Bangkok Post - Thursday, November 06, 2003
US Reverend Jesse Jackson will deliver the keynote speech, 'Can the
United States become a force for peace? _ the US after the war on
Iraq', at Thammasat University today. Here he looks at the role of
black people in today's Bush administration.
RICHARD S. EHRLICH
Rice, US President George W. Bush's national security adviser, does not
represent the black community and is being used by a White House which
''carefully manipulated images of race'', the Reverend Jesse Jackson
said here Tuesday.
''She does not
make any pretence of representing the black community,'' the Rev
Jackson said. ''She represents the Bush administration, whose civil
rights policies at home are deplorable, whose judicial appointments are
biased against civil rights.
her image as an African-American woman is to soften the image of the
face of the administration, whose policies are driven by [Defence
Secretary Donald] Rumsfeld and [his deputy Paul] Wolfowitz and
[chairman of the defence policy board, an advisory panel to the
Pentagon, Richard] Perle and [Vice President Dick] Cheney and [the
energy company] Halliburton and [construction giant] Bechtel.
know that the Bush forces have carefully manipulated images of race
while [having an] unwillingness to talk with the NAACP,'' he said,
referring to the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured
People's quest to meet Mr Bush.
Rev Jackson, a spokesman for civil rights since the 1960s and an
assistant to the late Martin Luther King Jr, made the remarks shortly
after arriving in Thailand, where he is due to speak today at Thammasat
University on the US war on Iraq.
Rev Jackson, a Baptist minister and president and founder of the
Rainbow/PUSH (People United To Save Humanity) Coalition, said Ms Rice
and Secretary of State Colin Powell ''are not being duped, they are too
intelligent to be duped'' by the White House.
joined the administration willingly and they support its policies. He
represents an administration whose civil rights policies and civil
liberties policies and worker policies at home leave much to be
desired, whose Africa policies leave much to be desired.
always say to Powell and Condoleezza _ very brilliant people _ that I
respect them very much, but we are on different sides of history.''
on Tuesday, the Rev Jackson told a news conference at the Foreign
Correspondents Club of Thailand: ''Those who are now being used to
articulate this [Iraq] war are, I think in a manipulative way, black
At the start of the
US-led invasion of Iraq, the international media were often briefed by
an African-American spokesman and a Hispanic spokesman, he said. ''That
was the international face of the war. And then, back home, you had
Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell, [who] would go on each network TV,
every Sunday. Those are the faces of that war.
since you couldn't see the faces of the [American servicemen] killed
and the injured in the paper, it kind of blunted the edge of the true
nature of the soldiers.
example, in the army, 50% of the women are black. In the army, the
males [are] 35% black and 15% Latino. Those in the war are
disproportionately poor people _ whether white, black or brown _
because they don't have the draft system.
the most able Americans go to the big universities. For them, the war
is academic because it did not affect their lives. There are no caskets
coming back to Harvard or Yale or Princeton or Columbia or Berkeley or
The Rev Jackson also said
the Bush administration was hiding the war, including the 16 American
servicemen who died when their Chinook helicopter was shot down in Iraq
''When those bodies come
home this week, they will not allow the American media to cover the
caskets coming in, nor will the Pentagon release the pictures of those
who are dead, [while] trying to dumb down the sensitivities of the
American people,'' the Rev Jackson told the packed news conference,
which included foreign diplomats, businessmen and activists.
in Washington were also deceiving and dividing America, he said.
''Neo-conservatives, they are ancient conservatives. It is almost a
revival of civil war lines, of those who are with the Union and those
of the Confederates and, by and large, that [neo-conservative] element
has supremacist ideas at home about race and religion and foreign
''These right-wingers are devastating'' America.
- Richard S. Ehrlich is a former UPI correspondent who has reported news from Asia for the past 25 years.