Try to laugh, please. The news is now officially
parody and a game for all the family to play.
First question: Why are "we" in Afghanistan? Answer: "To try
to help in the country's rebuilding program." Who says so? Huw Edwards,
the BBC's principal newsreader. What wags the Welsh are.
Second question: Why are "we" in Iraq? Answer: To "plant a western-style
open democracy." Who says so? Paul Wood, the former BBC defense correspondent,
and his boss Helen Boaden, director of BBC News. To prove her point, Boaden
supplied Medialens.org with 2,700 words of quotations from Tony Blair and George
W Bush. Irony? No, she meant it.
Take Andrew Martin, divisional adviser at BBC Complaints, who has been researching
Bush's speeches for "evidence" of noble democratic reasons for laying
to waste an ancient civilization. Says he: "The 'D' word is not there,
but the phrase 'united, stable and free' [is] clearly an allusion to it."
After all, he says, the invasion of Iraq "was launched as 'Operation Iraqi
Freedom'." Moreover, says the BBC man, "in Bush's 1 May 2003 speech
(the one on the aircraft carrier) he talked repeatedly about freedom and explicitly
about the Iraqi transition to democracy ... These examples show that these were
on Bush's mind before, during and after the invasion."
Try to laugh, please.
Laughing may be difficult, I agree, given the slaughter of civilians in Afghanistan
by "coalition" aircraft, including those directed by British forces
engaged in "the country's rebuilding program." The bombing of civilian
areas has doubled, along with the deaths of civilians, says Human Rights Watch.
Last month, "our" aircraft slaughtered nearly 100 civilians, two-thirds
of them children between the ages of three months and 16 years, while they slept,
according to eyewitnesses. BBC television news initially devoted nine seconds
to the Human Rights Watch report, and nothing to the fact that "less than
peanuts" (according to an aid worker) is being spent on rebuilding anything
As for the notion of a "united, stable and free" Iraq, consider the
no-bid contracts handed to the major western oil companies for ownership of
Iraq's oil. "Theft" is a more truthful word. Written by the companies
themselves and US officials, the contracts have been signed off by Bush and
Nouri al-Maliki, "prime minister" of Iraq's "democratic"
government that resides in an air-conditioned American fortress. This is not
Try to laugh, please, while you consider the devastation of Iraq's health,
once the best in the Middle East, by the ubiquitous dust from British and US
depleted uranium weapons. A World Health Organization study reporting a cancer
epidemic has been suppressed, says its principal author. This has been reported
in Britain only in the Glasgow Sunday Herald and the Morning Star.
According to a study last year by Basra University Medical College, almost half
of all deaths in the contaminated southern provinces were caused by cancer.
Try to laugh, please, at the recent happy-clappy Nurembergs from which will
come the next president of the United States. Those paid to keep the record
straight have strained to present a spectacle of choice. Barack Obama, the man
of "change," wants to "build a 21st-century military... to stay
on the offensive everywhere." Here comes the new Cold War, with promises
of more bombs, more of the militarized society with its 730 bases worldwide,
on which Americans spend 42 cents of every tax dollar.
At home, Obama offers no authentic measure that might ease America's grotesque
inequality, such as basic health care. John McCain, his Republican opponent,
may well be a media cartoon figure the fake "war hero" now
joined with a Shakespeare-banning, gun-loving, religious fanatic yet
his true significance is that he and Obama share essentially the same dangerous
Thousands of decent Americans came to the two nominating conventions to express
the dissenting opinion of millions of their compatriots who believe, with good
cause, that their democracy is evaporating. They were intimidated, arrested,
beaten, pepper-gassed; and they were patronized or ignored by those paid to
keep the record straight.
In the meantime, Justin Webb, the BBC's North America editor, has launched
a book about America, his "city on a hill." It is a sort of Mills
& Boon view of the rapacious system he admires with such obsequiousness.
The book is called Have a Nice Day.
Try to laugh, please.