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12 Nov, 2006

When you are Number One, the only place you can go next is down

Originally Published: 12 Nov 2006

“Operation Infinite Justice” continued to surge ahead in the last fortnight as both Saddam Hussein and George W Bush got their just rewards, each suffering a blowback for the suffering they have caused to hundreds of thousands of people in their own countries and worldwide.

While Saddam was sentenced to hang by a court of people he once tormented, Bush also faced a political “hanging” of sorts in the outcome of the elections that essentially flew in the face of everything he has preached and practised on the world stage.

For both these events to occur within a few days of each other does a lot to revive the faith that a greater force out there somewhere does indeed work in mysterious ways.

Operation Infinite Justice, it may be recalled, was the name of the March 2003 attack on Iraq, justified by the claimed existence of weapons of mass destruction.

There is a tremendous sense of justice in the fact that if Saddam has paid the price for “gassing his own people”, then George W Bush is just beginning to pay the price of lying to his own people, and indeed to the world, over the WMDs and mounting a war that has led to more deaths than all the years of Saddam’s brutal rule.

Bush’s place in history is gradually being assured, and it is likely to be just as dark and unflattering as Saddam’s.

Judging from his reaction after the elections, it appears that Bush did suffer from reverse “shock and awe”. Does he still think God is on his side? Or could it be that God is trying to send him an alternative message? Will he listen to it, or just continue to think that the electoral defeat is a temporary price to be paid for doing God’s work, and that eventually he will be proved right?

Bush’s election campaign pitch was a desire to make America safer. The people of America realised that they are no more safe than they were five years ago, and becoming more unsafe by the day, thanks largely to continuing violence in the Middle East, itself the direct result of the US government’s biased and imbalanced policies.

The largely Judeo-Christian US electorate lived up to its religious principles and voted to stem the rot; if great power brings great responsibility, then exercising that power responsibly is a necessity. It is no longer “unpatriotic” to oppose war, and to be accused of being so is the ultimate insult to one’s intelligence.

The power of the Internet has helped the true American patriots open their eyes and rightly decide that all of them cannot be fooled all the time. More than just a repudiation of the Bush administration’s policies, the election results will have worldwide ramifications.

Whether in the United Nations, the World Trade Organization or any international fora, the arrogance of the US government will face greater check-and-balance scrutiny at the hands of emboldened opponents no longer fearful of questioning its policies and positions.

Based on the common sense that when you become Number One, the only place you can go is down, I have predicted with considerably accuracy that the US government will become a victim of not practising what it preaches and ultimately pay the price of its lies, double standards and hypocrisy.

Making those responsible for such deception is the ultimate promise of a truly free and democratic society. It is also a divine rule of law, which transcends the power of any law created by mere mortals.

Although it claims to be the “leader” of the free world, no-one can recall precisely which global election allowed the US to ascend to this exalted position, and no-one knows precisely which democratic process can be instituted to allow it to be voted out.

Meanwhile, my critics continue to flail futilely away, their frustration being fanned as global events continue to prove me right. My view will remain cast in stone: The US government’s policies are the primary root cause of global terrorism, which is a symptom of that deeper malaise.

My sincere advice to the good people of America: In seeking to address the global relationship with Islam, try listening first to the good and well-meaning advice of Muslims, not that of the Israelis and especially not the neocon “hawks” who are well-entrenched in the ranks of media, government and private corporations and playing a major role in shaping the policies that are destroying America’s global image.

It will be interesting to see if the US will now go ahead an attack on Iran, as being demanded by Israel and neocon media outlets.

One of my regular critics in Postbag wants to hear more from “moderate” Muslims. What’s the definition of a “moderate” Muslim? One who is a lackey ofIsrael, ignores Israeli terrorism inPalestineand does what the Asian Wall Street Journal’s editorial writers tell him/her to do?

As for the situation in Iraq, heed the corporate advice of long-time Thailand resident, the American businessman William Heinecke who, in one of his books on corporate success strategies, said it is vitally important for CEOs to know when to cut their losses, recognize a failure and move on.

If applied at a global level, implementing this valuable piece of advice will require taking a Buddhist approach, being humble enough to swallow one’s pride, forget about trying to “save face” and being magnanimous enough to accept that a short-term “loss” may actually yield a long-term victory.

My fear is that that there will be more “terrorism” in the form of staged attacks designed to point the finger of blame at “Islamic terrorism” and buttress the claim that it must be met in the same eye-for-an-eye fashion that is already proving to be such a phenomenal fiasco.

That will set the stage for still more war and conflict.

Saddam Hussein may no longer be a threat but Bush still has two more years to go. In any other democracy, such an electoral defeat would have required the resignation of the entire government. In the US, no such luck.