The Right like the Left
Bush talks like Goodman. An internationalist who fights for freedom and liberty, democracy and human rights worldwide, so that there may be peace in the end. Many make the point that Bush doesn't mean what he says, but who does? But what most conveniently ignore is, that the Bush propaganda team precisely targeted fundamental contradictions within the left. We more or less agree with spreading democracy and liberating the world from tyrannies. Just we disagree with the means being used and targets being chosen. Moreover, even with the target selection there is much common ground.
Claiming Moral and Intellectual Superiority and Supremacy
We reserve for us the final say and therefor feel like have to either approve or disapprove the others. When, from our perspective and judgement, the attacked don't deserve our support, we basically approve or even demand intervention and aggression. From there, any clear position against U.S. and Western hegemony, expansion, power projection and enforcement is compromised and the discourse shifts toward against whom, when and how.
An estimated two million Iraqi people were exterminated since 1991, most through the UN sanctions, blockade and embargo, building upon the devastation caused by 88,500 t bombs exploding upon Iraq. We all watched, more or less silently, while our societies, in our name, committed mass extermination of Iraqi people.
For all of us not living in Iraq there was a simple decision to make between only two sides. Any avoidance to stand in uncompromised solidarity with Iraq only revealed the deeply rooted interventionist and missionary mind-set of those, who cannot simply respect the integrity, sovereignty and self-determination of other peoples.
Common target: Afghanistan
Afghanistan was a target of many on the left, particularly after the Taleban had come to power and managed to stop warfighting in most of the country for the first time in decades. The disintegration of Afghanistan could be prevented and the state was functioning under the leadership of simple rural men with no prior governing experience. Basic security was restored, reconstruction and development begun. This success was not based upon massive repression and oppression, but the Taleban were able to negotiate the realities of Afghanistan so that it allowed the Afghani peoples to begin the recovery. And it was done in a way which minimized foreign influence over developments.
Many on the left couldn't accept what happened in Afghanistan because the principles and ways implemented by the Taleban contradict the humanitarian utopism or socialist ideology they believe in. Much propaganda was deployed against Afghanistan by activist groups in the DTS, which very much helped to prepare the case for military aggression (under Clinton) and invasion/occupation (under Bush II).
After 9/11, looking for an appropriate target for aggression to satisfy the immediate desire for revenge, and distract the American public from thinking about what had happened, Afghanistan was most obvious. The demonization of the Taliban government and war propaganda had gone a long way and was waiting to be activated instantly.
In the fall of 2001, the UN 'legalized' the US war of aggression against Afghanistan, one of the poorest countries, which tried to recover after decades of war and facing the consequences of several consecutive drought years. With winter quickly approaching, all aid operations stopped when the USA began its assault.
Unknown numbers of people died not only from the bombing, or were killed by the invading troops, but also because their food or firewood reserves proved insufficient or while trying to reach one of the camps where many died as well. Still today Afghanistan continues to be occupied by US/NATO troops and faces massive International Community military, political, economic and social engineering efforts.
Afghanistan is just an example for a much more basic theme. The left, traditionally, was always internationalist and missionary minded, supports intervention into the affairs of others by defining all affairs theirs.
Support for Australian expansionism: E Timor
Like in so many other regions, E Timor came as a result of colonial division. E Timor had been under Portuguese colonial rule from 1596 until 1975, when Portugal gave up what was left of its colonial possessions. Indonesia then invaded E Timor, resulting in some ten thousands killed, installed a government and 'People's Assembly', which endorsed an 'Act of Integration' making East Timor the 27th province of the Republic of Indonesia.
The UN, which didn't ever issue any statement against the Portuguese colonial rule, now called upon Indonesia 'to withdraw without delay its armed forces from the Territory' citing 'the territorial integrity of Portuguese Timor and the inalienable right of its people to self-determination'.
The resistance against the Indonesian occupation continued throughout the years and so did counter-insurgency oppression and killing operations of the Indonesian military resulting in many more deaths.
After the end of the Cold War, the anti-communist Indonesian regime was no longer useful for the DTS and they revised their policies. Economic and financial dependencies as well as the continued liberation struggle in E Timor were obvious weaknesses which could be used to put pressures on Indonesia.
For many years, Western human rights and left activists had supported the separatist resistance against Indonesia. It was easy to see that under the current world order E Timor can never be anything but a weak pseudo state, nominally independent and sovereign, but in reality controlled by foreign forces, occupied or at least a protectorate of some kind.
February 2005 mass starvation has been reported in E. Timor. The large majority of villagers reported food shortages during 2001. Most of the 1 mio E.Timorese peoples lives in subsistence farming communities which are heavily pressured into dependency of monetarized relations. Free market policies have been rigorously imposed. Food insecurity has been proliferated, despite billions of aid, which has been sunken into the E. Timor humanitarian self-determination project.
After all, the activist's propaganda turned out to be a valuable contribution to DTS-Australian expansionist efforts in the region in general and the Timor Sea in particular.
Invasions for Democracy: Haiti, Iraq
Many openly demanded or supported the US invasion of Haiti in 1994 which installed Aristide as President of Haiti, who had been elected and then removed by coup in 1991.
You can't blame the lion, once invited into the house, for eating you when your turn comes. The 2004 coup and ongoing International Community occupation puts Haiti as a polical, social and humanitarian engineering case like, for example, the DRCongo, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Somalia.
When the US administration and policy makers talk about making Iraq a democracy, they really hope to do that. Because successfully installing democracy in Iraq would mean that they succeeded in imposing their will upon the country.
The left is not against democracy and among them we indeed find strong support for intervention to spread democracy. Just they disagree about the details of how democracy is being implemented.
There is no consistency or coherence either. For example, intervention is rejected against Cuba, Venezuela, problematic against Palestine, not mentioned against Chechnya, Pakistan, accepted against Liberia, Sierra Leone, DRCongo, demanded against Sudan, Indonesia.
The point is that what we people share, across the political spectrum, is a basic mental condition that makes us think that we know what is best for others and indeed for the whole world. Generally we don't respect and won't tolerate that others want to live according to their own history and ways. There is no hesitation to judge others and violently interfere with their life. The same totalitarian mindset claiming the own principles and values to be absolute, universal human rights and global standards to be imposed and enforced for the best of all, the same myths of progress, freedom and happiness on both sides of the political spectrum. Because they are just shades of the same.