Midnight Oil

[Powderworks] Lotsa' stuff

Tom Spencer tr_espen@yahoo.com.au
Sat, 29 Mar 2003 01:51:24 +1100 (EST)

Dear Dan, Jacques and fellow Powderworkers,

Hello! I live in Australia, where, as in 99.9999% of
the world, most people watch American TV shows, listen
to American music, pick up on American ideas and
phrases and have heard of the American Constitution
and the wonderful values such as free speech that it
embodies. Most non-Americans like America. After 911
France's daily newspaper 'Le Monde' said, in sympathy,
'We are all American'. So the suggestion that
America's political opponents such as France hate
American culture and its freedoms is just nonsense.

What people overseas find nauseating is the hypocrisy
of certain aspects of the US Government. For years the
US Govt (and other western governments such as that of
Australia) said NOTHING about human rights abuses in
Iraq, just as it said NOTHING about human rights
abuses in other countries, but in fact for years sold
dictators such as Saddam Hussein the materials with
they did their worst.

The West is so sure that Iraq has weapons of mass
destruction, perhaps because its defence contractors
kept the receipts.

Jacques points out the terrible suffering Saddam
inflicted during the Iran-Iraq war. But the US backed
IRAQ during that war. It feared the Iranian religious
fundamentalism of the Ayatollah. It much preferred the
secularist Saddam, and was happy to let him stay in
power afterward, which was when he performed many of
the atrocities Jacques referred to. 

That secularism of Saddam's is the precisely why Osama
Bin Laden calls Iraq 'infidel', and why, again, there
is absolutely NO evidence connecting Iraq to 911.
Saudis, not Iraqis, were overwhelmingly predominant
that day. Bush is simply bullshitting the American
people in suggesting otherwise, just as Clinton
deceived America by bombing a Sudanese pharmaceuticals
factory the day that Monica Lewinsky gave testimony
against him.

Given that free speech and human rights are vital,
isn't 'embedding' the media in Iraq a disgusting
restriction of free speech, a reaction to the vivid
news coverage that stopped the Vietnam War? And isn't
the detention at Guantanamo Bay without lawyers or
contact with the outside world a denial of the human
rights guaranteed by the Geneva Convention, which Mr
Rumsfeld now wants Iraq to apply (quite rightly) to US
soldiers held by Iraq? (Not to mention the buckets of
money that US companies are pouring into China, a
terrible violator of human rights) The current Bush
agenda is not really about protecting free speech and
human rights, but a distraction from the 'war on
terror', which should uphold these things.

Finally, for Jacques to talk about Saddam starving the
people of Iraq is to over-simplify matters. It was the
US Govt that repeatedly insisted that Iraq had more
weapons of mass destruction, despite the UN's UNSCOM
weapons inspectors clearing 90% of such Iraqi weapons,
by 1995, according to Scott Ritter, the head of 14
inspections, in his film 'In Shifting Sands'. Thus,
under the agreement made after the 1991 Gulf War, the
UN did not lift the sanctions against Iraq which were
starving children. Despite distinguished military
service in the US Marines and elsewhere Ritter
resigned from UNSCOM upon concluding that the US Govt
was using the inspections process to try to provoke
war with Iraq, rather than to rid Iraq of its weapons
of mass destruction.

The US was founded on the noblest traditions of free
speech and human rights, but Bush and his posse are
currently undermining those traditions, rather than
applying them to the worldwide activities of the US
Government, as the rest of the world would like to

I would also like to endorse Geordie's suggestion that
we read widely. Robert Fisk's web site is a cracker.
An award-winning journalist, he is uniquely qualified
in having been in the Middle East for longer than most
other reporters.

Tom Spencer

Put down that weapon, or we'll all be gone.
You must be crazy, if you think you're strong.
         - Midnight Oil

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