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Redemption Within Reach for the American Empire

 

By Jason Miller

 

 

America's "strong and resolute" Commander in Chief is safely enjoying a five week vacation on his Texas ranch. Yes, that would be the ranch he owns by virtue of that silver spoon that was dangling out of his mouth as he passed down the birth canal. Following his example from Vietnam, his daughters remain stateside as Bush pontificates the nobility of the cause for which 2,000 Americans have died in Iraq. Despite his unflinching conviction, Mr. Bush lacks the courage to confront Cindy Sheehan and explain to her why her son really died. Ultimately George Bush bears the responsibility for the death of Casey Sheehan, yet he refuses to take a few minutes of his precious "R&R" to impart his wisdom to Cindy about the noble reasons for which he is putting our troops in harm's way. He owes her and the rest of America an answer, but this Evangelical crusader cannot summon the mettle to meet with her on his own doorstep.

 

Your lies are revealed and your cover is blown

 

Support for the war continues to wane. According to a recent poll conducted by the highly respected, non-partisan Pew Research Center, 51% of Americans believe that Bush deliberately misled the public about whether or not Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction (the primary justification for initiating the war). 58% of Americans now believe that the US will not be able to establish a democratic, stable government in Iraq (the notion that the US would establish the Iraqi government underscores the imperialistic nature of America's intentions). Only 43% of Americans are now predicting a victory in Iraq.  It is time to start bringing our troops home to safety and to stop the senseless slaughter of Iraqi civilians (the "collateral damage").

 

Since Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction and no ties to Osama bin Laden, why have 2,000 Americans and at least 15,000 innocent Iraqi civilians died in Iraq? One could justify the American cause by stating that we toppled a brutal dictator who committed genocide against the Kurds (native Iraqis), but Hussein was a US ally while he was committing these atrocities (until Bush the First duped him into invading Kuwait so the US could justify the Gulf War against Iraq). Besides, there are multiple nations in the grips of ruthless autocrats who are committing murders and atrocities, and America is not rushing to the aid of those innocent victims. In fact, the United States government has installed and supported many murderous regimes throughout its history. In the paradigm of the Global Empire of the United States, abuse of power and murder is acceptable as long as it coincides with American economic and military interests. Why the sudden pangs of concern about the plight of the Iraqi people under Saddam, Mr. Bush?

 

The Grimm truth

 

If fairy tales were true, the United States would be involved in the truly noble cause of "spreading freedom", and America would have "firmly planted the flag of liberty" in Iraq. However, reality keeps rearing its ugly head to mock the Neocons and their fiction that the US is an altruistic, benevolent super-power sowing the seeds of democracy in the Middle East. For openers, consider the deaths of thousands of innocent Iraqis resulting from "collateral damage" inflicted by the American military. Bestowing a "better government" as an altruistic gesture would not involve obscene and scandalous profits for members of the military industrial complex like Bechtel and Halliburton, would it? What spiritually aware human being could overlook the widespread Iraqi civilian suffering and death caused by the brutal economic sanctions the US spear-headed for 10 years prior to the war and perpetuated by the American invasion and occupation?  How about the Neocon's use of lies and defiance of the UN to initiate the invasion? Torture and abuse of prisoners of war are not characteristic actions of a nation "spreading freedom" or planting a "flag of liberty". Tragically, as was the case with  Vietnam, there will be no happy ending to the "Tale of the Iraqi Invasion".  Suffering, war, terror, and death are the bitter harvest the Iraqis are reaping, and the flag firmly planted in their soil is one of economic servitude to the American Empire.   

 

Behind the vacuous rhetoric about America "spreading freedom" lays a much more sinister motive for the Iraqi invasion. The Neocons launched the war in Iraq to begin implementing the Bush Doctrine, their strategy to advance US global domination. Invasion and occupation of Iraq afforded them what they believed would be a "soft target" (obviously someone forgot to account for the challenges of "post war" Iraq) to engage the four principles of their grand blueprint. They exercised preemption by invading a country which they deemed a threat to the United States. Acting in opposition to the United Nations, they attacked Iraq unilaterally. Placing over 100,000 American troops in harm's way, they placed Congress in a moral Catch-22 as they demanded billions of additional dollars to perpetuate the American military's "strength beyond challenge".  Despite their constituency's growing opposition to the war, Congress could hardly deny American troops the funding they needed. To complete the "quadrifecta" of principles forming the bedrock of the Bush Doctrine, the Neocons are carrying out their morally despicable invasion and occupation under the guise of "promoting democracy and freedom".

 

It is critical to note that the chief architects of the Bush Doctrine, which ensures that the poor and working class of America were (and will continue to be) thrust into the inferno of war, found ways to evade conscription into service during previous US imperialistic endeavors. Bush, Cheney, "Scooter" Libby, Karl Rove, and Paul Wolfowitz each sat safely on the sidelines during the Vietnam invasion, which claimed the lives of 58,000 Americans (and an estimated 3 million Vietnamese). Donald Rumsfeld rested comfortably in his dorm room at Princeton while 37,000 Americans died in Korea (with an estimated 2.5 million Koreans). As a vehement opponent of US imperialistic wars, I would laud them for choosing not to participate in those wars were it not for the fact that now that they are ineligible for military service (and enjoy more security than any humans on the planet), they use the poor and working class as disposable components of their military industrial machine to advance US corporate and plutocratic interests. While one could argue that the current military personnel joined voluntarily, it is quite reasonable to conclude that most US soldiers did not sign on to die for the expansion of an imperialistic empire and the further enrichment of America's elite.

