Random Thoughts

Shrub Eats Crow

They say in the news business that when a dog bites a man it is not news, but when a man bites a dog it becomes news. Anyone watching the local news on TV knows that if it bleeds, it leads. Human nature is such that many scientists propose that speech developed as a means of gossip to build and demolish reputations during group living.

My title of this article is not an announcement of a plant devouring an animal. The pitcher plant and its related species in nature sustain themselves with an insect diet on a regular basis. It is to pay a tribute to the death of the acerbic Molly Ivins, a Texan maverick reporter, who gave the soubriquet of 'shrub' to the stunted progeny of the Bush dynasty. The eponym is well deserved because a shrub is an example of a living organism devoid of an organized and functional central nervous system. To eat crow (a vile tasting bird) means to admit a mistake in extremely humiliating circumstances.

Eating crow is an addictive hobby as we Indians ought to know. We have been doing it for over two millennia. It began supposedly with Alexander of the Greeks, then the Scythians (Shakas), Kushanas, Huns and continued with the Arabs, Afghans, Turks, Mongols and Persians (Nadir Shah) during the Islamic invasions, on to the Europeans during Portuguese, French and British invasions.

The Chinese made us eat crow in 1962 and if one believes the Mitrokhin and CIA archives, the Russians and Americans had their triumphs to gloat over. For the US it is a newly acquired taste. It triumphed in the war of independence in 1783 and even in a way in 1812 and went on to an unbroken record of victories in the Mexican and Spanish American wars and Caribbean and Central American occupations and regime changes. The Korean war was the first stalemate and the Vietnam war a first defeat, but since then its addiction to eating crow seems to be well on the way in Afghanistan, Iraq and possibly Iran.

My blurb is about Korea from the war in 1950 to the present. Japan won the war against Czarist Russia in 1905 and occupied Korea as a colony. As was common in the colonial era, the freedom fighters for independence in most colonies were the educated poor with Marxist leanings. The educated rich were too busy collaborating with the rulers to become richer. Kim Il Sung was a nationalist fighting the Japanese occupiers and was influenced by communist ideology due to the support of neighboring communist Russia. Similar situations arose in Vietnam next to communist China and even in Dutch ruled Indonesia and British ruled Malaysia which had no communist neighbors. In Indonesia the left leaning Sukarno government was overthrown by a military coup by Suharto with American backing that led to the slaughter of a million Indonesians.

In Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh who had been denied a hearing at the Paris peace accords by the American president Woodrow Wilson who promulgated his fourteen points of independence for ethno-linguistic peoples, as long as they were Europeans. After the Japanese defeat in WW2, the Vietnamese declared independence in the North, but were forced to agree to a referendum and free elections to decide the fate of the South at the Geneva accords by the all powerful US victors. America then reneged on and subverted the accords to aid the French in the re-colonization of the South. The losing French asked the US for atomic weapons. Eisenhower refused and that led the France to develop its own nuclear weapons (Force Frappe) which they later on proliferated to the Israelis, just as the US did to the British, the Russians to the Chinese, the Chinese to the Pakistanis and A. Q. Khan to Iran, Libya and North Korea.

The French were decisively defeated at Dien Bien Phu by the North Vietnamese and the US joined the war, first with military advisers, then arms and finally over half a million troops under Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson. Villages were napalmed and CIA Phoenix death squads carried out indiscriminate systematic torture and liquidation of the peasants, killing nearly five million Vietnamese. Deforestation by chemical and biological weapons like Agent Orange still cause pervasive birth defects and high incidents of cancer in current day Vietnam and mines cause death and maiming in Vietnam and even Laos and Cambodia to which Nixon extended the US bombing.

Kim Il Sung was a genuine nationalist though tainted by his communist and Stalinist methods. The US manipulated the elections in South Korea as it has recently done in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan to replace the left leaning South Korean government by General Rhee, a collaborator of the Japanese colonial occupiers. Attacks on the North and attempted subversion were encouraged.

Stalin and the Soviet Union initially discouraged the aggressive policy of the North Korean dictator Sung, but after the Chinese communist victory by Mao against the corrupt Chang Kai Shek American puppet in the civil war in China, provided military backing to Kim Il Sung. The armies of North Korea then crossed the 38th parallel in a blitzkrieg and overran the South Korean capital of Seoul. This was not like Saddam's forces invading the sovereign nation of Kuwait, an artificial creation of Churchill.

