Gitmo Transfer Controversy: The Opposition & President Mahama 3
ON THE QUESTION OF THE HYPOCRISY OF COMPASSIONATE CHRISTIANISM
And if we can say we have unbridled compassion for these two alleged terrorists, where then is our compassion as our innocent girls and women are imprisoned in trokosi farm warehouses and witch camps? Are we willing to send the two alleged terrorists to these trokosi farm warehouses and witch camps under armed guards? Are we willing to place fake and unpatriotic traditional priests and leaders under armed guard to ensure they stop terrorizing our innocent girls and women? Are these two alleged terrorists more human than our girls and women? But then again, where is our compassion when we allow hardened political criminals to go free? Where is our compassion when we look on unconcerned as our parliamentarians and Ministers of State underperform?
Let us admit that our political class does not have a monopoly on the truth or lies, though it wants to give the impression that truth and falsehood are indistinct or interchangeable. Unfortunately the masses have bought into this political gimmick. The rise and fall of the political class therefore hinges on this grossly misapplied peculiar Orwellian construct in statecraft, forgetting that lies are intrinsically transient or if we may go a little bit further say, for instance, that they are also subject to an extrinsic function of the moral statute of psychological limitations with its cyclic support-base of congenital lying, and that the mask of truth is eventually unveiled in the majestic moments of the endless continuum of time and space. The culture of deceit cannot therefore speak truth to power. Never!
Thus in accordance with the foregoing pontifications, we will bet our bottom dollar that executive extemporaneous invocation of compassionate Christianism as a foreign policy strategy in recent US-Ghana relations vis-à-vis the Gitmo-detainee transfer controversy is, ironically, a masterfully attired political Trojan Horse caught up in a flaming circlet of moral inconvenience. That the executive decision to harbor the two alleged terrorists in Ghana has anything to do with compassionate conservatism is not, in and of itself, deeply troubling or shocking. Our unabashed tendency to stake a claim to compassionate conservatism takes a backseat to American interests.
Mr. George Bush’s agitational political philosophy is a fundamental derivative of this trite phraseological paradigm called compassionate conservatism. Mr. Bush’s compassionate conservatism was partly responsible for the legal and political predicament of the two men who, in fact, should have been accommodated in the State of Texas, the former’s home state, under state protection. This was, however, not to be because compassionate conservatism is a Machiavellian instrument of partisan choice adaptable to claims of double standard and moral exceptionalism in international diplomacy as far as the external strategic interests and internal priorities of the United States goes.
Finally, if the two alleged terrorists did not pose any major threat to the United States as the country’s officials have been saying all along, why did the United refuse to accommodate in the mainland? What does the United States want to do with Mexico’s drug lord El Chapo Guzman, Judeo-Christian terrorist Joseph Kony, and narcokleptocrat Manual Noriega? Certainly, America does what suits its comparative advantage in international relations. Unfortunately we are yet to learn the rudiments of power dynamics in global affairs.
And we are comfortable with our servile place in international affairs as Gordon Guggisberg’s pack of drooling humanized dogs, hewers of wood and drawers of water!
OUR LEADERS FACE SERIOUS POLITICAL AND MORAL DILEMMAS
International terrorism is closer to home than we think. The recent incident in Burkina Faso is a clear indication of the facts. Al-Shahab terrorists did not have to come to Ghana in order to kill Prof. Kofi Awoonor, arguably one of Africa’s greatest poets, intellectuals, and writers. Prof. Awoonor’s unceremonious passing happened in Kenya far away in East Africa. Boko Haram is next door. Thus, in one sense international terrorism requires international cooperation to fight it. This is not far from the truth.
But is the shady deal between the United States and Ghana worth the moral and political efforts of the executive presidency? It is, however, extremely difficult passing authoritative judgment on the deal given the skeletal information on it thus far in the political domain and the lingering hazy controversies it has generated. That aside, what should the sitting executive presidency have done given the international character of terrorism?
This is not a question for the executive presidency to answer. It is a question meant for public opinion, the security, and the three branches of government. Granted, would it not have been more strategically and tactically prudent if the Ghanaian leadership had consulted with its ECOWAS members on the issue given that terrorism has so far spilled over into Burkina Faso, one of Ghana’s closest neighbors, from Mali?
