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TWO POSTED RESPONSES TO A COLUMN IN THE GUARDIAN BY OLIVER KAMM
 
JOHN CHUCKMAN

Safer for whom, Oliver Kamm?

For the more than 600,000 murdered by Bush in Iraq?

For the tens of thousands murdered in Afghanistan, including the 3,000 prisoners who were driven out to the desert in vans to be suffocated?

For the thousands of prisoners of the CIA’s International Torture Gulag?

For the abused and tortured of Abu Ghraib?

For the abused and tortured of Guantanamo?

For the millions of lives shattered in Iraq, a place that once was on the cusp of modernity and prosperity?

This has to be the most breathtakingly dumb piece of writing I’ve seen in years
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Apart from my question of safer for whom, citing the piles of Bush victims, the world is not a safer place for many other reasons, Oliver Kamm.

First, suppression of human rights all over the Western world is no light thing. There is nothing ‘safe’ about living in a police state or a quasi-police state the U.S. has become under Bush. The Bill of Rights has virtually been suspended.

Second, people of Arabic origin or of Muslim beliefs are now routinely abused and insulted in many Western countries, especially in the United States.

Third, a wave of hatred and injustice is rippling through the Muslim world. That isn’t just going to go away. Bush’s approach has been the approach of Israel, which today remains a garrison state with no peace and defended by walls and brutality, a long-term untenable position, besides being a shining example of ethically-hollow behavior.

Fourth, Bush’s oppression and killing abroad have been closely paralleled by an almost unprecedented grant of license to Israel to behave as brutally and ruthlessly as it wishes towards Palestinians and other neighbors.

A genuinely horrible situation has grown up, and no open-minded person can possibly look at Israel’s wretched behavior in Gaza and in Lebanon and towards Syria without some revulsion. Nothing, absolutely nothing, Apartheid South Africa did has not been repeated by Israel towards its neighbors, and, of course, that includes infamous mass killings of poor blacks by South African troops and mass imprisonments with no rights or justice.

Fifth, Bush has also set aside the Geneva Conventions and other important international treaties, including that safeguarding the rights of child soldiers. No meaningful sense of safety comes from this arrogance.

He has practiced new bizarre doctrines, giving the example to other states to do the same in future, as, for example, pre-emptive strikes on suspects and high-tech assassinations. These provide another measure of the ‘Israelization’ of American policy. Imagine a world in which every state claims this philosophy?

What has happened overall in the world under Bush is a series of steps away from democratic principles. Even if America had the most vigorous and fair democracy, something that is demonstrably not the case, when its leaders decide the fates of so many others, its tiny group of electors (maybe 1% or less of the world’s people, taking into account many Americans do not even vote) effectively acts like an aristocracy vis-à-vis the rest of the world.

You cannot claim democratic values and behave this way. After all, the Communist Party of China rules more than a billion people with almost the same percentage of representation.

The United States and Israel have given democracy a bad name in much of the emerging world. After all, in the special limited sense they claim to be democratic, so was Apartheid South Africa or the American Confederacy or the Britain of George III.

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