Monday, June 26, 2006

Gawenda: America's liberals need to loosen up: Do we really need to have Rovian extreme right-wing propaganda printed as 'opinion' in an Australian newspaper? Or is this to be the new official policy and rhetoric of the Howard Government?

"This liberal base of the [Democrat] party is essentially animated by a deep and abiding hatred of George Bush and everything he stands for and has done."

If that were all critics of Bush and his policies were motivated or 'animated' by then it would not be worth taking seriously. But of course it is not the case. This is a rhetorical device which sets out to make any or preferably all criticism of Bush and his policies illegitimate by a simple device: people who criticise Bush are motivated by hate; that is an illegitimate response to the government; all criticism can therefore be dismissed. I suspect you will see this device employed over and over again.

"Liberals - and, by implication, the moderate left in Europe and Australia - do not have a coherent position on the security challenges facing the US and the world since September 11.... Bush, and conservatives in general, at least have a coherent story to tell about the world in the wake of the September 11 attacks. America, which represents good, is in an epic struggle against evil, and liberals and leftists in general are constantly trying to undermine the "moral clarity" of America, rein in American power and make Americans question their faith in their country's exceptionalism."

"Liberals end up sounding wholly negative, motivated purely by anti-Americanism and hatred of Bush, more outraged by Bush and his Administration than by indiscriminate terrorist violence, the oppression of women and the religious intolerance and anti-democratic ideology of America's, and liberal democracy's, enemies."

Bush's aggression has killed 10,000 people in Afghanistan and 100,000 people in Iraq already by 2004, which is many more than were killed on 9/11. And presumably few or none of these people killed had anything to do 9/11. In the process of doing this the Administration has violated international law and the US constitution, and taken distinct steps towards a police state, including establishing and legitimising the use of torture, concentration camps, detention without trial and extra-judicial killings. The motive for all these actions is essentially wealth and power, ie control of Mideast energy reserves and power and wealth for US corporations and the US ruling elite. Terrorism (just as with WMDs) is simply a convenient pretext. There were of course no WMDs, which was apparent before the aggression against Iraq; and the invasion of Iraq has led to a predictable jump in 'terrorist' activity.

It is the duty of a citizen of the US or an allied country to oppose these actions and seek to change policy. If the writer cannot or will not see these facts and duties and instead acts as a propagandist for the government, that merely reflects on him. He is a crucial tool in the great machine, and bears his share of personal responsibility for the tragedy and suffering.

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