Detainee in Guantánamo Bay. (Photo: Brennan Linsley/Associated Press)
“Savaged by dogs, Electrocuted with Cattle Prods, Burned by Toxic Chemicals, Does such barbaric abuse inside U.S. jails explain the horrors that were committed in Iraq? They are just some of the victims of wholesale torture taking place inside the U.S. prison system that we uncovered during a four-month investigation for BBC Channel 4 . It’s terrible to watch some of the videos and realise that you’re not only seeing torture in action but, in the most extreme cases, you are witnessing young men dying. The prison guards stand over their captives with electric cattle prods, stun guns, and dogs. Many of the prisoners have been ordered to strip naked. The guards are yelling abuse at them, ordering them to lie on the ground and crawl.(Deborah Davies, “Torture Inc. Americas Brutal Prisons” 03/28/2005)
(Democracy at Work: To re-visit the wounds of the Abu Ghraib)
Linked to the US Presidential election campaigns, the hurriedly called this week’s Chicago Conference of the sixty or so participating leaders is no joke but had its spill-over reasoning to view:
• That President Obama is actively politicking about the recalls of the troops from the war zones something he promised to do four years earlier,
• Accelerating the number game like the stock markets that counts in an election campaign – Obama’s standing in public perception to be converted by the hourly paid American opinion experts
• Deflect on negative imagery that Mitt Romney- the Republican candidate is creating to beat Obama
• To enlarge Obama’s failing image into worldview that he is actively engaging the global leaders to find amicable solutions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Iran and lot more – the stage acting – the fuzzy pretension of doing something for the global audience.
• Nothing concrete could have emerged because America, its leaders, its economy and not to talk of the most powerful military-industrial complex making difference in the election campaigns, all are for continuous warfare, not for peace
• Some of the dummy global leaders more so from Europe and Asia, got opportunity to divert public attention from the home-grown financial disasters and austerity measures for being non-productive and incompetent to deal with any major issues facing their people – much unemployed and raising voices of REASON against the transitory leadership. Pictures with Obama could make them see different games in varied perspectives – all linked to opinion making at home and abroad. Opinions are not the facts or truth but simple ideas without substance of reality.
• At least, Obama and his invited colleagues wanted to be seen politically active not sitting dummies like the Arab-Muslim leaders, consuming fatty dinners and unable to talk anything worth of moral or intellectual reasoning and most authoritarians specialize in doing nothing for their own people
• The staged drama – tragedy spells out its own rationale that none of these conferences will contribute to address the real world problems in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan and Iran as they were not intended to tackle any problems except uttering lies, deceptions and pretensions and making bogus statements to mislead the global citizenry. After all, it is an election year in America – the former superpower now financially defunct country under the austerity measures of 14 trillion dollars or more (borrowed and used from the unknown future) that does not know what is next in waiting in all the crises situation, it engineered to support its war economy and including its replacement in global politics by another nation or group of productive Asian nations.
• The unraveling impacts and tragic consequences of wars do not end with paper declarations or political statements as to when the invading armies are to be withdrawn. Wars leave scars for generations to be victimized emotionally, politically, intellectually and anything else that can be imagined in human terms of unknown disasters. Long after sixty years of the 2nd World War, the Europeans and others have not recovered its dehumanized consequences of their own perpetuated insanity and barbarity for no obvious purpose of rationality except borders, flags and a primitive sense of pride and nationalism. In the 21st century politics, America is leading in all of these stone-aged qualities to be the lost Empire without being an Empire.
Wars are planned and orchestrated by the few, the privileged ruling elite; the humanity becomes the targeted victims of the few for global hegemonic governance. Throughout the ages, the conscientious mankind searched for ways to undo the war and strive for peace, the real aim for the establishments of international institutions. But now the global institutional capacity to deal with peace and conflict management appears in ruin with the continued onslaught of the American led so called War on Terrorism in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Realizing the eminent defeats by the handful forces of Talaban, the allies are gathered to make their presence known for propaganda purposes to the beleaguered people of Afghanistan and global audience. Talaban fighting the intruders are not the foreigners but people of the land. The US, British and others paid agents are foreigner mercenaries fighting in a foreign land, culturally unknown and unconquerable by their armed forces. Piety and peacemaking vis-à-vis aggression and wickedness cannot be combined as credible attributes in ones mindset and one human character. Now, the issue is, how conveniently, the aggressors want to redefine their strategic role and ambitions in Afghanistan as peacemakers as if they have achieved the goals of their aggression. Imagine, Adolph Hitler while occupying France and continuing bombing of London, wanted to organize a peace conference. Would it have been a logical discourse for the French and British people to talk peacemaking with the aggressor? Bush and Hitler had lot in common as both claimed to have the divine support for their mission. Both tried to destroy the living humanity but fell in disgrace and met ultimate defeats.
A week earlier, Talaban spokesman while talking to the BBC reporter in the Arab world, made it clear that they believe in peacemaking but all the foreign forces must leave Afghanistan. The same logic that French and British politicians would have implied to Hitler. Could the facts of human life be changed, be it Iraq, Afghanistan or the occurrences of the 2nd World War?
