How Do I Liberate Thee? Let Me Count the Ways
by Harry Browne
December 15, 2003
Sunday's capture of Saddam Hussein made it a great day—a great day for empty rhetoric and meaningless posturing by politicians and journalists.
Somehow it was assumed by politicians and the press, without explanation, that Hussein's capture has vindicated the Bush administration's attack on Iraq. But from September 2002 to March 2003, George Bush said nothing about capturing Saddam Hussein. Instead, Bush talked incessantly about weapons of mass destruction and Iraq's ability to attack the U.S. with them—as well as Al Qaeda camps in the Iraqi desert. How does finding Saddam Hussein make Bush's claims any more true than they were last week?
We're told that that the Iraqis can see now that Saddam Hussein isn't coming back to power—as though they couldn't figure that out for themselves with 130,000 foreign troops occupying their country.
But in the wonderland occupied by politicians and journalists, the capture of Hussein must mean that all the resisters—also known as "loyalists of the old regime"—would have no more reason to resist.
Some politicians said that if anti-war protesters had their gotten way, Hussein would be in his palace today, instead of in jail. Yes, and if the anti-war protesters had gotten their way, several hundred Americans and thousands of Iraqis would be alive today, instead of dead.
The press played its part in the celebration. Wolf Blitzer of CNN said that Hussein's capture proves to the world that "the President of the United States means business"—whatever that means.
In fact, we've known all along that George Bush means business—the business of getting reelected.
There were plenty of TV pictures of Iraqis firing AK-47s into the air. But no inquiring minds bothered to ask how everyday Iraqis could be carrying AK-47s out in the open, when the American occupiers have imposed strict gun-control edicts and are at war with resisters.
What if Saddam Hussein says that all the dreaded Weapons of Mass Destruction were destroyed years ago? Well, we know that George Bush believes in preemptive strikes, and he's already made one on this front. On Monday, he said of Hussein:
He's a liar. He's a torturer. He's a murderer. ... He's a—he's just—he is what he is: He's a person that was willing to destroy his country and to kill a lot of his fellow citizens. He's a person who used weapons of mass destruction against citizens in his own country. And so it's—he is the kind of person that is untrustworthy and Iąd be very cautious about relying upon his word in any way, shape or form.
In other words, "Believe him only if he confirms what I've been telling you for the past year."
Donald Rumsfeld said that Hussein's capture means that the Iraqis can now be free in spirit, as well as in fact.
Ah yes, liberated Iraq. It is now a free country. George Bush has liberated it.
How has Iraq been liberated? Let me count the ways ...
- The country is occupied by a foreign power.
- Its officials are appointed by that foreign power.
- Its citizens must carry ID cards.
- They must submit to searches of their persons and cars at checkpoints and roadblocks.
- They must be in their homes by curfew time.
- Many towns are ringed with barbed wire.
- The occupiers have imposed strict gun-control laws, preventing ordinary citizens from defending themselves—making robberies, rapes, and assaults quite common.
- Trade with some countries is banned by the occupying authorities.
- The occupiers have decreed that certain electoral outcomes won't be permitted.
- Families are held hostage until they reveal the whereabouts of wanted resisters—much like the Nazis held innocent French people hostage during World War II.
- Protests are outlawed.
- Private homes are raided or demolished—with no due process of law.
- The occupiers have created a fiat currency and imposed it on the populace.
- Newspapers, radio stations, and TV are all supervised by the occupiers.
This is liberation in the NewSpeak language of politics.
Words like freedom just don't seem to mean what they used to, do they?