The US president Truman under the banner of the UN patched together a coalition of makeshift countries like Britain, Australia and Turkey to attack North Korea, just as it did in the wars against Serbia and Iraq. If this reminds one of the two Iraq wars and current saber rattling against Iran, the coincidence is the standard strategy of the new imperialists. The style of warring is similar as well. Civilian populations were carpet bombed with napalm and North Korean dams were bombed to flood the nation with massive civilian casualties. The carpet bombing of Dresden in Germany, Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki (last two with atom bombs) in Japan, the destruction of power plants, sewage treatment and water purification plants in Iraq and pharmaceutical plants in Sudan all are textbook war doctrines that the US learnt from the British in Kenya and Malaysia, the French in Syria and Algeria and the Germans in Southwest Africa and the world wars.

Indiscriminate aerial bombing of civilians in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Lebanon and Serbia is part of the same strategy as is using the UN to sanctify occupation and neo-colonization to install puppet governments willing to sell out the national resources cheaply, permanently and irrevocably to the coalition's multinational corporations. In the Korean War, Generals wanted to use nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear enemy state but prudence prevailed. Now the US has made it a new doctrine to threaten to use nuclear weapons anytime and anyone against any state, power or group that threatens the security or economic interests of the US. This extreme threat is what spurs India, Iran and North Korea to seek nuclear weapons.

China warned the US during the Korean war not to cross the Yalu river and when the US did so, it poured forth a torrent of brainwashed dedicated communist soldiers to overwhelm the US troops and drive them back. The Korean war ended in a stalemate and ever since then, there is an increasing disenchantment of the US conscript to fight wars for the economic benefit of the powerful rich. The disillusionment after the Vietnam war led to the abolition of the military draft. Now the dying and maiming is suffered by the poor Americans or those foreigners lured by the reward of US legal immigrant status. The average middle class American family's children are not at risk and so one does not see massive anti-war protests like those against the Vietnam war. To counter the overwhelming destructive US air power which is its preferred choice of war strategy, China and North Korea moved its industries including arms manufacturing capacity to the interior and underground.

This is why Iran and Pakistan have constructed their nuclear facilities underground and ringed them with air and missile defenses to thwart the US and Israeli air forces. North Korea has buried 10,000 artillery pieces in mountains and caves overlooking the South Korean capital Seoul and within range of the US troops in South Korea. This is why the US wants to relocate its forces in South Korea out of the range of hostile howitzers. The South Korean populations has finally woken up to imperialist great power manipulations after the archives of the US and the Soviet Union revealed the truth of the US massacres of Korean civilians at No Gun Ri and are now anti-US and pro peace between the two Koreas, the only divided single nation on earth besides Ireland, the victim of another imperialist power, Britain.

Kim Jong Il, the son of Kim Il Sung is just another tin pot Stalinist dictator and illegitimate as a ruler, but no more illegitimate than the son of the Azerbaijan dictator Aliyev or King Abdullah, the son of the Jordanian dictator King Hussain or the current ruling king of Morocco, the son of the prior ruling king. These are hardly in keeping with the US preaching sermons of democracy used to overthrow Saddam Hussein of Iraq while propping up the above mentioned and the ruling royal families of Saudi Arabia, sundry Gulf Sheikhdoms, Mubarak of Egypt, the military cliques in Pakistan, Algeria, Tunis and Ethiopia or previously the apartheid rule in South Africa or Ian Smith's Rhodesia. Britain acquiesced with Smith while now it excoriates Mugabe in the Rhodesia now called Zimbabwe. It is now critical of the non-democratic Hong Kong while doing nothing to promote democracy when it ruled Hong Kong.

North Korea still has no peace treaty with America and is repeatedly threatened with attacks, attempted subversion, UN sanctions and nuclear weapons. The ploy of UN sanctions has been used against Iraq to kill nearly a million Iraqi children by denying them medicines and currently is being used to threaten Iran and North Korea. No wonder North Korea opted for missiles and nuclear weapons. The Clinton administration due to the good efforts of ex-president Carter had worked out to give North Korea fuel oil, food aid and light water reactors (less likely to produce sizable quantities of plutonium that can be used in bombs) in exchange for North Korea giving up the nuclear option, but the Bush administration in usual American style reneged on the agreement.

This is why Indian atomic scientists with the experience of Tarapur are reluctant to support India signing a nuclear deal meant to trump India's nuclear weapon ability by intrusive inspections, certification requirements, fissile nuclear material cutoff treaties and India agreeing to give up its independence in foreign policy to US interests and dictates. This is also why Iran refuses to give up enrichment of uranium which is within its rights according to the NPT. Admittedly Iran's intentions are suspect and America has good reason to doubt Iran's bona fides but then why does it not ask Israel to give up its nuclear arsenal which it has connived at, just as it did in the case of Pakistan to support the Afghan Mujahideen fighting the Soviets. Now the Mujahideen have come to haunt America, its previous financier by terrorism against it. If the US wishes to fight terrorism, why is it supporting and arming Pakistan, the arch terrorist state and ignoring what India faces in Kashmir and elsewhere.

