BUSH OR BIN LADEN? March 20, 2008Posted by wmmbb in Middle East, Peace, US Politics.
The occasion of the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq has brought the two putative politicians out to seek the limelight where there respective qualities are on show.
Of the two, G Bush is perhaps less putative than O bin Laden since he remains, to everyone’s continuing surprise, the president of the United States, despite ones suspects the intention of those who framed the Constitution, and his sentiments and allegations are available freely and in full, however one might have cause to doubt their connection with reality. In a world constructed on bliss, spin and marketing, a leader is a dealer in dreams. There is a strong case for incandescent and effervescent happiness. R Reagan set the model.
ABC Online reports on the speech, quoting in small part what Bush had to say:
US President George W Bush has defended his decision to go to war against Iraq five years ago, vowing no retreat as he promised the battle against extremists would end in victory.
“Five years into this battle, there’s an understandable debate over whether the war was worth fighting, whether the fight is worth winning, and whether we can win it. The answers are clear to me,” Mr Bush said in a speech at the Pentagon.
“Removing Saddam Hussein from power was the right decision, and this is a fight America can and must win,” he maintained, referring to the late Iraqi dictator.
And further on there is the following wonderful sentence:
“The men and women who crossed into Iraq five years ago removed a tyrant, liberated a country, and rescued millions from unspeakable horrors,” Mr Bush said.
Now if only those Iraqis could see their history in this light, and for example, in the repercussions of “Shock and Awe”. The people who create spin, in essence believe that their honorable purpose is served by creating truth with words, as distinct from expressing the truth with words, which in the Western traditions evokes “Sic et non“, the dialectic.
The Bush speech is available here via the BBC. And this is the history of the invasion as Bush would like it to be remembered:
Operation Iraqi Freedom was a remarkable display of military effectiveness. Forces from the UK, Australia, Poland and other allies joined our troops in the initial operations. As they advanced, our troops fought their way through sand storms so intense that they blackened the daytime sky. Our troops engaged in pitched battles with the Fedayeen Saddam — death squads acting on the orders of Saddam Hussein that obeyed neither the conventions of war nor the dictates of conscience. These death squads hid in schools and they hid in hospitals, hoping to draw fire against Iraqi civilians. They used women and children as human shields. They stopped at nothing in their efforts to prevent us from prevailing — but they couldn’t stop the coalition advance.
Aided by the most effective and precise air campaign in history, coalition forces raced across 350 miles of enemy territory — destroying Republican Guard Divisions, pushing through the Karbala Gap, capturing Saddam International Airport, and liberating Baghdad in less than one month.
Along the way, our troops added new chapters to the story of American military heroism. During these first weeks of battle, Army Sergeant First Class Paul Ray Smith and his troops came under a surprise attack by about a hundred Republican Guard forces. Sergeant Smith rallied his men; he led a counterattack — killing as many as 50 enemy soldiers before being fatally wounded. His actions saved the lives of more than a hundred American troops — and earned him the Medal of Honor.
Today, in light of the challenges we have faced in Iraq, some look back and call this period the easy part of the war. Yet there was nothing easy about it. The liberation of Iraq took incredible skill and amazing courage. And the speed, precision and brilliant execution of the campaign will be studied by military historians for years to come.
Ssssh imagine having to fight through sand storms! How heroic is that?
Unlike G Bush, O bin Laden does not get quite the same platform, relying instead on the wretched “internets”. Reuters has the bin Laden tape here.
In the name of Allah, the most compassionate, the most merciful, to the intelligent ones of the European Union, peace be upon [him] that follows the guidance.
This talk of mine is to you and concerns the insulting drawings and your negligence in spite of the opportunity provided to prevent [them] being repeated.
To begin, I tell you that hostility between human beings is very old, but the intelligent ones among the nations in all eras have been keen to observe the etiquettes and the morals of fighting.This is best for them as conflict is ever changing, and war has its ups and downs. However, you in this conflict with us have abandoned many of the morals of fighting in practice, even if you hold aloft its slogans in theory.
How it saddens us that you target our villages with your bombing: those modest mud villages which have collapsed on our women and children. You do that intentionally and I am witness to that. All of this you do without right, and in conformity with your oppressive ally who – all with his aggressive policies – is about to leave the White House. And it is no longer hidden from you that these savage acts haven’t ended the war, but rather have increased our determination to cling to our right to avenge our people and expel the invaders from our country.And you also know that these massacres are never erased from the memories of the peoples and the effects are not hidden.
