Wednesday, October 22, 2003

David Burchell: Paradox of anti-Americanism

[War criminal] President George W. Bush's trip to our shores today has focused attention on a striking fact - the apparently irresistible rise in hostility among many Australians towards the US.

It's safe to assume that his whirlwind visit will be accompanied by demonstrations, and that placards will blame his country for a wide variety of sins, real and imagined, from the ill-fated [illegal and degrading] war in [on] Iraq to Third World poverty to the popularity of American fast food.

[T0 the CIA false flag, reichstag 9-11 attack and the CIA false flag, call to arms, Bali bombings.]

The other day I received an email invitation to demonstrate against his visit, signed on behalf of a refugee support group. Apparently the US is responsible even for our vexed asylum-seeker policies.

[Nah, the Iraqi's an Afghans just wanted to live in Australia, and not because we bombed them back to the stone age?]

Americaphobia is hardly new. For the Vietnam generation, it was part of an epic global drama of Davids and the Goliath, where Goliath was the US and the Davids were a somewhat motley band of Third World "liberation movements".

When the Soviet Union fell, and the supply of AK-47s dried up, so did Third World socialism - and radical hatred of America lost a good deal of oomph. Today the anti-globalisation kids [? clever? Old man!] gallantly carry the flag of this old radical vision (Che T-shirts and all). But since the "liberation movements" have evaporated, it's an object-less enthusiasm, a hatred without hope.

[Well, liberation movements have not evaporated, they've just been ignored, haven't they? And those movements don't hate anyone, just the opposite really, they want peace and not war in the Middle East like the Coalition of the Killing.]

Yet while anti-Americanism may have been winged, it never died. Instead, it's fallen to earth to become the taken-for-granted of the cultural sophisticate. Nobody is anybody today if they can't recite a desk-calendar homily from Noam Chomsky, or re-enact Michael Moore's latest "expose" of American crassness. The same people who drench themselves in an ocean of BBC period costume-dramas (even the Victorians are hipper than the Americans) will gleefully describe the American "neocons" as fascists, and "Dubya" as the world's greatest terrorist. Americaphobia has thrown off its cheesecloth and donned Country Road.

[But America never did nothing wrong, right?]

But there's an odd, and unremarked, paradox at the heart of this great outpouring of disdain. For those who profess to despise America most are not infrequently the truest "Americans" of them all.

[Most see what the Americans do with their own eyes and are not easily led into believing the fantasy stories that America would like people to believe in when they're simply not true.]

Cold War conservatives liked to accuse their opponents of "moral equivalence" - by equating Kent State with the Prague Summer, or Chile with the Gulag. In their fury they missed a small but important fact. Those who equated Henry Kissinger with Adolf Hitler weren't exhibiting a hostility to Western cultural and political values so much as a deep if somewhat naive attachment to them. And the same is true of our erstwhile anti-Americans today.

[Henry Kissinger is a despot, so why wouldn't they relate him to Adolf Hitler.]

America has always laid itself open to adverse judgment in the court of international public opinion, by virtue of its remorseless political high-mindedness, and by its habit of viewing the world through the prism of its own national ideals.

Anyone who studied history at school can recall that lonely, quixotic figure of Woodrow Wilson in the Palace of Versailles, doggedly pursuing a Millennium of "national self-determination" among the chicanery and revenge-lust of "old Europe".

Conversely, Graham Greene's eminently reactionary message in his Quiet American was that American idealism was the chief cause of the West's blunders in the world - and that the world would be a safer place back in the gin-soaked, trembling hands of European colonialists.

America's present-day critics are much closer in spirit to Wilson than Greene. The demonisation of Kissinger has staying power precisely because he incarnates the ruthless European pragmatism of Metternich and Bismarck - while his critics adopt the same lonely, heroic posture as Wilson himself.

Chomsky's mantra of resistance to a military state evokes the Jeremiads of the Founding Fathers, when they warned against the dangers of slipping into Old World despotism. And Moore is the Mr Smith of his generation, forever travelling to Washington with his heart on his sleeve and America's best instincts in his overnight bag.

[Once again America did nothing wrong in your eyes, in all the words wars? Even whilst they led the way with pre-emptive strikes on foreign nation states and are currently bombing Iraq and Afghanistan back to the stone age, and supporting Israel's occupation in Palestine?]

For in its heart of hearts anti-Americanism is a profoundly American movement. It's no coincidence that when Australian university students want to "critique" America they turn to American libertarians like Chomsky or American anti-imperialists like the late Edward Said.

