Sunday, July 05, 2009

Independence Day :" American Exceptionalism " From Revolution to Empire

US Independence Day For Americans but not for those whom America Oppresses. When the white majority kept millions of slaves they saw no contradiction in their claims to believing in Democracy & Justice since in their view the African slaves were not human ; that they were mere beast or were characterized as without souls or as barbaric or in need of salvation through Christ. Even today there are those such as Ann Coulter who claim that the African slaves were better off because they were given the Gift of Christianity. While reading the passage below I thought of the slaves & other groups oppressed throughout the history of the United States Blacks, Native Americans, Latinos, Asians , the Irish, Catholics & Jews, women & Gays & the poor . Then I thought about what America had done to various countries in its expansionism & its belief in its "Manifest Destiny" & its belief in its "Exceptionalism" from the Philippines to Mexico to Cuba to Gautemala to Nicaragua to Honduras to Panama to Iran to Chile to Venezuela to Hawaii - just a long list of tragedies & pain & suffering brought about by an arrogant Nation out to build an Empire by whatever means necessary.

But for the present just imagine these words by Frederick Douglass being said by an Iraqi citizen or a citizen of Afghanistan or Pakistan or by those in the Israeli/American Ghetto of Gaza.

"This Fourth of July is yours, not mine" The Hypocrisy of American Slavery By Frederick Douglass"ICH

In 1852, , invited to give speech in Rochester, Douglass delivered the following indictment of a a nation celebrating freedom and independence, while keeping slaves.

07/04/1852 --- - Fellow citizens, pardon me, and allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here today? What have I or those I represent to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? And am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits, and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us?

...At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. Oh! had I the ability, and could I reach the nation's ear, I would today pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be denounced.

What to the American slave is your Fourth of July? I answer, a day that reveals to him more than all other days of the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mock; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are to him mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy - a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation of the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of these United States at this very hour.

Go search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the Old World, travel through South America, search out every abuse and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.

While Americans celebrate their Independence Day the United States continues to deny the same to other nations. For all the talk about justice there is no justice for those who have been the victims of America's wanton naked use of power.

The sovereign nation of Iraq was invaded by American imperialist who ravaged the country turned towns, village & cities into rubble & sowed the seeds of chaos & civil war & even now blame the victims the Iraqis for the mess made by America. During its invasion of Iraq the American forces committed War Crimes by its tactic of shock & Awe in which it wantonly killed tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians & in contravention of International Law ( Geneva Conventions etc.)destroyed Iraq's infrastructure from roads to power plants to sewage & water treatment plants to hospitals & schools Did America rebuild the country as it promised no it did not. But Americans soothe their conscience by claiming everything is now okay in Iraq but it is not. What Americans call peace I call it a desert, a waste land.

The U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003 under false pretenses & after a prolonged Propaganda campaign against Iraq . The main lies the Bush/Cheney regime sold to the American people were that Saddam had WMDs & was connected to Osama Bin Laden & other terrorist groups that Saddam was a real threat to peace in the Middle East. Now it is Obama's war which he inherited while Obama claims the US troops will leave by 2012 in fact over 50,000 troops plus a large number of Mercenaries so-called Private Contractors will remain plus a massive support staff which will remain in the fortified Embassy in Baghdad- it is referred to as the Emerald city and is the largest embassy in the world. This is not with drawl of all troops just "Occupation Lite" as it were by the American Empire in the traditional colonial fashion.

As Jeremy Scahill & others point out that Iraq has basically a Puppet Regime with a hollow facade of Democracy. The Americans removed the dictator Saddam who for years the Americans supported & armed & silently stood by as Saddam committed one atrocity after another against Iran & against his own people. Now even President Obama & Joe Biden & their Generals who were Bush's Generals erroneously claim in their Propaganda that there has been victory in Iraq & the People are all now hopeful & prosperous .

