Monday, 19 April 2004

Bush Legitimizes Terrorism

by Robert Fisk

click here to visit his website "What Bush has actually done is give way to the crazed world of Christian Zionism. . . . His language, his narrative, his discourse on history, has been such a lie these past three weeks that I wonder why we bother to listen. . . . What better recruitng sergeant could Bin Laden have than George Bush."

So, President George Bush tears up the Israeli-Palestinian peace plan and that's okay. Israeli settlements for Jews and Jews only on the West Bank. That's okay. Taking land from Palestinians who have owned that land for generations, that's okay. UN Security Council Resolution 242 says that land cannot be acquired by war. Forget it. That's okay.

Does President George Bush actually work for al-Qa'ida? What does this mean? That George Bush cares more about his re-election than he does about the Middle East? Or that George Bush is more frightened of the Israeli lobby than he is of his own electorate. Fear not, it is the latter.

His language, his narrative, his discourse on history, has been such a lie these past three weeks that I wonder why we bother to listen to his boring press conferences. Ariel Sharon, the perpetrator of the Sabra and Shatila massacre (1,700 Palestinian civilians dead) is a "man of peace" - even though the official 1993 Israeli report on the massacre said he was "personally responsible" for it. Now, Mr Bush is praising Mr Sharon's plan to steal yet more Palestinian land as a "historic and courageous act".

Heaven spare us all. Give up the puny illegal Jewish settlements in Gaza and everything's okay: the theft of land by colonial settlers, the denial of any right of return to Israel by those Palestinians who lived there, that's okay. Mr Bush, who claimed he changed the Middle East by invading Iraq, says he is now changing the world by invading Iraq! Okay! Is there no one to cry "Stop! Enough!"?

Two nights ago, this most dangerous man, George Bush, talked about "freedom in Iraq". Not "democracy" in Iraq. No, "democracy" was no longer mentioned. "Democracy" was simply left out of the equation. Now it was just "freedom"--freedom from Saddam rather than freedom to have elections. And what is this "freedom" supposed to involve? One group of American-appointed Iraqis will cede power to another group of American-appointed Iraqis. That will be the "historic handover" of Iraqi "sovereignty". Yes, I can well see why George Bush wants to witness a "handover" of sovereignty. "Our boys" must be out of the firing line--let the Iraqis be the sandbags.

Iraqi history is already being written. In revenge for the brutal killing of four American mercenaries - for that is what they were - US Marines carried out a massacre of hundreds of women and children and guerillas in the Sunni Muslim city of Fallujah. The US military says that the vast majority of the dead were militants. Untrue, say the doctors. But the hundreds of dead, many of whom were indeed civilians, were a shameful reflection on the rabble of American soldiery who conducted these undisciplined attacks on Fallujah. Many Baghdadi Sunnis say that in the "New Iraq"--the Iraqi version, not the Paul Bremer version - Fallujah should be given the status of a new Iraqi capital.

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