Phillip Adams's most ebullient critics of American hyper-power are American academics. And when Andrew Denton asked the question recently "Should we fear America?", to whom should he turn, but a left-liberal veteran of the Washington press gallery.

[We'll we wouldn't turn to despots for help, no matter what we fear, that is unless you want to start grading the best despots, from say, 1-10?]

Phillip Adams: "Moral equivalence" was a Cold War furphy. The reason radicals rarely criticised the Soviet Union wasn't because they loved it, but because nobody really believed the Soviets had any ideals left to live up to. Likewise, when today's cultural sophisticates call America "the real threat to world peace", and deny outright the reality of Islamic extremism, that's not because they're all rooting for Osama. Rather, it's because everybody knows the jihadis never had a commitment to world peace in the first place. Since they reject all of our most cherished values, they can hardly be reproached for failing to live up to them. For our miniature Wilsons, as a moral problem they simply don't compute.

[Oh yeah and that's why the USA are bombing the Middle East back to the stone age, because the USA don't know how to communicate and use dialogue to get results? Surely, an Empire like the USA that is bombing sovereign nation states, back to the stone age, are no threat to world peace? You goose! Especially when USA false flag operations and reichstags are used to blame it on Islamic extremists, then the real threat to world peace is the USA.]

Before the Iraq war, [the illegal and degrading attack on Iraq's sovereignty, you mean?], many critics insisted (with wearisome attempts at wit) that it was really a base economic conflict - an oil war.

[Because that is what it was. A resource war.]

They pretended to view France and Russia - the two greatest economic beneficiaries of Saddam Hussein's rule, and of the UN's never-ending sanctions program - as moral paragons. They even swore that their next imported car would be French (though hopefully not Russian).

[France and Russia opposed the pre-emptive strike on Iraq. The UN never gave approval for any attack.]

It was another red herring. Nobody seriously believes that the French or the Russians are possessed of high national or international ideals. People know that Americans still are, and that they treat their ideals with deep seriousness. And that's why America's repeated failure to measure up to those ideals (as in Iraq) is greeted with such delirious mockery.

And so there's something curiously cheering about good old-style, home-baked, momma's apple pie anti-Americanism. It's a sign that America's high-minded self-image is still alive in the world. Unfortunately, it's not obvious how far old-style American idealism is going to serve our nouveau Wilsons, or would-be Mr Smiths.

[The New World Order?]

The 'evolving international battle-lines' [Middle East] suggest that a series of further dirty, morally equivocal, bloody conflicts [illegal and degrading, occupations, genocide and pre-emptive resource wars] are in the offing [in the taking?] American foreign policy is starting to savour more and more of Metternich. And lofty isolationism sadly doesn't seem a viable option.

David Burchell, a lecturer in humanities at the University of Western Sydney, is co-author of Western Horizon: Sydney's Heartland and the Future of Australian Politics (Scribe).

Edited by Gregory Kable and posted 22 Oct 03


Sydney Social Forum Oct 24-26
The war on Iraq has signalled an intensifying permanent war on the world's poor, adding more open unilateral military aggression to existing neo-liberal offensives conducted through organisations like the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and World Trade Organisation.

Refugee policy, here is a new project: Burnside
The idea is to have thousands of Australian citizens writing to federal parliamentarians asking very simple, but hard, questions about the key aspects of refugee policy. I have devised a letter writing kit for this purpose. I attach a copy. It contains instructions which, are, I hope, fairly clear.

Habib's wife to join Greens protest during Bush visit
The wife of an Australian man imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay has urged the Prime Minister to seek her husband's release when the war criminal, United States President visits Australia this week.

Pilger said White House knew Saddam was no threat
Australian investigative journalist John Pilger says he has evidence the war against Iraq was based on a lie which could cost George W Bush and Tony Blair their jobs and bring Prime Minister John Howard down with them.

Illegal and degrading war crimes: Society on the New World Order (OWN)! While Australia and the US are very distinctive societies war criminal, Prime Minister John Howard and war criminal, President George Bush share core values.

Civil Liabilities: Howard's diversity? I had a dream?
The war criminal, Prime Minister, John Howard, who only yesterday was claiming he was showing diversity has stepped up pressure on the states to support plans to increase the war criminal, Federal Attorney-General's powers to ban terrorist organisations, [scapegoats and patsies for the Coalition of the Killing's illegal and degrading resource wars in the Middle East.]

