The Coastal Post - April, 1998

Heroines

By Edward W. Miller

A Jewish holiday, Purim, or the Feast of Lots, commemorates the deliverance of their people from the wrath of Haman, Chief Minister of the Persian King Ahasuerus, a ruler whose kingdom extended over a 120 provinces from India to Ethiopia. Haman, jealous of the Jew's independence and economic successes in his country, and particularly angry with Mordecai, a local Jew who failed to bow to him, convinced the King the Jews were a subversive element, whereupon Ahasuerus issued a royal decree ordering the killing of all Persian Jews and the seizure of their assets for the state. The decree had already been announced when King Ahasuerus' favorite wife, Queen Esther, a Jew, risking her political position at court, prevailed upon the King to change his mind. (Esther had been raised by Mordecai, her uncle.) After Esther at a royal banquet revealed to the King the details of his minister's plotting, Hama, the minister and then his sons were ordered to be hanged outside the main gate of the capital. King Ahasuerus also decreed the Persian Jews might take revenge upon those who had oppressed them. Which they did. Queen Esther has thus been credited with saving her people and is a heroine in Jewish history.

Today, some Rabbis in Jerusalem are calling Monica Lewinsky a "Modern Esther" since in the extensive media frenzy associated with her relationship with our President, she is seen in Tel Aviv to have so weakened Clinton's political effectiveness that he was unable to pressure Netanyahu to enforce the Oslo Accords, or negotiate fairly with Arafat.

Perhaps by coincidence, Barry Levinson's Hollywood movie Wag the Dog presently playing across the U.S., depicts a president who, caught in a sexual act with a Girl Scout, is advised by his public relations staff to quickly instigate a foreign war just to draw attention from his social indiscretion. A bootleg copy of this film is presently being played on TV across Iraq.

Our government-controlled media has successfully converted Saddam Hussein from a friendly ally (during his long war with Iran) to a Hitler after he threatened our oil interests in Kuwait. Americans will remember our state Department's Ms. Glaspie actually ok'd Saddam's plan to settle his debts with Sheik Al Sabah.

Few Americans, however, are aware that Iraq's ruler, in the years before the devastating Gulf War, had used his oil money to build a modern country for his people with the most up-to-date hospitals in the Mideast, free medical care for every citizen, and free university education for his subjects. When the Intafada began and Israel closed down the Palestinian universities, Saddam invited those deposed students into Iraq, offering them both free tuition in his universities and a living stipend. No note of this in the U.S. media.

The U.S. in dealing with Iraq has completely ignored the lessons supposedly learned from Versailles, when, after WWI, the Allies' cruel reparations completed the decimation of an already defeated Germany and set the stage for an isolated fascist regime. We have also forgotten our positive experience with the Marshall Plan after WWII, a plan which encouraged Germany's economic recovery and brought friendship between our peoples. We treated the Japanese in the same manner. In contrast, at every step our government has interfered with Saddam's efforts to maintain order and heal his country. Every Iraqi move to meet U.N. inspections requirements has been met with rejections as the U.S. has constantly moved the goalposts while hammering away at Saddam in our media. Today, with a million and a half Iraqis dead from starvation and disease and that country impoverished, Washington continues to identify Iraq's leader as a "war criminal," and recommend he be tried for his crimes. This piece of stupidity could open a bag of worms.

With just WHICH War Criminal should this international tribunal begin its proceedings? Such a tribunal is apt to view national leaders in a different light than do their peoples. Serbia's Milosevic, the killer of a quarter million Muslims, still runs loose and is now killing Muslim's in Kosogov. Ex-President Bush might be indicted for his unconscionable devastation visited on the Iraqi people in the Gulf War, a devastation which had little to do with getting Saddam's forces out of Kuwait. And how about Bush's invasion of Panama with the night time obliteration of Panama City's slum population, the bombing of Panamanian targets across the country and those 15 mass graves hidden from the U.S. media? Clinton, with full knowledge of Iraq's agony has continued the genocide with one and a half million Iraqis now dead. Even President Carter, who supplied arms for Suharto's murder of half a million Timorese, might be accused of supporting genocide along with Indonesia's leader. The list seems endless.

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