i think that press tv could learn a lot from watching al jazeera’s “inside story” in terms of learning how to shut people up when they need to be shut up. though i think al jazeera should cease putting these racist american and zionist mofos on the air. we get enough of their hatred in the very air we breathe. last night in “inside story” imran garda hosted a discussion related to george bush’s recent remarks on abc tv when he said:
on “inside story” was phyllis bennis of the institute for policy studies, anas al tikriti, an iraqi expatriate, and a raging lunatic called jack brockman who should be locked up and sent away for life. the man is clearly smoking a heavy amount of crack cocaine. because this discussion–the lies and callous, evil rhetoric of burkman as well as the hard-hitting factual responses from bennis and tikriti are so important i’ve typed up a transcript as well. this is especially important to see how much the americans emulate the zionist regime and to see how arrogant and cold-blooded they are as embodied in this soulless burkman person (though giving him the status of personhood is a bit much). i’ve bolded the particularly racist and appalling statements by burkman as well as some of tikriti and bennis’ responses to those statements. if you want to know what colonialism is, what imperialism is just read burkman’s arrogant remarks. it’s all here in black and white.
bennis: it was as if the bush administration was somehow the victim as opposed to the perpetrator of this illegality [of the iraq invasion and occupation].
burkman: how i respond is: who cares? iraq is working brilliantly. you don’t see it anymore on the american nightly news programs. you don’t see it on the european programs. why? because it’s working. for god’s sake starbucks is going into baghdad. i mean, you have a condo boom in baghdad. the french and the germans are buying condos all over the country. you don’t hear about these things. iraq is working. you know, that’s the bottom line. did george bush rig the intelligence? yeah, the rigged the intelligence. you know, i’ll admit that, but the reality is, the united states needed to put a large american army in the heart of the arab world to settle that region down. that region in the wake of 9/11 was going nuts. it was going wild. and the u.s. had to settle it down and that’s what we did. we’ve had no new attacks on the united states since then. bush should get a lot of credit for that and that region is a lot calmer. bush has prevented several regional wars there. i think bush will be like harry truman and richard nixon in that his stock will rise over time. the europeans, the european intellectuals have taken the racist view that arabs are nothing but a bunch of savages that are incapable of democracy. george bush proved them wrong. he said…
bennis: that’s george bush’s view
burkman: no that’s not bush’s view, that’s the european view. in european capitals that’s what they’re afraid to say–that they’re afraid to state. bush has proved them wrong with a high degree of education, and building a real democracy and it’s happening.
tikriti: well sadly i think that that basically underscores the preposterous arrogance that we’re about to see the end of that basically stands for and represents. who cares? well, try asking that of the entire iraqi nation. try asking that of the more than a 1,000,000 people that have died as a result of the 2003 invasion and illegal occupation. try and ask that of the people who have had their entire livelihoods demolished as a result. the iraq that mr. burkman talks about that’s working well, well i’d like him very much to go and visit baghdad and tell me exactly where he thinks it’s going well. the reason why, mr. burkman, you’re not seeing iraq on your nightly news any more is because it’s not working well. it’s a shameful disgrace. it’s a stain on the conscience of every american who takes the stand that you take. the fact that coming back to the initial issue that you–[he’s cut off by burkman, but garda let’s him finish]. unfortunately, the very decision to invade iraq upon the lies, and the rigging that jack burkman thankfully admitted did take place, that’s very much put forward the view that the iraqis themselves cannot handle their own affairs, cannot handle the dictator that was at their helm. the very fact that the americans still–till this very moment–run the streets in baghdad, run every single street in iraq, shows very much that the american administration, this american administration has nothing but contempt for the iraqi people whose livelihoods have demolished.
burkman: i would give my distinguished opponent’s views more credibility if he had spoken up when saddam was killing hundreds of thousands if not millions of people–
tikriti: i did, i did. mr. burkman, you don’t know me. you don’t know me.
burkman: well let me ask you this: what is your vision for the region? george bush, even though you criticize him, had a vision to make this region better. what do you want to do? do you want to leave dictators running…saddam hussein in power for…
bennis: this is the essence of american exceptionalism. this is the essence of american arrogance. that the notion that we have the right to decide what that region should look like. you’re right that saddam hussein’s regime, in the past, had used weapons of mass destruction. how do we know that? we sold them to him. it was the american type culture collection, a small outfit outside of washington, who sold the seed stock for biological weapons in the 1980s with the approval of every u.s. administration and some in congress who knew about it. so we should be very modest here about claiming what was going on there that we had nothing to do with. at the moment that the u.s. decided to go to war–excuse me [burkman rudely interrupts her]–i’m looking at the headline of today’s new york times, not a radical screed, the new york times, “bombs kill 21 iraqis, including children at a mosul school.” you tell me how that squares with the idea that iraq is working, everything is great. this war has brought nothing but death and destruction to the people of iraq, it has destroyed the lives of not only the 4,000 soldiers who–from our country–who have been killed and their families, but over 300,000 who have come back with serious mental and emotional wounds that we have yet to figure out how to solve. and it began with an illegal invasion.
