A splendid achievement
By Terry Jones
Guardian" -- -- George Bush should be
congratulated - he has surely earned the right to join the ranks
Dear President Bush,
I write to you in my capacity as secretary of the World League
It is with great pleasure that I am finally able to extend an
official invitation to you to join our ranks. For many years, we
have watched your efforts to fulfil the requirements necessary
to join our number. From the start, we were greatly impressed by
your disdain for democratic principles - the way you wrested
power from the democratically elected candidate in the 2000
election, and again in 2005 when you managed to swing what was
clearly going to be a victory for your opponent.
Contempt for human life has always been a priority requirement
for membership of the league, and I and my fellow adjudicators
were well aware of your record as governor of Texas when you
quadrupled the number of state executions. But your record since
seizing power has surpassed even our expectations. The thousands
of innocent people in Iraq, who have died so that you could
fulfil your declared political objective of establishing "an
American force presence in the Middle East", attest to your
eligibility to join our ranks.
I cannot, however, disguise the fact that we adjudicators were
extremely anxious when you announced your intention to remove
from office one of our most stalwart members, Mr Saddam Hussein.
However, we need not have worried. According to a recent UN
report, you have ensured that there are now even more human
rights abuses in Iraq than there were under Saddam. No less than
10% of those in custody are being physically or psychologically
abused. Well done!
Of course, your unstinting efforts to make torture an
internationally accepted aspect of human life have surpassed
everything we could have ever hoped for. I don't think there is
a single member of the league who could have imagined, six short
years ago, that our activities in tormenting our fellow
creatures would once again be recognised as acceptable,
civilised behaviour, as it once was in the middle ages.
Despite these achievements, we had, until now, felt unable to
extend our invitation to you because you had been unable to
fulfil one of our basic requirements: the ability to carry out
arbitrary arrests, imprisonment without trial, secret torture
and executions at will.
We approved of your attempts to establish the principles of
arbitrary arrest under the Homeland Security Act of 2002, but
unfortunately it was still restricted to terror suspects. We
appreciate that you were hampered by the US constitution, but
the restrictions this imposed on your arbitrary powers kept you
below the threshold requirements for qualification as a despot.
Now, however, all that has changed. At the end of last month you
persuaded the Senate to pass a bill regarding the treatment of
detainees. Illegally obtained evidence can now be used against
suspects, even if it has been gathered abroad under torture.
Anyone you care to accuse can be thrown into prison without the
right to a trial or the right to represent themselves.
Officially the legislation is restricted to "enemy combatants",
but you have skilfully adapted this definition to include anyone
who has "purposefully and materially supported hostilities
against the US". This presumably means that anyone who publicly
criticises your conduct can be defined as supporting hostilities
to the US. You are now free to arrest and imprison anyone you
don't like. You've got it in the bag!
It is with great pleasure that we in the World League of Despots
note that you have now appropriated to yourself all the powers
of arbitrary arrest and torture that Saddam once enjoyed. You
are now one of us. Congratulations!
Terry Jones is a film director, actor and Python
Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2006
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