PM despot diversity shallow and cunning sales pitch
War criminal, Prime Minister, John Howard, says planned visits by the United States and Chinese presidents demonstrate the diversity of Australia's relationships.

US Deputy Sheriff dismisses Indonesian comment that US king of terrorists Deputy Sheriff to the US Prime Minister John Howard says he does not agree with comments by the Indonesian Vice-President Hamzah Haz that the real terrorist is the United States for attacking Iraq.

Americans given deficit of Carr's spin?
Bob Carr joined Richard Butler and other corporate and political leaders to discuss how the rest of the world views the US as well as the superpower's role in the world. [Brain-dead and totalitarian!!]

Beattie starts spreading the news in old New York!
Beattie must think he's king of the hill or top of the heap? This is not a democracy this is blatant war enthusiasm whipped up to ensure that Australia goes to war at the next available opportunity.

When the towns criers rang the bell!
THEY scaled the walls of the Sydney Opera House, sent a strong message to the people of Australia, with their "No War" message and reinforced the will of the people.

Australian way of life now threatened by State Terror
Defence [war criminal] Minister Robert Hill says plans to place about 1,000 army reservists on counter-terrorism duties [? scapegoat duties] do not mean there is a specific threat to Australia.

PM man of steel? Or killer and a thief?
Is JOHN Howard a killer and a thief or a man of steel after he dropped bombs on innocent civilians in order to fix the problem in Iraq for trade agreements with the US? Thousands of children are now dieing of disease.

Thousands march for peace! But does that mean no war?
THOUSANDS of people took to the streets around the country yesterday to march against the war in Iraq and for world peace.

The Empire Strikes Back: Sydney anti-war rally
School children in uniforms, groups of young men and older protesters have gathered on one side of Town Hall while at least 200 police have gathered around the area.

Human shield describes 'sickening' scenes
An Australian 'human shield' who has fled Iraq into neighbouring Jordan has described the sight of bombed out buildings and distraught Iraqis as "sickening".

US disturbed over 'biased' reporting in Arab media! But the US lies to the world! How could anyone describe pre-emptive strikes on a sovereign nation, occupation, genocide, torture, and human rights abuse by the Coalition of the Killing in a positive light?

Coalition force 'surprised' by stiff resistance for food aid
About 4,000-5,000 allied forces have launched what they vowed would be an all-out blitz. "We're going straight through that city," a US Marine officer, who asked not to be named, said. "It will be a Hail Mary with guns ablazing."

Australians don't support US military action: poll
The second Australia-wide poll since the war began has found most Australians disapprove of the United States using military force to depose Saddam Hussein.

Explosions rock Baghdad, jets overhead Iraq
BAGHDAD, March 20 [Rooters] A handful of explosions rocked Baghdad at dawn today as jets roared overhead, Iraqi anti-aircraft batteries opened up and air raid sirens sounded.

AUSTRALIA AT WAR! Moment of death...
"The opening stages of the disarmament of the Iraqi regime [? resource war on Iraq regime] have begun ," White House spokesman Ari Fleischer [should have] said minutes after the strikes. He said Bush would speak at 2.15pm (AEDT).

Hit the road Jack and don't you come back No War, Jack Straw, No War, No War! LONDON: Nick Buxton, organising the protest outside Mr Straw's house, said: "We got the message across that the war is going to have a very huge humanitarian impact and people are angry about this war."

Moment of death 'HoWARd'
JOHN Howard lost the war for public opinion as Australia braces to invade Iraq by the end of the week. With nationwide anti-war protests, and Labor scrapping 30 years of bipartisanship on sending troops overseas, the Coalition has failed all Australians.

War criminal Howard high-jacks HRCA to 'legitimise killing'
The Human Rights Council of Australia (HRCA) says it fears Prime Minister John Howard's comments in support of the execution of [CIA operative] Osama bin Laden show his eagerness to overturn three decades of national opposition to the death penalty.

PM lost in space! Pre-emptive Strikes & Star Wars Defence!!
War criminal PM backs missile defence investigation but he is not on his own. Bob Carr dubbed Darth Vader after draconian laws were introduced in NSW following John Howard's threats to strike first and ask questions later.

Doom gloom and 'Boom' Downer shakes the room?
"Optimism is better and so is 'constructive feedback' because using constructive feedback means that the negatives also have a role in the construction of a nation. In short we have all the time in world to solve problems properly and that is what our leaders should be focusing on when they decide to inform all Australians. Hey what's the rush?" He said.

