IFTEKHAR A. KHAN The world has come a long way since the days of Viet Nam war, yet the outlook of the imperialist superpower has not changed; what has changed is the lethality of its weapons of destruction. Weapons more efficient to kill human beings now form part of its unlimited stockpiles. Another change is the array of new euphemisms brazenly employed. 'Unacceptable by-products', which during the Viet Nam days meant civilians killed by mistake is no more in vogue; it is replaced by 'collateral damage' - a term more destructive because of advancement in technology. 'Pacification' then did not mean to cajole the local people to win their hearts and minds; it meant to harass them, kill them and their animals, divest them of their belongings, bulldoze their huts to replace with gun emplacements and bunkers. Many were 'pacified' by death; others left their dwellings. Another noteworthy euphemism was 'rectification of boundaries' which did not mean to correct an error, it meant to carve new boundaries to divide the country under pacification. When the invaders succeeded in decimating the resisting populace, the area thus cleared was called a 'sanitised belt'. That story is almost half a century old but the empire marches on. Last century's commies (communists) have disappeared; Islamists, extremists and terrorists have emerged. Instead of the Vietnamese, Muslims are imperialist power's newfound victims. Victims of 'enhanced interrogation techniques' in Guantanamo, Abu Gharaib and Bagram where many were subjected to most depraved act against innocent captives: rape. Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh's comments during a speech were indeed revolting: "The worst is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking." Hersh said there was "a massive amount of criminal wrongdoing that was covered up at the highest command out there, and higher". He further went on: "Debating about it, ummm... Some of the worst things that happened you don't know about, okay? Videos, um, there are women there. Some of you may have read that they were passing letters out, communications out to their men. This is at Abu Ghraib ... The women were passing messages out saying 'Please come and kill me, because of what's happened' and basically what happened is that those women who were arrested with young boys, children in cases that have been recorded. The boys were sodomized with the cameras rolling. And the worst above all of that is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking that your government has. They are in total terror. It's going to come out." Thousands of photographs and videos of the acts of moral depravity were concealed from public view by the Obama administration. Nor those who allowed and supervised torture and enhanced interrogation techniques were taken to task. What happened? President Obama made a high profile trip to assuage deep wounds of Muslims his empire has inflicted and continues to inflict. He spoke at Cairo University in a reconciliatory tone to placate the Muslim populations. He was applauded for his sweet words. However, ground realities speak to the contrary. He had no credible argument to justify war in Iraq. Only solace he could draw was that Iraqis were rid of Saddam's tyranny, and were now masters of their own will. But at what cost? Why did the President remain remorseless over the loss of lives of more than 1.3 million Iraqi men, women and children? How tyrant Saddam or his people had jeopardised precious American lives to earn such a fate, he did not comment. An incontrovertible evidence to occupy Afghanistan and Iraq in pursuit of US global agenda much before the 9/11 took place is available. 9/11 was only an excuse to invade Afghanistan while in the case of Iraq no such subterfuge existed. Yet Obama maintained that troops in Iraq would leave by 2012 but would remain in Afghanistan as long as Al-Qaeda and Taliban threat did not abate. Who would determine the threat had indeed abated. And if one trusts Obama's good words, what is the justification of 14 airbases in Iraq and expansion in Afghanistan? President Obama visited Muslim countries but ignored Iraq and Afghanistan - the two actually bleeding. In Afghanistan, he is despatching more troops and pouring in more investment, at the same time, claiming not to make permanent bases. Yet Bagram detention facility gets $60 million to expand. In fact, Obama's extempore speech is a doublespeak wrapped in euphemisms. He needs to match his words with his administration's actions on the ground. Even Gitmo fate, which he announced amid much fanfare to shut down, hangs in confusion with 94 senators voting against its closure and only four in its favour. One expects Obama to comprehend what Mark Twain said: "Man is the only animal that deals in that atrocity of atrocities, War. He is the only one that gathers his brethren about him and goes forth in cold blood and calm pulse to exterminate his kind. He is the only animal that for sordid wages will march out... and help to slaughter strangers of his own species who have done him no harm and with whom he has no quarrel....And in the intervals between campaigns he washes the blood off his hands and works for 'the universal brotherhood of man' - with his mouth". Some wisdom there for those who wish to see it. Iraqis have done the US no harm nor have the bearded cave dwellers in Afghanistan. They are only victims of imperial greed and hubris. If President Obama pulls his troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan, he would not have to make moving speeches anymore. E-mail: pinecity@gmail.com