Bush’s “Hail to The Chief Putin”: “I’m a soul man”

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Mohamed Khodr’s Column

“The great enemy of truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest; but the myth, persistent, persuasive and realistic.  John Kennedy

“Israel’s influence on western perception against Islam cannot be underestimated.  Ben Gurion said of Islam: “We fear nothing but Islam”. Yitzhak Rabin said: “The religion of Islam is our only enemy”; Shimon Peres said: “We will not feel secure until Islam puts away its sword”.   The last two men won the Nobel Peace Prize”. (The Middle East and the United States.: edited by David W. Lesch 1996)

In his first foreign trek to Europe as President, George W. Bush revealed to the world what his guiding foreign policy dictum will be.  Bush came to the Presidency with the guiding foundation of a Christian heart anchored in “Compassion and Humility”.  Domestically this “C & H” means favoring the rich, favoring Corporate America, favoring a strong military, favoring a new and improved “Star Wars” Shield against seven poor debilitated dwarfs of “rogue” nations, damaging the world’s environmental survival, favoring Israel, pursuing an arrogant America policy that ignores allies and foes alike, an abhorrence to world institutions like the United Nations and the World Bank, strengthening America’s educational system with more pennies, and an addiction to the death penalty.

More fascinating is Bush’s definition of “C & H” in foreign policy. Given his lack of travel, experience, intellectual competence, and lack of a non-alcoholic education in foreign policy, Bush desperately needed a simple, sound bytish, morally sounding, easy to remember yet deliberately vague dictum to define his foreign policy principles.  Eureka; in an impromptu verbal barrage of dyslexic proportion, Bush surprised himself by uttering the founding principle of his foreign policy leadership during a press conference with Vladimir Putin, Russia’s Ex-KGB Spy Master President.  Bush stumbled upon the Motown Phrase:  “I’M A SOUL MAN” (which incidentally wouldn’t hurt with the Democratic African American voters).  Bush announced that he had looked deep into Putin’s ‘Soul” and found him to be: straightforward and trustworthy, strong, patriotic, and wants the best for his people; a man he can work with, a man who wants peace, a humanitarian worthy of an invitation to the Bush “Ranch”.  Apparently, being “Ranch Worthy” is Bush’s seal of approval.   One can only assume that these flowery adjectives of Putin will apply to all world leaders and all foreign policy issues.  For the sake of argument, giving the President the benefit of the doubt let’s, accept that these “soulful” attributes apply to all world leaders like:  Milosevic, Saddam Hussein, Osama Bin Laden, Muammar Al-Qaddafi, Yasser Arafat, The Taliban, Robert Mugambe, Ariel Sharon, Bashar Al-Assad, Fidel Castro, Kim Jong II of North Korea, Jiang Zemin of China, Tony Blair and the rest of world leaders.    However, given that the President is human and thus apt to err, let’s be moral and forgive his impromptu “Soulful” indiscretion and take just two leaders from this list and elaborate on the “Soulful” reality of these leaders as seen by most of the world, if not all the world, although they may not express these opinions publicly.

First let’s take Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, the man responsible for Bush’s “Soul” tool of world assessing world leaders.

VLADIMIR PUTIN:   A former KGB Spy, became acting president following Boris Yeltsin’s surprise resignation on December 31, 1999.   In March, 2000 he won the Presidential elections with just over 50 percent of the vote with alleged widespread election fraud.   Russians voted for Putin on the promise that he would end the “Chechnyan” Problem.   Putin immediately consolidated his power by appointing powerful governors, reigned in the military, and cracked down on the free press.   Soon afterwards Putin became mired in the Chechnyan war unleashing his powerful military to decimate the Chechnyan “bandits” with overwhelming force.   In three months the Russian forces decimated Grozny, Chechnya’s capital, with aerial bombing and tank shells. Putin’s military campaign in Chechnya has displaced a third of the population—more than 260,000 people—within Chechnya and another 170,000 are living in difficult circumstances in neighboring Ingushetia. Humanitarian organizations cannot operate effectively in Chechnya because of the climate of insecurity.  The pattern of “disappearance,” torture, and extrajudicial  summary execution of detainees, and the use of unofficial and secret detention sites has been exhaustively documented by Russian and international human rights organizations. The mutilated corpses of some of the “disappeared” and of many other, unidentified individuals have been discovered in more than a dozen dumping grounds throughout Chechnya. The United Nations Commission on Human Rights, the European Union, several human rights organizations (including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, International Commission of Jurists, International Federation of Human Rights Leagues, International League for Human Rights, The Memorial Human Rights Center, Medecins du Monde), and last but not least even Bush’s own State Department have all issued human rights reports condemning Russia on its abuses within the country but especially its massive military destruction, murder, and massive burial grounds of bodies in Chechnya. Human Rights Watch wants the United Nations Commission on Human Rights to:

