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Anti-amerikanism och amerikanism

Jag har hävdat att opinionen mot kriget inte är anti-amerikansk. Den är i mycket högre grad anti-Bush (Ett exempel är Margaret Atwoods artikel "A letter to America" (i The Globe and mail, 28/3).

Men så hittade jag till slut lite äkta, good-old anti-amerikanism. Var? Förstås i brittiska, solitt konservativa The Times:
"You would not expect British commanders to criticise their allies publicly, but troops who have witnessed Americans at close quarters in this war are baffled at their approach to Iraqi civilians. (---)

One captain in the Royal Marines, watching a US unit monitor a checkpoint, said: 'The Americans are still behaving like invaders, not liberators. They behave as if they hate these people.'

Indeed, many American troops speak as though they do. You often hear them describe 'Eye-rakis' in disparaging language. One US officer in charge of delivering humanitarian aid earlier this week likened the crush of people waiting to get hold of food and water to a pack of stray dogs. (---)

British commanders are appalled at how the Americans pulverise anything from afar before daring to set foot out of their armoured vehicles.

This was no better illustrated than in the first skirmish of the land war, where the American 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit was handed what should have been the easy capture of the seaport of Umm Qasr. Royal Marine officers watched incredulously as their US compatriots bombed and shelled the town for five days.

There is no doubt that the experience of nearly 30 years policing Ulster has taught British forces that the only way to root out gunmen is to patrol on foot, searching house by house. They did this in Bosnia, in Sierra Leone and Afghanistan.

The rhetoric of US soldiers is often provocative. When an American colonel was asked by The Times what the role of the Fifth Corps would be, he replied: 'We are going in there, we are going to root out the bad guys and kill them.'

His men, grouped around him, grunted, whooped and punched the air as if they were watching a football match.

A British officer who saw this exchange shook his head and walked away, saying: 'We are working from a different script but you won’t get anyone in Whitehall to admit it.'”
The Times, 2/4 2003: America brings Darth Vader to the desert
(Times kräver registrering).
Den aristokratiske, vidsynte britten mot råa amerikanska tölpar i spetsen för obildade tonårssoldater. En alltför välkänd stereotyp, etablerad av årtiondens James Bond-filmer och annan populärkultur.

Enligt en besläktad stereotyp borde förstås den lågutbildade, fattiga arbetarklassen i USA stödja kriget. Utan perspektiv och utblick borde de falla pladask för den primitiva patriotiska retoriken.

Men att tro att folk är dummare än man tror är dummare än man tror, som Tage Danielsson sa. James Doran, också reporter på The Times, reste Greyhound-buss från New York till Pittsburgh, och talade med passagerarna. Alla utom en var emot kriget:
"The famous coaches with their bounding dog logo have become a mode of transport reserved for people who can neither afford a big gas-guzzling sports utility vehicle nor the $150 for a flight on even the cheapest of budget airlines. (---)

Hearing a discussion about the war, the dozen passengers aboard the stuffy bus look up from their newspapers or open dozing eyes, hopeful for a distraction from the stench of the chemical lavatory.

None of them likes the idea of war — and none understands why the US is engaged in conflict in Iraq at all.

Hilda Navarro, 70, agrees: “I would like to tell George Bush: ‘Stop it! Right now!’ ” (---) The three passengers have seen many wars during their lives as immigrants in America, each one fought by their sons and daughters. “You don’t get Bush and his family going over there,” George says.

Ruel Stewart, 60, from Handsworth in Birmingham, was a paratrooper before emigrating to the US. “I don’t think Mr Bush has any right to go around the world telling people how to behave in their own backyard. As for that Mr Blair — he is just a lapdog.”

Cassandra Fitzpatrick, 34, and her sister, Yolanda Smith, 17, are keen to join the argument. “I’m from Panama, and boy, we’ve seen it all before, when they went to get Noriega. They took their time looking for him, killing people. Seems to me they should have knocked on the door where they was mailing the cheques to, right?” (---) We are living day by day. All the billions of dollars on the bombs and reconstructing Iraq. There’s people here in Jersey need food and houses. What about reconstructing America?” Cassandra gets a little round of applause as the back of the bus turns into an episode of the Ricki Lake Show.

“My feelings towards the war is I hate it,” Sheila says. “Me, too,” Benjy agrees. “We want peace.” She worries about the Iraqi people. “Why is my country bombing these poor people? They are more poor than people here, and we bomb them. It is terrible.”

Times 31/3 2003: Why is my country bombing these poor people?

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05 apr 2003


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