December 19, 2008
Sunday the global reactionaries celebrated an incident of an Iraqi news reported throwing their shoes at President Bush and calling him "a dog." The reporter noted that this was for all the "widows and orphans" Bush had created in Iraq. The successful legacy of President Bush was never in more full evidence than the Sunday press conference in Bagdad. The obvious contrast of President Bush and President Saddam Hussein was an easy one to observe.
Under Saddam Hussein, such an incident would never have taken place because public dissent was punishable by death. The punishment of death was not quiet or discrete. Such killings were committed in barbaric terms meant to communicate to the 27 million Iraqis the desired silence. Dissenters might be thrown from three story buildings; had their ankle bones drilled; had their arms broken into compound fractures in public squares; witnessed the raping of their wife; or had a decapitated head mounted in the community of relatives. All of these things were so normative and pervasive that even CNN made a habit of refusing to report Saddam's abuse for fear of jeopardizing more human life.
The irony of Sunday's press conference is accentuated by a global sense that President Bush is a war criminal and a man who condones torture. Though no one in the world has taken a more effective stance against torture, President Bush is globally denounced both at home and abroad as the pro-torture President. The peculiar reality of a President who has single handedly removed global butchers such as the Talilban, Saddam Hussein, and Charles Taylor; creates one of the most fascinating ironies of our times. The man who has stood most boldly against torture and genocide is mocked and taunted by a man who misses Saddam Hussein. The dangerously fickle character of human nature was on display Sunday.
The refusal of Bush critics to acknowledge the historic and barbaric cruelty of President Bush's adversaries raises serious questions about their own moral commitments. The orphans and widows created in Iraq were largely established by Sunni separatists, Iranian sponsored radicals, and Al Qaeda madmen. The most scathing anti -American war document-- the Lancet study-- acknowledged that 85% of civilian deaths were due to anti-Coalition forces. Radical Al Qaeda prince Zarqawi, who came to Iraq in 2002, epitomized the violence of these groups when he committed a violent on camera beheading of Nicholas Berg. Nicholas Berg's anti American war father Michael Berg immediately denounced President Bush as being responsible for his son's death.
The pathology of a global a community that is mesmerized and content with torture committed by their favorite anti-American sons is fascinating. As long as genocidal policies are carried out quietly and without American intervention, they constitute a placid state of contentment for journalists in Bagdad, Atlanta, DC and New York. The audacity of hope that supposes that humanity would like to be able to dissent just as this journalist did on Sunday, is not a practical one. For the majority of global citizens, the relationship they have with their government is a directly dangerous one. There will be no shoe throwing at leaders today in most of the world.
The bizarre global comedy of daily denouncing President Bush as the cause of all human suffering is winding down to its final days. When those days pass, there will still stand a giant man of character who alone chose to act against the despicable crimes against humanity. He stood tall again on that bloodless Sunday.
Ben Voth is associate professor of Communication and director of speech and debate programs at Southern Methodist University