And Obama insist on "looking forward" and therefore not punish & make accountable the criminals who took the United States into an unnecessary war and then proceeded to kill hundreds of thousands of Iraqis & turn Iraq into a chaotic living Hell as tens of thousands were unjustly imprisoned, abused & tortured in the name of the American Empire.All to what purpose to feed America's vanity & its belief that America can do no wrong because whatever happens is "God's Will" as Bush claimed or is the result of America's Manifest Destiny ( as the Neocons claimed) to make the world do its bidding. Of course there are those Christian Americans who believed then and still do that the war against Iraq is just part of a Christian Crusade to eliminate or at least contain in their view "Godless Islam". Now the war continues in Iraq and in Afghanistan & Pakistan as Obama & the Hawks that surround him want to take on Iran. It reminds me of the bible passage "Those who sow the whirlwind shall inherit the wind." or what is now called blow-back which will be America's fate if it does not take steps to make amends for the horror it has visited upon the peoples of Iraq or the peoples of other nations where America has sought to further its own interests at the expense of the citizens of those nations. The archetype of "The Ugly American" unfortunately continues to wantonly destroy and murder and torture & oppress people in a number of nations.

" Iraq's 'National Sovereignty Day' is U.S.-Style Hallmark Hype" By Jeremy Scahill, Rebel Reports.June 30, 2009.

It is very doubtful that, decades from now, Iraqis will tell their grandchildren about where they were on June 30, 2009.

The puppet government in Iraq has named June 30th "National Sovereignty Day," and -- without mentioning the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis maimed, killed, tortured or made refugees by the U.S. invasion and occupation -- thanked the occupiers for placing them in power. "President" Jalal Talabani termed June 30th "a glorious day," saying, "While we celebrate this day, we express our thanks and gratitude to our friends in the coalition forces who faced risks and responsibilities and sustained casualties and damage while helping Iraq to get rid from the ugliest dictatorship and during the joint effort to impose security and stability."

Meanwhile the Iraqi "Prime Minister" Nouri al Maliki -- clearly living in his Green Zone bubble -- stated: "The national united government succeeded in putting down the sectarian war that was threatening the unity and the sovereignty of Iraq," adding, "Those who think that Iraqis are unable to defend their country are committing a fatal mistake." Perhaps Maliki has been hanging out too much by the swimming pools and cabanas in the Green Zone and missed these events:

There was a significant spike in violence before the June 30 withdrawal. More than 250 people were killed in a series of bombings, including one on June 20 that left 81 dead outside a mosque in northern Iraq and another in a Baghdad market on June 24 that killed 78.

As we listen to these proclamations from Iraqi "government" officials praising their fake holiday, let’s remember this fact from veteran journalist Patrick Cockburn, who has covered Iraq more than almost any other Western journalist:

Iraq is the world’s premier kleptomaniac state. According to Transparency International the only countries deemed more crooked than Iraq are Somalia and Myanmar, while Haiti and Afghanistan rank just behind. In contrast to Iraq, which enjoys significant oil revenues, none of these countries have much money to steal.

and it can be argued that America did not learn from its mistake in Vietnam that an invading force ie America can not win a war when it has no regard for the Indigenous population. When every Vietnamese is considered the enemy eventually the people will rise up & oust by whatever means necessary the Invading Foreign Forces. Americans though can only view others as foreigners & lack the imagination to realize that to others Americans are the foreigners & the aliens & the invaders & oppressors.

"Iraq a Failed Imperialist Venture"By Haroon Siddiqui , "The Star" July 3, 2009

Not only did the Iraqi invasion and occupation prove the limits of military power, it also exposed how incapable America has become at nation-building. Its postwar incompetence was stunning.

America plunged Iraq into chaos, shattered the infrastructure and destroyed the society, reducing human beings to their basest instincts. They turned on each other and found safety only in family, tribe, clan and sect. Shiites and Sunnis, who had lived together for ages, ethnically cleansed each other's neighbourhoods, which to this day remain separated by barricades, walls and checkpoints.

Having unleashed the forces that put Iraq's three main communities at war with each other, the U.S. toyed with the idea of dividing the country into the Kurdish north, a Sunni centre and a Shiite south, much like the British had divided India in two in 1947.

Having created the chaos, violence and jihadism, the U.S. said, in colonial fashion, it had to stay to curb the chaos, violence and jihadism. Having crippled the state, it had no choice but to prolong the occupation until the natives were ready to govern themselves.

...Yet Iraqis have been brushed out of the American narrative – Iraq is free of Saddam Hussein, it is democratic, it is stabilized, it is this and it is that.

