Lebanon, Gaza and the consistently racist American standard
By Ahmed Amr
Here we go again. The Arabs weigh America's response to the onslaught against Lebanon and Gaza and start accusing Washington of double standards. It is an accusation that has no merit. The more obscene reality is that the United States has consistently implemented a single racist standard against the indigenous people of the Middle East.
After months of tormenting the Palestinians with all manner of collective punishment, the Israelis have invaded Gaza and laid siege to Beirut. In the Israeli narrative, the escalation of the conflict in the Middle East started with the abduction of a single IDF soldier. This absurd and blatantly false time line of recent events has been elevated to holy writ by the Bush administration and Israel's mass media collaborators at CNN and The New York Times.
The predictable response from Washington has been to applaud Olmert for acting in 'self defense.' With a straight face, Bush is demanding that "the international community must address the root causes" of the violence in the Middle East. In his jaded view of the conflict, "this started because Hezbollah abducted two soldiers."
When Israel incinerated a family of seven on a beach in Gaza, the United States didn't even bother to comment on the 'incident.' In the southern Lebanese village of Dweir, an entire clan of ten children and their parents are murdered by the IDF. Again, the State Department had nothing to say about the matter. Sixteen Lebanese - nine of them children - are incinerated in a convoy escaping the carnage. The victims had evacuated their village after Israelis instructed them to leave over loudspeakers. No comment on the incident was forthcoming from the White House.
While the IDF was unleashing indiscriminate fire on innocent Lebanese and Palestinian civilians, Bush publicly and unabashedly gave Ehud Olmert a carte blanche to continue the nasty business of systematically destroying vital infrastructure, power plants and Beirut's international airport. The crippling economic siege has been imposed on both Lebanon and Gaza. In the case of Gaza, the American government has arm twisted the European Union and Arab states to join the in an international coalition to starve the Palestinians into accepting Israeli dictates.
More recently, John Bolton - the neo-con ambassador to the United Nations - was instructed to veto a watered down UN resolution condemning the Israeli invasion of Gaza. Bolton's veto was cast even though the resolution called for the release of that one 'precious' Israeli POW. In a further public show of disdain for the Lebanese people, Bush brazenly obstructed the Security Council's efforts to call for a cease fire. And Condi Rice is making it clear that she wants the hostilities to continue.
Far from making any attempts to put an end to Israel's collective punishment campaign, the president has taken the liberty of pouring gasoline on the fire. In a calculated move to give Israel a free hand, Bush invited the Israelis to escalate the conflict by expanding its operations to Syria. As Tony Snow puts it, the president "is not going to make military decisions for Israel."
Bush's reaction to the events of the last two weeks was not only predictable but certain. This is a president who bombed Fallujah to rubble to avenge the death of four mercenaries. He is the same man who insisted on rules of engagement that gave American soldiers immunity to slaughter innocents in Haditha and torture detainees in Abu Ghraib. The rape of a 14 year old Iraqi girl and the cold blooded murder of her family is but one of many war crimes that the Pentagon has attempted to cover up. Bush is an individual who can't be bothered with body counts - especially if the anatomies being dismembered and slaughtered are of the Arab variety. It doesn't take a leap of imagination to understand that Bush might be grateful that the current crisis has diverted attention from the quagmire in Iraq - where another three hundred Iraqi civilians perished last week.
Given his record in Iraq, Bush is not exactly in a position to publicly condemn another nation's war crimes. From the Israeli perspective, this immunity from American criticism is one of the enduring and advantageous legacies of the Pentagon's atrocious behavior in Iraq. This might help explain why Douglas Feith, Paul Wolfowitz and the Likudnik neo-con cabal in the Pentagon agitated for loose rules of engagement in Iraq.
Still, it is a mistake to conclude that Bush is implementing a policy that varies substantially from previous occupants of the White House. While this commander in chief is perhaps the most psychopathic president since Andrew Jackson, his policies are not an aberration. Having been frustrated in the search for Saddam's phantom chemical arsenal, Bush authorized his generals to deploy their own WMD arsenal in Fallujah - including phosphorous bombs. In mild contrast, the Clinton administration was partial to the use of depleted uranium and genocidal sanctions.
The accusation that Bush is implementing a policy that amounts to some kind of "double standard" in favor of Israel is nonsense. In fact, he has been consistent in vigorously implementing a single standard that devalues Arab lives in comparison to Israeli lives. The former is worthless and the latter is more precious than the blood of his kin.
For one Israeli captive soldier - the Gaza penitentiary can be converted into a shooting gallery for Tel Aviv's goons. For two Israeli captive soldiers, the IDF can unleash a scorched earth policy against Lebanon.
