Sunday, May 28, 2006

Archive: American Scams

This article originally ran in a student publication on January 25, 2003, under the title " False Advertisement". Abu Shreek was trying to address those drinking the White House Kool-Aid.

In the wake of a natural disaster that wiped out 150,000 human beings, relief efforts from all over the world are gathered. But leave it to the so-called celebrities to capitalize on a massive human tragedy to gain some face time. From telethons featuring third-string performers to that basketball player who punched a fan in the face on the basketball court, the disaster presented an opportunity to improve image and show some compassion to real-life issues just like us normal people.

Which brings us to the question: Isn’t it about time to start a campaign to raise money for all these Iraqi victims? And no, I do not mean those who fought and are still fighting against the U.S. armed forces (Baathists, insurgents, terrorists, Saddam Hussein loyalists or whatever the president chooses to refer to them as). I mean those civilians whose homes were “mistakenly” destroyed, those Iraqis who were “mistakenly” targeted through air raids while in a wedding party, that wounded guy who was shot in the face while lying helpless in a mosque of all places, and all these people who were trapped inside the city of Fallujah and exterminated, away from the eyes of the world. (There were no press or media allowed inside of Fallujah during the recent American operation, but surviving eye witnesses reported corpses filling the streets).

American authorities are refusing to declare an official number of the Iraqi death toll during the Iraq occupation, but estimates range from 15,000 to 100,000, and these people’s fault was not that they threatened the United States by any means — their fault was that they lived under a dictator who was a long-time ally of the United States just like lots of other third world countries, the only difference being that Saddam overstayed his welcome. And as a quick reminder, Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 and did not have any association with al-Qaeda whatsoever.

What about starting a relief fund to repair, restore and retrieve the priceless ancient ruins and historic sights all over Iraq that were, according to reports, intentionally destroyed by U.S. armed forces and their “allies?” Actually, how about starting a relief fund for Colin Powell, former Secretary of State, who accepted a deceiving role in launching major military action against a country based on false allegations, without looking out for his reputation as a respected military vet?

Here is a little story on the side: (I) have a bottle of dental mouthwash sitting on my sink with a label that reads, “Now clinically proven as effective as floss” and in fine print, which I never neglect, “against plaque and gingivitis between the teeth.” Unfortunately, after I bought it in favor of other brands based on that claim alone, a court ruling indicated that this label is a public health risk and must be removed. I just want to thank the makers of dental floss who took the mouthwash manufacturer to court, fearing that the claim that mouthwash is as effective as flossing could affect the dental floss market and hence saved me from a possible health risk. You would expect that such protection is provided by the Food and Drug Administration. Obviously the FDA is becoming as sloppy as other three-lettered governmental agencies, which I cannot openly criticize because I do not prefer to spend my spring break in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The moral of the story here is that if you bought into the Iraq war and occupation based on obvious false advertisement — weapons of mass destruction, Sept. 11 connections and a safer America — you need to hold someone accountable for the fact that you have been punked. Now, holding someone accountable becomes a tricky business when you are stuck in a two-party system that does not offer a practical alternative, but this is your duty as an American, so good luck.

On the other hand, I understand that the United States is the 20th century empire with interests that need to be secured and a will that needs to be imposed on weaker countries, even if that requires the use of force. But please do not buy into the notion that military actions in Iraq or elsewhere are helping people of the Middle East by setting up examples of democracy and prosperity, especially when that democracy is installed at gunpoint.

The highly anticipated Iraqi election is going to be held under martial laws and under the supervision of U.S. armed forces. Even (President) Saddam himself thinks that elections held during his days were more legitimate. The expansive imperialistic approach that this administration is taking resembles the same greed and power trip that caused previous empires to collapse. Just keep the historic perspective in mind when you are buying your next yellow ribbon in support of the troops that are about to be deployed in Iran and Syria, because you owe them, yourself and your country more than that.

“Ya Saddam ya 7abeeb, othrobb othrobb Tal Abeeb”

8 comments:

Jason said...

No, the Iraq war was even better, because it was a classic "bait-and-switch".

It was sold as a fight to stop the spread of WMD. It only later became a war to spread democracy and part of the war on terrorism.

So the mouthwash analogy would have the maker of the mouthwash quietly issue a new label that says "clinically proven to make your teeth whiter", and would never admit that it wasn't as effective as floss.

And most people would believe it protected against HIV and bird flu anyway, even though the company never exactly put that on the label.

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