Old 31st March 2003, 23:12   #1
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Truth is the First Victim of War / Dare to read (2)

The Devil's Dictionary

By URI AVNERY


Yet some more thoughts about the war.

The Coalition.

No name could be more appropriate to the cooperation between the United States and the United Kingdom against Iraq.

In "The Devil's Dictionary" of the American humorist Ambrose Bierce, published some 100 years ago, "coalition" is defined as (I quote from memory) the cooperation between two thieves who have their hands so deep in each others pockets that they cannot rob a third person separately.

Reconstructionists.

The problem of the Brits and the Americans is that they are possessed by an unquenchable thirst for reconstructing.

They dream about it day and night. They cannot think and speak about anything else.

Trouble is, in order to rebuild something one has to demolish it first. No destruction, no reconstruction.

Therefore the British, together with the Americans, are occupied with destroying Iraq systematically. Missile and bombs, tanks and artillery, ships and infantry--everything is employed in order to facilitate the reconstruction of the country.

The main objective of the urge for reconstruction is, of course, Baghdad. A city of five million people, miles upon miles of buildings and streets, which can be reconstructed after their demolition. If Baghdad becomes indeed the site of Stalingrad-style street fighting, house after house, street after street, there will be indeed a lot to reconstruct.

The New Mongols.

The appetite for rebuilding separates the new conquerors from their predecessors, the Mongols, who conquered Baghdad in 1258, killed the Caliph (who had already surrendered) and destroyed the city completely, after butchering all the inhabitants, men, women and babies.

They did not bring with them reconstruction crews, but laid waste to Iraq. The irrigation canals that had been built throughout thousands of years of civilization were devastated. The event has gone down in history as one of the biggest disasters ever to befall the Arab world.

By the way, two years later the Muslims annihilated the Mongol army in the battle of Ein-Jalud (today's kibbutz Ein-Harod), a major chapter in Palestininian history. That was the end of the Mongols in the Middle East, but the region never recovered from the Mongol devastation to this very day.

Demolish and profit.

Apart from the idealist aim of helping the Iraqi people, there is also a more material side to reconstruction. It will be huge business. The big American corporations--some of which are connected with the paladins of the Bush administration--are already quarreling about the spoils. They will, of course, allow no foreigners to come into this. To quote an American saying: "To the victors belong the spoils".

A rather obnoxious sight: even before the Iraqi towns are destroyed, corporate giants are dividing among themselves the profits of their rebuilding.

Humanitarians.

The unquenchable idealism of the Anglo-Americans finds its expression also in the drive for humanitarian aid. This is becoming quite an obsession. Humanitarian aid must be brought to the Iraqi people, whether they want it or not.

The inhabitants of Basra do not want the promised aid? Ha, we'll see about that. We shall bomb them, starve them--until they open their gates and allow the humanitarian aid in. After all, one cannot aid people as long as the city is controlled by the evil Saddam, cursed be his name, whose only aim is to prevent humanitarian aid from reaching his people.

The coalition could, of course, drop food and water - instead of bombs - from the air. One could also arrange for a short cease-fire, so as to bring the humanitarian aid into the besieged city. But that has been forbidden by Donald Rumsfeld, another great humanitarian. So there is really no alternative but to bomb them until they are ripe for aid.

Masters and natives.

As a preview of the humanitarian aid to come after the occupation of Basra, the British have distributed a film about the arrival of aid to a village on the way. They were so satisfied with this piece of reporting, that they ran it dozens of times on TV.

It looks like this: a British truck brings food and water. The villagers, mainly desperate women and children, besiege the truck. They beg for water. The soldiers distribute mineral water to the maddened crowd--one bottle to every child and woman. After days of thirst, one (one!) liter per family.

The whole scene is nauseating. The hunger and thirst of the population, caught in the middle of the fighting, are exploited for crude propaganda. The British look again as they have always looked in Iraq: overbearing colonial masters, doing a favor to the natives. For every Arab beholder, this is the ultimate humiliation.

Robbing for the robbed. In order to finance everything--the destruction, the reconstruction, the humanitarian aid and what not--money is needed. Where will it come from? From the Iraqi oil, of course.

Therefore, it is the humanitarian duty of the Americans to take hold of the oil fields as quickly as possible. Not for their own good, perish the thought, but for the Iraqis. In order to help them and do good.

Every child knows by now that this war is about oil. The US intends to take possession of the Iraqi reserves, the second largest in the world (after the Saudi reserves), and control the neighboring reserves of the Caspian Sea, Iran and the Gulf. Now it appears that it is all for the benefit of the Iraqi people themselves. So that they shall have something to eat and medicines for the children.

All this after the UN sanctions, imposed as demanded by the Americans, that have for many years caused general malnutrition, the death of hundred of thousands of children from hunger and disease and the destruction of the Iraqi infrastructure - all in the name of "oil for food".

Oh, Orwell, Orwell.

What would he have said about this war?

In his book "1984", he had the Ministry of Truth coin phrases like "War is Peace", Freedom is Slavery" and "Ignorance is Power". He would be right at home in this war.

Occupation is Liberation, War is a Humane Duty, Toppling a foreign government is Regime Change, Starvation is Humanitarian Aid, Struggle against a foreign invader is Serving a Tyrant, Bombing a city is Service to the People.

