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'White Man's Burden' and the Iraq War

By Mike Whitney
January 06, 2005 : zmag.org

"I do not agree that the dog in the manger has the final right to the manger, even though he may have lain there for a very long time. I do not admit that right. I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America, or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher grade race, a more worldly-wise race, to put it that way, has come in and taken their place." Winston Churchill; to the Peel Commission of Inquiry 1937, defending the brutal slaughter of Palestinians in the first Intifada of 1936 "on grounds of the racial superiority of the Jews".

One of the important topics that continues to remain off-limits in regards to Iraq is race, and the racist theology that drove the country to war. It's odd, in a country where so much of the history is steeped in the blood of chauvinistic wars, that Americans are still hesitant to examine the reflection in the mirror. Wasn't the nation shaped by a genocidal assault on Native Americans; killing upwards of 10 million indigenous people and decimating their culture? Or was that simply a demonstration "Manifest Destiny"; God's sordid will expressed by dispatching people of color to their immortal reward? The same could also be said of slavery; the odious transformation of people into chattel to augment the wealth of a few plantation owners. That crime was vindicated under the rubric of "states rights", a moniker that justified 200 years of methodical brutality and exploitation. Yes, these crimes always have their attendant rationalization.

How different is Bush's Global Democratic Revolution: the melodious sounding euphemism for racial warfare and subjugation? Don't deny it; the evidence is everywhere. The third world has entered Bush's crosshairs and racist ideology is fueling the hysteria.

American liberals won't investigate the issue of race; the cultural deterrents are far too great. Besides, many of these so-called "progressives" feed from the same trough that energizes the system. The racist component of the war on terror is the elephant in the room; the ultimate taboo that eludes all respectable public discourse. Let's call it what it is for a change.

How many Christians are there in Guantanamo Bay? How many Jews? How many white Christians are there in Abu Ghraib, or in any other of Rumsfeld's numerous gulags stretched out across the planet?

A survey conducted by Cornell University two weeks ago proved what many had already suspected. "Nearly half (44%) of all Americans believe that the US should restrict the civil liberties of Muslim Americans...The survey also found that Republicans and highly religious people were more apt to support curtailing civil liberties of Muslims." (Al Jazeera) No surprises there, but is this change a natural response to the events of 9-11, or are there other factors at work?

"Researchers also found that respondents who paid more attention to television news were more likely to fear terrorist attacks and support limiting the rights of Muslim Americans." (Al Jazeera)

This clearly illustrates the connection between televised media and the increasing prejudice directed at Muslims. We can debate the significance of this observation, but we cannot ignore the fact that the media is the breeding-ground for greater discrimination.

The question is whether or not the media is deliberately complicit.

The media serves as the mouthpiece for corporate America. At present, it's using its national platform to demonize both Arabs and Muslims, a process that involves the subtle manipulation of the facts to discredit its victim. The facts are either emphasized or downplayed according to the overall objectives of ownership. In this case, ownership is foursquare behind the occupation of Iraq, a judgment that applies to all the major networks without exception. This means that the goal of American elites is shaping the news, contributing to the distortions, and creating greater antipathy towards the native people (Muslims). It's part of the information-management strategy to elicit more support for an unpopular conflict.

As the Cornell survey proves, the overall affect of the media campaign is a steady increase of racial and sectarian division. Televised news is a virtual spawning ground for burgeoning prejudice, feeding the imagery of fanatical Muslims being tamed by the benign forces of "white" civilization. The paternalistic themes in the coverage are almost unbearable. American servicemen are invariably depicted as struggling to bring the unruly "dark skinned" locals into the ardent grasp of democracy. It's a dubious portrait of a Father showering love on his errant children. What baloney. Iraqis don't want our smug condescension or our cultural elitism. They just want us to leave.

The roots of racism are not hard to fathom. Both European and American cultures are built on a solid foundation of entitlement and white privilege. (Did anyone notice France backing-away when they were asked to provide troops for Haiti or Ivory Coast?) Even now, Europe's leaders would join the onslaught in Iraq if the division of resources were to their liking. Only now, the plundering of nations and the subsequent destruction of their culture is embraced under the sobriquet of "humanitarian intervention", a general disclaimer for the racist subjugation of third world countries.

