Did Bush Fight a War of “Self-Defense?” – I take the liberty to differ. Is not this definition of ‘self-defense’ (like ‘counter-terrorism’) very vague and abused more often than not? Who defines the term? Is there a universal consensus around this term, so that everyone uses the same metric? I am sure: there ain’t one. This is often a matter of perspective, though the so-called ‘self-defense’ tends to be far more terrible. [Osama Bin Laden is held responsible for killing nearly 3000 American non-combatant civilians in the 9-11 tragedy. Did not our US government kill nearly 5000 non-combatants in Afghanistan alone? Our media Moguls, working mostly as government mouthpieces, here would never tell us how many civilians were killed in Afghanistan and Iraq by our bombs and missiles, just as it had let us to guess the number during the first Gulf War.] This hypocrisy, this inability to recognize one’s own crimes as crimes, is at the root of supremacist ‘holier than thou’ theology, now practiced full-blown, without any sense of guilt or remorse, by the US and its powerful allies.
Just listen to what our madam Albright once said, “The US acts multilaterally when it can, and unilaterally when it must.” It is the same Mafiosi interpretation of world history, economics and politics that guides the policies of US and other big powers in world arena and allows them to ignore the international court of justice. Remember the so-called ‘evidence’ against the 9-11 terrorists was shared amongst ‘friends’ in the ‘Coalition’. After conferring, they announced that it didn’t matter whether or not the ‘evidence’ would stand up in a court of law. Thus, in an instant, were centuries of jurisprudence willfully trashed.
Look at the latest case around Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) in Iraq. Our government needed the UN as long as it served its purpose to impose a ‘criminal’ sanction that was responsible for starving 25m Iraqis (not Saddam and his cronies), killing nearly 1.5m infants (something that our madam Albright é in the image of her spiritual mentor McNamara – was comfortable about, without a feeling of guilt or sorrow), and then weakening Iraq’s defense mechanism against outside threat (‘terrorism’ from Mafia bosses in world theater) in daily bombing raids since 1991, and then when the UN inspection was working to further disarm Iraq. When WMDs were not located by the Blix-Baradie teams, and the Bush-Blair (B2) Coalition realized that they couldn’t either bully or buy-in the necessary support in the UN for its invasion of Iraq, it decided to go on its unilateral path. [BTW: Saddam never threatened US or Britain, and like Noriega, at one time had served these western masters pretty well.] So, there again, decades of rules of engagement in world-conflicts, everything that was done to safeguard weaker nations against marauding activities of the bullies were all obliterated, thus setting a precedence for crimes against humanity on a scale that the world will probably never see. What can now prevent a rogue state like Israel, not that she already had not done so before, from attacking any of its neighbors or far-away countries that she deems a ‘potential’ threat? What about tomorrow, say in ten years, when other states, for economic or other reasons, contest US’s hegemony and are perceived as ‘threats’ to America’s economy, life-style? What would prevent America from ‘preemptive’ attacks against its competitors in ‘self-defense’?
Let me state very clearly that nothing can excuse or justify an act of terrorism, whether it is committed by private militia, people’s resistance/liberation movements, religious fundamentalists/fanatics or whether it is clad as a war of ‘self-defense’ or of ‘retribution’ by a recognized government. The bombing of Afghanistan (and recently of Iraq) was not revenge for New York and Washington. It was simply a new chapter, or should I say, one more appendix, [to be added in the book] of acts of terror against the people of the world. An alternate argument could equally be made that al-Qaeda did their act in ‘self-defense,’ after all it was the US that maintains base (as an unwanted guest that had overstayed) in Saudi Arabia (with a goal for regional hegemony and expansionism in oil-rich territories of Middle East, something that is perceived as a threat to Arabs) and have been arming Israel tooth and nail (for obliterating Palestinians and annexing more Arab territories) [Israeli action over the years is sufficient to justify such assertions] and Israel acts as a rampart of US (furthering its expansionist goals). And the truth of the matter is: this latter argument is much stronger logically than what our neo-cons like Perle and Wolfowitz would have us believe. There are now bases in Kuwait, Qatar, Yemen, Djibouti, Oman, UAE, Bahrain, Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and Kyrgyzstan among others in the region. As has been argued elsewhere by others, once violence is accepted as a legitimate political instrument, then the morality and political acceptability of terrorists (insurgents or freedom fighters) becomes contentious, bumpy terrain. Let us also not forget the fact that our US government itself has (and still does) funded, armed, and sheltered plenty of rebels and insurgents around the world.