Putin’s crackdown on Russian media while forbidding any foreign media into Chechnya has been able to “ethnically cleanse” Chechnya with impunity away from the eyes of the world.   Additionally, he’s used Israel’s most successful public relations strategy guaranteed to silence American and European opposition to any “ethnic cleansing”—-Putin presents his war in Chechnya as a fight against “Islamic Fundamentalism.”   In addition to western silence, Putin has used that strategy to enlist China’s and India’s cooperation in their mutual crackdown on their minority Muslim population. Imagine what the reaction of the west would be if this “ethnic cleansing” was against Jews or Christians.

Secondly; let’s look into the reality of Ariel Sharon’s “Soul” and Israel’s record on Human Rights.   The eerie similarity of Sharon’s treatment of Palestinians to Putin’s treatment of Chechnyans is shocking, yet for different political considerations, both men are getting away with murder.

ARIEL SHARON:  A Lifetime “MURDERER AND PATHOLOGICAL LIAR”

Like Putin, Sharon came to power because the Israeli’s wanted and demanded an experienced strong man to smash the four month uprising of the Second Palestinian Uprising (Intifadah II) that he personally helped to spark by his provocative visit to Haram Al Sharif, Islam’s third holiest site in Jerusalem.  Sharon’s murderous history and addiction to lying is known not only to the Palestinians, but to the Israeli’s and the world. David Ben Gurion was the first to call Sharon a “Liar”.

We must dare end our billions of dollars in aid to Israel and Egypt and spend it on countries that desperately need it. Giving money to Israel is like a welfare single mother sending her check to Bill Gates.

He himself admitted his need and propensity to lie in a meeting with the Yesha Council of Settlements in May 2001 where in the presence of the media he referred to Israel’s operations against the Palestinians by saying: “There are things we will tell the public about, there are things we will deny and there are things that will remain hidden forever.”  In the past Sharon has also said:  “In wartime, you don’t have to expose everything to the world, to stand in public and reveal everything, in the name of that hypocritical and lie-filled concept known as HONESTY.”

This hypocritical bloodthirsty warrior accused of barbaric war crimes throughout his fifty year career in the Israeli army is now Prime Minister of Israel, America’s only civilized “democratic” friend in the Middle East, a man Bush will welcome for the second time in a few days while deliberately not inviting Yasser Arafat as a gesture to the Jewish lobby and Congress. Bush’s domestic agenda is held hostage in Congress to “encourage” Bush to adopt more favorable Pro-Israel positions.

Sharon made his first murderous mark as a twenty something commander of Unit 101 when in October 1953 he attacked the Palestinian village of Kibya.  Sharon’s unit executed sixty-nine civilians, many of them women and children who became entombed in their own houses that were blown up on top of them.  Decades later in his autobiography, Sharon recalled this massacre: ”Kibya was to be a lesson, I was to inflict as many casualties as I could on the Arab home guard and on whatever Jordanian army reinforcements showed up. I was to blow up every major building in the town.”

In the early 1970’s, Sharon brutally crushed a Palestinian uprising in Gaza against Israel’s illegal occupation.   In January of this year, Sharon gave an interview to a Russian-language radio station in which he recalled crushing this uprising.   He stated that he plowed vast security roads in Gaza through many refugee camps, shot dead any Palestinian suspected of nationalist activity and conquered Gaza camp by camp. He said: “I succeeded in bringing quiet to Gaza for ten years.

