Justuju” / The Quest
Acording to an estimate, around fifty five million Americans, and probably more people than these Americans in the rest of the world, watched and heard the first US 2004 Presidential Debate between the sitting President George Walker Bush Jr., and his opponent, Senator John Kerry.
Who won this debate? Answer to this question depends, on how you look at the two candidates, with what prejudices you have on your mind! Those who are suffering from an “Islamophobia”, side with Republicans for now, while those who are more inclined to believe that the truth has been sacrificed by the current administration in launching an all out war in places like Afghanistan and Iraq, tend to presently side with Democrats.
American media, generally speaking for now, is showing a clear edge of John Kerry over Bush. In a CNN online poll over 70% people have voted for John Kerry as the winner in the first Presidential debate. Thus, the “Long Jaw”, John Kerry, is once again a horse to bet on, in the November 2, 2004 elections. Earlier, he had been slightly lagging behind Bush in some of the gallop polls.
Since 1960s, these Presidential debates have become an institution of their own, in the political system of USA. In a civilized and highly developed society, that takes its cues from modern media, and is clearly swayed by it, such debates are the hallmark of the best practices in a democratic political system which is worth studying and a following by rest of the world.
In spite of his position, as the most powerful person on the earth, George W. Bush Jr., was seen to be on a defensive, stammering, searching for right words, and showing his disappointment over some of the responses from his opponent, John Kerry. In this “Truth or Dare” game, he had to repeatedly chose “Dare”, instead of saying a truth about the challenges posed to him. As many of us know, the “Truth or Dare” game is also a western pastime, where kids gather, generally overnight, and throw embarrassing questions at their associates. In response, either a truthful answer is to be given, or the contestant chooses to perform a ‘dare”, which is mostly an equally embarrassing action. In the first debate, George Bush had to consistently avoid the “truth”, and go for “dares”, providing an opportunity of a hearty laughter to his opponents.
As expected, Iraq remained a focal point of the discussion between the two Presidential candidates. Having no concrete reasons to attack Iraq, except for it being a crusade, he had to explain it as an action to secure the USA and Israel. He was clearly targeting the Jewish controlled media, and the Jewish voters, by carefully including Israel in this debate. But it also painfully revealed the hidden objectives of the Iraq war: Securing Israel, using the 9/11 as a pretext, and weakening the Islamic countries around Iraq in the coming days. Syria, and Iran being targeted as the next possible missions. In a larger US perspective, even this foreign policy issues based debate was basically driven by domestic concerns: about the safety of the US citizens, and US troops, caught in a quagmire in Iraqi quick-sands of politics. There was no mention of over 100,000 Iraqis killed by the US / UK and allied troops bombings. Only worry voiced was about 1,000+ US troops killed in action so far, since the March 2003 invasion of Iraq. Palestine, and Kashmir are forgotten. Only Darfur, Sudan was mentioned in passing, as the Oily interests continue to slip those thoughts!
For rest of the world, it is not important who wins the next US Presidential elections. US history shows that its national policies are practiced with a long-term consistency, and a major change is not carried out, in spite of a change in the US administrations. Maximum surprises that can be expected are the kids stuff like what happened when Democrats left the White House four years ago, when they removed the keys, such as “B”, “G”, and “W”, from Computer keyboards, so that the new President’s name cannot be easily processed, until new keyboards are supplied. So, if democrats do win the next elections, there would be more changes on the domestic scene than on the world stage. It is also because there are overwhelming forces elsewhere within USA which influence how the White House is run. “Pentagonists”, the planners, movers and shakers at the Pentagon, have their own agenda, and they ensure that US move its forces around the world according to what they see as the future for the world. It seems, as if, they have a “SimCity” like “SimWorld” simulation game running on their computers, and are bent upon winning it at any costs to “others”. Americans do not mind carrying out any mission or actions that can kill many thousands of their perceived “enemies” as far as they can chalk out a clear exit strategy for themselves.
One must praise the American democratic system, which pits even the sitting President against his opponents so publicly, that he has no one to protect him during those sessions. He is on his own, and must use his real personal skills and inherent abilities. Bush is known for twisting his sentences, and often giving out an oxymoronic message. In fact a new literary term has emerged in US media, called “Bushism”, and many books have been published solely listing all such funny phrases. In spite of that Bush has shown some of his eloquence during the Republican convention, and during this debate too. He was able to avoid sending any mixed and paradoxical messages. Outside USA “a safe world” is an incongruous term as far as US hegemonic and imperialist attitude continues in many forms; most notably in the form of the “Broader Middle East Initiative”. While Syria, which has played a key role in stabilizing Lebanon in the post Civil war and Israeli occupation periods in the 1980s, is being forced to leave Lebanon under threats from UN, the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and cruelties continue unabated. While the children killed in Beslan, Russia, are mourned, the razing of the whole city of Grozny, Chechnya, killing and displacement of thousands of un-accounted for Muslim citizens remains hidden behind a blackout of the media. While East Timorians’ terrorism against Indonesia is provided a UN backing and independence, the Muslim Kashmir’s blood is invisible and its cries continue to fall on deaf ears. How many Afghans have already been killed and maimed is anybody’s guess. In Afghanistan even such bodies are being discovered which had their major organs removed, probably for transplants to the “needy” invaders. Also, those Indians which have been freed by their abductors in Iraq not long ago, revealed that the occupying forces have rounded up a large number of Asians and taken them in to forced-labor camps.
As for the positive lessons of the US Presidential debates, the third world political leaders, writers, teachers, and intellectuals should look at them as a medium, of communications with their masses, where truth cannot be hidden, and both George Bush and John Kerry must be praised for their grace, poise, and objectivity, with which this debate was conducted.
On the other hand, the American people will soon have a tough choice to make: Either reject the lies and actions based on such lies, or continue to suffer more of the same fate to which their over 1,000 countrymen have succumbed to up to now. The American vote in November 2004 will write and judge their true character in to the world history books. That opportunity for Americans to say the truth, and avoid a dare, is just around the corner.
[Mr. Hashim Syed Mohammad bin Qasim, based in Riyadh, is a Global Analyst, Writer, Researcher, Sociologist, and an Information and Communication Technology Consultant. In Riyadh, he also represents Online International News Network (OINN), Islamabad. He can be reached via email at email@example.com . ]
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