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The Guardian’s Bush obituary plumbs new depths of sycophantic hypocrisy

By Kit Knightly | OffGuardian | December 3, 2018

“The strong man with the dagger is followed by the weak man with the sponge.” – Lord Acton

George Herbert Walker Bush died on Saturday. He was 94 years old. Thanks to decisions he made throughout his career, thousands – perhaps millions – of people never got near 94. He invaded Iraq in 1991, instituted sanctions that destroyed the country. He pardoned those involved in the Iran-Contra affair and was head of the CIA when Operation Condor launched the military coup in Argentina in 1976.

None of that makes it into The Guardian’s obituary, of course.

Instead, Simon Tisdall – a mindless servant to the status quo, always happy to weave invective about our designated enemies – treats us to paragraph after paragraph of inane anecdotes.

Good old Georgie once gave him a lift in Air Force One.

Barbara gave him useful advice about raising Springer Spaniels.

The following words and phrases are not found anywhere in this article: CIA, Iraq, Iran-Contra, Argentinian coup, Iran Air Flight 655, NAZI, Panama.

Rather, Tisdall refers Bush’s term as “before the era of fake news”. Which makes him either a complete liar or profoundly under-qualified to write on the subject – as the Bush-era spawned the original fake news: The Nayirah testimony. A pack of lies told before the Senate, and used to justify a war in the middle-east.

A Bush family tradition.

Tisdall talks of Bush’s family – “he enjoyed a privileged upbringing in a monied east coast family” – but doesn’t say that his father, Prescott Bush, was a known Nazi sympathiser and was even implicated in an alleged plot to overthrow the government of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Bush started two wars as President. Planned and enabled countless crimes as director of the CIA. pardoned all those implicated in the Iran-Contra affair. Refused to apologise when the US Navy “accidentally” shot down an Iranian airliner, killing over 200 civilians, including 60 children.

He was the original neocon – his administration brought us Cheney and Powell and Rumsfeld. Gave birth to the ideology that stage-managed 9/11, launched the “War on Terror”, and cut a blood-stained swath across North Africa and the Middle East.

We don’t hear about that.

What we DO hear about is Bush’s “deep sense of public duty and service” and that “Bush was a patriot who did not need cheap slogans to express his belief in enduring American greatness”. No space is given over to analysis, to examine the fact that “belief in enduring American greatness” is quasi-fascism, and responsible for more violent deaths this century than any other cause you can name.

In hundreds of words, a notionally left-wing paper has nothing but praise for a highly unpopular right-wing president. No space is given over even to the gentlest of rebukes.

The whole article is an exercise in talking without saying anything. Pleasantries replacing truth. Platitudes where facts should be. A nothing burger, with a void on the side and an extra order of beige.

It’s an obituary of Harold Shipman that eschews murder talk and rhapsodises about his love of gardening.

A eulogy to Pinochet that praises his economic reforms but neglects all the soccer stadiums full of corpses.

An epitaph to Hitler that focuses, not on his “controversial political career”, but on his painting and his vegetarianism.

Did you know Genghis Khan once lent me a pencil? He was a swell guy. The world will miss him.

We’re no longer supposed to examine the lives, characters or morals of our leaders. Only “honour their memory” and be “grateful for their service”. History is presented to us, not as a series of choices made by people in power, but as a collection of inevitabilities. Consequences are tragic but unavoidable. Like long-dead family squabbles – To dwell on them is unseemly, and to assign blame unfair.

Just as with John McCain, apologism and revisionism are sold to us as manners and good taste. Attempts to redress the balance and tell the truth are met with stern glares and declarations that it is “too soon”.

It’s never “too soon” to tell the truth.

John McCain was a dangerous war-mongering lunatic. George Bush Sr was a sociopath from a family of corrupt sociopaths. The world would be a far better, and much safer place if just one major newspaper was willing to say that.

Really, there are two obituaries to write here:

First – George HW Bush, corrupt patriarch of an old and malign family, passing out of this world to face whatever eternal punishment (hopefully) awaits those who sell their immortal soul in exchange for a brief taste of power.

Second – The Guardian, perhaps a decent newspaper once-upon-a-time, now a dried out husk. A zombified slave to the state, mindless and brainless and lifeless. No questions, no reservations, no hesitation. Obediently licking up the mess their masters leave behind.

It’s sickening.

Kit Knightly is co-editor of OffGuardian. The Guardian banned him from commenting. Twice. He used to write for fun, but now he’s forced to out of a near-permanent sense of outrage.

December 4, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | 2 Comments

UK military action in Syria met with enthusiasm by liberal hawks, but ‘dissenters’ remain skeptical

RT | April 10, 2018

The ratcheting up of warlike rhetoric from the UK government has been increasingly welcomed by interventionists in the media establishment. Though the prospect of military action in Syria looks likely, dissenting voices remain.

Since UK Prime Minister Theresa May refused to rule out military action in Syria as a response to the alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma, a formerly rebel-held suburb of Damascus, there has been a fervent hawkish clamor from the usual suspects across the media establishment.

Guardian journalist Simon Tisdall has written an op-ed piece titled, ‘After Douma, the west’s response to Syria’s regime must be military,’ in which he calls for military action to proceed before an OPCW investigation into the incident.

According to Tisdall, the culprits behind the supposed chemical attack are obvious: the Syrian government and its ally, Russia. “Calls to wait for yet another UN investigation amount to irresponsible obfuscation. Only the Syrian regime and its Russian backers have the assets and the motivation to launch such merciless attacks on civilian targets.”

In a reaction that wouldn’t be out of place in the run-up to the 2003 Iraq War, Tisdall concludes: “Allied military intervention, better late than never, is necessary to avoid future atrocities, [and] spare innocent lives.”

In turn, right-wing UK broadsheet the Telegraph pleads for the UK not to be left on the periphery if the US and France decide to take military action in Syria. Its editorial concludes: “If America and France are to act, Mrs May needs to ensure that the UK is not left on the sidelines unwilling to join in the punitive action she has rightly identified as necessary.”

Political commentators on Twitter such as Mark Curtis are not so convinced military intervention is the solution to the Syrian conflict: “Maybe Iran should strike Tel Aviv to halt atrocities in Gaza? Moscow to strike Riyadh to stop Saudi atrocities in Yemen? How about Jordan striking Ankara to stop atrocities in Afrin?”

The Mail Online’s Peter Hitchens – in a blog article titled ‘The Guns of April : Are we in a pre-War era, right now?’ – suggests that those such as himself who oppose military action are seen as betraying their country in favor of foreign, enemy powers. Hitchens writes: “This is an invariable symptom of a country whose elite is bent on war.”

Simon Jenkins, a colleague of Tisdall’s at the Guardian, shares the view that Assad is responsible for chemical weapons violations in his own country. However, he insists bombing Syria is not the solution, saying: “For the moment, western military intervention is utterly pointless. We must kick the habit of trying to rule the world.” This, perhaps, is a nod to Britain’s colonial past that some in government want to resurrect to help reassert itself on the global stage.

In Jenkins’ concluding remarks, he highlights the hypocrisy of nations such as the US when it comes to the laws of war: “The laws of war are enveloped in hypocrisy, largely because they are written by the winners. The US has still not signed the convention against delayed-action cluster bombs, one of the most immoral weapons ever devised.”

The drumbeat of war is increasingly being sounded among the political and media hawks. The question is, will this translate into something more tangible? The ‘dissenters’ will be hoping it does not.

April 10, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment