Monday, May 4, 2009

Obama's Churchill Comparison.

Barack Obama, to the delight of many, recently repudiated adopting any method that could be deemed as "torture" in interrogations of terrorists. He specifically singled out the notorious "waterboarding" (simulated drowning) method as torture. This was a commitment he made during campaign, to overturn Bush's policies. Of course it is a popular promise. In his inaugural address he railed against a "false choice between security and values". Bush was seated just a feet away, glaring into the heavens.

Obama, in a press conference, talked about this decision and cited an article on Churchill. Maureen Dowd, in her column writes, "he (Obama) said he had been struck by an article describing how Churchill would not torture prisoners even when “London was being bombed to smithereens.”

I am a great admirer of Churchill but as an Indian I have my differences with Churchill. The bull dog warrior thundered in the House of Commons, "I've not become his majesty's first minister to preside over the liquidation of the British Empire". Churchill was most notorious in India for calling Gandhi a "half-naked fakir". During the War every time FDR broached the topic of Independence for India Churchill snubbed him. In speech after speech while he rallied Britons to "fight in the beaches" for "freedom" he never paused to think how the British empire held in slavery one-fourth of humanity. He was not entirely unaware of the evils of communism but found Stalin to be an agreeable partner in the fight against Hitler saying "If the devil fought against Hitler I'd at least give him a favorable commedation".

Yes Churchill did not torture anyone while London was blown to smithereens because he simply did not have a Nazi sitting in London plotting to terrorise the city. In one speech he is both defiant and grotesque, "we do not ask for mercy from our enemies but let it be known that we shall mete out in equal measure what is done to us". Ask the city of Dresden and Berlin. Both were pulverized beyond recognition to the point of revenge, especially the bombing of Dresden.

When Gandhi visited UK, the King met him and so did so many others except Churchill who refused to meet him.

Churchill also did not waver on using weapons of mass destruction on populations he considered inferior.

Churchill is somebody who cannot be quoted without reservation and running into the inherent dangers of using a double edged sword. But then the fawning media has no patience for scholarship when the One speaks.

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