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The blame game

March 22, 2016


Before I went to bed last night, the news was already breaking about the bombs in Brussels.

My first reaction was oh, crap, not again.

After that I suppose my heart should have immediately gone out to the people who were killed or injured. Where my heart actually went was to the Muslim communities of Belgium, throughout Europe and around the world. The other innocent victims who will be made to pay in some form or another for the actions of a rabid few.

It wasn’t until I got up this morning that the anger set in. I actually said out loud – and quite vehemently – “Goddamn you, George Dubya Bush, and goddamn you, Tony Blair, you enabling son of a bitch.” I could and probably should also have said, “Goddamn you Osama Bin Laden” because the 9/11 attack gave Bush the excuse he needed to launch the previously inexcusable Project for A New American Century, but that’s not where my curses were aimed. (If the PNAC is news to you, click on the link to read John Pilger’s article about same. Watch out for your blood pressure.)

Of course, we (the western powers) started to create this mess a hundred years ago in the aftermath of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, when Europeans carved up the Arab world, installing phoney kings and tin-pot dictators.

I might as well have been cursing Henry Ford, as his mass production of cars led to the demand for petrol. Guaranteeing a supply of motor fuel became part of the “national interests” of the United States and Europe and protecting that supply was done regardless of the cost to the citizens of entire countries.

You can’t hold any individual to blame for this, as Jon Stewart dubbed it, “mess o’potamia”.

Or can you?

I found myself remembering an argument I had in the pub with a friend shortly before the invasion of Iraq in 2003. At one point he asked me what I thought would be different if Al Gore had won the 2000 election. (“First of all,” I said, “Al Gore did win the 2000 election. It was stolen by his opponent’s brother.”) I confessed that in the aftermath of 9/11 it didn’t matter who was in the White House: Someone was going to be bombed to hell and Afghanistan was the obvious candidate. But, I said, if the election hadn’t been stolen and Al Gore was in the oval office, no one would be talking about invading Iraq, because Saddam Hussein, as vile as he might be, had nothing to do with 9/11 or Al Qaeda.

So, if there’s only one curse to be aimed this morning, it should actually be goddamn you, Jeb Bush, for this never ending war. Your brother may have started it, but you put him in the position to do so.

Does this ever cross Jeb’s mind? I doubt it, but it bloody well should.



From → Columns

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