Democracy hypocrisy 

Why the U.S. can no longer lead by example

Given his tortured use of the English language, it’s pretty hard to tell what dictionary George Bush consults when he spews pronouncements about the role of our nation in the world today. For instance, during the run-up to the disastrous Iraq War, Bush repeatedly told the American people that we would be “exporting democracy” to the Middle East. But as the Bush administration’s fierce rejection of the results of last week’s overwhelming win by Hamas in the Palestinian elections shows, hypocrisy—not democracy—is what the Bush government is really all about.

Most dictionaries define “democracy” as “a government by the people; rule of the majority.” By any standard, Hamas’ nearly 2–1 victory over the ruling Fatah party was a vote of the people for a new government led by Hamas. Certainly the exercise was democratic in nature. In other words, it was determined by a free vote of the public—and the public overwhelmingly preferred Hamas.

The problem, at least for Bush’s plan to “export democracy,” is that Hamas is not just—or even primarily—a political party. It also has an armed wing of fighters that have bombed and killed Israelis for years in the seemingly endless clash over the establishment of a Palestinian state and the fate of the West Bank. To be fair, the Israelis have conducted their own share of violent attacks against Hamas, with assassination by missile-firing drone as one of their favored methods. But thanks to the hypocrisy of the Bush administration, Hamas is officially classified as a terrorist organization by the United States government while Israel continues to receive a billion or more a year in U.S. aid.

Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice’s comments this week, in which she condemned Hamas’ armed faction and called for its disbandment, were nothing but a classic study in hypocrisy with both Rice and Bush saying they will cut off all aid to the Palestinians unless Hamas rejects armed aggression against Israel.

Now this is a hoot coming from these owls. Let’s see, who was it who lied to the citizens of this nation and the people of the world to rationalize our own invasion—not just sniping or bombing—of Iraq? Is Hamas responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis? No, it was Bush, Rice, and the rest of their discredited neo-con cohorts who turned to violence and senseless slaughter while the world begged them to stop.

We all acknowledge that there’s nothing wrong with promoting peaceful resolution of ongoing conflicts. But coming from Bush, who unilaterally declares certain nations acceptable and threatens military aggression to force “regime change” in others, the demand to lay down weapons must seem laughable to Hamas, to say nothing of the rest of the Arab world.

Nor is the outlandish hypocrisy of the Bush administration confined to the Middle East. In South America, one nation after another is turning away from the brutal U.S. policies of globalization and toward taking control of their own resources and taking care of their own people.

Heading the list of democratically elected leaders that Bush and company love to hate is Hugo Chavez, the former paratrooper who became president of Venezuela last year. Chavez recently hosted the World Social Forum in Caracas, where he urged thousands of attendees to help end U.S. military intervention worldwide. “Enough already with the imperialist aggression,” Chavez told the crowd, listing countries throughout South and Central America in which the U.S. military has intervened. “It must be said, in the entire world: Down with the U.S. empire!”

The Bush cartel has been accused of fomenting a coup in 2002 to assassinate Chavez and overthrow his government—not exactly what you’d call a peaceful resolution of conflict. Without much digging, the reason for Bush’s aggression toward Chavez becomes abundantly clear: Without a U.S. puppet as president, Venezuela just might decide to send its huge supplies of oil to burgeoning energy markets in China or India. This winter, Chavez openly rebuffed Bush’s hypocritical concern for U.S. citizens by shipping low-cost heating oil directly to needy Americans—thus providing the relief the Bush oil cartel has so adamantly denied on their way to banking record profits.

In Bolivia, Evo Morales, an indigenous Aymara Indian and coca farmer, won the votes to carry him to the presidency by promising to end the U.S.-backed attacks against coca farmers and relieve widespread poverty by taking control of the nation’s natural gas resources and distributing wealth more equitably to the common people.

“Working-class” leftist Luis Inacio “Lula” da Silva won the presidency in Brazil by championing the people over foreign bankers. Leftists have also recently been elected in Uruguay and Argentina, and once again, the prime factor in their victories was a rejection of the globalization and interventionist policies of the United States.

And finally, Michelle Bachelet, a single mother who is an agnostic, a doctor, and a former political prisoner, became Chile’s first woman president only two weeks ago. She defeated a billionaire businessman and has promised to build a “government by everyone and for everyone.” Does Ms. Bachelet know something about U.S. democracy hypocrisy and armed intervention? You bet she does. Her father was an air force general who was tortured and killed in Chile’s U.S.-backed 1973 coup that brought infamous dictator General Augusto Pinochet to power and drove her into exile for five years.

The truth is painfully clear that under the Bush presidency the United States can no longer lead by example. From illegally spying on our own citizens to disenfranchising black voters to the suspicious irregularities of our own electronic elections, Bush’s hypocrisy has been made plain to the people of the world. His policies of armed aggression and economic blackmail have dragged our nation into infamy, and now provide the reasons so many are rightfully rejecting U.S. leadership in these dark days.

When not lobbying the Montana Legislature, George Ochenski is rattling the cage of the political establishment as a political analyst for the Independent. Contact Ochenski at opinion@missoulanews.com.

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