My Name is Ozymandias, King of Kings

by Anwaar Hussain
Thursday, 1 July 2010

Perhaps the biggest single cause of the debacle is that while America stayed glued to its strategy of dominance, the world quietly passed her by.

While the American colonial goliath lies wheezing at the callused feet of its adversaries in Afghanistan, its commander General Stanley McChrystal has been fired by President Obama for his indiscrete comments to the media. Not many tears are being shed on the general’s fall. Almost everyone who is any one in Washington agrees with the President, with Maureen Dowd of the New York Times going so far as calling McChrystal a ‘serially insubordinate’ officer.

There is a storm on in Washington after the firing of the general regarding the Afghan imbroglio. Obtuse statements are flying every which way. We are not going to withdraw but, we are going to withdraw but, we are going to stay on but, we are going to partially start withdrawing but, we are winning but, we are not losing but, we are talking to the Taliban but, we are not talking to the Taliban but...etc. etc. Regardless however, the deniers of America’s huge Afghan pratfall continue trying to flog new life into the panting behemoth.

But for its arrogance, one would have taken no pleasure in the humbling of the titan. After all, it is supposedly the ‘moral leader’ of the world. Yet so far gone was the giant’s haughtiness in the Neocon’s era—taking on the weak, bombing them back to stone age and announcing sneeringly to the world, ‘we don’t do body count’—that one awaits the occasion with a wincing anticipation. For the event will scatter near and far, bits and pieces of the legend of American supremacy and the mirage of an empire.

It is a sad moment, however, to witness America’s squirming state. Sad because not very long ago certain charlatans at the helm of affairs in this great country, a country that welcomed to its bosom victims of the abuse of other powers for centuries, turned it into the greatest abuser of power itself. And in so doing, wrote its epitaph on the one hand and a revival of the very retrograde forces they were apparently fighting on the other.

Now that a concluding dose is indeed likely to be administered to the Empire building dream, its time to take a look at the hows and whys of it all.

Perhaps the biggest single cause of the debacle is that while America, drunk with power and taut with an over bulging military muscle fed nonstop on steroids of high tech weaponry, stayed glued to its strategy of dominance, the world quietly passed her by. Thus intoxicated, fixated on grandeur, deaf to saner voices, she failed to notice that there are limits to the power of even a super power. With brute force in far flung corners of the earth, using an un-oiled military ramrod, it tried to roughly shove down its targets’ parched throats alien economic, political, and cultural packages. That the subjects tend to throw up such forced-fed foreign doses was clear to all but the American leaders.

Furthermore, to fool the gullible American citizenry, America’s previous administration rode bareback on ‘God is on our side’ moral conviction. In using this age old ‘god factor’ to let lose the dogs of war they forgot that they were about to take on a people who consider themselves as ‘God’s most chosen people’ with a certainty that has no equal on planet earth. They also did not take into account that when divinities are made to clash, good and evil so fuse with each other in the ensuing melee that it is hard to tell one from another.

Now when the Americans go back to their island, they need to ponder over what went wrong. They need to record for posterity how the world’s best-paid, best-trained and best-equipped army was forced to its knees by fighters armed only with light weapons armored with faith. For this, the American military philosophers stand beholden to future generations of American leaders.

Here are a few suggestions for putting together this historic document.

Embossed in bold golden letters under the title on the cover should be American historian Howard Zinn’s quote that says, “There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people”. Then from the first chapter onwards, the historians should start putting together how in its willful, premeditated genocide of an innocent people, every canon of the United Nations and the 1945 Nuremberg Charters, the International Humanitarian Law and the Geneva Conventions was blown to bits by the criminal cabal then ruling the United States of America.

Next they should catalogue not just the murder of a million plus human beings, but also America’s bullying unilateralism, dismissive approach towards international treaties, rude attitude towards other nations and cultures, and disrespect for institutions of the world government. They should confess the real reason for America’s onslaught on a defenseless, but resource rich people. They should admit in clear words that it was nothing other than that there is no limit to the horrors that the ruling American class will not inflict to stay in power and gobble up the fast dwindling resources of planet earth. They should record for posterity the ugly truth of America’s wars and inform the Americans that these wars were waged for nothing other than corporate power and global conquest not withstanding the death, destruction and oppression these caused.

They should then record the dichotomies of American policies. They should note, for instance, how America has been supporting Israel, a state bristling with nuclear weapons, not a signatory to nuclear pacts and baring its nuclear fangs at the slightest of provocations, but had a sledge hammer out for Iran for even saying the word ‘nuclear’. They should record in the manuscript the irony that Iraq was blown into smithereens for violating a few trumped up UN resolutions yet Israel, the world’s record holder of violations of UN resolutions, never gets even a rap on the knuckles for the same.

They should neatly manifest the names of all the dictators that America has been bedding with while wanting to win the ‘hearts and minds’ of the nations they suppressed. And that from Idi Amin of Uganda, General Augusto Pinochet of Chile, General Zia of Pakistan to Pol Pot of Cambodia, America has been the biggest friend and patron of the most crooked and brutal dictators the world over. The end result of this ‘happy union’, it may be noted, was that America, that principal champion of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, herself became the architect of the darkest dungeons on earth. And that reckless American acts of arbitrary detentions, extraordinary renditions, torture, and abuse of prisoners of war in Guantanamo, Iraq and Afghanistan shamed even those of certain banana republics in the Third World.

The last chapter, all written in bold, should be sub-divided into four parts titled as;

Part-1. Why an ideology cannot be bombed out of a people.

Part-2. How the only way to defeat an ideology is with a better ideology.

Part-3. Some people push back.

Part-4. Lessons.

The epic volume should be titled as “My name is Ozymandias, king of kings” and Shelley’s instructive warning should be given as its concluding epitaph.

My name is Ozymandias, king of kings,

Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!

Anwaar Hussain

Copyright 2010 by Anwaar Hussain. The writer, a former officer of the Pakistan Air Force, is now based in Canada. This story was originally published in Truth Spring, Mr. Hussain's blog, and is republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with the author's permission. Mr. Hussain may be reached by email at

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This story was published on July 1, 2010.