We ask the foregoing question because Ghana’s security concerns, like those of its immediate neighbors and the entire sub-region, does not stand alone. Ghana’s security objectives and priorities are directly and indirectly connected to those in West Africa, Africa, and the rest of the world.
Our leaders dare not behave as their wicked forebears did in selling their own kind in slavery in exchange for trinkets and other bootleg materials. Or some of our corrupt leaders taking bribes from Western governments and corporations in exchange for toxic waste being dumped on the continent. It has been alleged that the Italian government, for instance, via the Italian Mafia, managed to secure the help of Al-Shabab in dumping toxic waste on the eastern coast of Africa, in exchange for sophisticated weaponry. This allegation caught the attention of the United Nations.
What if Ghana had refused the entry of the two alleged terrorists and then later experienced chain reactions of terrorism, a situation that calls for intelligence, military, and logistic assistance from the United States? Do we expect the United States to come to our aid? Even so, what are Ghanaians and Africans doing to arrest the scourge of terrorism and political instability in Africa? Is the US asking the Ghanaian government to debrief the alleged terrorists on its behalf and if so, what has become of the official responsibilities of the CIA and the FBI in interrogations techniques?
Let us recall that that the United States is known for torture of proxy and enhanced interrogation techniques. The United States is also known to have established black sites or secret prisons where it warehoused illegal combatants, so-called. America’s European and Middle Eastern surrogates have been part of the operation of these black sites. The other irony is that America has been harshly criticized for instances of erroneous rendition as in the case of Khalil El-Masri and Laid Said.
For readers’ information, the incumbent administration seems to use the concept of erroneous rendition as the basis for its compassionate acceptance and defense of the transfer of the two alleged terrorists to Ghana. That being said, there appears to be an impending danger to Ghana’s national security concerns if public discourse on the controversy does not degenerate into a deadly rhetoric of religious warfare. Doing so brings back memories of the centuries-old deadly crusade of inter-religious warfare in then-South Western Asia and of the geopolitical rhetoric of religious supremacy which the Saudis (Sunnis) and the Iranians (Shiites) are contesting. The point is that we are good at grafting others’ cultural and social deficits on to ours.
We see Christian and Islamic leaders in Ghana aping these negative tendencies, with Ghanaian Shiites contradicting their Sunni counterparts and the former taking sides with Christians. Meanwhile we notice the palpable silence of the traditional clergy on the controversy. Can the keepers of imported religions learn from the traditional clergy? Maybe the traditional clergy should declare its position on the matter, for Ghana is a secular state and therefore it is within citizens’ rights to say what they think concerns them. National security, after all, is a shared responsibility.
We must guard against casus belli evolving from religious over-politicization of the Gitmo-detainee transfer.
WHAT WOULD THE OPPOSITION HAVE DONE?
A self-styled Ghanaian international security expert recently delivered an unsubstantiated assertion making the rounds on online portals and in the corridors of political power that, among other potential surmises, the presidential candidate of the major opposition party knew about the controversial transfer some six months before could possibly be true, although we do not have additional evidence of corroboration. It is however our conviction that Ghana under the leadership of the presidential candidate of the major opposition party would have probably done the same as incumbency.
In fact, certain influential personalities and institutions close to the presidential candidate of the major opposition party have never shied away from supporting the stationing of the headquarters of US AFRICOM in Ghana. For instance, Mr. Gabby Ochere-Darko, an advisor to and nephew of the presidential candidate’s nephew, made a case for this in a May 25, 2009 Ghanaweb article “Obama’s Visit-What’s In For Us And US.” This directly speaks to the ideological leanings of the Danquah Institute and of the major opposition party.
We are not saying it is an ideological fixture of the major opposition party per se. We say this because there were certain personalities in the political fraternity of the major opposition party who opposed the idea when it first surfaced in Ghana’s political discourse during the Kufuor presidency. Thus the case, we believe, may not have been any different if the presidential candidate of the major opposition party had been confronted with the accommodation of the two alleged Gitmo terrorists.
The shortest distance between two points, some say, is a straight line. This statement is borne out of the verifiable truths of mathematical empiricism. We believe this truism may not always be the case in the topology of flat faces and football pitches (Euclidean geometry). In other words, the truisms suffers as it asymptotically approaches non-Euclidean space. Proof for this is beyond the scope of this essay.