Truth is always the first victim of any war. But it seems that in this particular war it suffers even more than usual. Mendacity, hypocrisy, dis-information and plain brainwashing are having a ball. Four-star generals parrot manifestly mendacious slogans, star-journalist from all over the world accept them eagerly, world TV networks repeat them diligently and the Israeli media lap it all up.

Bon appetite.
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Old 1st April 2003, 08:08   #2
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Bon appetite indeed.

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Old 1st April 2003, 16:35   #3
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Uri sums it all up. Makes sense.

/me applauds.

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Old 3rd April 2003, 20:18   #4
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Re: Truth is the First Victim of War / Dare to read (2)

Quote:
Originally posted by nature spirit
The Devil's Dictionary

By URI AVNERY


Oh, Orwell, Orwell.

What would he have said about this war?

In his book "1984", he had the Ministry of Truth coin phrases like "War is Peace", Freedom is Slavery" and "Ignorance is Power". He would be right at home in this war.

Occupation is Liberation, War is a Humane Duty, Toppling a foreign government is Regime Change, Starvation is Humanitarian Aid, Struggle against a foreign invader is Serving a Tyrant, Bombing a city is Service to the People.
Bon appetite.
Orwell used those phrases to model a communist society based on a sole leader who's eyes reach everywhere. The problem with the comparison here is that George Bush is not a soul leader. He needs the backing of a congress which is voted for by the US populace, meaning that we have effectually given him his power, whether or not he honestly won the election, we still voted in a supporting congress. So say what you want about America not voting for him, America voted in his Congressional support.
The simple fact that we voted for the guy hurts your 1984 theorem, but we'll act as if that is neither here nor there.
1984 was an outlashing at communist movements within America, a freedom that we hold dear, and can be proven to be a stab at communisms false truths.
1984 was a prediction of what would happen if the League of Nations and other "World" organizations were pursued and created a small ruling body over the entire world, thus making these few incredibly powerful, and those around them.
George Orwell was by no means a capitalist, but he did not support communism either. An excellent example is The book Animal Farm, where the animals originally try to set up a peacefull commune, with serious freedoms and laws. But the laws are slowly shaped and prodded and then corrupted, enemies are created and so forth.
You can say that Saddam Hussein is a created Enemy, that we made him so we could save the world from him later on. Maybe we did. Or maybe we made a mistake and are trying to fix it.
Maybe if we just kept to ourselves, the world would be better. But then we're "dicks" because we don't help hurting countries.
Iraq is a hurting country. The public does not want Saddam there. He spends the money of the country on shrines dedicated to himself.
Is this 1984? I've heard it compared many times versus the propaganda of the US. What about Iraqi television.
Our forces are 12 miles from Baghdad. We have had control of thier electricity since day one. Yesterday the head of Iraqi Information stated we were trapped in several cities and not within 100 miles of Baghdad. Four hours later we cut thier electricity.
Who's living in 1984? the US or Iraqi civilians?

edit: also we're sending massive amounts of food and supplies to the occupied areas, major cities, and towns.

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Old 3rd April 2003, 22:37   #5
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Re: Re: Truth is the First Victim of War / Dare to read (2)

Quote:
Originally posted by Fickle
George Bush is not a soul leader. He needs the backing of a congress which is voted for by the US populace
Bush is not a leader, i seriously don't think he have taken a single decition during his time in office - Rumsfeld, Rice and Cheney takes them for him.... Good heavens, imagine a man with his mental capacity actually taking important decitions - now that would be fun.....NOT!
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Old 3rd April 2003, 23:24   #6
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of course NOT!

and if you really think otherwise then you have NO IDEA how politics work in the backstage of the white house.
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Old 4th April 2003, 04:48   #7
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As I said. Even his entire branch is not alone on the decision. The American people, however wrong or right, have voted him, his friends, and the congress that backs him. Which is probably why a lot of people feel discomfort to hate about the entire country. Oh well. We made our bed and we must lie in it.
I didn't vote for him, as at the time I wasn't registered, but I did vote for the people behind him. At least I worked the system. Many people bitch and moan about the decision, but didn't help make it themselves, as they didn't vote at all, not for him, not for Al, not for anyone. And yet they whine and bitch about what they're doing. If you don't like it, change it. Get involved just simply by voting, and the leaders you elect will (with hope) reflect your own desires.

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Old 4th April 2003, 13:58   #8
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What the point in voting if even the person who wins doesn't get into office? It's indefensible what happened in those elections.

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Old 4th April 2003, 18:06   #9
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CONGRESS WAS VOTED IN. THE PRESIDENT DOES NOT RUN THE COUNTRY ALONE. READ A BOOK.

Jesus. How thick can you be? I just told you that The Republican congress was voted in two years later, and won in a landslide!! There was no controversy. So maybe Bush slipped in the back door, but the congress that helped him get us where we are now did not slip in the back door. They were VOTED IN! Jesus.

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Old 8th April 2003, 03:47   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Fickle
CONGRESS WAS VOTED IN. THE PRESIDENT DOES NOT RUN THE COUNTRY ALONE. READ A BOOK.
nope. but it's a hell of an easy to manipulate congress with human tragedy seemingly on your side (or, at any rate, not not on your side...)

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Old 8th April 2003, 22:18   #11
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right. as if we don't know how the voting system -even for the congress- works. You better read dat book.
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Old 9th April 2003, 00:17   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by zootm
nope. but it's a hell of an easy to manipulate congress with human tragedy seemingly on your side (or, at any rate, not not on your side...)
Or manipulate people into thinking it's all a scam to get oil we don't need, right?

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