"You're either with us or against us in the fight against terror." - George W. Bush (from a November 2001 press conference with Jacques Chirac)
Ah, if only the world were that simple. If only the president of the most powerful nation on the planet were decent, honest and true, and everyone who disagreed was a filthy terrorist scumbag. If only the bad guys had no legitimate arguments. If only issues were simply black or white, with no shades of grey. If only. But we can't have concerns, or time to find out the facts, or question Bush's decisions to bomb anyone - if we do, we're against him, and on the side of the terrorists. In Bush's world, you're either a cowboy or an indian, he is right, and everyone else is wrong (unless you agree with him).
Other choice snippets from the speech:
"Over time it's going to be important for nations to know they will be held accountable for inactivity." - That scares me, frankly. Ireland is a neutral country, and has not, at time of writing, bombed Afghanistan, or expressed a desire to bomb Iraq. Does that mean that Bush will hold them accountable for their inaction? If this country (England) manages to stop Blair jumping on the Iraq bandwagon, will Bush threaten us with military action until we go along with him? There probably isn't any country in the world that could prevent Bush from just going and bombing them, and that scares the shit out of me. This could also explain why Blair is so desperate to agree with Bush about everything - although it could just be because he's a brown-nosing little arse-licker, determined to polish Bush's puckering anal rosette until he can see his face in it.
"We are not targeting civilians." - Hey, shitty job of avoiding them so far, Georgie. Nice going! Funny, isn't it, whether it's a world war or a terrorist attack or an operation of enduring freedom, it always seems to be the poor, innocent bastards who get blown to bits, while the politicians who started the whole thing sit in their bunkers, sweating into their pinstriped suits, congratulating each other on yet another successful campaign.
"(The Taliban) try and impose their radical views through threats and violence. We see the same intolerance of dissent, the same mad global ambitions, the same brutal determination to control every life and all of life." - That sounds awfully familiar. The exact same thing could be said of Bush himself. We all knew what the Taliban were and what they were doing for ages, yet nothing happened until the attacks last year. Bush didn't give a shit about the violence against women, until it suddenly became convenient to do so. And as for deciding who can and can't rule foreign countries (ie Saddam, Arafat)? Fuck you, pal. They were voted for by their people - okay, there may have been slight vote rigging. But that would never happen in, say, a US presidential election, would it? Course not!
Yes, terrorists are bad. They kill people, innocent civilians, in the name of religion, or freedom, or a country. But at the same time, they can have valid reasons. Their methods are wrong, very, very wrong, but that doesn't mean their arguments are also wrong - and you can say their reasons are valid without actually agreeing with their methods, which doesn't fall into the neat little "with us or against us" definition.
To take a completely different example: the IRA. Without going into too much detail, we all know the IRA have maimed and murdered their way into public consciousness. While I think they're despicably evil for murdering people, I agree that the British should never have set foot on Ireland in the first place, and really should get the fuck out. Although you probably won't get taught this in an English school, there is a long history of mistreatment of the Irish by the Brits. I was born in England but lived in Ireland most of my life - when I first went to an Irish school and learned about the famine, and how the English government and landlords reacted at the time, I was horrified. I was also deeply embarrassed - I was made to feel very welcome when I arrived in Ireland, nobody held a grudge because I was English, and everyone laughed off my apologies for what had happened. I can't say I would have been as nice about it had the positions been reversed. So while I sympathise with the IRA, and think their arguments are perfectly valid, at the same time I completely disagree with their methods. So does that make me a terrorist? No. Does that mean I support the IRA? No. Does that mean I think they're wrong in what they say about Northern Ireland? No. Does that mean I condone the murders they have committed? No. In the past, a lot of IRA funds came from ordinary American people, probably mainly on St Patrick's Day when everybody's Irish, thinking they were supporting some romantic struggle. If you were one of those people, then I'm sorry, but you were paying for terrorists to buy explosives to murder innocent people. It would be the same as if you handed over money to Al Qaeda for flying lessons the week before last year's attacks. But that still doesn't make you wrong in supporting the IRA, because (a) you didn't really know the full story, and (b) you genuinely thought you were helping an oppressed nation fight off the evil invaders - and you were. You just didn't realise what was really going on over there. That doesn't mean you were a terrorist, or supported terrorists, you were just decent, ordinary Joes who were trying to help. You sympathised, but wouldn't have approved if you had know what they were doing - so you were with them and against them.
An even simpler example: If a member of Al Qaeda said "I think George W. Bush is arrogant and stupid, yet I adore The Simpsons, mint choc chip ice cream, and Portishead", then I would heartily agree with them, even though it isn't really likely that a terrorist from the middle east would be a fan of the Bristol-based trip hop beat combo, but you never know. I'd make sure to get as fucking far away from them as possible, though, in case they had something highly explosive strapped to their arse, but I would technically be agreeing with them, agreeing with part of their beliefs and arguments. To make it even simpler: I hate Liam Gallagher, monkey-mannered frontman of shite band Oasis. But he despises Robbie Williams, and refers to him as "that fat dancer". In that respect, I thoroughly agree with him, as I think Robbie is a talentless twat. So I both agree with Liam and disagree with him, on different issues.
See George? It's not that simple. You can be with someone and against them, difficult as that concept may be to get into your thick fucking skull.
Brief update: As of March 2003, there seems to be a lot of feeling that to criticise Bush and his stance is anti-American, lily-livered, chicken, and so on. Please don't help them perpetuate their propaganda; think for yourself, make your own mind up. Thanks.
"Naturally the common people don't want war: neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country." - Hermann Goering
Sources of my lies and inaccuracies:
Bush speech extracts: www.cnn.com/2001/US/11/06/ret.bush.coalition/index.html
American support and funding for the IRA: Common knowledge, but if you don't believe me, it's also here news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/1563119.stm, here news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/1490663.stm, and here www.transnational.org/forum/power/2002/08.04_US_SaudiArabia.html (5th paragraph)
Goering quote: www.ccmep.org/hotnews2/chilling071102html.htm - page is called "Chilling Historical Quotes". I guess they can update it now, with current quotes...
Thanks to ilteroi for letting me know that the Caesar quote that I had here was a fugazi - check out www.snopes.com/quotes/caesar.htm for the sorry tale. Doh!
Robbie and Liam's feud: every UK music newspaper and website for the past 8 years...