 

"We the People" still have a voice

 

On September 24, United for Peace and Justice (http://unitedforpeace.org/) and International ANSWER ( http://www.internationalanswer .org/) will orchestrate a non-violent march to the White House (involving an anticipated hundreds of thousands of advocates for peace and social justice). The participants will make the following demands upon the administration:

 

1. Stop the war in Iraq

 

2. End colonial occupation from Iraq to Palestine to Haiti

 

3. Support the Palestinian People's Right of Return

 

4. Stop the threats against Venezuela, Cuba, Iran, and North Korea

 

5. US out of the Philippines and Puerto Rico

 

6. Bring all the troops home now

 

7. Stop the Racist, anti-immigrant and anti-labor offensive at home

 

8. Defend Civil Rights

 

9. Military recruiters out of our schools and communities

 

Not coincidently, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, two of the American Empire's primary vehicles for enhancing corporate profits and wielding financial tyranny over other nations, will be meeting to plan further economic conquest as protestors are delivering their demands to the White House.

 

Without justice, there will be no peace

 

What the proponents of the Iraq invasion do not realize (or care about, perhaps) is that peace and justice are inextricably linked. While terrorist acts are evil and their perpetrators deserve severe consequences, they are ultimately desperate acts of revenge against the imperialism, hubris, avarice, abuse, and murder perpetrated by the US government for many years. I strongly believe the United States has the right to pursue its attackers to the ends of the Earth to render justice and to defend its people, but that is not what the Bush administration is doing. The Neocons simply have simply used terrorist attacks as a rationale to unleash the Bush Doctrine. By invading and occupying a sovereign nation, America's leaders have wasted many lives and vast resources, while fueling antipathy toward the US and creating new terrorists. If the Neocons truly had noble intentions, they would be employing far fewer American military forces in a much more efficient way by hunting down and rooting out the true perpetrators of  terrorism, and they would be revising US foreign policy to root out imperialism, economic aggression, and flagrant disregard for international law. Instead, the Neocons chose to brutalize a nation and thumb their collective noses at the world.

 

You've got to change your evil ways, baby....

 

America needs to drop its obsession with being number one. It is time for the United States to become a member of the world community rather than a murderous bully. Obscene over-consumption has become a hallmark of the United States. While not all Americans fall prey to Madison Avenue's propaganda glamorizing gluttony, many do. People of other industrialized nations enjoy a respectable standard of living without consuming a quarter of the world's resources (while representing only 5% of the world's population). Other nations face reprisals and penalties for the violation of international law. Without regard for justice, the United States wields international law like a club or blatantly defies it, depending on what best suits American interests at the time. Ongoing support of repressive regimes (like Saudi Arabia's) to further America's economic interests, unflinching support of its proxy military enforcer in the Middle East (Israel), disregard for the plight of the Palestinians, and hypocrisy over who gets to join the "nuclear club" are but a few more examples of how America's government engenders more abhorrence of America and invites continued terrorism.

 

While the Neocons make a mockery of global justice with their foreign policy, the Bush Doctrine has also enabled them to begin sweeping away the gains made by domestic forces for social justice during the Twentieth Century. Whether one believes that these achievements were reached with the cooperation of men like FDR and LBJ, or that these leaders simply acquiesced to the pressure of labor and civil rights movements, America made great strides toward equality and justice through social programs and reforms like Social Security, Minimum Wage laws, the Voting Rights Act, school desegregation, Medicare, Medicaid, the advancement of women's rights, environmental laws, and consumer protection laws. By spending $600 billion per year on programs related to their precious military industrial complex (consider that $600 billion represents 60% of the world's total annual military expenditures of $1 trillion and that the US has only 5% of the population), deepening the federal deficit to an unconscionable $7.5 trillion, and utilizing shameless propaganda to convince the minions of legalistic Christian sects and many undereducated Americans to act in a self-defeating way by embracing an agenda of Social Darwinism and global conquest, the Neocons have ensured serious setbacks to social justice in the United States.

 

Remember when the "good old days" were not so good?

 

Emma Goldman, a crusader for social justice until her death in 1940, was imprisoned by the US government during World War I for daring to criticize mandatory conscription, and was eventually deported to Russia (with J. Edgar Hoover presiding at her deportation hearing). Despite her US citizenship, she was banished from the US for having the audacity to question the leaders of the American Empire. With great clarity, she described the Empire of her time:

 

"The history of the American kings of capital and authority is the history of repeated crimes, injustice, oppression, outrage, and abuse, all aiming at the suppression of individual liberties and the exploitation of the people. A vast country, rich enough to supply all her children with all possible comforts, and insure well-being to all, is in the hands of a few, while the nameless millions are at the mercy of ruthless wealth gatherers, unscrupulous lawmakers, and corrupt politicians. Sturdy sons of America are forced to tramp the country in a fruitless search for bread, and many of her daughters are driven into the street, while thousands of tender children are daily sacrificed on the altar of Mammon. The reign of these kings is holding mankind in slavery, perpetuating poverty and disease, maintaining crime and corruption; it is fettering the spirit of liberty, throttling the voice of justice, and degrading and oppressing humanity. It is engaged in continual war and slaughter, devastating the country and destroying the best and finest qualities of man; it nurtures superstition and ignorance, sows prejudice and strife, and turns the human family into a camp of Ishmaelites."