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Chomsky challenges America's Double Standards

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What if Osama bin Laden ordered the 9/11 attacks thinking that the United States was about to attack Afghanistan and him? The Guardian reported that "Osama bin Laden and the Taliban received threats of possible American military strikes against them two months before the terrorist assaults on New York and Washington . . ."

At a meeting of senior diplomats from Iran, Pakistan and Russian, U.S. diplomats allegedly warned that unless the Taliban turned over Osama that America would take overt military action "from very close proximity to Afghanistan." Pakistani officials passed the threat along to Osama.

Now, if America had the right to conduct a preemptive strike against Iraq, a country that has proven to have been posing no immediate threat to the United States, does that mean that Osama even had more justification for striking America?

Universality is the ethical premise that holds that either both had the right or neither did. You can't have it both ways. Things go kaput with the dual standards of Doublespeak. Double binds drive you batty. "Do as I say, not as I do" is not a valid model for a democracy. What is good for the goose is good for the gander.

In his latest book, Failed States, Noam Chomsky the linguist has a million-and-one examples of America's saying one thing and doing another. Take Iraq. The United States went against the United Nations, basically saying that the UN is worthless. As John Bolton said: "There is no United Nations. There is an international community that occasionally can be led by the only real power left in the world - that's the United States - when it suits our interests and when we can get others to go along." But America could not get the UN to go alone so America went it nearly alone to punish Iraq for not going along with the UN. Go figure. A country goes renegade to punish another country for going renegade. Some might call it fighting fire with fire. But giving the paucity of Iraqi smoke signals of war, the American response is overkill.

What we have here is a failure to understand the golden rule. The notion is the universal basis of ethics. Namely, that you will try to treat people like you want to be treated. However, Mammon's golden rule is that whoever has the gold and power, rules. Might makes right. If you win then God wanted you to write the history books.

If God ( or Allah, history or ideology) is on your side then you are special and don't need to worry. You are exalted and entitled to hit first. You can support brutal dictators so long as it is in your interests. You can claim to be promoting democracies around the world but then refuse to recognize them as with Hamas in Palestine. You can't say that you are spreading Jesus' message of brotherhood and love by waging war. You can even claim to be the number one democracy when you don't allow for true democracy yourself. You can promote women's rights and secular liberal government in the Middle East while fighting them as evil at home. When you claim exception to the rules then you can have double standards and feel no">cognitive dissonance.

The simple and inconvenient truth is that people do tend to treat us as we treat them. Some of them don't submit to our authority but start getting uppity notions that they are as special as we are. Even worse, some of them actually act as we do and not as we say. Naturally, the simplistic truth remains the same as it has from the beginning: you have to practice what you preach. As Frederick Douglass said "The life of the nation is secure only while the nation is honest, truthful, and virtuous." Based upon that standard, America is a failing as a democratic state.

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B. 1952, GA, USA. D. To Be Determined. Beloved husband, father, grandfather, lover, confidant and friend of many from bikers to Zen masters; American writer and speaker, known for his criticism of Mammon's unholy trinity of big business, big (more...)
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