The people of Iraq and Afghanistan need change for peace and normalcy. The change can only happen if the US led occupying forces after the withdrawal would compensate the victim nations and rebuild their essential social-economic and humanitarian infrastructures destroyed by the ferocious wars. The same formula used at the end of the WW2. The same legal principle is needed that the aggressors be brought to legal and political accountability in an international war tribunal such as Nuremberg tribunal after the end of the WW2. E. H Carr, the famous historian, had emphasized that history has learning role for the future. Those who defy the logic of learning were lost without a trace.
The aggressors have succumbed to public opposition and will withdraw most of their combat forces by 2014. In other words, the invading armies have been defeated by the mujahideens and are unable to carry out any further brutality in those regions. Would the aggressors tell the humanity, when would they end the continued wars? So that the victims could think openly and plan for change and peaceful transfer to making of their own future. This is the issue that the current gathering of the sixty or so nations at Chicago avoided to discuss. The assembly was not for peacemaking but for prolonging the failing war efforts. The leaders wanted to discuss aftermath of the 2014 withdrawals and strategic arrangements with the Afghan government for training and rebuilding, a typical western materialistic scenario to help the impoverished nations. Recall that Karazi shall end his presidency in 2014, so what is the legitimacy of talking beyond that time span? The aid gimmick is an attractive illusion to entrap the needy nations and exploit their resources for the good of the occupying forces. The US and Britain survive on borrowed money from the future generations as their own financial institutions have collapsed and so are the political powerhouses and working agencies. But the aid’s long term purpose is to create more beggars and poverty and dependent nations asking for external aid and to survive on borrowed future and resources. The discussion developmental aid and withdrawal of the foreign forces from Afghanistan sends a clear signal of defeat and prospective surrender to the Talaban fighting for the freedom of their homeland.
Future must be anew, not the repetition of the past. Future making does not lie with the aggressors nor with the failed international institutions, it is with the will and resolve of the people of Iraq and Afghanistan to oust the aggressors and recover their homes and habitats for rebuilding their lives and human dignity. Taken at their face value what Commander Bush claimed at the time that the US led forces went to Iraq and Afghanistan in pursuit of freedom, liberty and justice for the people. Instead they planned and developed the institutions of Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and Belgraham prison in Afghanistan. Facts speak for themselves. All you need to do is to see the outcomes, the triumphs of the American version of liberty, human rights and justice, the horrifying photos of the prisoners are easily available through the internet, speaking their own language of the American-British civilized achievements in the Arab-Islamic world. Mr. Karzai, the self-made president of Afghanistan does not have any vision or sense of reality that he will not be the president after 2014. So what nonsense he is talking about to have strategic alliance with the US forces beyond the 2014? Mr. Karzai or others in attendance, the Arab-Muslim staged puppets do not represent the interests and priorities of the Muslim Ummah. The people of the Islamic world view them all as pan on the global political chessboard being financed, supported and kept in office to undermine the future of the people of Afghanistan and the Muslim world. They are seen as part of the problem, not part of any workable solution.
Afghan landscape tells its own story with millions uprooted from ancestral homes and forced to go to foreign countries in search of protection and mere human survival. The aggressors do not wish to see the problem, that they are the real problem, not otherwise. How soon the aggressors would leave Afghanistan, nobody can tell. The ancient and civilized people of Iraq and Afghanistan know it well who are the peacemakers and who are the aggressors. The aggressors appear desperate to quit but the Chicago conference seems to indicate that urgent necessity but intellectually confused, morally corrupt and with high rates of self-suicidal deaths US-British militarily apparatus exhausted, and not sure how best to get out of the terrible mess they have created for the people of Iraq and Afghanistan and the whole of the humanity. At the Chicago gathering, Obama stated “a responsible end to the war”, but failed to define what he meant after being in office for four years and failing to honor all of his previous election promises and now killings of several thousands of innocents in Pakistan by drone attacks and displacing millions in Afghanistan’s continued warfare. Does President Obama enjoy the credibility to be taken seriously for any statements or promises for the future? Recently, a Malaysian international legal tribunal has issued the judgment and declared George Bush and Tony Blair as responsible for crimes against the humanity in Iraq and Afghanistan. Would the Western world’s responsible legal authorities take the necessary action to implement the verdict of the international tribunal? A century earlier C.E, M. Joad (Guide to Modern Wickedness), captioned the human tragedy in these words:
“….Human nature is at least in part wicked and in part foolish, how can human beings be prevented from suffering from the results of their wickedness and folly? ….Men simply do not see that war is foolish and useless and wicked. They think on occasion that it is necessary and wise and honourable, for war is not the work of bad men knowing themselves to be wrong, but of good men passionately convinced that they are right.”
(Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja shares interests and expertise in global security, peace and conflict resolution and in Islamic-Western comparative cultures and civilizations, and author of several publications including the latest: Global Peace and Conflict Management: Man and Humanity in Search of New Thinking, Lambert Publishing, Germany, 5/2012).