The *Real* "Axis Of Evil" Of Our Times

(I apologize to all for missing out on my regularly scheduled Wednesday PM posting of last week - I was in the middle of moving in my new house and I did not get access back to internet until last Thursday. Therefore, here is the essay that should have been posted last week, if not for my bad planning ... Once again, I apologize)

Remember that old "Axis of Evil" thingie concocted by Bush and Co.? Here's a refresher (emphasis added):
Our second goal is to prevent regimes that sponsor terror from threatening America or our friends and allies with weapons of mass destruction. Some of these regimes have been pretty quiet since September the 11th. But we know their true nature. North Korea is a regime arming with missiles and weapons of mass destruction, while starving its citizens.

Iran aggressively pursues these weapons and exports terror, while an unelected few repress the Iranian people's hope for freedom.

Iraq continues to flaunt its hostility toward America and to support terror. The Iraqi regime has plotted to develop anthrax, and nerve gas, and nuclear weapons for over a decade. This is a regime that has already used poison gas to murder thousands of its own citizens -- leaving the bodies of mothers huddled over their dead children. This is a regime that agreed to international inspections -- then kicked out the inspectors. This is a regime that has something to hide from the civilized world.

States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world. By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger. They could provide these arms to terrorists, giving them the means to match their hatred. They could attack our allies or attempt to blackmail the United States. In any of these cases, the price of indifference would be catastrophic.
Well, we all know what happened to Iraq.

We also know what is "going on" with Iran and North Korea.

In this respect, something caught my eye the other day:
A New Openness to Talks With That ‘Axis of Evil’

When Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice meets her North Korean counterpart, Pak Ui-chun, in Singapore this week, it will be the first high-level meeting between Washington and the North since 2004, when Ms. Rice’s predecessor, Colin L. Powell, met with his North Korean counterpart. It will be the third meeting since Madeleine K. Albright visited North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-il, during the waning months of the Clinton administration.

After a weekend in which the Bush administration sent a top State Department official to a meeting in Geneva with an Iranian official, the North Korea meeting may well amount to last rites for the “axis of evil,” the one that President Bush said in 2002 was “arming to threaten the peace of the world.”

The Bush administration began long ago to step down from its vow not to talk to America’s foes. But its recent concessions to Iran and North Korea — and to Iraq, another charter member of the axis — have further muddled the old message.

Mr. Bush has now agreed, in principle, to the idea of a timetable for troop withdrawals from Iraq, something he has long derided as dangerous.

The State Department sent Under Secretary of State William J. Burns to talk to Iranian and European officials in Geneva, despite having said it would enter such talks only if Tehran suspended its enrichment of uranium, which Iran has not done.

And now, Ms. Rice will meet with Mr. Pak to finalize a phase in a denuclearization agreement less than two years after North Korea tested a nuclear weapon.
Now here comes the clincher (emphasis added):
The White House maintained on Monday that nothing had changed. When pressed by a reporter on whether Mr. Bush still believed that North Korea and Iran were part of an axis of evil, Dana M. Perino, the White House press secretary, said they were.

“I think that until they give up their nuclear weapons programs completely and verifiably, I think that we would keep them in the same category,” Ms. Perino said.
I will spare you another diatribe concerning incompetence, its eight principles and how the Bush administration constitutes a paragon of said principles of incompetence.

No - what I want to do here is express how I am tired-to-the-point-of-irritating-annoyance of that intellectual sloth-driven infantile, asinine, unserious, silly and outright ridiculous term "Axis of Evil".

Especially when I have to endure still hearing/reading about it some six years after being uttered for the first time by the oh-so "knowledgeable" and "competent" George W. Bush.

Let's read another part of that infamous "Axis of Evil" speech of his:
(...) America will always stand firm for the non-negotiable demands of human dignity: the rule of law; limits on the power of the state; respect for women; private property; free speech; equal justice; and religious tolerance.
And some six years later, what do we have, again? Ah, yes:
The increasing erosion of the constitution, civil rights and democracy as they are being gradually subjugated by an Authoritarian Security Surveillance State;

Bloating no-fly lists and terrorist watch-lists with millions of names in them;

The continuing inhumane and barbaric renditions, "enhanced interrogations" and indefinite detentions - of children, teenagers and adults alike;

The continuing standing of Military Commissions, which are nothing more than politically-driven, rigged, kangaroo courts;

The seemingly unending wars of choice and occupation in Afghanistan and Iraq - both based on lies to justify a vengeance operation for 9/11 and the securing of foreign oil resources;

The ever mounting toll of civilian deaths, displaced refugees and soldier casualties.
It has become obvious by now (other examples here, here and here) that Bush is either utterly self-deluded about his regime and thus actually believes what he is saying, or he knows quite well that he is spewing pure, unadulterated bullshit.

Either way, I will herein indulge to rewrite that part of Bush's speech reproduced at the top of the present post and concerning the definition of the "Axis of Evil", in order to give it true and sincere meaning - thusly:
Our ultimate goal is to eradicate practices that cause pain, fear and horror from being enacted upon the dignity, rights and freedoms of human beings as the weapons of authoritarianism and tyranny. Some of these practices have been abundantly used since September the 11th. But we know their true nature. Extraordinary rendition is a practice of calculated terror, callousness and violence, while spitting on the basic rights of any free human being to be secure in his/her own person, to be given due process of being presented a legal court-approved arrest warrant, to remain silent, and to be allowed/provided proper legal representation.

Indefinite detention aggressively tramples on habeas corpus, while again repressing due process, proper legal representation and the right of any free human being to have his/her day in court to face his/her accusers before a jury of peers.

Torture continues to flaunt its barbaric disregard toward modern, civilized and democratic societies, and to impose terror, compliance and subservience. The practice of torture has had for sole and unique goal to inflict pain, and induce despair, and debase human dignity for throughout history. This is a practice that has already been used, with the specious pretense of obtaining information or elicit confessions, upon hundreds and thousands of human beings in the last eight years alone -- leaving the bodies of men, teenagers and children alike horribly scarred and traumatised, or dead. This is a practice that is forbidden by international laws and conventions -- then used nevertheless by being justified through mendacious, wrongful and shameful legalese gymnastics by fear-driven, weak leaders and callous -- if not sadistic -- acolytes. This is an inhuman practice that has nothing to do with the civilized world.

Practices like these, and those who perpetrate them, constitute an axis of evil, aiming to destroy the grace and dignity of Humanity. By seeking harm upon human rights and freedoms, these practices pose a grave and definite danger. They provide powerful tools to tyrants/despots and their like-minded authoritarian accomplices, giving them the means to impose or spread their brutal domination over free human beings. The insidious lure of these practices could unravel the democratic values of our allies, or drive our Republic into abandoning its Constitution and Bill of Rights. In any of these cases, the price of indifference would be catastrophic.
Much more serious and meaningful, no?

So there you have it - the real "Axis of Evil" of our times.

Now that's something I will not tire of hearing/reading (and writing) about until that beautiful and glorious day when such axis will be eradicated once and for all.

Oh, and for those wonks out there who are wondering "well, what about 'Beyond the Axis of Evil'?", my answer, keeping in line with my real Axis of Evil speech, would be: Warrantless Domestic Spying - Military Commissions - Wars of Choice.

I think I'm done here for now.

(Originally posted at APOV)


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