This week the Bush administration will sign the same agreement with North Korea that it reneged on. At the time of the Clinton agreement North Korea had no nuclear weapons and now it has about ten of them. So the net result is that the US is put in the position of admitting a humiliating and embarrassing mistake and agreeing to the same terms that it could have gotten with a non-nuclear armed North Korea while allowing North Korea to become a nuclear armed state.

This is how one defines eating crow.

The same thing will happen with Iran. It happened with India and Pakistan when the US sanctioned them after the 1998 nuclear weapons tests and had to lift sanctions to balance against China and attack Afghanistan. It will happen again with China after its use of the anti-satellite weapon. The US refused to sign a treaty on the ban on use of space for weapons and militarization as it thought that it had the sole power to use space in that way. It refused to sign the Kyoto treaty on global warming but now is rushing to avoid its effects.

As I mentioned before eating crow can become addictive, once you start doing it.

The final perfidy of moral hypocrisy by the shrub is his latest budget. In it he wants to make permanent the tax cuts slanted to the super-rich while depriving military veterans who prosecute its warmongering policy at the risk of life and limb and indigent children covered by its children's health insurance project (CHIP) of their health benefits by fees in the form of a regressive tax on the poor.

If this is not the epitome of moral bankruptcy for a nation, what is?

Contrary to its propaganda, ever since its beginning under the ingenious auspices of Madison and Hamilton, America was forged as a nation with welfare for the rich and merciless Darwinian capitalism for the poor. Beware of the neoliberal policies that India has been brainwashed into believing. Capitalism is good when there are many industrialists competing in a market with adequate regulation and monitoring by an honest government and only becomes a conspiracy against the general public when monopolistic behemoths take control of production with the connivance of a corrupt government, collusion of a supine subservient press, combined with an ignorant apathetic populace, stressed by economic insecurity, as Adam Smith, the founder of capitalism warned.

The insoluble quandary boils down to Plato's unanswerable question, 'Who shall guard the guardians'? As Lord Acton said, 'Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely'. The answer given by an innocent child untainted by fear or political wisdom still holds true. 'The Emperor has no clothes'.

Interested readers should read the profuse scholarly and honest writings of Bruce Cumings and Selig Harrison about the truth of the Korean war and its aftermath.

Predictions for the MRCA Deal or Eating Crow Part II

No, I don't believe in astrology and I have no access to any Indian official elected or appointed. I am going to go out on a limb and make a prediction even if I have to eat crow later.

I am predicting that as part of the deal India will most likely buy some F-18 Super Hornets. Here are my reasons why?

India has already announced the purchase of additional 40 Su-30MKIs and will be purchasing 18 MiG-29 KUBs from Russia. It is going to upgrade its old MiG 21s, 23s and 29s through Russia and Israel. It is upgrading its Mirage-2000s and Jaguars through Thales from France and buying Scorpene submarines from France as well. It has bought Hawk jet trainers from Britain and despite the previous scandal in submarine buying from Germany will order some HDW 212 or 214 submarines from HDW in Germany to block it as a source of supply to Pakistan. It has announced investing in the production of new medium lift transports, fifth generation fighters and hypersonic cruise missiles with Russia. Russia's public announcement of banning the sale of China's J-17 to Pakistan, its licensing the production of RD-33 engines to HAL were all meant to pressure India into buying the MiG-35. If India fails to give a contract for the MiG-35 to Russia, it will open the door of the sale of Russian arms to Pakistan directly or indirectly through China.

India has tried to please the Bush administration by buying a lot of Boeing commercial aircraft and abstaining siding with Iran when the vote was taken for referral to the UN Security Council. It has also bought the USS Trenton and six Seahawk helicopters. It also bought nearly 200 Bell 407 helicopters and has put in an order for six C-130J transports and 12 Chinook 74 transport helicopters from America.

My prediction is that India will make one or more of the following deals with American companies.

It will most likely buy 50 Super hornets from Boeing or less likely F-16 newer models from Lockheed. If it buys the Super Hornets from Boeing it may buy P3-C Orions ASW and naval reconnaissance aircraft from Lockheed. If it buys the F-16s from Lockheed then it will buy the newest Boeing version of ASW and reconnaissance, P8A Poseidon. It will also sign a deal for some missiles with Raytheon.

These are my predictions on the basis of how India can and should intelligently lock in suppliers and technology as well as block supply of same to Pakistan. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. At worst, I will eat crow so the shrub will be happy and as a typical Indian, I am used to it as I elaborated in my prior article.   


More by :  Gaurang Bhatt, MD

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