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A relativistic conservative morality - R.H. Joseph

If, as it now appears, America invaded Iraq under false pretenses then how do we justify our continued pursuit of Saddam Hussein?

Metaphorically, we invaded his home, killed his servants, stole his stuff, and wrecked what we couldn't take. In America this is illegal.

Now we're hunting him down? Am I missing something?

Mind you, I'm no fan of bloodthirsty dictators. But when I and those like me voiced disgust at the multitude of right wing dictatorships America supported throughout Central and South America, regimes responsible for tens of thousands of "disappeared" during the '50s, '60s, '70 and '80s, we were disparaged by American conservatives.

Apparently prior to the Bush league and its constituency of religious nuts and megalomaniacs the destruction of one's fellow countrymen was considered pragmatically justifiable when the fruits of such carnage proved profitable.

True, there is a difference between Saddam Hussein and those ruthless dictators America's right wing supported in the past. Like the Iraqi dictator, the Central and South American despots controlled vast natural resources but unlike Saddam Hussein, they permitted us to exploit these resources.

It is also worth noting that in these countries it was the poor and disenfranchised who took umbrage at 1 or 2 percent of the population possessing 99 percent of the wealth.

These disenfranchised were acknowledged a threat both by their indigenous dictators and the American government that kept these tyrants in power. The people's demand for redress for their labors cut directly into profit margins and this would never do.

Does the expression "No taxation without representation!" ring a bell?

The Central and South American disenfranchised objected to their various fascist governments' control of the media, their crumbling school systems, their lack of decent medical care, and their own inability to participate in the governance of their individual countries.

They were ruled through autocratic dictates and propaganda. Consider the behavior of the Bush league and ask yourself, "Does any of this sound familiar?"

It is interesting to recall we trained the elite troops of these oppressive dictators right here in Georgia and when you think about it, this isn't very different from our supporting Saddam Hussein a few years back.

In retrospect it is easy to appreciate why our right wing leadership found crushing the opposition, the common man, worthy of support. It's not really about politics at all; it's about cash money, getting something for nothing.

Well aware of the simplistic, dualistic world view of America's conservative constituency, Republican leadership realized all they had to do was label those that demanded democratic reform as "leftists" and the dictators we supported could torture and murder them at will.

It is interesting that this same tactic, an appeal to the primitive knee-jerk response of their constituency, is being employed today to silence those who object to the Bush league's cavalier regard for national sovereignty and international law.

Those Americans who object to the arbitrary invasion of another country are labeled "leftists" because the leaders of America's conservatives are fully aware their constituency has been trained to respond to the word like a white racist's dog to a black person.

Is it coincidental that Republicans continue to exploit their constituency's racism to assure their political dominance in the Deep South? Is it coincidental that it is also the Deep South that provides a bloc of religious fundamentalists that celebrate this invasion and Bush's crusade against the Muslims?

Conservative leaders falsely describe or encapsulate as "leftist" an apolitical sense of outrage more appropriately perceived as moral and rational. Conversely, it is immoral and irrational to employ a self-serving relativistic morality to the assessment of the worthiness of dictators for removal.

While it is inappropriate to refer to those outraged by the behavior of the Bush league as "leftist," it is entirely appropriate to perceive the president and his constituency as right wing.

In practice their ideal form of government has more in common with dictators past and present than it does with a ruling body dedicated to the common good of its citizens.

America now has more people in prison than Russia. Our right wing is currently making every effort to disenfranchise half our citizens by denying them control over their own bodies.

Our leaders manipulate the masses through propaganda and then have their spokesman, Colin Powell, assert we should not dwell on the past.

Don't think. Obey!

R.H. Joseph is a longtime employee of the News Daily. His column appears on Wednesdays. He may be reached at (770) 478-5753, ext. 252, or by e-mail at rjoseph@news-daily.com.