'Jihad' on tyranny?
Farooq Sulehria

US president George W. Bush begins his second term 'with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world', an agenda he spelled out in his inaugural speech at the start of his second term on January 20. Four years ago, in his first inaugural address, he vowed to 'confron weapons of mass destruction, so that a new century is spared new horrors'. To prove his commitment to confront 'weapons of mass destruction', he went to Afghanistan and Iraq where we saw how these 'new horrors' were spared in the 'new century'. In his second term, he wants to rid the world of 'tyranny'. His nominee for secretary of state Dr. Condoleezza Rice ('War Lady') pointed out the six 'outposts of tyranny' in her testimony before the Senate: 'In our world, there remain outposts of tyranny, and America stands with oppressed people on every continent, in Cuba, and Burma, and North Korea, and Iran, and Belarus and Zimbabwe'. There were also implied threats to Chavez' Venezuela (or Venezuela's Chavez perhaps) and Syria.

However, she forgot to include an oil-rich 'outpost' in the Middle East: Saudi Arabia. Neither was any threat passed to Washington's Pakistani buddy. The White House, in the aftermath of the inaugural address, clarified that Bush's speech, 'linking relations with America to practising freedom and democracy', did not represent a shift in strategy for dealing with countries such as Pakistan.

The speech which Bush addressed to the 'people of the world', was a 'vulgar orgy of triumphalism', to quote Sydney Morning Herald's Mike Carlaton, 'probably unheard since Napoleon crowned himself emperor of the French in Notre Dam in 1804'. Ironically, most of the 'people of the world', according to Christian Science Monitor, reject him: 'By most accounts President Bush is almost universally disliked, even reviled, around the world....'

It is not just the 'people of the world' who dislike and revile Bush -- his rating as second term president at the time of inauguration is lowest in a hundred years. But Bush, it seems, is least bothered about such ratings. He dismissed history's biggest human mobilisation, weeks before Iraq invasion, on February 15. He spat on the UN's face and ignored his EU buddies (except Britain) and went to invade Iraq.

Going by his record, Bush's second inaugural speech should not be dismissed as inaugural 'rhetoric', as many media pundits have done. The speech he read out -- it was written by a speech-writing team headed by Michael Gerson -- is a political statement outlining US global strategy.

This 35-paragraph and 2086-word statement contained the word 'free' and 'freedom' 32 times, 'liberty' 15 times and 'independence' two times. In his previous inaugural speech, the word 'freedom' was uttered only twice. Ironically, the protestors who gathered on Washington roads enjoyed neither freedom nor liberty as the US capital was virtually under the martial law.

There were however, two glaring omissions in this speech: Iraq and 'war on terrorism'. The team of speechwriters carefully avoided both. Not a single mention of 'Iraq' or the catch phrase 'war on terrorism'. But speechwriters only write and re-write what they are told to write. Not by Bush, but by his neo-con ideologues, students of Leo Strauss, a professor with a German Jewish background. A former Trotskyite, Strauss used to teach and propagate at the University of Chicago but developed extreme right views.

'He illustrated his attitude towards democracy by citing the story of Gulliver: when a fire broke out in the city of the dwarfs, he put the fire out by urinating on them. This is the way, in his view, the small elite group of leaders must treat the ignorant and innocent public, which does not know what is good for them', the noted Israeli journalist Uri Avenry writes in a recent column.

Leo's 'Gulliver', however, will not just urinate on 'the cities of dwarfs' to put out the fire of 'tyranny'. He warns that USA must fight 'by force of arm when necessary'. Leo's born-again Christian Gulliver wants 'expansion of freedom in all the world' (Pax Americana!), as the 'best hope for peace in the world'. A peace that prevailed in the wake of 'shipwreck of communism' until 'the day of fire': S11. The Biblical 'day of fire' was not the only reference to religion. The entire inaugural 'sermonic' speech was laden with the word 'God'.

The scary part is not Bush's belief but when faith blends with (war on) terror and (oil) business. His inaugural speech, coupled with Dr Rice's testimony before the Senate, fans fears of a future war on Iran, as warned by the New Yorker's Seymour Hersh. Or for that matter when Donald Rumsfeld hints of an Israeli attack on Iran.

No the 'people of the world' cannot take the second inaugural speech by President George W. Bush lightly at a time when Nostradamus' 1555 AD prophecy sounds ominously real:

"Come the millennium, month 12,

In the home of greatest power,

The village idiot will come forth

To be acclaimed the leader."

God bless America and rest of the world!

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