Tuesday, November 13, 2007

He's an S.O.B, But...

Once upon a time, certain men were engaged in a war with the then Soviet Union. The men claimed they had the right to independence and self-determination, and were superbly backed up by the U.S. of A, who provided them with sophisticated weapons and training.

Eventually, the leaders of these men were received on the White House lawn in a ceremony, and described by then President of the U.S., Ronald Reagan, as the "moral equivalents of America's founding fathers" while the flashbulbs popped.

These men were from a certain Afghanistan, and were the core leadership of a group within the "resistance" called the Taliban...

You see, back then, it was the in-thing to be anti-Communist, and every Communist or Soviet leaning government became a "regime" in the words of White House Press Releases, and in the publications and broadcasts of the Western press. It didn't matter if these governments were democractically elected, which they usually were.

In Latin America, terrified by the prospect of having Communist governments in its backyard, America sponsored several coups-d'etat, assassinations, and so on. They propped up all manner of repressive, murderous regimes in the name of "strategic allies" and so on.

In Africa, the same thing happened. If you wanted freedom to murder as many of your citizens as you could, while looting your treasury, all you had to do was label them "Communists" and America would send you a care package, and stroll off in the other direction while whistling "Dixie". Nelson Mandela, who was fighting for the emancipation of the Black South African, was labelled a Communist and thrown in jail for twenty-seven years. When the Apartheid regime murdered several hundred unarmed students in Soweto, the Americans did not condemn this action, they simply looked the other way. Britain actively supported the activities of the regime in South Africa, which led to British Petroleum in Nigeria becoming African Petroleum after it was nationalised by an enraged Nigerian government.

In the Middle East, Saddam Hussein of Iraq was free to purchase mustard gas and other biological and chemical weapons as long as he served the purpose of keeping Iran quiet. When he turned the mustard gas on the Kurds in northern Iraq, no one said a damn thing.

The list could go on and on. There are countless instances where a government is elected in a free and fair election, but overthrown by an American sponsored coup because the new President wouldn't have played ball.

These days, anti-Communist has been replaced by anti-Terrorist.

You see, at some point, after the Americans had used them to embarrass the Soviet Union and promptly dropped them, the Taliban got angry. The millions of dollars in aid they had been promised to help them rebuild their shattered country never arrived, and they were, naturally, pissed. They realised they had been a one-war stand with the U.S. who never bothered to call or write afterwards, and they planned their revenge, extracting it spectacularly on September 11, 2001.

America howled in pain and rage, went into Afghanistan, and rooted them out. Suddenly, smart dictators all over the world realised that the new way to consolidate their power had arrived, and none jumped on the bandwaggon faster than one Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan.

You see, General Musharraf had a serious problem - America wasn't too happy with his military dictatorship status, and was begining to make serious noises about forcing him out of power. For him, therefore, September 11, 2001 was like a gift from God, and he seized it with both hands. Quickly, he made all the right noises, and all the right actions, mounting military campaigns against Al-Qaeda "strongholds" in Pakistan, and by so doing, become America's new best friend. Having consolidated his position as a "strategic ally" he decided the time was right to focus on extending his rule in Pakistan.

At the time the people of Pakistan are demanding elections be held in a free and fair atmosphere, General don't-let-the-safari-suit-fool-ya Musharraf suddenly declared a state of emergency, shut down all private radio and television stations, arrested all "hostile" judges and hounded all notable oppostion figures into hiding or jail. He's made it a point of duty to arrest all persons of learning, especially the lawyers, and toss them all in the clink, thereby depriving the opposition of an intellectual front.

America, has of course, remained resolutely silent, and apart from the usual diplomatic noises, has refused to unequivocally tell the General that his actions are unacceptable, and everyday that passes emboldens Musharraf to abrogate some new freedom of his "subjects".

This is because America's policy with regard to repressive, totalitarian regimes can be summed up in one sentence: "He's an S.O.B, but, by God, he's OUR S.O.B!"

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I love my country, enjoy a cold beer once in a while, rabidly support Arsenal FC, but I don't get Diet Coke...