Hypocrisy not Democracy? No Blood for Oil!
Howard has refused to back down on the threat of war despite hundreds of thousands of Australians rallying against it. The question is why?

Australia backs CIA Reichstag, Downer's propaganda
The Foreign Affairs Minister says the latest message from Osama bin Laden is worrying. [Just plain rubbish!]

UK Reid, Blair and the reichstag London threat!
The nature of the [alleged] terrorist threat to London is on the scale of the [USA false flag] September 11 attacks in the United States, the chairman of Britain's governing Labour Party said.

Bin Laden calls? CIA blind man's bluff!
A [US propaganda, fear-mongering] taped message purportedly from Osama bin Laden has warned Arab nations against supporting a war against Iraq but has branded Saddam Hussein an infidel.

The Australian Federal Opposition and Labor Party Leader, Simon Crean, has again warned the U.S. ambassador to stop meddling in Australian politics.

War: Part one The human cost
On the road to Basra, ITV was filming wild dogs as they tore at the corpses of the Iraqi dead. Every few seconds a ravenous beast would rip off a decaying arm and make off with it over the desert in front of us, dead fingers trailing through the sand, the remains of the burned military sleeve flapping in the wind. "Just for the record,'' the cameraman said to me. Of course. Because ITV would never show such footage.

Mandela speaks out against Bush, Blair
Former South African leader Nelson Mandela has lashed out at US President George W Bush's stance on Iraq, saying the US leader has no foresight, and cannot think properly.

All the way with (LPK) Love Peace and Kindness: Dalai Lama
Communication is a two way street. Threats and punishment solve nothing and serve none. In fact it is against the law in most countries to threaten or punish a person.

Hill defends decision to attack Iraq: Step by step?
FEDERAL Defence [War] Minister [Sinister] Robert Hill has defended the government's decision to send troops [ send militia] to the Persian Gulf [ to attack Iraq] in readiness for any [pre-emptive strike that would cause a] conflict with Iraq.

Pleas for peace ring the globe
Anti-war demonstrators turned out in their hundreds of thousands around the world on Saturday to protest against United States military preparations for an invasion of Iraq.

Not too late for Iraq peace, Blix says
But we all know that's rubbish now. The Coalition of the Killing were not seeking WMD in Iraq, they were there for their resource wars. So who gave the 'UN' and Blix the wrong information back then? War criminals!

George Bush's other poodle
John Howard, Australia's PM, is the mouse that roars for America, whipping his country into war fever and paranoia about terrorism within.

US prepares for trade talks with Australia but it's not worth it!
The office of the United States Trade Representative has started formally preparing its negotiating position for the first round of talks on a free trade agreement between Australia and the US.

First strike and you're out!
The ideology of a super loser? John Howard shocks the nation again. A nation who cannot believe Howard's stupidity following his [complicity in the CIA's false flag operation, the Bali bombing.]

UN charter doesn't reflect new self-defence needs: Hill?
The Defence [War] Minister, Robert Hill, says the United Nations' charter needs to be changed to help countries defend themselves against potential threats. [?] [Pre-emptive strikes on soveriegn nation states like Iraq and Afghanistan?]

About Protesting &: Corporate media, Ben English and Rachel Morris who spell their names in capitals? Yes too right! Ordinary people some protesting against the occupation, murder and genocide of hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children. And you call yourselves reporters? You should hang your head in shame and go get jobs defending those poor innocent people. Shame on you!!!

Howard defends terror alert
Prime Minister John Howard says the Federal Government would not have issued a terror alert if it had not come from a credible source. (America?) Speaking for the first time since the Government revealed the warning, Mr Howard says he wants people to be more careful, but not to stop living. [As long as they don't go dancing in Bali? And sure we'll all be depressed for as long as John Howard and Bob Carr say so.]

When Johnny comes marching home again: 'hoorah hoorah'
Posted on the Resistance web page Bronwyn Powell, an organiser of the youth-led mobilisation told Green Left weekly that "in the face of attacks on civil liberties, it is unfortunate that some union officials have felt they need to submit. It could set a negative precedent for upholding the hard-won right to demonstrate in the street."

Give peace a chance
PIERS AKERMAN DT 28 Nov 02: JUSTICE John Dowd should be removed from the bench. His crime? Stupidity. In a breath-taking display of hand-wringing sanctimonious morality, Dowd has condemned the State and Federal Governments' anti-terrorism measures, claiming they erode rights and give encouragement to oppressive regimes.