Loss of Innocence
David and Goliath
He Who Pays the Piper
Future of Colin Powell
Requiem for Broken Dream
Gifts from Paradise
War On Iraq
Bush One, Saddam One
Remember J. Merridith
State of In-Betweenity
Words Do Matter
The Lynching of Iraq
Before the Riots Begin
A Dog's Life
Passing of PM Charles
Fin. & Econ. Survival
In Walks 'Madam Hawke'
Impressions - 05 Elections
Deep Throat Revealed
Beyond The Pale
Gospel of Judas
Rise of Barack Obama
© J.B. Sampson
THE LYNCHING OF IRAQ
(January 20, 2003)
Older Afro Americans and others curious enough to read the history of race relations in America are familiar with a peculiar American institution, one that is seldom discussed openly in polite society, one that is a fading, yet a haunting legacy of the troubled past of America. It is called lynching.
There have been several written eye witness reports of lynching and though they may vary in details, they all bear some common trade marks: A black man is dragged out of his house, often under cover of darkness, often with his wife and children looking on, by white hooded men who disguise their identity under white sheets and masks. The victim is put through the trauma of vigilante justice, the torture, the terror, the humiliation, and finally, the hanging by the neck from a tree where he is left in full view for one and all to take notice at day break. The reason for this form of barbarism is often very petty: the victim may have just whistled at a white woman ; the victim may be accused of raping a white woman etc. etc. What was even more remarkable was the composition of these lynch mobs: pillars of the social and economic establishment, men who resorted to extra legal measures to preserve their privilege and what they viewed as their way of life.
From reading about lynch mobs we learn that they rely heavily on terror to accomplish their aims. In addition, a code of silence is strictly enforced. No one hears anything, sees anything or knows anything. Justice is meted out according to the whims and dictates of the mob. The principle of due process does not apply.
Lynching has become a very powerful symbol in the United States today. In his confirmation hearings before the Senate, black Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas evoked memories of lynching in the south to drum up sympathy for his cause. Thomas talked about being subjected to a "high-tech lynching" when senators pressed him with embarrassing questions.
With this as background, let us talk about the coming lynching of Iraq, and how it is seems to be consistent with the modus operandi of American leaders: the hidden agendas, the secrecy, the framing, the under the table dealings, the duplicity and inconsistency of behavior. A tall agenda or topic for discussion but one that is worth pursuing at this time as war drums beat louder than ever.
First, it will help if we put all courtesy aside and call a spade a spade. The U.S. maneuvering before the United Nations and all the publicity with regards to weapons inspectors is no more than a public relations exercise. It is a sham; it is deceptive and misleading and is intended solely as sugar-coating, to make Washington's war policy more palatable for the world audience. But judging by the world wide protests this past week end, it is clear that the strategy is being dissed for what it is, and is not likely to succeed. Just ask Tony Blair of London. This astute British politician is finding out the hard way that democracy means much more than securing people's votes and that public policy in foreign affairs need to be conducted in a manner that broadly reflects the values of the electorate. His well honed political instincts have led Blair to conclude that he needs to slow down, call for a second UN resolution, much to the chagrin of the hawks in Washington.
All of this amounts to little when you realize that Washington will jump over any obstacle on its way to remaking the landscape of the Middle East. In a geopolitical sense that is exactly what is going on. What's the use of being the only world super power, they must reckon, if we cannot rearrange the pieces on the chessboard?
Besides, history may record it as a sign of weakness when a superpower supposedly defeated a third world power, then withdrew, believing that the regime would fall; that didn't happen. And numerous CIA sponsored coup attempts failed to remove Hussein from power: formenting dissent among the Kurds; attempts to ruin Iraq's economy by flooding its markets with counterfeit currency; coordinating the activities of the Iraqi opposition in exile etc etc.
It really strains one's credulity to accept the argument that Iraq poses a threat to the United States that is greater than that posed by North Korea. So why the emphasis on Iraq? The answer is contained in three words: Oil, Israel and dominance.
Oil, because with just five percent of the world population, the US consumes twenty five percent of the world energy production, and it has reckoned that it is bad policy to allow an enemy to sit on the third largest oil reserve known to man.
Israel, because the US has concluded that the only way to guarantee the survival of its client, Israel, is to defang the most prominent and militant Moslem leader in the Middle East. This, despite the fact that Israel is known to be a nuclear power, aided and abetted, no doubt, by the Americans.
Dominance, because the United States just cannot contain itself in coming to grips with the reality that it no longer has another super power as a counter weight to its global ambitions.
All of the above have led to a situation where moderation, in the words of Barry Goldwater, is not considered a virtue. Rather, extremism, of the variety supported by Vice president Cheney and company, is not considered a vice any more.
In the end, Iraq may well end up getting lynched. For power, as Mao Tse Tung reminded us, lies in the barrel of a gun. But the Chinese leader spoke more than a generation ago. He probably did not envision the evolution in global communication that has transformed the planet into a global village. The US is perhaps already feeling the sting of world opinion, and is likely to feel it more when it invades Iraq and turns Saddam Hussein into a martyr. Do I see Bin Laden smiling?
It is perhaps no coincidence that this piece is written on the public holiday in the United States to commemorate the birth of Martin Luther king. King spoke eloquently against the Viet Nam War. It is difficult to imagine his position being any different in the face of another unprovoked war in the Muslim world. It is difficult to imagine also that Reverend King would have remained silent in the face of a coming war estimated to cost $200 billion, at a time when 40 million people in the United States live with no health insurance, and a fragile economy where over two million people lost their jobs since Bush became president. Issues of social and economic justice just don't go away even if they may appear to do so when the war drums get louder.