burkman: okay, with respect to wmds i’ll even give you one better: george bush’s father, when he was vice president told saddam hussein to use chemical weapons on the iranians because they were breaking through the lines and guess what? it was the right decision at the time. but that’s not the issue. what i would ask these scholars, these two intellectuals, what is your vision for the region? george bush had a vision, he took action…
bennis: my vision for the region is to let the iraqis decide their own vision.
burkman: do you want to leave? they’re powerless people ruled by dictators. somebody has to step in and remove the dictators otherwise there will never be change.
bennis: no, someone has to stop supporting dictators and letting people decide.
tikriti: yes, if i can just say here, unfortunately we have this very simplistic, very naive, and frankly quite offensive viewpoint that since i’m opposed to the war, i’m opposed to the american presence in iraq that i must be a supporter of saddam. i’ve been an opponent of saddam all my life, sir. i’ve lived my entire life–and i am from iraq–i’ve lived my entire life outside iraq as a result of saddam, who by the way–hang on [rudely interrupted by burkman] who by the way were constantly backed up by your own administration, subsequent administrations. and as phyllis said, who were propped up by weapons sold by your own corporations without a word of condemnation from your part so–
burkman: so tell me, what was your vision for getting rid of saddam?
bennis: the vision was to stop american support.
tikriti: can i ask something? mr. burkman, what business is it of yours to decide who rules my country? it’s my country. it’s my struggle. unfortunately, aside from the fact that i am pleased that saddam is no more, however, i look at what kind of remains are left of iraq–a shattered nation, a shattered population, and now, unfortunately, people like me, millions upon millions–the vast majority of iraqis–who hated saddam’s guts–now wish that he was still here.
burkman: you want me to answer that? who cares?
tikriti: that is unfortunate. that is the legacy that bush leaves.
burkman: tell that to the thousands and thousands of kurdish families that saddam hussein killed and ruined–
tikriti: with your weapons.
burkman: –that you don’t care about–that you forget about.
bennis: who we abandoned in 1991?
tikriti: with weapons that you supplied. with information that you supplied. it was your weapons. your fingers. unfortunately george bush sr. and george bush jr.’s are soaked in iraqi blood. time after time after time iraqi people were let down by subsequent american administrations.
bennis: [when asked about improvement by garda] well it depends on how you interpret it. certainly there are people in baghdad in the government and in the parliament who have been empowered in a whole new way. the shi’a majority, which was disproportionately discriminated against under saddam hussein, has risen to be a dominant power. now i think that most iraqis will say that that the existence of a parliament is not enough to compensate for the loss of a very advanced, overwhelmingly middle-class society with very advanced education and health care levels, a society that had one of the smallest wealth-poverty gaps in the entire arab world. for all of the repression of the saddam hussein years, which was horrific, the standard of living in terms of economic and social rights for iraqis was very high. and the destruction of that–of a largely urban, developed society suddenly has no more than 2-4 hours a day of electricity, water is rationed to 1-2 hours a day in almost all of the country, with the exception of the green zone, the u.s. controlled part of baghdad, the conditions of life are still horrific. and as we see today, people are skill being killed in large numbers. the division of baghdad in to tiny enclaves–walled off, literally blocked off, by blocks, looking like a maze–very much in parallel with what the israeli occupation of the palestinian territories is looking like with its separation wall. dividing communities. showing the kind of ethnic cleansing that went on within these wars in iraq has succeeded to dividing what was once a very vibrant and multicultural society into tiny ethnic enclaves. it’s the destruction of an ancient and very vibrant society so the question of who paid the price is a very, very powerful one.
burkman: well i guess the message there is that dictators work so leave them alone that’s what they want. it’s working for everybody so it’s just that george bush had a different vision. he wants to lead people out of the 9th century. he wants to lead those people out of darkness. and this was the way to do it. it’s not just a question of iraq. some of what she says about iraq is true. but after 9/11 the u.s., as the world’s hegemon had to make changes in the mideast. the region wasn’t working for the u.s., it wasn’t working for europe, it wasn’t working for–
garda: but you keep talking about 9/11: iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. it’s been proven.