Let me also state that I am not suggesting that the terrorists who perpetrate(d) crimes should not be hunted down and brought to justice. They ought to be. However, I cannot imagine someone acting as a plaintiff, jury, judge and executioner all at the same time. I have a serious problem with that process. I have also problem when I see that there is no standard in terrorist-hunting or going after the ‘bad guys’ that is universally followed. Our big brothers can shut their eyes to the crimes committed by their little brothers, but when it comes to crimes of their perceived (or potential future) villains, no matter how small these are (‘disarmed’, maimed and amputed), they are all agog and make a big hue and cry as if the entire world was going to collapse or be destroyed unless these are checked right now. Why such a double-standard?
But then again, is war the best way to track them down? Have not we seen enough that such actions only soar anger and make the world a living hell for all of us? Can we blame someone, who had seen how his parents, siblings and grandparents were blown into pieces by Coalition bombing, his home demolished, his school destroyed, his friends losing arms and legs or blinded for trying to pick cluster bomb–lets that appeared like colorful toys or lunch-packs from turning into an Abu Nidal of tomorrow, who wants to ‘get even’ with Bush and Blair for their crime? Bush & Blair can call whatever they like about their adventurism in Afghanistan and Iraq, but to the victims of ‘B2-terrorism’ in Iraq and Afghanistan é these are no lesser of a crime than what had hit WTC. Just as no amount of money can bring back the two arms of ‘disarmed’ Abbas, thanks to our so-called precision-guided bombs and missiles, nothing will ever let the victims to forget that their innocent family members were murdered ‘unjustly’ by some ‘evil,’ ‘trigger-happy’ soldiers and pilots of Bush & Blair [and cheered by Nonie Darwish, Pipes & Co.]. In the process of ‘disarming’ Iraq, what the B2 Coalition has been able to do, rather very successfully, is ‘disarm’ many Hasan’s, Ali’s and Abbas’s. No WMD have yet been found in ‘liberated’ Iraq, and probably will never be found unless these are ‘manufactured and implanted’ (by our agents) in post-war Iraq to fool the world body to justify, what was truly unjustifiable, America’s ‘self-defense.’
We, as Americans, can speak loud about our democracy and our constitutional right to choose and elect our reps, but we abhor to see a real democracy where the once-oppressed, the majority Shi’as can come to power (the same way the Nixon Administration was once uncomfortable about Awami League winning the election or coming to power in 1970 in the then Pakistan), afraid to see another Iran (and this time paved through by our ‘liberation’). Rumsfeld is uneasy with the turn of events in Saddam-free Iraq and has already threatened that Iraqis cannot choose a government that is unwelcome by his ‘liberation’, or should I say politically incorrectly, ‘occupation’ forces. What he truly means is that unless Iraqis choose America’s yes-man, someone like Chalabi (with ties to Israel), like the former Shah of Iran (once brought back by CIA from exile; the nationalist leader Mussaddeq was too much of a ‘royal pain’), and Karzai of Afghanistan, American occupation forces will stay indefinitely. We won’t, however, call our manipulative/dictatorial tactics a ‘black-mail’! We are too sophisticated for that kind of jargon! We have a ‘burden’, just as Rudyard Kipling had advocated some 100 years ago, to decide for the ‘natives’ what they want and how they want. [The native] People don’t count. Our selfish vision for the world counts. That is the level of our self-righteousness, democracy and all the hogwash about restoring rights of people!
Were not there world bodies like the UN and IAEC to investigate if Iraq had possessed WMD? Now that Iraq is ‘liberated’ why can’t we put the UN inspectors back? Is not there a world court to try people like OBL and Molla Omar (and the culprits in the Saddam regime, responsible for killing Kurds and Shi’as, aided by governments of USA and UK)? Why is the US afraid of using the offices of this court? Is she afraid that she might again be found guilty and asked to pay reparations? Who sabotages the UN from playing its ‘real’ roles (fearing that such might compromise neo-cons’ agenda about Middle East) making it ‘irrelevant’ or to follow the dictates of US?
A literary and willful gymnastics with such vague terms, as ‘self-defense,’ to somehow justify the murder of civilians and then to deny their reparations by the poster-boy of western humanism does nothing but only epitomizes hypocrisy and double-standard.
It seems that our pseudo-humanist cheer-leaders of American unilateralism have not heard of Wiedergutmachung. The German state has been paying the Jewish state for the last five decades for its victimization of Jewish people (during the second world war).
When someone is oblivious to the crimes that happen in our backyard here in the Western hemisphere and even supports a selfish, anti-people (i.e., anti-‘native’), [the self-described] ‘self-defensive’ war, which victimizes ‘other’ human beings, one cannot but doubt his sincerity for humanist causes.
 Kurt Nimo, US Military Bases, CounterPunch, April 28, 2003: USA concluded base agreements with Pakistan,
 German for making good again. The post second world war West German government had a limited program to compensate some survivors of the Holocaust.