If George Bush would only bother checking the sequence of events that led to the outbreak of the current crisis - he might notice that the atrocity on the beach in Gaza took place weeks before Hamas apprehended the Israeli soldier. Someone somewhere at the State Department might also recollect that the collective punishment measures and deliberate destruction of infrastructure was put in motion to extract vengeance from the Palestinians for their bad voting habits. If the policy makers in Washington could take the time to review Israeli conduct over the last four decades, they might discover that the seeds of the conflict are rooted in the well documented belligerent land grabbing occupation of Palestinian land.
In regards to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, American policy is as clear as day. Israel can kill and abduct Palestinians and Lebanese at will. Olmert's government has a license from the great white father in Washington to collectively punish millions of Arabs from the refugee hovels of Gaza to cosmopolitan Beirut. While nine thousand Palestinians - including women, children and elected officials - rot in Israeli jails, whole families can be wiped out to release a single soldier involved in enforcing the genocidal IDF siege on Gaza.
For those who bother to pay attention to the Bush administration's role in fomenting violence in the Middle East, there is an obvious method to the madness. Tel Aviv and Washington have already negotiated and settled the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Starving and humiliating the Palestinians is merely a necessary condition for implementing the infamous "Rice/Weisglass" accord - an agreement that was finalized in October, 2004. This final unilateral solution to the Palestinian 'problem' is now the official - if undeclared - policy of the United States.
So, enough already with Arab gripes about 'double standards.' For six decades of well documented history, successive American administrations have been very consistent in their treatment of Middle Easterners of the non-Jewish persuasion. The Arab governments are not only aware of the consistency of American policy - but have come to accept it as a fact of life. They just haven't figured a way to break the news of their capitulation to their own people.
The basic elements of American foreign policy in the region are simple enough to understand. In the event of any conflict involving the natives of the Middle East and their Jewish lords, the conflict will be judged in favor of Israel. In matters involving real estate acquisition for additional Jewish settlers, the native people will be encouraged to move along and find other quarters to live and die. The killing of a native by a Jew will not be considered a crime. If a native so much as dares to throw a rock that dents an Israeli tank, Israel will have the right to 'defend itself' as it sees fit, short of using tactical nuclear weapons. Only Israel will be allowed to possess and use WMDs. Native people who have wet dreams about WMDs will be subject to invasion by the Armed Forces of the United States. The natives will acknowledge that the "Special Relationship" between the United States and Israel will take precedence over the decidedly slave/master special status of their own countries.
One can only hope that God is not finished with American Foreign policy. At some point, a more informed American public will do the decent thing and demand that foreign affairs should not be influenced by the bigotry and racism of the Israeli Lobby and its accomplices in the White House, Congress and the mass media.
In due course, extremist bigots like Cheney and his neo-con gang will become as anachronistic as Jim Crow. Future Arab generations might rebel against their designated status as the lesser race of the Middle East. At which point, they can initiate constructive measures to demand equal treatment by Washington.
People change. History evolves to reflect those changes. In the meantime, it is folly to pretend that we are not where we are. America has spent six decades enforcing a single racist standard in the Middle East. One of the definitions of insanity is to repeat the same thing and expect different results. And the Arab people ought to get with the program and stop griping about double standards and figure out a way to deal with America's alliance with Israel and the Bush administration's racist and murderous hostility towards the people of the region.
Instead of griping about double standards, individual Arabs need to take the initiative to convince their senile quisling leaders that enough is enough. If the House of Al Saud and the other custodians of the oil plantations have made the strategic decision to capitulate to Tel Aviv - they must be asked to do so publicly and start mass education programs to teach their people how to properly lick American and Israeli boots.
If Saudi Arabia honestly wanted a change in American policy, they have a very easy way to send a convincing message to Washington. They can simply stop accepting American dollars in exchange for their oil. They won't do it. Because that particular regime - along with Kuwait and other Gulf countries - was instrumental in orchestrating the war against Iraq in full partnership with the Likudnik operatives in the Israeli lobby.
It should be clear to every Arab that the kleptocrats who operate the oil plantations in the Gulf hold their own people in greater contempt than Washington or Tel Aviv. If individual Arabs started challenging their governments to change the "oil for dollars and only dollars" policy - even the bigots in the Bush administration will have to revisit their political calculations. They won't necessarily shed their deeply engrained racism - but they will be compelled to take the national interest into consideration before allowing Israelis to do whatever they can get away with.
While the Arabs have no military options to confront Israeli adventurism - they certainly have economic leverage. The Israeli government has publicly stated that the destruction of infrastructure is meant to impose punitive collective economic measures against the Palestinians and the Lebanese. To accomplish the mission, Tel Aviv is deploying American financed tanks and planes. No such implements of death and destruction are required by Arab governments. All they need to do is post a sign that the American dollar will no longer be accepted in exchange for their oil. Before you know it, the powers that be in Washington will have a sudden revelation that they need to come up with another standard to assess the value of an Arab life.
Ahmed Amr is the editor of NileMedia.com
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