Sent to the Shields Gazette, 22nd January 2005
Speaking at his inauguration on January 20th, President Bush declared that freedom overseas was a precondition for freedom in the USA. He certainly never elaborated on this theme and made no reference to the utter misery the US has, in the last few years, brought to Afghanistan and Iraq. He moreover, in his short speech, used the words “freedom” and “liberty” 42 times.
I can only presume these two words have taken on new meanings in the White House dictionary. History testifies that as soon as the US takes an interest in your country then you can say goodbye to freedom. Since 1945 the US has leant its support dictators and tyrannical regimes on every continent, from Pol Pot and Suharto to Saddam Hussein and Pinochet. Since 1945, this same defender of the global well-being toppled 40 governments and helped crush 30 populist movements, assassinated scores of prominent individuals and perverted elections in every corner of the globe, turning a blind eye to the most horrendous affronts to the democratic process. During this same period the US has armed terrorists, trained right-wing guerrilla movements in the art of torture and financed armies intent on overthrowing democratically elected governments.
Perhaps Bush was telling the truth, considering the growing restrictions on personal freedom in the USA – ie the Patriot Act. If freedom is not allowed to thrive overseas, then why should it be allowed to exist in the USA?