burkman: well, it depends on how you look at that. even if there are no links to al–even if there are no links between al qa’eda and saddam–and i’m not sure that that’s the case–but even if that’s the case, the reality is that entities like al qa’eda only exist because of all the support from radical arab regimes. saddam hussein over the years has contributed mightily to terrorism in the world. there’s no question about that. nobody can dispute that. had there been–if you didn’t have this radical arabism in the mid east, you would never have had organizations like al qa’eda.
tikriti: it’s this kind of arrogance that’s unfortunately isolating the american people, sadly, because of the faults of the american administration, the entire american people are suffering as a result in the eyes of the entire world. rhetoric such as that, i’m sorry to say, bigoted, almost racist, leading people from darkness into light–
burkman: why is it bigoted?
tikriti: how dare you claim that iraq was living in darkness! how dare you! the cradle of civilizations! where more than a million scholars, where more than intellectuals–no hang on: you are supporting, your regime is supporting dictators around the world. you came and picked on iraq for one particular reason and that was oil. don’t make it a thing about driving people from darkness to light. that is a racist–that is an extremely offensive rhetoric that you should be ashamed of yourself for saying. however, i would say this–
burkman: ashamed of?
tikriti: yes absolutely! let me finish. in iraq despite the dark days of saddam, despite the ba’athists, which was once again propped up by subsequent, successive american administrations, there was not one single suicide bombing. there was not one single terrorist anywhere–either in iraq or around the world that came from iraq. iraq never ever saw the kind of bombings that we saw in the aftermath of the invasion and the illegal occupation. iraq became a hotbed of terrorism simply because the bush strategy in iraq made it possible for al qa’eda and other groups to come and make iraq that hotbed of terrorism. so unfortunately, despite the fact that george w. bush and his cronies, and people who prop them up, such as jack burkman, may feel that they have a reason to hold their heads up high–try telling that to the iraqi people. try telling that to children for the past ten years haven’t had a life to speak about.
bennis: [in response to garda’s question about obama withdrawing troops] no i think it’s important that they be withdrawn much before that. the agreement says that the united states can withdraw troops at any time. the problem that we face is that while barack obama campaigned on the notion that he would end the war, his actual strategy was not an end to the complete occupation. it was to withdraw what he identifies as combat troops, which is an official term within the military, but clearly all the troops in iraq are engaged in or in danger of having to engage in combat. so the real end of the war is only to be made possible with the withdrawal of the u.s. troops. there are many wars now in iraq that have been created by the u.s. occupation. the end of the u.s. occupation will not end all of those wars. but only with the end of the u.s. occupation–meaning all the troops and all the mercenaries and closing the bases and stopping the effort to control the oil–that will make possible the potential for iraq to end its own wars.
burkman: i don’t know, i don’t think obama will have much choice. i think the u.s. will have to be there. i mean, i want them out, george bush wants them out as soon as possible, i mean, we have 2, 3, 4 years or more. i don’t think there’s any way to do it without seeing the just terrible problem in the region. but let me as you this: everybody’s focused, your guests are all focused on the down side. what if it works? what about the upside? what about the potential? what if iraq works? what if george bush succeeds in creating a vibrant, thriving democracy in the heart of the mid east? has anyone ever thought of the upside potential of this for the region and the world?
bennis: not with a 1,000,000 people dead. no. there is no upside for 1,000,000 people dead.
burkman: how many did saddam kill, phyllis?
bennis: well, the estimates are several hundred thousand. with our help. i don’t think we need to add to that bloody legacy.
tikriti: well, in my book what starts with a lie does really end very, very well. and george bush has admitted, sort of regrets–no apology though–regrets the false information although it’s not his fault once again. however, it comes 6 years too late and unfortunately more than 1,000,000 people have perished as a result of his fallacy. i’m not here to see his expression of his regret. it’s wrong and unfortunately i don’t see a kind of short term resolution of the crisis that is iraq and unfortunately it won’t work, jack. believe me, it won’t work.
american ignorance, american arrogance leads to death. you see why i left my country? these people really need to be locked up. i’m thinking the sort of re-education prison camps (yes, i know, i am opposed to prisons in general) but life in prison for people like this burkman and the entire bush regime and all previous american regimes and those who supported them. let’s take out everyone else from prison–mumia, peltier, etc. and put these guys in their stead. let’s force them to be educated. though i’m wondering if it would be possible given that these people clearly have brains the size of peas.