What do we see? What are we saying? Here is it: The implied connections between our elastic assertions penultimate paragraph and those made in the preceding paragraph should be obvious to the discerning reader, which is that it is exceedingly difficult to put Ghanaian politicians in a box (see also Nana Akyea Mensah’s Sept. 8, 2014 Ghanaweb article “Akufo-Addo Is A Corrupt Individual!”).
Indeed the post-Nkrumah Ghanaian politician is a strange species of political animal, a political animal capable of defying the illogic and logic of political taxidermy and of Orwellian flickery. The Ghanaian political animal sees truth as an enemy, sin and offence. He believes lying is another way of telling the truth. In fact, he believes it is fashionable to lie so as to tell or expose the truth. To the wicked Ghanaian political mind therefore, truth and lies have no discernible moral sandwich between them. Truth and lies are a plain Orwellian piece of stale sourdough bread made of glorified sweetened human excreta, poisoned dough, intellectual myopia, and uncaring wickedness.
This is the kind of bread our killjoy politicians feed Ghanaians every day. Ghanaians cannot even see the major opposition and the incumbent party are the same. Why they cannot see the difference results from overconsumption of this stale sourdough bread of Orwellian nonsense which dulls and blinds the moral intellect of the masses.
WHAT THE DEAL MEANS TO THE OPPOSITION
Of course, opposition objections to the deal is a subtle one in that the deal puts incumbency in America’s good books. The Opposition fears incumbency has usurped the gesture of goodwill it believes it believed it has been enjoying from America since Mr. Bush’s official visit to Ghana during the Kufuor presidency. In this regard, we want to speculate that the presidential candidate of will not wish to antagonize the Americans with a policy rejection of the same offer which the incumbent presidency accepted with uncritical glee.
We may want to justify this speculation on the grounds that Ghana has still not attained full sovereignty as an independent nation-state and therefore, our right-wing political corporate statists will quickly jump at any opportunity to go begging, since our leaders depend on Western (and now Asians, Chinese) largesse for survival. Also, it is our hypothetical position that the leadership of the main opposition party also fears America will probably say nothing if the incumbent steals the 2016 general elections.
We should not forget that the presidential candidate of the main opposition party and the opposition party itself are members of the International Democrat Union (IDU), a center-right ideological organization bankrolled by the West. Mr. Sammy Awuku, the National Youth Organizer of the main opposition party, is the Vice Chairman of the International Young Democrat Union (IYDU), the youth arm of IDU.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Now, whether the executive presidency violated Section 35 (1) of our Anti-Terrorism laws (Act 762) is a serious question meant for the discretionary province of constitutional exegesis. We also understand that constitutional exegesis could boil down to a simple question of the pragmatic competence of politics. Therefore, we can only hope for avoidance of underhanded political interventions in the execution of constitutional interpretation of Section 35 (1), Act 762, of our Anti-Terrorism laws.
Under normal circumstances decisions addressed to formal constitutional questions of this nature are designed with the aim of negotiating political complications involved in balancing the strategic demands of national security priorities and the partisan claims of political inexpediency, a middle-ground approach if you will. Regardless, the compassionate conservatism of incumbency sounds more like a deceptive lie than a beneficial lie. In fact, any constitutional interpretation of Section 35 (1), Act 762 in part could possibly subtly revolve around these two polarities. But that is how far a layman’s understanding of the niceties of constitutional exegesis goes.
Thus, we will not speculate on the outcome of any such interpretation of the Constitution. And we will want the youth to learn from these goings-on even as we give them hope, namely something to live for, and not allow themselves to be distracted from exercising and taking full charge of their creative possibilities and potentialities. We alluded to this fact in the first of this series. Finally, we need to give some thought to possibilities of some of the Syrian refugees presently in Ghana being terrorists. The Supreme Court might want to look at this possibility too. This is very important given the deeply troubling examples of terrorist attacks in France in 2015. That being said, we implore readers to put two and two together and make their own conclusions as to what the Opposition would have done anything differently if it were the incumbent. We are referring to the Gitmo-detainee transfer controversy.
Your conclusions if you manage to make them, we believe, will be as good as ours.
John Mearsheimer. “Why Leaders Lie: The Truth About Lying in International Politics.”
We shall return…