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Long ago, there was a widespread consensus that Britain and its allies emerged from World War 2 with an enhanced moral stature. Tales of gutsy pilots pitting their Spitfires against the Luftwaffe served to nourish some of us through the wintry years of boarding school. A line of Western leaders from Winston Churchill to JFK exuded an aura of valour, integrity and pizzazz; despite their flaws, despite the sanitised memoirs. Then came Vietnam. And with it the realisation that all men are equal in the capacity to commit war crimes, no matter what their flag.
This is why noble leaders are vital. It is why the Geneva
Conventions matter. It is why a free press is exalted, though almost
extinct. It is why a 100 countries have joined the International Criminal Court, despite bullying and blackmail from the US (cutting off aid to around 40 friendly countries who refuse to immunise its troops from prosecution). Thuggery knows no boundaries, as the terror wars are teaching us, but we can sometimes see its face. It was John Bolton who pulled the US out of the Criminal Court in 2002, and it was John Bolton who stymied the UN's recent attempt to condemn Israel's assault on the civilians of Lebanon. There are many such faces at the pyramid's apex.
The tone of an era is shaped by its senior decision makers. The West is sinking into the cesspit under the weight of leaders who stink. It is why we are tongue-lashed by liars financed by oil billionaires. It is why elections are stolen. It is why our presidents and Prime Ministers promote democracy abroad and befoul it at home. It is why the West is bereft of moral authority and keeps backing wars that backfire. It is why Tony Blair has called for a "fundamental reappraisal of British and US foreign Policy". Too late Tony, by too many years and too many bodies. Nothing you say rings true; fly off to MurdochWorld®, where dancing to the madman's tune will fill the coffers.
INNOVATION IN THE MILITARY
As the horrors of Qana flashed across screens, a ceremony
took place at the Pentagon's Hall of Heroes, where a "role model" officer was bidden farewell "with accolades" by 200 attendees. The army's vice chief of staff, General Richard Cody praised the retiring officer for "serving wherever and whenever" he was needed, most recently at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib. Yes, cuddly Major General Geoffrey Miller was moving on. "The last five years have offered me the opportunity to help this nation win the Global War on Terror," Miller said, although "losing" the war is more
likely. General Cody described Miller as a "leader and an innovator",
which is hard to deny. Among his innovations were the famed porno pyramids of a modern major general ...
Citizens of America, Britain and Australia now seem to accept that their democracies are acting like fascist states, though on tiptoe, not in goosestep. All three countries are united in their refusal to join the rest of the world in demanding an immediate end to Israel's onslaught on Lebanon, which is enough to condemn Bush, Blair and Howard in the eyes of the fair minded. What really goes on in the collective mind of this imperial trio, each one brilliantly equipped to claw his way to the top of the power-heap, while forgetting the lesson most people learnt at their mother's knee, that killing babies is wrong, that bombing civilians is a war crime? These three have bombed children in Kabul, bombed them in Baghdad, and now they're endorsing the bombing in Beirut. All three profess to be Christians. All three have shared prayer meetings. What is binding Blair to Bush so idiotically, in this matter of perpetual war? How does the insane belligerence of Rupert Murdoch's media tie in with their delusions?
In the context of current events in the Middle East, the quotes contained here are scary:
CRACKING THE WALLS OF A FORTRESS
Since 9/11, the actions of all these leaders have ensured the opposite of what they pretend to want. A US friend remarks, "the fiddler on the roof that was Israel has turned into a madman with a missile launcher in his pocket". Whereas Ehud Olmert stated on 11/June/ 06, that "The IDF is the most moral army in the world - it does not and never has made a policy of targeting civilians." This was prior to the bombing of Qana and brings to mind the April 15/04 comment of Richard Armitage, then US Assistant
Secretary of State prior to the Abu Ghraib torture revelations:
"We are the most humane military in the world."
So humane is this army that it rushed its missiles to Tel Aviv, while
simultaneously claiming to care about civilians. There was "no doubt about the missile which killed all those children yesterday," writes Robert Fisk. "It came from the United States, and upon a fragment of it was written: "For use on MK-84 Guided Bomb BSU-37-B".
While emotion is often considered a turn-off in serious debate, it can crack the walls of a fortress. A clip currently circulating online, shows a CNN anchor interrogating Colonel Miri Eisen, 40, reputedly "one of Israel's most effective weapons in the media war ... plucked from the ranks of the IDF Intelligence Corps after demonstrating a unique talent at explaining and persuading". On this occasion, CNN departed from its traditional brief that viewers be "the first to know" ... and the last to understand. The anchorwoman pushed and the spin Colonel spun, "a Hezbollah rocket launcher was right next door to the building in Qana".
However, the Israel Defense Forces has changed its mind. "It now
appears that the military had no information on rockets launched from the site of the building, or the presence of Hezbollah men at the time".
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