History is really nothing more than a faithful chronicle of racist wars. The illusion of "western culture" is only perpetuated by concealing the enormous material wealth that was stolen from vulnerable, people of color. Our "civilization" is grounded on plunder, a dismal fact that neither great music nor inspiring literature can disguise.

When Mahatma Gandhi was asked what he thought of western civilization, he said, "I think it would be a good idea". His response is as apt today as it was 50 years ago.

Churchill's platitudes on race, "a stronger race, a higher grade race, a more worldly-wise race", are familiar to the denizens of the Oval Office, as they are to their constituents in their leather-upholstered boardrooms and their antebellum-style country clubs across the nation. He is only reiterating what they already know. The apologists of the caste system need no reminders of its meaning; it is etched in their consciousness with the indelibility of hot iron. Their sense of entitlement is identical to Churchill's. It's a simple, immutable fact, as certain as the blue-blood coursing through their veins.

We've never veered far from prevailing doctrine of "White Man's Burden"; the dogma that animates the imperial agenda. Iraq is just the latest chapter in this ruinous account of man's inhumanity to man. Racism continues to be the subtext of all American politics, a tragic undercurrent of violence and injustice.

Reprinted from:
www.zmag.org
Egungun, Egungun ni t'aiye ati jo! Ancestos, Ancestors come to earth and dance! "I'm sick of the war and the civilization that created it. Let's look to our dreams, and the magical; to the creations of the so-called primitive peoples for new inspirations." - Jaques Vache and Andre Breton "Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone." -John Maynard "You know that in our country there were even matriarchal societies where women were the most important element. On the Bijagos islands they had queens. They were not queens because they were the daughters of kings. They had queens succeeding queens. The religious leaders were women too..." -- Amilcar Cabral, Return to the Source, 1973
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I for one find it amazing that the Democrats put the sorriest candidate they could find to go against Bush. I guess they thought Bush is so bad we can put the most liberal person on the ticket and win. No way Bush got another 4 years after going into Iraq that was really a dumb thing to do, especially if you know this is what Islamo-fascists want. Now the USA will have to see this thing through the end which will lead to more war and international problems and serious financial burden for us living in the USA. The Dems had an opportunity and completely got their butts kicked with their simpleton approach to issues, they have a lot to learn.

But I can't defend Muslims either, it's a faith of fascism, no religious or political freedom and it's their choice to live by any terms they want. No outside entity should force them to choose another form of government, if they want a theocracy that should it be their choice but it is wrong for Muslim clerics and Islamic fundamentalist fighters to force their ideas on the Muslim world and the rest of the world too. Might makes right is their motto too, submit or die. Even so called Muslim moderates make it a point that the whole world should be Islamic and excuse the actions of Islamic terrorists who feel that the world should be forced to worship as they do or death.

It's not the white man's burden it's the burden of the world. When will the world put all religious fanatics in their place?
This issue is so far beyond race and religion. My problem with Bush is that his way is the only way,and the way the media spins this man's image of Godliness is sickening. There are people who will follow this man and voted for him just bc he said believes in God, no gay marriage, lets go to the moon, lets mess up Social security, theres more oil in Iraq and I need it. ITs the White man's who thinks he is superior to all races, he knows what is good for us and we have to accept it. He turned the whole election into a massive attack on Kerry and Kerry did nothing. I too wonder how He got the Dem nomination, he was not the democrat for the job. I still do not know where Kerry stood on the issues, all he did is counterattack and thats not enough. Iraq is a catastrophic disaster that Bush and his henchmen are not willing to admit. How many lives will be lost for this pathetic attempt of an election, and What does Bush know about setting up a fair election, he cant do it here in America. This whole war sickens me,and I want it to end now. The insurgents will not stop after the election and the human death toll will grow to staggering numbers, while Bush sits up in his cozy office with all his yes-men around him thinking up new ways to screw us all. God bless and protect to troops.

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