The Least of the Charges

Hypocrisy is arguably among the least of the charges that can be accurately lodged against The Empire That Never Ended. Given that its influence rests entirely on lies, redefinitions, and sophistic rhetorical manipulation, it’s hardly a surprise that an institution also known as The Empire of Lies should be shamelessly hypocritical. But it is worth observing nevertheless, if only to disarm its rhetoric.

Since people insist on bringing up the moral principles of self-determination and freedom of association, I insist that those principles be equally and fairly applied. That is a thing that human beings do, when it comes to questions of morality, to demand that they be universally invoked if they are to be invoked at all. I don’t know what kind of weird moral world people are living in where they think it’s some irrelevant dodge to maintain the essential notion of universalism. Those who use the term “whataboutism” are alleging that their targets are avoiding hard conversations and real engagement through distraction, but that is in fact precisely the function that the term uses in our discourse, to allow people to wriggle out of considering America’s terrible history of crimes abroad. And to the extent that this dynamic is identified at all, it’s never matched with an attendant focus on the stuff that was disallowed from the conversation. People don’t say “that’s whataboutism” at 2:00 and then say “OK let’s get serious about what America’s drug war has done to Mexico” at 2:30.

The people who say “whataboutism” don’t want to talk about carpet bombing in Cambodia. They don’t want to talk about death squads in El Salvador. They don’t want to talk about reinstalling the Shah in Iran. They don’t want to talk about the murder of Patrice Lumumba in the Congo. They don’t want to talk about giving a hit list to rampaging anti-Communists in Indonesia. They don’t want to talk about the US’s role in installing a far-right government in Honduras. They don’t want to talk about US support for apartheid in South Africa. They don’t want to talk about unexploded ordnance that still kills and maims in Laos. They don’t want to talk about supporting the hideously corrupt drug lord post-Taliban regime in Afghanistan. They don’t want to talk about aiding literal Nazis and Italian fascists in taking over the government in Albania. They don’t want to talk about giving support to the far-right government’s “dirty war” in Argentina. They don’t want to talk about the US-instigated far-right coup in Ghana. They don’t want to talk about our illegal bombing of Yugoslavia. They don’t want to talk about centuries of mistreatment of Haiti, such as sponsoring the coup against Aristide. They don’t want to talk about sparking 36 years of ruinous civil war, and attendant slaughters of indigenous people, in Guatemala. They don’t want to talk about our drone war in Pakistan. They don’t want to talk about how much longer this list could go on….

I asked some really basic questions in this post – do you really think the United States operates under the principle of self-determination for other nations? Do Cuba or any other disfavored countries enjoy self-determination from the influence of the United States? Why are we allowed to dictate who neighbors ally with, where Russia is not? Are you all really so blind to your country’s history? And not one comment, among hundreds, has credibly provided a coherent answer to the basic moral questions at hand.

Those limited to the rhetoric should never be expected to directly answer dialectical questions. Because they can’t. All they have is emotion, and emotion is intrinsically irrational and incoherent.

And liars will never be troubled by their inconsistency. It’s the least of their concerns.