India: the wrong kind of democracy

at least according to the Bush Imperium, which sees any nation that carries out the wishes of its own people, rather than those of the Department of Defense, as traitorous and perfidous. First it was Turkey, not India that refuses to do the Pentagon's bidding. The people of India were against war on Iraq, and Prime Minister Vajpayee is accountable to them, not Bush. So in complying with the wishes of the people of India that troops NOT be sent to Iraq unless it be under a UN mandate, Vajpayee is doing his duty, as the principle of democracy demands.

A principle that the US apparently has abrogated:

As analyst Seema Sirohi put it: "Hell hath no fury like the US scorned." State Department spokesperson Richard Boucher expressed his concerns more diplomatically: "I am not predicting any particular problems. However, we hoped the troops would have been able to go, I think in our interests and what we perceive as their interests as well."

The Bush administration is known to have a vindictive streak. It reacts strongly to countries that don't cooperate in its imperialist ventures. Even before India's decision to reject the US request, William Triplett, former Republican counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said: "A 'No' from India will have an impact although no one will say so in public. The adults in the administration are thought to be more than a bit put out by the Indian parliament's resolution on Iraq, especially its timing. Showing that the Indian army are rolling up their sleeves to help out now will pay dividends with the Americans later."

George Perkovich, vice-president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, believes with other analysts that this administration does not forget easily. He commented earlier: "The administration would be angry or at least disappointed, and if India sends troops, it would be bailing out the Republicans from a growing crisis of occupation without international partners."

So much for the stick. What about the carrots? Has India lost out on them by its decision? Hani Shukrallah, the managing editor of the Arab world's largest-circulated Al-Ahram Weekly, published from Cairo, warned: "Certainly, one can remind the Indian government of the many examples - not least that of Egypt - of American imperial ingratitude." Perkovich appears to agree: "The question Indians should then ask is whether and how the US has 'thanked' those who help it and how long the thanks last." He goes on to predict: "It might help with some high-tech trade issues but others such as nuclear cooperation are constrained by agreements and regimes that the US does not control unilaterally."

Laughably, US officials said that UN Resolution 1483 provided the UN mandate that the Indian people demand. This is absolute nonsense. The UN Resolution had to do with Saddam - what India needs is about the occupation of Iraq. There is no other way to ensure that post-Saddam Iraq becomes a truly free country rather than a vassal of Imperial America (as India and Turkey pointedly refuse to be).

America prefers dictators and tyrants like Mubarak and the monarhs of Saudi Arabia, it seems, to democratic states like India and Turkey... What image shall Iraq be cast in?

UPDATE: The Hindustan Times editorializes:

"Any displeasure which American officials may have voiced privately over India's refusal to send troops to Iraq is unwarranted... If they'd only paid heed to what their military commanders in Iraq were saying, they would have understood the reason for India�s decision... So, it may not have been so much for stabilization and reconstruction that the Americans were eager to have the Indian troops as for fighting the war on their behalf. This is clearly out of the question. In fact, unless there are definitive signs that the war is really and truly over, the Indian troops cannot be expected to go to Iraq... It is India which has a greater reason to voice displeasure because of the manner in which it was sought to be dragged into a quagmire of the Americans' own creation."

And the Guardian points out that the very request for "foreign" troops to act as bullet sponges is arrogant and condescending to the core:

Reports speak of "calls" from congressional committees - shocked by rising estimates of occupation - for "more international sharing" of those costs. Such calls are made as if international help was available on tap whenever the US should choose to turn the faucet. There seems to be scant understanding, despite everything, of the way in which American resistance to cooperation with others, not only on Iraq, might induce in them a reluctance to cooperate with America. Senator Edward Kennedy would not make this mistake, and yet even he can speak of the "best trained troops in the world" tied down in policing in Iraq as if it was self-evident, first, that they are in fact well trained, and, second, that others, not so well trained and more disposable, should take their place. As for Donald Rumsfeld, he is reduced to bizarre musings that the US, which recently closed its peacekeeping centre, might take the lead in training and gathering together an international corps of peacekeepers for use in emergencies.

Our highly trained troops ARE being wasted though. They should be here at home building our econopmy and working our jobs, instead of in Iraq. But to the Republicans, soldiers are just a resource to be freed in Iraq so they can be allocated once again somewhere else:

Still, he and other Pentagon officials said, they are studying the lessons of Iraq closely � to ensure that the next U.S. takeover of a foreign country goes more smoothly.

"We're going to get better over time," promised Lawrence Di Rita, a special assistant to Rumsfeld. "We've always thought of post-hostilities as a phase" distinct from combat, he said. "The future of war is that these things are going to be much more of a continuum

"This is the future for the world we're in at the moment," he said. "We'll get better as we do it more often."

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