Democracy is a wonderful thing and America is a wonderful democracy.  This is demonstrated every four years when America goes to the polls and the resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue knows and accepts that they may have to relinquish the most powerful political position on the planet.  Recently America has had a desire to export this wonderful democracy to certain, but not all, countries in the Middle East.  Their greatest democracy exporting experiment is currently taking place in Iraq where President George W Bush travelled this week in the dying days of his final term.   As we know an Iraqi journalist who takes a certain umbrage at America’s actions in Iraq attacked Bush with a pair of size ten shoes while he was giving a press conference alongside Iraqi president Nouri al-Maliki.  The journalist, Muntadar al-Zeidi, was promptly arrested and according to reports is to be charged with ‘insulting the Iraqi nation.’  Had al-Zeidi carried out his actions in the United States he would certainly have been arrested, but one can only assume that any charges which followed would be related to the attempted assault on the president.  I don’t know of any serious democratic nation where it is a crime to insult the country.  This however is the new ‘democracy’ which America is promoting and supporting in Iraq.  The idea that insulting the Iraqi nation is a punishable crime has a certain resonance when one thinks of the literally hundreds, if not thousands, of Iranians who were executed in Iran following the 1979 revolution who were acussed of ‘crimes against Islam.’  I wait anxiously to see what will happen when Iraq is finally cut loose from America’s apron strings and elects itself a strict Islamic government.  I can only guess that when that happens America will be just about as keen on Iraqi democracy as they were on Palestinian democracy when Hamas were elected.

BTW.  Having observed Bush’s fantastic, evasive body swerve I can only assume that he has at some time been on a duck shoot with Dick Cheney!

I originally posted this last year.  In light of the US candidate selection I thought it worth a re-run.  

 

Morrissey once wrote a song called ’America, you are not the world.’ I never heard him sing it, but I did hear Christy Moore perform it a few times and I didn’t think much of it. The song opens with – “America your head is so big/America your belly is so big/I LOVE you/ But I wish you’d stay where you live.”
This is a sentiment often expressed by people when they complain about America. America, they say, should just keep out of other peoples business. America should look after Americans in America and not be interfering in Israel/Palestine/Iraq/Iran/Vietnam/Korea. All of these places, and a few more besides, have seen American involvement – or interference, depending on which side of the fence you view it from.
Right now there are over 100,000 US soldiers in Iraq. This evening I listened to Boston radio show host Michael Graham say on the Right Hook radio show, that these troops are in Iraq because America cares. America cares about the people of Iraq. America also, presumably, cared about the peoples of Vietnam and Korea. America, Graham would tell us, cares about the people of Palestine and Israel. Americans, it would seem, are just about the most caring people on the planet. Maybe they are. I’ve never been to America but the Americans I have met here in Ireland seemed, for the most part, to be pleasant enough. Admittedly they were often a little overbearing, sometimes very excited to be here in Ayerlaaand! Sometimes they were indisputably naive or just plain stupid but they never quite struck me as uncaring.
The problem, however, is that these nice citizens are not running the United States of America. That would be the job of the American government, and a more uncaring bunch of people you could not hope to meet.
For political purposes the American government IS America, and I have to tell you that America does not care about anything except America.
Now, you’re probably thinking ‘this guy really doesn’t like America.’ You would be wrong. I hope very much to visit the US at some point when finances and work commitments allow. I very much admire many aspects of American culture – Jazz, Rock & Roll, Hollywood movies. Writers such as John Steinbeck, Tennessee Williams, Edgar Allen Poe and many many more have entertained the world. Steven Spielberg, John Ford, Martin Scorcese – say no more.
America is fine. The American government is fine – except for one thing. Honesty.
America (the government) cares about nothing but America and American interests. This is a stick often used to beat America, but why should America care about anything else. the US government is elected by the citizens of the the US to represent the interests of those very US citizens. They are not mandated to care about anyone else. They are not mandated to worry about the starving people of Africa. They are not mandated to be concerned for the downtrodden of Iraq.
So, why then are there currently over 100,000 US troops in Iraq?
These troops are protecting the interests of the American people.
American people have a great interest in oil. The US is addicted to the stuff. Without oil America grinds to a halt. The same is true of most western nations. My own country, Ireland, is over 90% dependant on oil for energy. We’re even more addicted to the stuff than the US. The difference, however, between them and us is that they have the power and the military might to do something about it. Ireland was never going to overthrow Saddam with 14,000 men and a few dozen lightly armoured personnel carriers! The US, however, has a standing army of over one million soldiers, and so it could and did invade Iraq, overthrow Saddam, and take over another sovereign nation.
Why did the US do this?
Was it because the American government cares so much about the people of Iraq?
No. It was because the American government cares so much about the people of America.
As I stated earlier, the American government is elected to protect the interests of the American people. When they invaded and conquered Iraq they were doing just that. I often wonder if those who berate and belittle America for doing this expect that the American government should act contrary to the best interest of America and Americans.
America needs oil.
Saudi Arabia doesn’t need any more oil, they’ve got lots of that. Saudi, it would seem doesn’t need democracy either. Not as long as they have all the oil. But they don’t have all the oil – just an awful lot of it. Now Iraq has lots of oil and until 2003 they had a dictatorship that was almost as repressive as Saudi’s monarchy. The house of Saud has not been looking as healthy lately as it did in times past and so the guys in Washington get to thinking about what would happen if someone else took over the US oil reserves – sorry, the Saudi Oil reserves. What if that someone wasn’t of Washington’s choosing? What if that someone didn’t want to do business with the American infidels?
The solution is so simple as to be laughable. Washington simply moves America’s oil reserve from Saudi to Iraq. That would be in the best interest of the American people. It wouldn’t cost much. Just three or four or five thousand American boys and girls, several trillion dollars and all of the worldwide goodwill America has built up over the last 100 years. Oh, and I nearly forgot, sixty or seventy or eighty thousand Iraqis, but hey, the US government is not mandated to worry about them.
Anyway the American oil reserves in Iraq are secure, and happy days, things in Saudi are not looking too bad either so America now has two sets of oil reserves in the middle east. Now, I ask you, how could that not be in the best interest of the American people?
One thing still bugs me, though. Remember I spoke about honesty?
What was all that bullshit about weapons of mass destruction? 45 minute warnings to attack the UK? Links to Al Qaida?
Just be honest about these things, America. I still won’t agree with you but it would be nice.
That way the people of the UK could know exactly what Mr. Blair has dragged them into.
That way the people of Madrid and London could know for what their friends and neighbours died.
That way the people of Ireland could know exactly why our government is allowing Shannon airport to be used to transport prisoners who are beyond the protection of any court or government to torture centres in the middle east.
That way the people of America could know the calibre of their political leaders and could make an informed choice in 2008.
That would be nice.
Unlikely.
Probably impossible, but nice all the same.
America, you are not the world – but you think you are.