Although our tragedy in your killing of our women and children is a very great one, it paled when you went overboard in your unbelief and freed yourself from the etiquettes of dispute and fighting and went to the extent of publishing these insulting drawings. This is the greater and more serious tragedy and reckoning for it will be more severe. And I bring your attention to a telling matter, which is despite your publishing of these insulting drawings, you have not seen any reaction from one and a half billion Muslims, which includes the insult to the Prophet of Allah, Jesus the son of Mary (peace and prayers of Allah be upon him). We believe in all Prophets (peace and prayers be upon them) and whoever detracts from, or mocks anyone of them is an apostate unbeliever.
And here it is worth pointing out that there is no need to use an excuse the sacred you accord the freedom of expression and the sacredness of your laws and how you won’t change them. If so then on what basis were American soldiers exempted from being subject to your laws on your land? And on what basis do you exempt the freedom of those who casts doubts on the statistics of an historical event? In addition, you know there is one man who can put an end to these drawings if it mattered to him: the crownless king in Riyadh, who ordered your legal institutions to stop the investigation into the embezzlement of millions from the al-Yamamah deal, and Blair carried this out, and he is today your representative in the quartet.
To sum up then, the laws of men which clash with the legislations of Allah the Most High, are null and void, aren’t sacred, and don’t matter to us. And in addition, your practical stance toward the al-Yamamah deal requires you to admit there are some values which are greater than your values.
In closing: I tell you if there is no check on the freedom of your words, then let your hearts be open to the freedom our actions. And it is amazing to make light of others that you talk about tolerance and peace at a time when your soldiers perpetuate murder even against the weak and oppressed in our countries.
Then came the publishing of these drawings, which came in the framework of a new Crusade in which the Pope of the Vatican has played a large and lengthy role. And all of that is confirmation of your part of the continuation of the war as well as the testing of the Muslims in their religion: is the Messenger(peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) more beloved to them than themselves than their wealth? The answer is what you see, not what you hear, and may our mothers be bereaved of us if we fail to help the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). And peace be upon those who follow the guidance.
This message, the BBC suggests was probably released to mark the anniversary today according to Sunni Islam of the the birth of the Prophet in 570AD (just a date not a religious statement). The BBC sets the context:
Last month, Denmark’s leading newspapers reprinted one of 12 cartoons that first angered many Muslims when they were originally published in September 2005.
Anger in the Muslim world peaked in 2006 as newspapers in other countries published the cartoons.
Some of the protests turned violent and led to the torching of Danish diplomatic offices in Damascus and Beirut and dozens of deaths in Nigeria, Libya and Pakistan.
The Danish newspapers decided to republish the most controversial drawing after Danish intelligence said it had uncovered a plot to kill the cartoonist.
I find the extremist thinking in what is said strange. It reminds me of the thoughts of Gandhi’s assassin, Nathuram Godse. What purpose is served by insulting or violating other people’s known religious beliefs. There are plenty of good things to be said about the Prophet, whereas to release a film suggesting that Islam is a fascist religion, unlike Christianity (tell that to General Franco) is deliberately provocative and because people’s feelings have become so charged will induce violence. It is not too much of a stretch, even without being asked, and even by “apostate unbelievers” to respect other people’s religious beliefs. We could debate a whole range of matters, such as the historical circumstances of the Crusades and the relationship of the West to the Middle East, including Israel.
In a multicultural globalized world that dialogue would be useful, but do not expect any initiative from the Vatican. Historically, Christendom was torn apart by the divine nature of Jesus of Nazareth, which this tape blithely ignores. The contention in the West is that law is democratic and secular, even though blasphemy has just been taken out from British laws. The actions of the Danish cartoonists and editors, which do not represent all of Western Europe are more acts of foolishness, boorishness and ignorance than anything else.
On the other hand, the declaration of R Cheney that he would not be “blown off course” by American public opinion, the attitude (at least attributed to former Admiral Fallon) that the Iranian people are mere ants, and the use of aerial bombing and other weapon systems including drones and cruise missiles, which necessarily involve the indiscrimate murder of people is simply criminal. Bush did not make clear in his speech that “the enemy” were people defending their homeland against an invading military machine. “Removing Saddem Hussein was the right decision” is a pathetic excuse for mass murder and suffering.