PRESIDENT Obama delivered one of his most stirring and best received speeches to the joint session of the parliament in India last week. One unnoticed point was the reference to “nearly three million proud and patriotic Indian Americans”.
Not to be confused with proud and patriotic American Indians, who number just under five million.
India is an emerging economy, and as such cannot be judged as we would a fully Industrialised country.
As opposed to the USA where in 2008 24.2 per cent of American Indians were, by accepted government statistics, deemed to be living in poverty, and of which 31.7 per cent lacked healthcare cover (about the national average).
Call me a European, but it does seem hard at times to have as leader of the free world a country that conveniently ignores a swathe of its own underclass, and many other of its failings.
But then America is the master of spin.
George W Bush released his autobiography last week claiming ‘only posterity’ could judge him, whilst perhaps crossing his fingers that the International Court in the Hague doesn’t nip in first.
He has now admitted in his book that when in office he sanctioned ‘waterboarding’ – the torture of suspected terrorist subjects by submitting them to simulated drowning – on the basis that it saved lives.
He denied knowledge of this when in office. But then one man’s torture is another’s legitimate means of persuasion. However, still illegal, but of no consequence to the perpetrator who is above the law, as unfortunately, he is.
The word ‘Waterboarding’ , in typically American fashion, takes an unpleasant concept and uses a benign sounding word to describe it, as if to somehow soften the impact.
It sounds like something the Beachboys did in the 60s. Some say when CIA kill people, they are “taken out”, as if simply walking the dog. I take my dog Eddy out twice a day, but not once do I think of shooting him.
No more so than with the US military, whose firepower and competence are inversely proportional. “Friendly Fire” – when they shoot us. “Collateral Damage” – When they shoot civilians, and “Fragging” –when in Vietnam, they even shot their own officers. Is there no one they won’t shoot except the enemy?
I’m sure they try, but I think they just aren’t very good shots. They simply can’t get the hang of shooting in the right direction.
This isn’t only an American military problem. American civilians are just as bad. It’s a genetically American thing.
I am not anti-America. For all its faults – and what country is perfect – this is the country that stepped into the breach in two world wars for us, and certainly in the second, saved the world from speaking German or Japanese. What is worrying is the wobbly leadership and marksmanship of the nation.
Where the current President conveniently , and deliberately, confused BP with a non-existent British Petroleum to stir up xenophobic reaction against us.
Where the former president, George W. Bush, ( not to be confused with his father, who is simply George Bush) confuses questioning with torture, and where his own Vice President, Dick “where’s my shotgun” Cheney, whilst on a hunting trip, mistakenly blasted his best friend in the rump, as Mr Cheney had confused him… “with a moose”.
It begs the question, how on earth did the Indians lose? American Indians that is…formerly known as Red Indians, and not to be confused with Indian Indians, or those that live in America who are Indian Americans. Confused? Where’s my Gun?