The power of morality

To justify the war, the Bush Junta and its allies ranted against Saddam's brutality, torture victims, human rights violations and repression.

For the petty, this was a surprise. After all, Saddam was just doing the things he used to do when he was supported by the US and UK. If the US was concerned about the oppression of the Iraqi people, they kept quiet about it from 1970-1991. If Bush was having sleepless nights about the suffering of the common Iraqi, he hid it well. No public utterance of concern was made during his campaign for president or until late 2001. The same could be said of Blair. So the "moral" reason to go to war had been there for thirty years. For most of that time, the US provided "aid" to Saddam (and let him crush the rebellions of 1991).

The petty would argue that if the Bush Junta was intent on freeing the Iraqis, why did it not launch the attack in March 2001, instead of waiting two years? Why did Blair not attack in 1997? How many Iraqi lives did this unconscionable delay cost? More than the six thousand civilians we know have died in the war?

But only the petty would ask such questions. We are told that a new morality is stalking the corridors of power, one which will not tolerate repression. But what does this new found morality mean in practice?

The US and UK supports numerous repressive regimes. However, the example of Uzbekistan should suffice. This is a beneficiary of Bush's generosity with tax payers' money.

This brutal regime Bush considers a friend regularly arrests and tortures dissents. Independent human rights groups estimate that there are more than 600 politically motivated arrests a year in Uzbekistan, and 6,500 political prisoners. Some have been tortured to death (in August two prisoners were even boiled to death).

And how are Bush's morals handling this? By making Uzbekistan's dictators richer to the tune of $500 million last year, including $79 million to their torturing security forces.

Strangely enough all of those pro-war people, the same people who got into a lather about Saddam's brutality (once he became an official enemy) cannot seem to muster any moral outrage to care about the suffering of the Uzbek people. Or, for that matter, those living under other brutal regimes subject to US largesse.

Perhaps, like Saddam, we need to wait a decade or two, until the US suffers a similar blowback and has to go to war against Uzbekistan before these same "moral" crusaders accuse the "anti-war" types of "coddling" the Uzbekistan dictatorship. Then it will be us who will be "objectively pro-tyranny."

Aren't morals grand? Or is that pronounced "more oil"?

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