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Command from Above: Book Review

by Ludwig Watzal Saturday, Oct. 16, 2004 at 1:20 PM

"Are there justified reasons for US bashing? Never has a US administration taken as little pains to veil its true interests as the administration of George W. Bush.. A messianic-aggressive rhetoric spread which is the real reason for the estrangement between Europe and the US.."


Endless War: An Anthology on “Anti-Americanism”

By Ludwig Watzal

[This book review of Wilhelm Langthaler/ Werner Pinker: Ami Go Home. Twelve Good Reasons for an Anti-Americanism, 2003 originally published in the Berlin Freitag 10, February 27, 2004 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web,]

In an ideologically-heated age, authors seldom openly plead for an anti-Americanism. Equating “anti-Americanism” with “anti-Semitism” is more than a grotesque assertion by some intellectuals. Those who denounce “anti-Americanism” implicitly admit that an “Americanism” exists. According to the opinion of the authors Wilhelm Langthaler and Werner Pirker, this Americanism is an idea, myth and ideology that will spread “shock and awe” over the whole world. The undertaking of the two Austrian journalists in presenting critical arguments against the new US imperialism and the open aggression of American policy is very courageous. Are there well-founded reasons for this US bashing?

Never has a US administration taken as little pains to veil its true interests as the administration of George W. Bush. Wars are again called wars and not camouflaged as under US president Clinton as Red Cross missions. Right after his election, Bush went to work and withdrew Clinton’s signature to the statute of the International Criminal Court, put an end to the Kyoto protocol, threatened China and helped himself with an aggressive rhetoric. The events of September 11, 2001 prompted the Bush administration to abandon any reserve that may have existed. A messianic-aggressive rhetoric spread which is the real reason for the estrangement between Europe and the US. Since then, Bush has appeared like a preacher of a sect who takes upon himself executing the last judgments that are actually reserved to a transcendent greatness. These “champions of ultimate reality feel legitimated to ever new wars”. The doctrine of permanent preventive war, the so-called Bush doctrine, serves as an ideological justification. According to the opinion of Christian-fundamentalist Attorney General John Ashcroft, this right of intervention was bestowed directly by God, not by some government or document!

In twelve chapters occupied with violence in the US, rightwing nihilism, environmental destruction, dictatorship of the dollar, the Pax Americana in the Middle East, the crusade against Islam, anti-Europeanism and Americanism, Langthaler and Pinker compile so much criticism against the policy of the US that they seem like fanatical anti-Americans. However the authors offer rational arguments that must be discussed. What the authors bring froth on the problematic term “anti-Americanism” is open contempt and mockery of international law by the Bush administration like the sudden attack of Iraq and the verbal threats against Syria and Iran.

The authors rightly point out that according to the Bush doctrine weak states are “rogue satellites” and “sources of terrorism”. The disciplining- and subjugating program runs under the code name “democratization”. Its camaraderie with dictators in Central Asia shows how the US once understood “democracy”. What distinguishes them from the Arab despots? “The real substance of the democracy-cheating pack is permanent preventive combating of rebellion.” Don’t the Bushies speak of “endless war”? That the democracies US and Israel are the aggressors and not the so-called rogue states is mentioned in parenthesis. Both countries oppress and colonize foreign peoples in the name of democracy! Thus democracies are not per se peace-loving states. The only empire of the world should be constantly and critically questioned as in this book.

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