Later in 1982, Sharon as Defense Minister launched his ill fated invasion of Lebanon under the pretext and lie not only to his own government but to America as well when he told Alexander Haig, Secretary of State (who gave Sharon the green light for the invasion) that he will only enter Lebanon for 40 Kilometers and only for 48 hours.  The chillingly named “Peace for Galilee” invasion lasted for months, besieging the first Arab capital–Beirut for 3 months, killing over 25,000 Lebanese and Palestinian civilians with illegally used American weapons such as Cluster Bombs, and resulting in the war’s worst civilian massacre–the cold blooded murder of 2,000 Palestinians in the camps of Sabra and Chatila by Christian Phalangists under the watchful, supportive military eye of Israel’s army. The IDF not only had surrounded the camps and allowed these murderers entry but actually lit the sky over the camps at night with flares for better visual killing for 3 days and prevented any media or medical aid into the camps until the slaughter was over.   The world and Israel was outraged. Sharon, as Israel’s defense minister, was held “indirectly responsible” by Israel’s Kahane commission . The commission recommended that Sharon “draw the appropriate personal conclusions” and resign from his post as defense minister.  He did but was given another cabinet post.  He never stood trial as a war criminal although a trial in Belgium may succeed where America, the United Nations, and the world failed.  Nuremburg Trials, U.N. Resolutions, the Fourth Geneva Convention and Holocaust Museums are only meant for NON-JEWS.  Even today Sharon as prime minister is the first Israeli to illegally use F-16’s and Apache Helicopters for assassinations and crowd control.  Yet Bush still deems him “Ranch Worthy.”

Obviously, Bush doesn’t even read his own government’s Human Rights reports.  Here are some excerpts from the 2000 State Department Human Rights Report on Israel.

“Israel’s overall human rights record in the occupied territories was poor…Israeli security forces committed numerous serious human rights abuses during the year. Security forces killed 307 Palestinians and four foreign nationals and injured at least 11,300 Palestinians and other persons during the year.  Israeli security forces targeted for killing a number of Palestinians whom the Israeli government stated had attacked or were planning future attacks on Israeli settlements or military targets; a number of bystanders reportedly also were killed during these incidents”.

“Since the violence began, Israeli security units often used excessive force against Palestinian demonstrators. Israeli security forces sometimes exceeded their rules of engagement, which provide that live fire is only to be used when the lives of soldiers, police, or civilians are in imminent danger. IDF [Israel Defense Force {rcub} forces also shelled PA [Palestinian Authority] institutions and Palestinian civilian areas in response to individual Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilians or settlers; seven Palestinians and one foreign national were killed, and 131 Palestinians were injured in these attacks. Israeli security forces abused Palestinians in detention suspected of security offenses”.

“….the use of a variety of abusive practices, including violent shaking, painful shackling in contorted positions, and prolonged exposure to extreme temperatures….There were numerous credible allegations that police beat persons in detention. Three Palestinian prisoners died in Israeli custody under ambiguous circumstances during the year.   Prison conditions are poor. Prolonged detention, limits on due process, and infringements on privacy rights remained problems.”

“Israeli security forces sometimes impeded the provision of medical assistance to Palestinian civilians.  Israeli security forces destroyed Palestinian-owned agricultural land.   Israeli authorities censored Palestinian publications, placed limits on freedom of assembly, and restricted freedom of movement for Palestinians.”

The U.N. High Commission on Human Rights, Mary Robinson, after a full investigation of human rights abuses in Israel reported to the Secretary General of the United Nations that Israel is maliciously and repeatedly violating Palestinian human rights.  European Union Human Rights representatives issued similar condemnation of Israel for its violence and treatment of Palestinians in addition to all the major Human Rights Organizations mentioned above regarding Russia.  Despite international calls for a U.N. Observatory force to protect Palestinian civilians and to observe the violence, the United States as usual came to the rescue of Israel by being the only country to veto a U.N. Security Council Resolution to provide such an observatory force.   Thus the United States role in protecting and supporting Israel continues its historical policy toward Israel consisting of:

1.  Providing Israel the latest military weapons knowing full well that these weapons will be used against civilians.  Despite the timid expression of outrage by Powell against the use of F-16’s against Palestinian civilians, the United States has just approved another sale of 50 F-16’s to Israel at a huge discount that America’s taxpayers end up paying for.

2.  Continue to provide Israel, a rich nation with billions of dollars (so far $150 Billion since 1949) in aid although American domestic programs are being cut.  Shockingly, Israel is asking its American Congress for $! Billion extra to cover its fight against Palestinian “terrorism”, Israel’s name for a people’s legitimate right to resist military occupation.

3.  Protect Israel with Vetoes against UN Security Council Resolutions and against any International Body’s attempt to censor Israel for human rights abuses.  Ironically, the U.S. even vetoes UN Resolutions it either introduced or supported.

4.  Ensure that all government officials and the major media parrot and adopt Israeli talking points for maximum impact on American public opinion while simultaneously forbidding any view that opposes Israel’s interest.

