Notes on the Atrocities
Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...

Tuesday, June 03, 2003  

If US hawks expected the world situation to clear, they were wrong. A quick glance down world headlines confirms that things are far more chaotic than they were before 9/11 and the pre-emption doctrine. Consider the news and its implications.


"The military regime that has been gradually grinding the people of Burma into poverty and repression alarmingly accelerated the process in the past few days. Aung San Suu Kyi, the rightful leader of her country, has been taken into custody, the ruling generals announced. A number of her supporters in the National League for Democracy have been killed, and a larger number have been arrested. NLD offices have been closed, and schools and universities throughout Burma (which the regime calls Myanmar) have been shuttered." | link |

Before invading Iraq, President Bush made a point of detailing the horrors of the Iraqi regime, and castigated his critics for their lack of "moral clarity" when they questioned the invasion. Now, in the absence of WMD (or any apparent threat from Iraq), the administration's justification is the horrors of the Ba'athist government. But how is Burma's situation different? If it was moral clarity to invade Iraq, what is it to ignore Burma?


"Peshawar, Pakistan - A pro-Taliban provincial government has passed legislation to make the area along the border with Afghanistan the first in Pakistan to be run according to the teachings of the Qu'ran, Islam's holy book.

"The six-party Islamic coalition of the Mutahida Majlis-e-Amal, or United Action Forum, gained a majority in the provincial assembly in the October elections, on the power of a strong anti-American platform and promises to bring Shariah, or Islamic law, to the province." | link |

The implications fairly well speak for themselves. If this is any indication of what we can expect in Iraq, there is a perverse irony to the the policy of pre-emption favored by the White House: in democracies where the population is vehemently anti-American, radical fundamentalists like the Taliban can garner enough popularity to be voted into office. The US gambled that it would always be more popular than the local despotic gang lords. That's anything but a sure bet.


"LONDON (AP) -- A British parliamentary committee announced Tuesday it would hold an inquiry into the government's decision to go to war with Iraq.

"The existence of weapons of mass destruction was Prime Minister Tony Blair's crucial argument for joining the United States in military action against Iraq. Pressure on him has grown as occupying British and U.S. forces in Iraq have failed to locate chemical, biological or nuclear arms.

"The House of Commons Foreign Relations Committee is likely to hold its inquiry in public. Its reports are usually published." | link |

The implications here are far from indirect. If the House of Commons holds public hearings on the decision to invade, and the findings are that the government lied about its justification, then those findings will likely damn the President along with the Prime Minister. For the very secretive administration, this must be alarming indeed. One imagines that in any event, this scrutiny will expose the President to far more embarrassing facts than he likes admitting.

They might even question the leaders' moral clarity.

posted by Jeff | 3:00 PM |
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