without Borders slamming undertakings which journalists visiting Guantanamo are forced to sign. Representatives of the media have to promise not to ask questions about ongoing investigations or else be removed from the base. What possible use is a reporter who is gagged from asking questions, other than a peddler of propaganda?

    In the Bush administrations' eyes there are good questions and bad questions. Networks which indulge in seeking answers to designated "bad questions" or portray events in a less than positive light, such as Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya, are suspended from reporting in occupied Iraq. Correction: Liberated Iraq.

    And should those wayward "truth-seekers" persist with their offensive quests, they risk getting a missile through the roofs of their offices, or their reporters arrested and charged with terrorism.

    On the six-month anniversary of Iraq's "liberation," a few days ago, Bush launched a public relations campaign designed to paint Iraq as a veritable success story, a country filled with happy, smiling citizens, grateful to Uncle Sam for ridding them of a wicked dictator.

    Unfortunately for Bush, around the time he was lauding vastly improved conditions, an Iraqi police station came under attack and US soldiers fell victim to a rocket-propelled grenade. Scenes of tens of thousands of Shiite demonstrators, beating their chests and shouting anti-American slogans, in protest at the jailing of a top cleric, didn't help the American leader's rosy scenario either.

    There is no doubt that America is suffering from a chronic disease called "double standards." Nowhere is this sickness more evident than in the UN Security Council. In that hallowed chamber, constructed on principles of international peace and justice, Muslim countries whose nuclear ambitions may be a mere twinkle in their leaders' eyes—if at all—are castigated while Israel's deadly nuclear arsenal is ignored.

    The disease is at a stage where everyone around tries not to see it. Few batted an eyelid when the US shrank from pulling up Israel for refusing to allow a UN fact-finding group to investigate Jenin. Hardly anyone raised their eyebrows when Bush called Sharon's apartheid wall merely "troubling;" and nobody is surprised that Bush's America has seemingly given the green light to Israel to launch missile attacks on Syria and Gaza. We're in danger of getting to the stage where we find this kind of thing normal, a bit like an ugly wart on the nose of one's best friend. When Israeli mothers are killed it is always the work of those evil terrorists. When Palestinian children are blown apart, this is a result of Israel exercising its sovereign right to security.

    America's double standards were never more glaring than the way that the respective stories of Americans Jessica Lynch and Rachel Corrie were handled, both by its government and press. On the one hand, Lynch, who was injured in an automobile accident in Iraq and was subsequently well treated by the Iraqis, was hailed as a heroine. Corrie, cruelly trampled under the wheels of an Israeli bulldozer as she defended a Palestinian home, was virtually ignored.

    When it comes to using vetoes, it is widely understood that the US will use its Security Council veto against any resolution, which challenges Israel. Yet when France so much as hinted it might use its veto to delay the invasion of Iraq, that country was insulted and ridiculed, its produce subjected to an unofficial blacklist in the US with Congress leading the infantile charge. Freedom Fries indeed!!

    Then there is the way that the Iraq Survey Group charged with unearthing Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction has asked for, and been given, a further nine months to come up with the goods, when former Chief UN Weapons Inspector Hans Blix was waved away for requesting just a few more weeks.

    Things begin to look even more topsy-turvy when we realize that Bush's "Man of Peace" is busy aggressing his neighbors, while his IDF emissaries merrily murder women and children in Gaza, demolish homes in the West Bank, destroy centuries-old olive groves and make way for another 600 Jewish settlements on Palestinian land. He even has the audacity to threaten the Palestinians there will be no Palestinian state if they don't behave (read: Lie down and die). Naturally, according to the Bush White House, the terrorist here is not the Butcher of Beirut but Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, an ailing, frail old man who has been prevented from leaving his Ramallah compound for years, and whose security apparatus has been decimated. It's all Arafat's fault, they say. Without Arafat everything would be hunky dory.

    And last week, yet another paradox played out when a Republican-backed muscle-bound, Hitler-admiring, self-confessed groper, won the coveted governorship of California, while it was those same Republicans who led the charge to impeach then President Bill Clinton, tut-tutting in unison over his breach of morals.

    And where are all the Zionist lobbyists, the ones who rushed forward to color Greta Duisenberg as an anti-Semite for flying a Palestinian flag from her home to name but one of many examples? Arnie, of course, was a sweet young thing in those long ago days when he clicked his heels. After all, ambitious young Austrians need their role models but now that those kindly Jewish movie moguls have helped him see the light, all is conveniently forgiven.

    It's become clear that in this New World Order there is one rule for the US and Israel with quite another for all the rest. There was a time when the US led by example but no more. There was a time when America was the leader of the free world. Now it leads a frightened and frightening world.

    Perhaps the supreme irony here is that since Bush's war on terror, the US has far less friends than ever before, anti-Americanism is rife worldwide and terrorists are mushrooming, fueled by revenge for Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine.

    The American economy is in shreds and the dollar is falling along with Bush's approval rating. Isn't it time that the American public took a long, hard look at the big picture? Today it may be a mere jigsaw but one day those pieces will fit together. It's only then the neocon nightmare will be replaced by the American dream and hopefully allowing the world to indulge in peaceful slumber once more.

    Linda S. Heard is a specialist writer on Middle East affairs. She welcomes feedback and can be contacted by email at [email protected]
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