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Bush comes Begging & Barking to the UN

Long version: mp3, 3.55 MBs, 4:24
Short version: mp3, 2.99 MBs, 3:41

[Col. recorded 9/27/03]

‘Brother, can you spare a dime?' — E.Y. Harburg (1898-1981)

The spectacle of an American President, perhaps the most powerful politician of the present, unipolar generation, strolling to the dais of the United Nations General Assembly, is not a common one. It invites attention, and brews curiosity among many around the world.

Many wondered what would George Bush say, now that the US attacks on the continued relevance of the institution, and its attempt to, in effect, neutralize it by the cadging together of a curious coterie of ‘willing' allies, have itself approached the netherworld of irrelevance?

Bush once again challenged the global institution, but his words had far less bite then they did several months ago. That's because they now come on the tail end of a fiasco that is rapidly approaching disaster. The occupation of Iraq, which was waged in direct conflict of the will of the UN, has not gone well.

Iraqis have not welcomed Americans with bouquets, but with bullets and bombs. UN headquarters have been decimated. And U.S. - approved Iraqi Council members live in fear of being painted as collaborators, a charge that can carry a merciless death penalty, as shown by the slaying of Council member, Aquila al-Hashimi recently.

President Bush's UN speech was a remarkably underwhelming effort. With words which echoed the bellicosity for which he has late become known, Bush tried to paint the US as a kind of ‘super-enforcer' of UN resolutions:

The regime of Saddam Hussein cultivated ties to terror while it built weapons of mass destruction. It used those weapons in acts of mass murder and
refused to account for them when confronted by the world. .... The Security Council was right to vow serious consequences if Iraq refused to comply...

Left unsaid, of course, was the fact, known to everyone in the UN chamber, and to millions around the world, that the US was a close friend of the ‘Hussein regime' when it built those weapons, and indeed, was one of its main suppliers of many of these destructive weapons, for they were then used against the hated Islamic Republic of Iran, then seen as America's Public Enemy #1.

President Jacques Chirac of France voiced an oblique criticism of the US, when he noted:

The United Nations has just weathered one of its most serious trials in its history: Respect for the Charter, the use of force, were at the heart of the debate. *This war,
which was started without the authorization of the Security Council, has shaken the multilateral system.*

Yet, it appears there is little international appetite to join in the grim outcome
of the Bush Adventure. The U.S. president needed to cajole, or convince the UN to provide either fresh troops, or fresh funds, to offset the devastating impacts of
the occupation. It seems to have done neither.

What the Bush-Iraq adventure reveals is the limits of Empire.

The US can wage and win wars (especially against weakened, Third World states). Occupation, however, is both messy and costly, in national treasure, and young lives. The U.S. wants the UN to help it out of this searing occupation; but being an
Empire must mean never having to say you're sorry.

For all of its imperial might, its unparalleled media might, and its mastery of the illusion of ‘democracy,' ‘freedom', and ‘the American way,' it yet remains the
popular view around the world that this was a war fought for Iraq's precious natural
resources, (its oil) not its people.

The US seems to be learning a lesson that its European cousins learned decades
ago, in the last century – the lesson that colonies eat away at the vitals of the so-called Mother Country. Gnawing at the prestige and the purse of the American
Empire, which now wants to ask the UN for a hand, but Poor George doesn't know how.

Copyright 2003 Mumia Abu-Jamal


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Text © copyright 2003 by Mumia Abu-Jamal.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of the author.