Threat to Iraq grows

As Clinton sinks deeper in the mire, a diversionary strike is on the cards

Events over the last few weeks have given us a shocking glimpse of the crazy - and sick - morality that pervades all aspects of American life.

On Tuesday the Texas state - in cold blood - killed Karla Faye Tucker, the 38-year old former prostitute and drug addict. She was executed by lethal injection. She has become the latest sacrificial victim for state vengeance. Tucker, despite admitting to murdering a former lover with a pickaxe, was by any definition, clearly a reformed woman. So much so that even the Christian evangelical right, normally the most zealous advocates of the death penalty - were praying for her sentence to be commuted to life imprisonment.

Texas state governor George Bush, son of the former president, brushed aside all objections - and hence turned his back on even the most basic humanity. So much for Christian repentance and forgiveness. At her execution, the moral sickness that lies at the heart of America was on display. Ghoulish voyeurs congregated outside the prison gates in Huntsville. Demonstrators waved placards which said, ‘Forget injection: use a pickaxe’.

Then we are confronted by the sordid and morally draining saga of ‘Zippergate’, ‘Fornigate’, etc. In the land of ‘mom ’n apple pie’, the bible, ‘family values’, in a country where it is seriously proposed that ‘chastity lessons’ be imposed on children, the US president is revealed - quite clearly - to be a serial adulterer who has cynically used his position to sexually harass and intimidate young women. The White House machine was used as a tool to satisfy his amoral and alienated sexual desires - regardless of the consequences for his chosen ‘partners’.

Clinton’s unedifying sexual mores fit into a more general picture of a man willing to use his considerable powers of patronage. The president has enormous executive power, it should be remembered, to manipulate and screw - quite often literally, it seems - all those around him and all those who have the audacity to stand in his path. To this immoral end he has ruthlessly - with zero consideration for any degree of truth, honesty or consistency - utilised all the power myths of American society and culture. Over two election campaigns, he played the ‘family man’ card - to quite some effect, it has to be said. During the last election campaign even the ‘power feminist’, Hilary Clinton, was enlisted to this cause and became semi-transformed into the obedient and loyal wifey. She was “making cookies” now, we were led to believe, unlike before when she was climbing the very greasy pole of bourgeois success.

To add insult to injury, an enormous propaganda campaign has gone into operation behind the ‘victim’, Clinton - the sweet innocent under attack from politically motivated women. The poor old president. Of course, for Clinton and his minions to portray himself as the underdog being enveloped by a “vast rightwing conspiracy” is just insulting. Clinton has an army of agents, spies, informers, etc, swarming the country, investigating and digging the dirt on his opponents. This perverse legion of ‘truth seekers’ have been unearthing, for example, long forgotten boyfriends of Monica Lewinsky, the 24-year old White House intern who is the current focus of presidential opprobrium and media fascination. If anyone is involved in a “vast” conspiracy, it is Clinton and his loyal Clintonites.

Power, subjugation, domination. Clinton’s behavioural pattern - in his so-called private life - reflects the actual social reality of political relations in American society. Clinton’s instinctive preference for unequal relationships with women is no individual aberration - it is firmly embedded in bourgeois society as a whole. Even the ‘strong’ and ‘independent’ Hilary was forced to prostitute herself on prime-time television, making out Bill to be a paragon of virtue. Additionally, the backdrop to Clinton’s philandering is a vicious campaign against single mothers, who have been vilified and turned into society’s scapegoats. The war against Monica, the war against women, the war against drugs, possibly the war against Iraq - here we see the Bill Clinton philosophy and methodology at work.

This reminds us of the overtly political dimension of this scandal. Historically, it is not unusual for a Republican president to be faced with a Democratic majority in Congress - ie, the ‘Nixon syndrome’ - but it is for a Democratic president to be faced by a Republican majority. The cards are on the table and the Republicans are out for blood.        

However, not even this elementary fact of political life in the corridors of power can entirely explain the degree of personal animosity directed against Clinton by the Republicans (and the conservative/Christian right especially), which is extraordinarily intense. This is not due to Clinton being regarded as too ‘progressive’ or ‘left’. Quite the opposite, in many respects. In fact Clinton has appropriated their rightwing agenda - and all this from a former draft-dodger and (incompetent) dope-smoker. The Republican quandary has been how to support him and oppose him at the same time. ‘Monicagate’ has been a godsend for them - though a delicate line still has to be walked. Thus, Newt Gingrich, the Republican speaker in the Senate, was visibly and enthusiastically clapping Clinton when he gave his ‘state of the union’ speech last week.

Not that bourgeois amoralism and hypocrisy when it comes to ‘personal politics’ is confined to the United States. Robin Cook’s obviously shabby treatment of his wife and former private secretary, Anne Bullen, is distinctly Clintonesque - and very New Labour.

The astounding hypocrisy of bourgeois politicians - especially when it comes to matters of a sexual nature - is nothing new. Marx and Engels noted in the Communist Manifesto that the bourgeoisie, all good Christian folk and ‘family men’ of course, were using prostitutes left, right and centre - not to mention their colleagues’ wives. Women factory workers were routinely sexually intimidated - and raped - by the pious, church-attending factory owners: all part of the job. Marx and Engels were well aware of this - hence their scorching attack on the sexual hypocrisy of the bourgeoisie. For all their own conduct, the bourgeoisie and anti-communists of all hues have constantly attacked communists/Marxists for wanting to ‘abolish’ the family - even ‘nationalising’ women. What a vile slander coming from their lips.

Even more outrageous is the plain and cruel fact that, because of Bill Clinton’s wandering penis, many thousands of Iraqis may have to die. US officials are currently making very bellicose statements. Earlier this week US officials were talking about the possibility of the “biggest action to be taken since the Gulf War”, of military measures that will deal a “serious blow to Saddam Hussein”. Madeleine Albright, not for the first time, has been scouring the Middle East trying to drum up support for US warmongering. Like the previous occasion she went on such a mission, her reception has been unenthusiastic - though this time round the Kuwaitis have declared their support for any US bombing of Iraq, while Saudi Arabia and Bahrain have blamed Saddam Hussein for the current “impasse”, as they call it.

Without a massive intervention of ground troops, any bombing of Iraq will prove to be futile - it will not overthrow the Saddam regime. In reality, any US bombing will only increase the Iraqi masses’ identification with Saddam - just as the B-52s in Vietnam helped to solidify support for the National Liberation Front forces of Ho Chi Minh. The US administration knows this of course: it has openly stated that the overthrow of Saddam is not on the agenda.

The US administration has a different agenda - get Slick Willy out of trouble. Any future military strike will be an initiative designed to appease the Republicans and curry favour with ‘public opinion’ - take the heat off Clinton and his current predicament. This is not leftwing paranoia. A mainstream Hollywood film, Night of the dog, features a president who starts a ‘virtual war’ against Albania in order to deflect attention from domestic problems. It is playing to packed houses.

Perhaps Clinton can get away with military strikes on Iraq. Perversely, Clinton’s opinion poll ratings have shot up - he is at the height of his popularity amongst a section of American society.

The American dream seems destined, condemned, to turn into its very opposite. The puritanical ideal becomes moral/sexual incontinence. Forgiveness becomes revenge. It is not too hard to find explanations for the profound alienation and estrangement that suffocates American society - crime, self-damage through drugs, rightwing militias, survivalists, UFOologists, the hippie counter-culture, cults and religions, etc.

Until the working class becomes the driving force, a hegemonic power, in society, the American nightmare is set to roll on. Which means a permanent threat to world peace and humanity.

Danny Hammill