What’s happened to what I used to think of as American values and ideals?
Waterboarding, Guantánamo, extraordinary rendition, …
Here are some of the thugs and crooks and miscreants that the United States, operating directly in contradiction to its most widely touted values, supports with massive ‘loans’ of one protean form or another – and the term ‘United States’ in this context is shorthand for the tax dollars the government steals from you and me and has already spent and doesn’t have to give away to begin with. It does not make me happy. Do I have some reasonable claim on my unhappiness?
Egypt is one case in point.
A recent (Friday 8 September 2012) New York Times report notes that in the ‘new’ Egypt of Mr. Morsi the word is out: “Women are erratic and emotional, and they make good wives and mothers — but never leaders or rulers” – this according to one Osama Abou Salama, identified as “a professor of botany at Cairo University and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.” BIG surprise there, especially that helpful bit about botany! Thus accredited and qualified, he apparently runs classes on premarital counseling, where he asks half of each of the couples (“Can you, as a woman, take a decision and handle the consequences of your decision?”) and then usefully answers it (“No. But men can. And God created us this way because a ship cannot have more than one captain.”). Good to have God as your pilot in these roiling waters. Since ‘religious restrictions’ are only hazily defined, as one critic noted, “we can expand them to the point where women, practically speaking, cannot work.”
At the same time, a piece in the Times print edition for Tuesday 4 September entitled “U.S. Is Near Agreement to Reduce Egypt’s Debt by $1 Billion to Back Democracy” (and in the online version titled “To Back Democracy, U.S. Prepares to Cut $1 Billion From Egypt’s Debt”) made the following points (among many other deeply ironic ones when set in counterpoint to statements in the article previously cited): U.S. administration officials note that this ‘aid’ to Egypt is part of a “package intended to bolster its transition to democracy” (I wonder, is $1 billion really gonna be enough for what would appear to prove a massively long transition?). The ‘package’ apparently also includes “support behind a $4.8 billion loan being negotiated between Egypt and the International Monetary Fund.”
O IMF, O IMF, wherefore art thou IMF? After all, what’s in a mere name? Isn’t the International Monetary Fund largely just a kind of bait-and-switch nomenclature for the U.S. Treasury? In fact, the United States contributes about 17% of IMF funds (as of 2010 and 2011), and the next most munificent contributor is Japan – at 6%. Gee, there’s another big surprise, I bet! To be honest, I didn’t realize we were so flush that we can dribble that kind of money away – I actually thought we were about $16 trillion in debt (as of Saturday 8 September 2012 around 13:27), and I doubt it’s gotten less since then) … well, let’s not quibble and be picky petty here, what diff’s a hundred billion here and a hundred billion there gonna make in the long run – in the long run, of course, as Keynes with such informative wisdom once pointed out, we’re all dead, right?
Now, that was a hasty peek at Egypt. Boy – some gender-equalizing democracy that! Just the kind the United States can be really proud of supporting!
What do you suppose you’ll find if you take a closer gander at our ‘humanitarian support’ and ‘democracy-promoting aid’ to Afghanistan, to Colombia, to Haiti, to the Horn of Africa, to Iraq, to … ?
In the immortal words of elegant Latin from the gap-toothed lips of
MAD’s Alfred E. Neuman …