Sat. Mar 2nd, 2024

Another day, another Bushism.

This one was delivered in a press conference response to Amnesty International’s recent criticism of the US for setting back the cause of human rights and for calling the US political prison in Guantanamo ‘a Gulag of our time’.

Bush responded that the allegations stemmed from “people who hate America, people that have been trained in some instances to disassemble, that means not tell the truth”.

Bush highlights the error by explaining to people what the word should have meant had he not got it completely wrong.

Perhaps one of his rich friends could buy him a dictionary so that he can sort out the difference between ‘disassemble’ and ‘dissemble’.

Though to be fair, we should not mock the afflicted. Such linguistic and conceptual mistakes crop up so often in the president’s discourse that he is obviously suffering some kind of aphasia, drug addiction or other mental problem.

For example, he was unable to tell the difference between the two propositions ‘there are WMD in Iraq’ and ‘there are no WMD in Iraq.’ Poor soul.

Another manifestation of the same disability crops up in the same quote. ‘People who hate America, people who have been trained [to not tell the truth]’.

He is talking about Amnesty International. Amnesty hate America? They have been trained to lie? Why do they hate America? Are there no Americans in Amnestry? By whom have they been trained to lie and to what end? If Amnesty lie, are they lying in their condemnations of China and Noth Korea and the other human rights abusers? If everythiing Amnesty says is a lie, then there is no oppression in the world. If no one is oppressed who is Bush liberating? Are Amnesty agents of Al Qaida, the original America haters? How can one sentence cause such a logical wobble? Is Bush endlessly repeating key phrases until people mistake them for meaning something?

It seems that poor old Mr. Cheney is suffering the same aphasia because, speaking of the same Amnesty report, he told the world “I think the fact of the matter is the United States has done more to advance the cause of freedom, has liberated more people from tyranny over the course of the 20th century and up to the present day than any other nation in the history of the world”.

Apart from the fact that he forgot to mention the nation’s recent sterling work in liberating underpants, he seems to be blind to certain facts of American history.

Firstly, the US only ‘liberates’ when it is in its own interests.
During the Second World War the US public was opposed to defending liberty in Europe, even when Britain was the last country standing. In fact, US companies happily went on doing business with Nazi Germany right up until Pearl Harbour. It was in this time that Coca Cola invented Fanta at the request of the Nazis who wanted their own Coca Cola-type drink.

A bit later in the Vientnam war, the US encouraged the rise to power of Pol Pot because they knew he would not tolerate Vietnamese bases in Cambodia. Pol Pot went on to murder two million Cambodians and drag the nation back to the stone age. When Pol Pot was finally kicked out of Cambodia by the Vietnamese army, the US upped their support and funded his organisation to the tune of 80 million dollars through the 1980s.

Then there was the CIA sponsored a coup in Chile that replaced a democratically elected government with a brutal military dictatorship. The elected president Salvador Allende was shot and killed, and during the reign of dictator General Pinochet thousands of people were wrongfully incarcerated or murdered by the government.

The US trains death squads and torturers on its own soil that have been active in Central and South America. El Salvador, anyone? Nicaragua? Honduras? Guatemala?

More recently the US has been courting President Karimov of Uzbekistan, a wannabe Stalinist who rules without elections or regard for human rights and who has a nasty habit of boiling alive his critics. In return the US gets the use of a big military base from which to project its power into oil and gas-rich Central Asia.

Then another time, the US, and Donald Rumsfeld in particular, had this big friend. What was his name? Osama bin Laden? No, he was a friend, but I am thinking of Saddam Hussein. You may remember him. While brutally oppressing his own people, the US and various European friends saw to it that he acquired deadly gases to use in his war against Iran. The US didn’t like Iran, they wanted to see the country weakened. As it happened Saddam used the gases on civilian Kurds within his own borders.Thousands were killed, but the US didn’t seem to mind too much and remained good friends until he invaded Kuwait.

I have here only scratched the surface of things the US has done and continues to do against the interests of democracy and stability and the rest of it.

I could go on all night, but I think you have probably got the idea now.

So who has been liberated? Am I now struck by aphasia, or is there really no one to speak of?

June 1, 2005

By chris page

Magazine editor, writer of fiction and non-fiction; exile; cat person; red wine for blood and cheese in his soul. Chris Page is the author of the novels Weed, Sanctioned, Another Perfect Day in ****ing Paradise, King of the Undies World, and The Underpants Tree. He is also a freelance journalist, copywriter, editor, cartoonist, illustrator, graphic designer, and consultant in the use and abuse of false moustaches (don’t wear them — you’re welcome — the invoice is in the mail).

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