EXTINGUISHING THE TAINTED TORCH
From the Hudson Valley Activist Newsletter, April 10, 2008
By Jack A. Smith, editor
We are concerned that the next time the Olympics take place in the United States those who are now calling for a full or partial boycott of this summer's games in China — or who wax enthusiastic about attempts to disrupt the running of the Olympic Torch — may also feel impelled to disrupt the American Olympics.
This would look bad for Uncle Sam, however, and we could not ourselves participate.
But, after all, some people are disturbed because the human rights of the million or more Iraqi civilians who have died as a result of Washington's humanitarian intervention haven't simply been violated, they've been erased. And the campaign for human rights may be thought to have some connection to the four million Iraqi refugees, the social disruption, the hunger and the humiliation in the country that may never be put back together again.
Such alleged violations of human rights just might induce today's Olympic protestors to attempt to extinguish the torch associated with the future American games when it is carried through, say, San Francisco.
If further incentive is needed, then add the 1.5 million Iraqis who died as a result of U.S.-inspired UN sanctions and frequent Pentagon bombing attacks against Iraq from 1991 to 2003. Still not enough? How about the 3 million citizens of Vietnam whose human rights died with they did as a result of Washington's war? For openers we can point to hundreds of more incidents, of course, from organizing the overthrow of democracy in Iran in 1953, to backing overthrow of democracy in Chile in 1973, and the attempted overthrow of democracy in Venezuela in 2002.
We ourselves happen to oppose disruptions and boycotts of the Olympics and cling perhaps idealistically to a remnant of the Olympic spirit. But we can understand that the passionate convictions driving Americans who are now seeking to disrupt the China Olympics — such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi or Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, for example —will logically impel them to protest at the next American games as well. We wish them Godspeed on their continuing efforts to eliminate human rights violations from the world, but think they should just opt for boycotting the opening ceremonies of the next U.S. Olympics and call it a day.
Actually, no American Olympic Games are scheduled for quite a while, but how about the London games in 2012? Great Britain has marched in lockstep with the U.S. in both Iraq and Vietnam, not to mention Afghanistan, Yugoslavia and other humanitarian interventions. Some day they may even come with us into Darfur in Western Sudan, not far from the oil wells.
Although we would oppose a boycott or disruption of the London games, we can certainly understand why both the Democratic and Republican parties would feel compelled to shun the games and why our most prominent political leaders may have no alternative but to seize and extinguish the damnable Tainted Torch when it passes through Washington, the undisputed capital of human rights hypocrisy.