Re: George W. Bush's Speech on September 20, 2001

Date: Fri Sep 21 2001 - 15:24:48 MDT

Greg Burch writes:

> <> Since the end of the Cold War, there has been a distinct lack of
> morality in the conception of the foreign policy of the United States.
> After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union, and
> with China slowly but surely abandoning its communist ideological position
> toward its own people and the world, there has not been a basis for a clear
> moral contrast between the values of liberty, opnness and tolerance upon
> which the civilization of the West is premised, and the civilizations with
> which it competes for influence in the world. Last night, an unmistakable
> line was drawn between things that are good and right and things that are
> evil. Although it was done in a distinctly American way in a distinctly
> American voice, the call went out to the world to make a clear-cut choice.

I wish I could agree, but it seems to me that in many ways the U.S. is
increasing its commitment to immoral actions in foreign policy.

The most obvious is the proposal to remove 1970's era restrictions on the
CIA which prevent them from using criminals as operatives. VP Cheney
and several others have said that we can no longer afford the luxury
of working only with people who are honest and peacable. In order to
infiltrate thugs and murderers, we are going to hire thugs and murderers.

Those 1970s limitations were put into place after decades of abusive
behavior by the CIA. US sponsored thugs commited terrible acts which
continue to hurt the American image overseas. We are opening the door to
returning to that pattern of behavior. It is very questionable whether
this will advance the long-term interests of the US.

Another moral issue is our continued support for repressive governments
in Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. President Bush singled out those
three countries in his speech last night, I believe. These are our
"friends" among the Arabs. But they are among the most authoritarian
regimes in the region.

Likewise we are backing away from criticism of Russia over its actions
in Chechnya, we are supporting the Pakistani strongman who currently
runs the country, and we are undoubtedly going to mute our criticism of
Chinese human rights violations as we look for support from the East.
All of these are countries where the US previously took a strong moral
stance of disapproval. But in a war we can't afford to antagonize those
whom we hope to keep as allies.

In short it looks to me like the pressures of war are forcing us to
take a number of moral shortcuts. The point of morality, I believe,
is to provide a set of heuristics that will tend to advance long-term
interests over short-term expediencies. We seem to be moving in exactly
the opposite direction as we gear up for the coming fight.


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