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Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Precious Gift of Freedom?

[via Democracy Now! Headlines]
Hillary Clinton, on the fifth anniversary of the illegal immoral invasion of Iraq: [T]he Iraqi government has to take responsibility for its own future. We have given them the precious gift of freedom and it is up to them to decide whether or not they will use it.

This statement appeared in the context of Clinton's call for a withdrawal from Iraq, of which I obviously approve to the extent that the "withdrawal" advocated would actually be real and is earnestly intended (permanent bases? residual forces? admissions of wrongdoing? reparations?).

But whatever the context the actual statement above is unutterably vile: pretending that it is the fault of Iraqis that their country is too devastated by the illegal war and ongoing catastrophe of our armed occupation of their country for them to "take responsibility" for its legitimate governance (a pretense that relies in no small part in my opinion on America's apparently endlessly available reserve of racism)... refusing to take responsibility for American criminality and thereby endorsing it and thereby facilitating future pious rationalizations of American exceptionalism and maurading and criminality... adding to the injury of war crimes the insult of blaming their victims.



Anonymous said...

Of course, Obama's (othewise very good) speech contained this:

"My plan to end this war will finally put pressure on Iraq's leaders to take responsibility for their future."

This is the USA, after all.

Dale Carrico said...

Definitely I didn't mean to suggest, in pointing out the awfulness of Clinton's comment, that her rival for the Democratic Party nomination is made thereby some kind of paragon (in fact I have commented here regularly and at length on the dangerous American exceptionalism that is mobilized in some of Obama's rhetoric about Americans "saving the world" without mentioning our role in messing it up or the fact that the overabundant majority of people on earth, few of whom are Americans, are quite capable of working together to solve our shared planetary problems and so on). No, the hideousness to which I was reacting is the way Clinton's comment symptomizes (as do comments made endlessly by endless public figures) the larger oblivious imperialist assumptions I'm sure you mean also to evoke in saying "This is the USA, after all."

Anonymous said...

Correct. One wonders whether Clinton and Obama truly believe this stuff or whether it is something they think they have to say to get elected.

We know from other conversations on your blog that thinking about scenarios with miniscule probabilities is ridiculous, so no point in speculating on what life would be like if this way of thinking were to change.