Dr. Fraser- Point of View
June 25, 2004
American Politics- A Tragicomedy

American politics has become something of a tragicomedy, largely because of George Bush and his entourage and the war in Iraq. Bush these days is a pitiful though funny figure. Did you see him trying to respond to the findings of the 9/11 Commission that there was no credible evidence of a link between Al Qeada and Saddam? How sad? The Leader of the Free World! America is however a remarkable country, full of the good, the bad and the ugly. {{more}}It is also a strange country. Imagine that 4 out of 5 Americans believed there was a link between Osama bin Laden and Saddam when there was all the evidence to show otherwise. The problem really lies with the power that country holds and the fact that it is so caught up with itself that it sees nothing but itself. But there is even more for America sees the rest of the world in its own image. It feels that the rest of the world wants to be like it, only in some cases it doesn’t know it. What else could explain their disastrous Iraqi policy? Really the administration was so convinced that the Iraqis were waiting on them as liberators that they never bothered to try to understand the Iraqis and their culture, and to plan for the post-war scenario. They felt that once they had destroyed Saddam and gotten rid of the statues and other symbols of the arch-dictator, the Iraqis would be on their knees greeting them and throwing flowers at their feet. Bush would then have been crowned King of all Iraqis.
It hasn’t turned out that way. It is, today, even difficult to describe Iraq as a country. There is no real government and no set of laws that the people respect. In fact the ingredients that go to make up a country do not exist. And with the American elections some months away Bush and his boys are looking for the easy way out, trying to convince the rest of the world that they are turning over sovereignty to the Iraqis. But was it ever theirs to give? What sovereignty anyhow? How can the Iraqis be said to have sovereignty when there would still be thousands of American troops in that country? The whole thing is farcical and becoming more so everyday.
This is the new world that our friend GW spoke about. After all the world was supposed to be safer for democracy for by going into Iraq he was going to destroy the fountain of terrorism and also bring peace to the Middle East. Instead he has given a boost to terrorism and all around the terrorists seem to have been given a new handle on life. No one is safe any where from the terrorists. The decapitations and kidnappings that have been the latest twist in the Iraqi resistance strategies reflect a sad state of affairs. The fate a few days ago of the South Korean is a result of Bush’s policies. After following the prison abuse scandal how can one dare to say anything about these other developments heinous as they are? A few individuals are taking the rap but the big boys behind who have sanctioned their actions remain untouched. Much of this undoubtedly falls on the head of Donald Rumsfeld, a most despicable character if ever there was one. Really if he had any decency at all he should not wait on anyone to call on him to resign, he should have taken the honourable way out. But if he was to do that, what would happen to his arch-conspirator the dear President and leader of the most powerful country in the world? Hopefully, the American public would render that verdict in November, although lying between all of that are two men, Kerry and Nader. Between a Rock and a Hard Place! Perhaps?
There are some signs of hope. One has to applaud the position of a group of former U.S diplomats and retired high-ranking military personnel, of both major political parties who have called on the American public to vote George Bush from office for having destroyed the credibility of America and made it perhaps the most hated nation in the world. This is why I have to make reference to the good, the bad and the ugly in America. One is often forced to generalize, but there are decent people in America who have always disagreed with its imperialistic policies and its arrogance. There are many who had opposed the war from the beginning and who were uncomfortable with the way their country or rather their government had been exercising its power. There is quite a lot of mobilizing taking place in America to remove George W from Office. Included among them are the hundreds of thousands who opposed the war and even families of military personnel in Iraq. I have often tried to imagine the mental state of the families of service men in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many persons would have seen media interviews with their children. Their one wish is to have their fathers return from Iraq and to do so safely. Families point to the utter frenzy, particularly when the phone rings or there are knocks at their doors at the dead of night or when they see news releases of yet another dead American in Iraq. This situation is tearing families apart, but many do not want to make a lot of noise about it fearing that somehow their sons and daughters’ lives might be further jeopardized.
While all of this is happening imagine the audacity of the American political establishment in its call on the Security Council to continue the exemption of U.S troops from the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. This was too much for Kofi Anan, a careful player, if ever there was one. He had to come out and openly oppose it, having been very much aware of the treatment of prisoners in Iraq and elsewhere. What is puzzling is the willingness of at least some countries to entertain such hypocritical calls or are they demands. This is one of the problems we face, persons and countries willing to sell their souls and to genuflect to power.
Things have really gotten out of control and the so-called withdrawal of America is unlikely to lead to a return to normality, if we can so describe it. For one, this is more in rhetoric than anything else because they would still be wielding the authority, using Iraqi figure- heads to do their jobs. The kidnapping of civilians is the absurd extreme to which things have degenerated. We hear of the over 800 dead American soldiers but less or nothing at all about the thousands of Iraqi civilians who fell victims to Bush’s madness. Someone should really be called on to bear the consequences of all this mess. Saddam was brutal, but the Americans have done no better. Iraqis are certainly not happier. There is too much fear and uncertainty. The future looks gloomy but there is unlikely to be any marked improvement until American troops are withdrawn. The presence of their troops would signal to the resistance that the Americans are still firmly grounded. They would have to leave to create the atmosphere for Iraqis to regroup for the building of their country.