Perhaps President Bush should wake up and smell the blood on the hands of Putin and Sharon and reevaluate his “Soul” peering skills and “Ranch Worthiness” of these two murderers.   Even the normally Pro-Israel, Anti-Arab, Anti-Islam, Anti-Black, Anti-U.N., Anti-Human Rights Senator Jesse Helms (R) of North Carolina understands that Putin’s “…brutal indiscriminate military campaign in Chechnya continues unabated.”

Sharon’s arrival to Washington D.C. will be another opportunity (like every other Prime Minister) to showcase Israel’s enormous “restraint” in face of unbearable pressure from “Likudist” Jews and Settlers thirsting for a total annihilation of Palestinians.  For such restraint, Sharon will ask for more billions to soothe the anger of the Shas Party, Settlers, and the military.  He will also ask for further alienation and condemnation of Yasser Arafat, more military and strategic intelligence cooperation as well as cutting off of aid to Egypt, Jordan, and the Palestinians for their refusal to accept Israel’s positions and explanations.  He will also ask Bush to ignore the Mitchell’s report recommendation to freeze the “Settlements” and to unequivocally absolve Sharon from any war crime charges in Lebanon in 1982 despite the findings of international law experts. As usual the media will lay out the red carpet for Sharon, trumpet his arguments and allegations without any consideration to the Palestinian side.

However, recent events may show that the world is beginning to understand Sharon’s long term objective–the total transfer of Palestinians from the occupied territories to Jordan and other Arab countries through land confiscation’s, more settlements, murders, assassinations, economic starvation, closures, imprisonment’s, torture, fear, intimidation, and frustration.  The first sign that the West is fed up with Sharon’s murderous tactics is British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s refusal to meet with Sharon on his trip to Washington.  England’s history and support of the founding of Israel is uncontested.  Given Blair’s recent landslide election victory without Jewish help is emboldening him to place England’s national interest over Israel’s for the first time in modern history.   A lesson not lost in other European capitals and Washington.  Secondly, President Bush prior to traveling to Europe met with his father at Camp David.  The elder Bush lost his reelection bid due to lack of Jewish support and his label of being an Anti-Semite for standing up to Yitzhak Shamir’s greed for $10 billion to absorb one million Russian immigrants by building new Settlements for them in occupied land.  The elder Bush must have communicated to his son that he owes little to Jewish Americans and that Powell ought to be dispatched to the Middle East for some tough talk with the Israeli’s, one to prevent an eminent all out attack on the Palestinians, and two, to salvage Arab support for sanctions against the family’s number one nemesis–Saddam Hussein. Bush realizes that Sharon has rejected a.  The Mitchell Report    b.  The Jordanian-Egyptian Peace Plan   c.  The European Union Intervention   d. Kofi Annan’s Attempt to bring Shimon Peres and Yasser Arafat together for a meeting.  e.  The Administration’s continuous plea to Sharon to implement a cease-fire and stop the daily incursions into PA controlled land and abandon its policy of assassinating Palestinian political and security forces which reduces the chance for a cease-fire and peace.  Sharon has also refused America’s demand to ease the closure and allow food, water, and medicines into the territories.

Mr. President, I ask you to do some “soul” searching yourself and discover the true path to peace in the Middle East that will save countless more Israeli and Palestinian lives.  In the end, you will discover that the world has had the solution for 34 years, namely, U.N. Resolution 242. You will also find that two minorities and the American media are the true obstacles to peace that the majority of Israeli’s and Palestinians as well as the entire world prays for.  In America, the minority that blocks any tentative peace agreement and intimidates our government into a silent obedience to Israel is the small powerful American Jewish Lobby that incidentally only represents a minority of Jews itself.  In Israel, it is the minority of Orthodox Rightist Jewish groups including the powerful intimidating Settler movement responsible for killing Yitzhak Rabin and a chance for peace.  The third obstacle is America’s media that out of ownership, ideology, ethnicity, greed, fear, and intimidation by American Jews like Abraham Foxman and Morton Klein, presents Israel’s words and pictures to the exclusion of Arab/Muslim viewpoints or for that matter any Non-Jewish viewpoint.

Will you President Bush fulfill the “Compassion and Humility” of Christ’s residence in your heart and do the right thing, or will your political fortunes override your “C & H” and thus join the laundry list of ten Presidents who’ve preceded you since Israel’s founding by placing Israel’s interest above America’s.   May you have the wisdom to know the difference.

Mr. Mohamed Khodr is an American Muslim physician and a native from the Middle East. He has worked in Academic Medicine and Public health with national and international health experience. He is a freelance writer who often writes columns on the Palestinian cause, Islam and on America’s Foreign Policy in the Middle East. He lives in the Washington DC area.

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