Especially at state funerals, media and politicians pretend that US presidents are honorable men, instead of the mass murderers that all of them become in office.
“The US has caused the deaths of 20 to 30 million people since World War Two, a level of carnage approaching that inflicted on Europe by Hitler.”
The daily whitewashing of imperial crimes that masquerades as “news” on corporate media becomes high ceremony when a Genocider-in-Chief dies. Now it is George Herbert Walker Bush’s turn to be canonized for bringing “'a ‘thousand points of light’ illuminating the greatness, hope, and opportunity of America to the world," in the words of the current CEO of Empire, Donald Trump. Former White House denizens Obama, Clinton and Carter also lauded the life and works of their accomplice in global predation, as did the son-of-a-Bush, George W., the under-achiever who wound up out-doing his daddy in mass murder.
As high priests of American Exceptionalism, corporate news anchors absolve the dead leader of culpability for the mega-deaths inflicted on those countries targeted for invasion, drone strikes, regime change, proxy wars, or crippling economic sanctions under his watch -- an easy task for the media glib-makers, since their colleagues sanitized those crimes while they were in progress, decades ago. But the whitewasher’s job is never done; the bodies keep piling up, “regimes” go “rogue,” meaning they disobey American dictat or otherwise get in the way of the imperial project, or run afoul of vital U.S. allies, as with the unfortunate Yemenis and Palestinians.
“The whitewasher’s job is never done.”
Whatever the human cost, it is “worth it,” as Clinton’s former Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright said of the half a million Iraqi children that died as a result of U.S. sanctions and the bombing of Iraqi infrastructure – carnage begun by Daddy Bush and continued by Bill Clinton, and then begun again with Bush Junior’s “Shock and Awe” demonstration of U.S. military might. Obama got hundreds of thousands more Iraqis killed when he armed and trained head-chopping legions of Islamist jihadists to swarm the region in an attempted imperial comeback that has killed half a million Syrians, to date.
Presidential funerals are venues of absolution, mainly for crimes that are unacknowledged.
Most Americans would be shocked – or feign surprise -- if told that their country had caused the deaths of 20 to 30 millionpeople since World War Two, a level of carnage approaching that inflicted on Europe by Hitler. But they do know the U.S. leaves dead bodies in its wake all around the planet -- Americans are not clueless, and that which they don’t know is due as much to deliberate, determined ignorance as it is to the failings of the news media. A nation born in genocide and slavery does not change its nature without undergoing a revolution, and the United States has not experienced such a transformation. At least half the population sees the death of millions of non-whites as “collateral damage” from America’s civilizing mission in the world: it’s “worth it.”
“A nation born in genocide and slavery does not change its nature without undergoing a revolution.”
In such a country, eight million murdered Congolese can be vanished from national consciousness without a trace of guilt. The Rwandans and Ugandans that carried out this holocaust under U.S. protection, with U.S. arms, and in service to U.S. imperial objectives, are also absolved, lest their crimes taint the reputations of Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama, or besmirch the U.S. national character.
The oldest of the living former presidents, Jimmy Carter, has spent decades building houses for the poor to atone for his crimes in the Oval Office. In addition to contributing to the carnage in Angola and backing fascist military regimes that slaughtered or disappeared hundreds of thousands in Latin America, the peanut-farming bible-thumper set in motion the U.S. alliance with al-Qaida. The creation of the first international network of Islamist jihadists, initially to force the Soviets out of Afghanistan, was the brainchild of Carter national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski. Tens of thousands of heads have rolled since then, thanks to the honorable and righteous Jimmy Carter.
“Jimmy Carter set in motion the U.S. alliance with al-Qaida.”
Barack Obama is a methodical man who claimed to be completing Dr. Martin Luther King’s work but instead added his own wars to the continuum of the “greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.” Obama told the U.S. Congress that his unprovoked attack on Libya was not a war, at all, because no Americans died, thus establishing a new doctrine and definition of warfare in which only U.S. deaths count. His secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, established new lows in diplomacy when she greeted news of Muammar Gaddafi’s death, cackling, “We came, we saw, he died” – which could be the said of all the tens of millions of deaths at the hands of U.S. presidents.
International law has no place in U.S. foreign policy, or U.S. corporate media broadcasts, or in the U.S. political discourse. Bernie Sanders, the Great Gray Hope of leftish Democrats, prefers not to speak of foreign policy at all, and can thus ignore the millions of corpses left behind as a result of U.S. policy. And he is also considered to be an upright and moral man.
The current occupant of the White House has so far committed less carnage in the world than his peers, although the so-called “Resisters” that seek his ouster from office behave as if Trump is a greater criminal and threat than any of his predecessors. They applaud Trump only when he launches military attacks. Since he loves applause, it is certain that Trump will increase his body count before the election season begins in earnest.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at [email protected].