In its headlong rush towards war, our sometimes proud leadership has cast aside all trappings of humanity and democracy except the attempt to retain the appearance of such ideals. The current armed conflict in the Middle East, the U.S. - Iraq - Kuwait war, was initiated unilaterally by the White House in order to retain our access to abundant supplies of cheap foreign oil - at the expense of the indigenous populations human rights to self-determination. The White House governs by poll, which is not democracy but narrow minded bigotry. To have a voice in a poll of a few hundred or a thousand people, you have to participate in an appropriate activity - like being home by your telephone between 5 and 7 PM, or to be where ever the pollsters decide they will meet a representative slice of the population - like the mall...
The classic statement of freedom of speech is "I will defend your right to say whatever you will to the death, no matter how much I may disagree with what you say." Our government has shown a historical pattern of only respecting other nations' self-government and struggle for national identity when it is convenient to our military and commercial interests, not always in that order. We express a great interest in "stability in the gulf," without regard to the difficult process by which peoples achieve local stability. Dictatorial regimes backed up by a loyal, powerful military tend to be stable - and we tend to back them until their darkest hour. I believe that our backing may be one of the principal causes of such regimes acquiring more than their share of power and thus oppressing their people for many years longer than would be natural without interventionist behavior on the part of other powerful nations. Saddam Hussein would probably not wield the power he does now, had other nations not sought desperately to counter the Iranian fundamentalist "threat" by arming whomever could be placed in "opposition" to them. That Saddam happened to be in power while Iraq was the beneficiary of such largesse is mostly a matter of chance, and perhaps his own shrewd perceptions of the road ahead.
The fact is that if the Gulf nations were all to form what they felt were "more perfect unions" for themselves, we would disrupt and destabilize any that interfere with the steady flow of inexpensive petroleum products, the lifeblood of our over consuming economy - and hence, our stability. We are determined to never let the successful maneuvers of OPEC be repeated without their profiting us as well. We are determined to maintain the financial domination of the US oil companies by keeping the price of oil low enough to ensure consumption and to render cost-ineffective any research into conservation or alternative energy sources and uses.
The free press of our nation, which the Bill of Rights affirms for every American and by extension every human, has been shackled and reduced to a cheering section for "smart bombs" and "aerial domination". The print media publish pages and pages of reports on the derring-do of our boys and girls, according to the military "news writers" and barely give mention to the fact that what they print is in fact almost completely based on incomplete and censored reports. The most visceral, visual medium of television overloads the public mind with a bombardment of successful "Nintendo" styled air strikes, the lack of telegenic appeal of the Iraqi leader, and whatever choice bits of combat footage make it past the military censors. No young men getting blown to bits by grenades in this war, thank you. No grunt's eye views of the conflict, the enemy, the strategies and tactics of war.
Nothing that would lower the polled rating of the White House's little flexing of American military might is permitted. This is the follow up to the Viet Nam War - that war was rudely made real by television, this one is being carefully edited for re-election insurance, good Neilson ratings, and perhaps an Emmy if they are lucky!
© Huw Powell