Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Bush as a KKK Member: How Much Truth Is There to Plantu's Charges of Racism Regarding Abu Ghraib?

Plantu has delivered another of those drawings which shows France's legendary subtlety, its unequaled sophistication, and its unique ability to think in a reasonable manner: Dubya as a sneering member of the Ku Klux Klan (renamed Bush Klux Klan). Douglas already mentioned this tribute to French raffinement, but I felt the need to take a further look under the robes.

Washington is in the middle of a major scandal. George W Bush says he is disgusted by the pictures from Iraq. Several investigatios have been launched. As for General Antonio Taguba, he concluded that no direct order had been given for the abuse: I believe that they did it on their own volition.

But — qu'importe! Who cares! Remember… any reason is more than acceptable to picture Americans as sadistical racists, ultra-nationalists, and dirty hypocrites. And who cares, then, about its validity or any evidence there may exist to the contrary.

The anti-Bush fight is of such importance, we are told, even sacred, that not one occasion must be passed to fire broadsides against Uncle Sam. Hurl as many partisan accusations against America as possible — no matter how reasonable or not they may appear — and let God sort out the mess.

In a similar case, across the Rhine, David Kaspar answers thus Spiegel's accusation ("America, the leading power of the West…is obviously continuing to kill and torture civilians in a systematic way by the hundreds, if not thousands, with the backing of the political and military leadership … The moral values (of the democratic West) appear, and are now officially documented, as pure hypocrisy"): the weekly "has gone into absolute feeding-frenzy mode over the abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib prison. It seems that the magazine, in its ceaseless quest to defame the Bush Administration, has completely lost touch with reality … The fact that America is investigating and rectifying the situation (as a democracy should) is minimized. SPIEGEL ONLINE makes it look as if the United States is killing and torturing on a daily basis in Iraq on orders from the government, putting the nation on the same level with Saddam Hussein and Kim Jong Il.

"But then one has to ask: If the government supports such actions, why would it apologize and investigate them? How could a government in which “the Senate voted 92-0 Monday for a resolution condemning the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison [and] urging a full and complete investigation” still support such actions? How could a President who has repeatedly expressed “deep disgust and disbelief" at the abuse photos still support such actions?

"The answer: The government does not support such actions and has already implemented mechanisms to detect and punish abuse which were already in motion before this scandal ever made headlines. SPON seems to be following a typical pattern which it has established for itself: If you repeat a lie loudly enough and often enough, people may start to believe it. Especially if those people are inclined to America-bashing as it is."

This, as a story arrives from Irak, in which one American was treated somewhat worse than the humiliated Iraqis, since he was beheaded. But — who cares! The perpetrators of that crime, somehow, "we must show some understanding for them". And no more ink (or tears) will used (or shed) on that event than necessary.

(W confirms on MiF: "The beheading of American prisoner Nick Berg is covered by a one paragraph note on page 6 of today's edition [of Libération] in a sidebar titled 'Today's events' containing 6 items (as compared to the 20 odd pages splashed with blown up photos of hazing of terrorists we have had in the last few days).")

To return to Plantu's picture of Bush as a member (or grand dragon?) of the Ku Klux Klan : as far as racism in America (and the US army is concerned, can we agree that it is supposed to be directed against people who don't belong to the majority defined as WASPs (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants)?

If so, some may be interested to know that the general who was responsible for the Abu Ghraib scandal report is a Filipino-American. To not go too far back in the past, a former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is a black man (he has since moved to the State Department; previously, he had been the individual who had harvested the highest amount of percentage points in polls for whom Americans most wanted to become president). Another has Slavic origins. Two other generals are Asian and Hispanic. And of course, one of the top honchos in Iraq has Arab roots.

But let's not be naïve here, let's not be silly. These are facts that do not contribute to the sacro-sanct fight against George W Bush and the horrific country that he represents. So, insofar that those facts will be noted at all, they will be dismissed, or passed over very quickly, so one can concentrate on where the next attack on Uncle Sam should come from.

Lire la version française


nelson said...

Though born in Poland, Shalikashvili's name sounds more like a Caucasian (Georgian) than as a Slavic one. Stalin's name was Djugashvilli (this paralell isn't polical, only ethymological).

Anonymous said...

The cartoon on W's site disturbed me enormously in it's judgemental ignorance. My first reaction was that the US, and not so much George Bush was being characterized as a Klansman. I was going to write to Le Monde, but decided against it since my french is poor, and the reader would surely use this a reason to dismiss whatever I would say.
It was so vulgar but not at all surprising at this point. I wonder, if seeped in this nonsense, the french reader registers any emotion at all, or even evokes any sort of untrained response.

best regards,
Joe in DC