Heat by Rob O’Neill

Spanish guns

John Howard thinks George Bush and Tony Blair should get the Nobel Peace Prize. And why not? The terrorist Yasser Arafat won one. War criminal Henry Kissinger won one. Adolf Hitler was nominated in 1938. Hell, I might go nominate Saddam!

Even more appropriately, Theodore Roosevelt, the man who by subterfuge and on extremely dodgy grounds took the US to war against Spain in 1898, also won one. That was the war that secured Guantanamo Bay for the US, to the great and ongoing humiliation of the Cuban people.

Teddy knew it would come in useful one day...

To deflect suggestions of imperialism, the US passed legislation to ensure it could not annex Cuba. The large black population of the island also made this course unpalatable. Under annexation these blacks could become US citizens. With that option closed, the US had to address the vexed problem of delivering independence.

The war was ostensibly waged in support of Cuban freedom, but with the Spanish evicted the US set about imposing humiliating limitations on the new country's independence. J.A. Sierra reports:

“The United States conditioned its approval of the constitution on the acceptance of a series of clauses that would preserve its upper hand in future dealings with 'independent' Cuba."

These “represented a permanent restriction upon Cuban self-determination. Cuba’s constituent assembly modified the [US] terms … and presented [these] to the United States only to be turned down. The United States-imposed amendment was a tremendous humiliation to all Cubans, whose political life would be plagued by continual debates over the issue until its repeal in 1934. On June 12, 1901, Cuba ratified the amendment as a permanent addendum to the Cuban constitution of 1901 and the only alternative to permanent military occupation by the United States.”

Such is the way of US imperialism; all substance, minimal appearance.

And here's a little known fact: the Castro government receives a rent cheque each year of about $US4,000 for Guantanamo Bay. It doesn’t cash them.

That reminds me; we may as well nominate Castro for a Nobel prize as well.

Meanwhile in Iraq there are strange goings on in Samarra. And we’ve found the source of those rogue WMDs: Looks like Iraq wasn’t the great nucular proliferation threat at all – it was Pakistan, with shipments continuing right up until late 2003.

As to Hutton, the wonderful Spectator can say it much better than I:

"Saddam turned out not to have … stockpiles of biological and chemical weapons, and certainly no capacity to launch them ‘within 45 minutes’. These errors would have emerged anyway, in the course of the defeat of Saddam. What would never have emerged, had it not been for one enterprising reporter, was a series of other amazing facts about the production of this influential dossier…"