Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
Opinion Editorials, February 2011
America's Policies and the Peoples' Revolution
By Yvonne Ridley
Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, February 8, 2011
US Administrations have been blighted since 9/11 by a deadly cocktail of arrogance and ignorance with a twist of the strong desire for revenge.
But before you take aim and fire you have to know your enemy, and the scattergun policies of the Bush and now the Obama regimes have served only to create hatred and mistrust against the US in areas where it was never present.
In fact, far from driving the likes of al Qaida into oblivion this strategy turned the USA into al Qaida's finest recruiting officer.
Like their intelligence agencies, these US Administrations have chosen only to listen to those who give them information they want to hear even if that information is a long distance from reality.
As a result a deluded Iraqi man called "Curve Ball" conned US intelligence and in turn President George W Bush over the existence of WMD. It was all Bush and his neo-cons needed and wanted to hear to justify their illegal invasion of Iraq, assuring the world they would find Weapons of Mass Destruction. It was a blatant lie.
It mattered not that the real experts, weapons inspectors, like Scott Ritter and Hans Von Sponek, said WMD simply no longer existed. It mattered not, it seems, that up to a million paid the blood price for this arrogance and ignorance. It matters not that today Iraq is still in turmoil.
With the same reckless abandon the USA has been sucked in to a war in Afghanistan from which is can not retreat or make progress never mind peace. Bush told us the invasion of Afghanistan was all about getting Usama bin Ladin and liberating Afghan women - neither of which has been achieved.
And now, the Middle East is on fire with a Peoples' Revolution which is busy eliminating all the dictators supported and installed by the USA.
All of this could have been avoided if only the White House had listened ... listened to their own people in the growing anti-war movement; listened to ordinary peace activists who mobilised in their tens of millions around the world marching against wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; listened to the tens of millions across the Muslim world about the injustices against the Palestinian people.
Instead the US Administrations of Bush and Obama chose to listen to a few extremists and fanatics who think they can achieve whatever they want by pointing the barrel of a gun made in America. Might is not right nor does it guarantee a victory.
And once the chains of fear and oppression break ordinary people will seize their freedom from those who stole it with their bear hands.
Tahrir Square in Egypt has been turned into the democratic capital of the Arab world and not one of the leaders of the revolution is armed with anything more than hopes and desires for a better future free from tyranny.
For God's sake Mr President, listen to the people before it is too late.
And here's another friendly piece of advice - there is a cauldron boiling so fiercely in the region and if you don't do something about it the seismic and heroic events unfolding today in Tahrir Square will begin to look more like a convention of Tupperware agents by comparison.
Pakistan is on the brink and so is Afghanistan. Uzbekistan is not far behind either. Where there is injustice there can never be peace and as long as Americans are seen to blindly trample on cultures, customs and laws in that region with blind arrogance it will come back to bite them in a big way.
When a young Tunisian man called Tarek al-Tayyib Muhammad ibn Bouazizi turned himself in to a human torch in December he also ignited a flame which has now become the Arab Peoples' Revolution.
History has shown that it is always seemingly small, insignificant events which trigger revolutions.
So I am asking the White House to pay special attention to the incident involving Raymond Davis, allegedly a US diplomat, who is now residing in Pakistan custody suspected of killing three Pakistanis in Lahore last week.
Already US lawmakers are banging on about the Vienna Conventions only because they now appear to need it so badly.
These are the same Vienna Conventions ignored by America when His Excellency Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeeff, the Ambassador to Pakistan from Afghanistan, was stripped naked, beaten and handed over to US soldiers in January 2002 before being carted off to Guantanamo Bay. These are the same Vienna Conventions which were trampled on when Dr Aafia Siddiqui was shot by US soldiers at point blank range in a police cell in Afghanistan then kidnapped and renditioned to America in July 2008.
It was nearly a full four weeks before she was given any consular access - yet US Ambassador Anne Patterson stood in Islamabad and lied and lied about the case of Dr Aafia Siddiqui claiming her rights were not violated.
The sad thing is, Barak Obama and Hillary Clinton have probably never heard of Dr Aafia Siddiqui. Why would they bother with minor detail when they've got full-scale wars to wage? Their advisers, at the very least, need to read her story - the real one. Her story is vital because she epitomises all the injustices of the War on Terror and she is now becoming a rallying point for all Pakistani people. Don't believe the propaganda that she's the poster girl of the Islamists - please stop falling for these stupid lines.
Dr Aafia Siddiqui is another Tarek al-Tayyib Muhammad ibn Bouazizi. I am telling you this in good faith because it is something your best friends, paid informers, stooges and ill-informed intelligence agencies won't tell you.
Some times correcting the smaller issues - though they are by no means small to families and friends involved - will help you with much larger events.
The time has come for America to show humility - return Dr Siddiqui to her home in Karachi where she can be reunited with her children. And then - and only then - start concerning yourself with Raymond Davis and his activities.
If he is guilty of anything put faith in Pakistan's judiciary and let him stand trial in the country where his alleged crime was committed. The US has to start respecting other country's laws instead of making up their own as they go along to cover up and protect American-made blunders and mistakes.
The US is neither the peoples' friends no their master but the influence it has brought to bear in the Muslim world in recent years has been extremely negative.
This influence has wrecked US foreign policy in the Middle East and will destroy its goals - and we still do not know what they really are - especially in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Time for humility. Time to listen to the people - and while you've been meddling in everyone else's backyard start looking at your own: there's a great deal of unrest in the USA with rising unemployment, rising home repossessions, lack of health care and more than 50 million relying on food stamps to survive.
Perhaps it's time to call a halt to your foreign adventures and attend to more pressing issues at home where theAmerican Dream is turning in to a nightmare for millions.
British journalist Yvonne Ridley is the European President of the International Muslim Women's Union
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