There's nary a mention of how many Iraqis are dead (between 100,000 and 1.2 million, depending on who's counting), how many maimed (not known), how many displaced (4 million), and how many tortured with Saddam-like methods in Abu Ghraib and elsewhere (not known).

Besides the damage to U.S. credibility, and not just in the Muslim world, the Iraq adventure empowered Iran far more than the U.S. would ever acknowledge.

"The Hell We're Leaving Behind in Iraq" By Jodie Evans, AlterNet. Posted July 2, 2009.

The U.S. has not taken responsibility to restore the country it destroyed.

Not long after the statue of Saddam fell in Firdos Square, several CODEPINK women and I returned to Iraq. We'd first visited in February during the time Bush proclaimed, "The game is over" and announced his plans for "shock and awe." We'd learned then how much Iraqis loved Americans and did not want our disrupting their country; they asked us to let them deal with Saddam because the change had to come from within or it could be a disaster. We fell in love with Iraq and felt totally safe there, taking cabs in the wee hours of the morning, walking at 2 a.m. on the Tigress and driving to many parts of the country.

Returning a few months later, however, we found the country devastated. Bustling markets were empty, the streets were those of a ghost town. Electricity was rare if at all and gas lines were miles long. U.S. soldiers in Humvees sped down the streets with an embarrassing arrogance. Jerry Bremer had just arrived and had issued 100 edicts that infuriated every Iraqi. The story on the street was that it only took Saddam a month to get the country back in shape after the Gulf War, thus, impatience and anger toward the U.S. were growing. Over and over, we heard from Iraqis, "We had one Saddam and now we have hundreds."

We also know now that the American forces used hit squads or "Death Squads" & just about any dirty trick they could think of . Especially killing those who dared voice their opinion against the invasion and or the continuing occupation of Iraq or against the Puppet Regime in Iraq. And the so called insurgents many of whom were forced to defend their families their communities & their country against "Foreign Invaders" who appeared to have no sense of honor or basic human decency who acted like barbarians.

"Media White Wash: U.S.-Backed "Dirty Brigade" Operating in Iraq"by Joshua Holland, AlterNet, June 30, 2009.

Anyone surprised? Aside, of course, from those who rely on the commercial media.

Anti-US protest marks start of Biden Iraq trip UK News YahooJuly 3, 2009

A fiery protest marked the start on Friday of US Vice President Joe Biden's visit to Iraq, with supporters of the Shiite anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr burning the Stars and Stripes.

Obama increasing pressure on Iran & resorting to Bush/Cheney style propaganda war against Iran- Is this change
while claiming Iran should not be allowed to go nuclear there is no mention odf Israel's Nuclear capabilities . Israel is more dangerous to the mideast especially as Israel moves towards more extremist rhetoric & policies.

"U.S. Uses False Taliban Aid Charge to Pressure Iran" By Gareth Porter (IPS) JUly 2, 2009

- The Barack Obama administration has given new prominence to a Bush administration charge that Iran is providing military training and assistance to the Taliban in Afghanistan, for which no evidence has ever been produced, and which has been discredited by data obtained by IPS from the Pentagon itself.

The new twist in the charge is that it is being made in the context of serious talks between NATO officials and Iran involving possible Iranian cooperation in NATO's logistical support for the war against the insurgents in Afghanistan.

Since the early to mid-1990s, Iranian policy in Afghanistan has been more consistently and firmly opposed to the Taliban than that of the United States.

The Obama administration thus appears to be pressing that charge as a means of increasing the political-diplomatic pressure on Iran over its nuclear programme, despite NATO's need for Iranian help on Afghanistan.

One dim hope for America & its adventurism would be if the military personnel were to just throw down their arms & say "no more". There is little possibility of this since America has become as other empires before it sustained by continuous war. Besides there's too much money to be made in wars for the imperial power til it over-reaches and then implodes.

"'There Is No Way I Will Deploy to Afghanistan' -- Seeds of Dissent in the U.S. Military Are Growing" By Dahr Jamail, Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute.July 2, 2009.From suicide to desertion to refusal to deploy -- service members' dissent may be growing into something far larger."

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