Dangerous hypocrisy

So, the United States wanted to prove once and for all that they killed Saddam Hussein’s sons–or “henchmen” to use their nomenclature. In order to prove this, they apparently needed to release graphic photos of their bullet-ridden, mutilated corpses across Iraq and North America.

The media welcomed this, they ate it up and many people rejoiced. Yet, the word "hypocrisy" was conspicuously absent from the same six o’clock newscasts warning of the "graphic nature of the images we are about to show."

I am no fan of Hussein or his regime. I haven’t lost a wink of sleep over the fact that a pair of vicious men met with particularly gruesome deaths. I did, however, toss and turn over the fact that North America has been so blinded by a fanatically rebranded form of patriotism that the masses failed to see the hypocrisy in these images being beamed into homes across Canada and the United States. Our far too willing ignorance disgusts and appalls me.

Not too long ago, in mid to late March, a blood-curdling moral uproar spewed forth when al-Jazeera aired footage of American prisoners of war. It was against a raft of UN resolutions and countless global conventions, we cried. It was wrong, disgusting and disrespectful to the soldiers and their families. It was evidence of how immoral the Iraqi regime was and it must never happen again. Yet, when two mutilated bodies are displayed just as cold and unceremoniously four months later, it is "absolutely the right decision" according to American Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

"It was not a close call," Rumsfeld rationalized in an address on Fri., July 25 when the question of hypocrisy was put to him. "If it can save American lives, I’m happy to have made the decision I made. That seems to outweigh the sensitivities you have raised."

"Sensitivities?" Apparently seeking moral consistency from the global hegemony, the morally righteous nation "liberating" the people of Iraq, isn’t a matter of human rights or upholding a higher standard, it is a mere "sensitivity." Repulsive.

I have no qualms with Uday and Qusay dying, at least not in the context of the ongoing war. They are on one side, the Americans on another and the very nature of war is to kill him before he kills you–for better or worse.

However, I have major problems with the White House championing an act that four months ago was "disgusting, disrespectful and barbaric" as now being necessary, even heroic.

The United States entered this war on the strength of their moral currency, using their example of individual freedoms, democracy and a value-based society. Acts like this undermine that moral currency, they expose the American Administration as not necessarily representing those lofty beliefs. And that, sadly, is why the issue of hypocrisy isn’t front and center in the media right now–it would "look bad." A shameful and frightening truth to say the least.

We all bear the responsibility of keeping our leaders honest, it is the very nature of the democracy we trumpet and triumph. From the local to the international level, it is our duty as citizens. Without vigilance our freedom is wasted, our democracy useless.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.