Random Thoughts

Sanitizing History and Choices to Fool Citizens & the World

In a previous article, I have argued that since human beings are a social species, it is very important for them to project a virtuous character to win the trust, respect and co-operation of their fellow beings to obtain wealth, power and sexual gratification. Reputations often stand as spectacular towering monuments despite flawed and shabby foundations of character. Nations are often, if not invariably equally afflicted by the disease of status, and shining cities on the hill derive their glowing effulgence from forced immolation of their unwilling, ignorant and powerless poor. Their leaders mouth platitudes that all men are created equal while holding others in slavery or bondage, expropriating the wealth and property of the indigenous at home and sending them to perish on the trail of tears or indulging in genocidal violence to subjugate natives in other countries by aerial bombardment, with collaboration of greedy treasonous traitors, and reneging on treaties.

This is why Howard Zinn's 'A Peoples History Of The United States' and Herman & Chomsky's 'Manufactured Consent' are the two books that every American should read thoroughly. Zinn and Chomsky are in their eighties and the real lights of the nation. Manufactured Consent finds the reporting of David Halberstam and Stephen Kinzer less than laudatory during the Vietnam War, but since then Kinzer in his more recent book 'Overthrow' has laid it out like it is and in a speech in 2008 articulates a brutally frank and honest analysis of US policy. Kinzer, from whose writings the data below is taken, sums up the stages of policy metamorphosis in three stages. A small country being exploited by a US multinational demands a fairer redistribution of profits (sugar industry in Hawaii, banana plantations in Guatemala, oil in Iran). The US company, a large campaign contributor to the US congress and presidential candidates complains to the incumbent and asks for help. The economic motives are transformed into a geostrategic threat. Covert and overt planning are initiated by the US government by the State, Defense and Intelligence agencies. The second state molts into the third stage where the US public is fed the notion that the US is attacking or annexing the country for its own good, with purely altruistic and benevolent motives (bring democracy to Iraq or improve the lot of women in Afghanistan). A new quagmire with sacrifice of blood (of the poor) and national treasure is created.

Most people are unaware that at a conference in Geneva after WW2, the US signed an agreement to keep North and South Vietnam separate for two years and then permit a supervised referendum vote in the South to determine unification or not. President Eisenhower felt at the end of two years that the vote would favor unification and election of Ho Chi Minh as the leader, so he unilaterally and conveniently reneged on the accord and installed a puppet regime, refused the referendum and sent in the US armed forces, starting the newest Vietnam War, lost 20+ years later. To avoid the stigma of losing a war during his presidency, Nixon made up with China, which has led to industrial and economic modernization of China to enrich the US corporations. The net result is de-industrialization of the US, turning it into a debtor dependent on Chinese financing and partly to the current economic meltdown.

In 1898 Cuban revolutionaries were winning the war of independence against Spain and were chary of gratuitously offered US military help. The Congress passed the Teller amendment promising to withdraw the US troops as soon as the Spanish troops were defeated and left. When the Spanish left, the US refused to honor its own law and passed a new Platt amendment that required Cuba to cede Guantanamo Bay and allow US hegemony in Cuba. When the US realized that the new revolutionary Cuban government intended to pursue land reform by taking over land from US companies to give it to landless peasants, it appointed puppet governments for about sixty years, till a new revolution under Castro overthrew the puppet government of Batista under US control. Since then it has embargoed, isolated, boycotted and threatened Cuba on the pretext of it being a communist government in spite of trade and other relations with China, USSR and other communist governments. Obama still refuses to resume normal relations. The US overthrew an elected Iranian government but refuses to apologize or make amends to Iran, just as it refuses to do so to its own black citizens for slavery. I concede that Obama is better than the bozo Bush, but he still faces the Wall Street and Big Bank Mecca when he bows and makes financial offerings from the public treasury.

That brings me to the latest Obama hypocrisy. He did have the decency to publicly reveal the details of methods of torture perpetrated in Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and Bagram, but he does not wish to prosecute those CIA operatives who carried it out, those justice department lawyers who gave legal justification or Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld. Hayden, the prior CIA chief and Panetta, the current one criticized the revelation and preferred shoving the torture under the rug. US law and the Geneva (again) Convention ratified by the US senate requires prosecution, yet Obama says it is a time for reflection, not retribution. This is the Bush Cheney style which puts favored government officials and rich banksters above the law and regulated by the discretion of their cronies like Paulsons, Rubins, Summers, Greenspans, Geithners of the revolving doors and tax forgetfulness.

When the US as a victor of WW2 carried out the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials of Nazis and Japanese, it expressly denied immunity on the pretext of following orders of higher government officials and held ministers and cabinet members maximally culpable for criminal policies and hanged them. Associate US Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson's words need to be reread. '"If certain acts of violation of treaties are crimes, they are crimes whether the United States does them or whether Germany does them, and we are not prepared to lay down a rule of criminal conduct against others which we would not be willing to have invoked against us.--- We must never forget that the record on which we judge these defendants is the record on which history will judge us tomorrow. To pass these defendants a poisoned chalice is to put it to our own lips as well."

Now as my beginning words on virtue prove, the hypocrisy of the US and Obama shows that their concept of justice is not that all people are created equal, but as Orwell said, 'Some people are more equal than others'. Virtue, justice and rule of law are mere pretenses of US policy to be conveniently set adrift as in preemptive wars, Vietnam massacres (My Lai and others), Bagram, Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. Since Arizona State University refuses to confer an honorary doctorate on Obama, where he is giving a commencement speech, I wonder if there is a School of Scoundrels where treaties are made and abrogated conveniently and expeditiously, which might bestow him, Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld honorary degrees. Failing that we could jointly nominate the Taliban, Obama, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Osama for the Nobel Peace Prize for flogging, beheading, terror and condoning torture. They are at least as deserving as Kissinger, Le Duc Tho, Shimon Peres, Menachem Begin and some other recipients. If Obama tires of the presidency, he could become an appellate court judge like Jay Bybee or a law professor like John Yoo, the Solomons of legal distortion, who wrote the legal memos justifying torture.


More by :  Gaurang Bhatt, MD

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