Chapter 15: JUST WAR?
UNCONDITIONAL SURRENDER LEADS TO ATROCITIES
by Paul Clark - lewrockwell.com - April 16 & 23, 2003
[Paul Clark is a veteran of Desert Storm and holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy. He is currently Director of Coalition for Local Sovereignty in Washington.]
As U.S. forces try to pacify Baghdad, the chaos and breakdown of civil order which many predicted has been fulfilled. Looting and murder have become common place, often right under the eyes of U.S. troops. One particularly heinous example was the destruction of the National Museum of Iraq, which the New York Times called "one of the greatest cultural disasters in recent Middle Eastern history" ("Pillagers Strip Iraqi Museum of Its Treasure," April 12, 2003). Some 50,000 priceless artifacts, all thousands of years old, were either destroyed or carried off by looters.
Of course, individuals are responsible for their own actions, but it was the unconditional surrender demanded by the pentagon which made these crimes possible. On April 1, for example, Donald Rumsfeld declared at a Pentagon briefing that, "The only thing that the coalition will discuss with this regime is their unconditional surrender."
Traditional moralists have long considered unconditional surrender as inherently immoral. General Douglas MacArthur, a truly moral man, privately opposed Roosevelt and Truman's unconditional surrender policy for months prior to the end of the Second World War, and eventually defied Truman's policy by announcing that he had accepted a surrender with conditions. MacArthur had repeatedly warned Truman that insisting on unconditional surrender was causing the needless deaths of tens of thousands of Japanese and Allies.
Invariably unconditional surrender always leads to unnecessary casualties. It is easy to illustrate this on a personal level. If you know that you have no protections of things like the Geneva Convention but are told you must surrender unconditionally, then you will fight so long as there is a sliver of hope of survival. The same is true of governments, U.S. rejection of any negotiated settlement with Hussein and his government ensured that they had no choice but to fight to the end. It made a surrender and orderly turn-over of the city impossible.
U.S. targeting of the Iraqi leadership was part and parcel of the unconditional surrender policy. Generally it is not a good idea to try to "decapitate" the military or civilian leadership of an army, for the simple reason that once you do that there is no one left to negotiate a surrender, which can end the fighting in the quickest and most orderly way.
We have no idea what might have happened if the U.S. tried to negotiate for the surrender of Baghdad instead of simply rushing in with tanks. Instead of sending a B-1 to try to kill Hussein as U.S. troops approached the city, what if the U.S. had stopped outside and offered to let Hussein and his family go to Syria if he would surrender the city? Maybe he would have surrendered and maybe he would not have, but the U.S. position of unconditional surrender made the chaos following U.S. entry into the city certain. How many hundreds of civilian casualties would have been prevented from such a course? How many thousands of priceless artifacts could have been saved?
No doubt the Pentagon would argue that there is no way that Hussein would ever surrender, but the Pentagon has consistently been wrong on what Hussein would do. They thought he would torch all the Iraqi oil wells, that he would blow up dams to flood the country, destroy bridges everywhere, use chemical weapons and move most of his Republican guard into Baghdad. In fact, none of these things were done. So it is far from certain that a surrender of Baghdad could not have been negotiated. But the Pentagon has shown no interest in negotiation. Even when pentagon planners were predicting Hussein would concentrate troops in Baghdad and force house to house fighting which would cost thousands of civilian deaths, the pentagon repeatedly indicated that it was willing to accept those deaths rather than negotiate with Hussein. A policy which is willing to fight to the last civilian death to avoid "negotiation" with someone American leadership does not like, cannot possibly be defended as moral. But in fact, that was clearly the American policy. The result was not quite that bad, but it was bad enough, and equally indefensible.
Iraqi Regime May Have Tried to Surrender, But U.S. Bombed Instead
According to ABC news, Hussein sent his head of intelligence, Gen. Taher Haboush, to meet and to try to work out a surrender deal with a tribal chieftain who had previously worked with the CIA. After Gen. Haboush left the house of the intermediary, the chieftain apparently tried to get in touch with his CIA contact on a satellite telephone and mentioned the name of Gen Haboush. U.S. military intelligence apparently intercepted the call and sent in an air-strike to bomb the house. ABC reports that the chieftain and 17 of his family members died during the attack, but Gen. Haboush escaped uninjured. The incident reportedly occurred on April 11.
THE INEVITABILITY OF THE WAR AGAINST IRAQ, AND THE GOSPEL OF GEORGE W.
by Seth Farber - lewrockwell.com - Aug 9, 2002
[Seth Farber, PhD, a psychologist, is author of several books, including MADNESS, HERESY AND THE RUMOR OF ANGELS, which contains a foreword by Thomas Szasz.]
... "America has, and intends to keep, military strengths beyond challenge, thereby making the destabilizing arms races of other eras pointless, and limiting rivalries to trade and other pursuits of peace," Bush declared in a an important recent address at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. In other words, American power will make it invulnerable to the risks of attack by other countries or forces - an assertion that is surreal after the events of September 11. This is a strategy for international anarchy, for global self destruction, based on a complete repudiation of all the principles that have been the foundation for international order since the conclusion of WW2.
There are virtually no restraints that the U.S. is willing to accept - a fact that must give other countries cause for consternation. As Iranian President Mohammad Khatami (curiously this Islamic fundamentalist displays a better understanding of international law than the leader of the free world) said, "If such dangerous phenomena (use of force) become an ordinary occurrence, then no government and nation will feel safe from powerful countries."
... The Bush Gospel relies upon force, not law, and as we will see, it is based on a religious faith in American military power that is not even shared by most of the top generals in the military establishment, including the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who are opposed to a war with Iraq on the grounds that it entails unacceptable risks and costs to the lives of Americans and others. The Bush Gospel explains his "unilateralism," his insistence that America constitutes a law unto itself. It explains his willingness to plunge Americans into a war that will result in the death of hundreds, if not thousands of American soldiers, and tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians and, as Pat Buchanan has pointed out, may very well bring about the very war between the West and Islam that Bin Laden was praying for when he sent those airliners into the World Trade Center.
Bush's belief in security through superiority of brute force not only explains his refusal to ratify or his decision to withdraw from virtually all of the significant weapons control treaties that had been negotiated within the last 30 years but it also explains his threat to resort to the first use of nuclear weapons (even upon non-nuclear countries), and his substitution of threats and preemptive wars for the decades old strategy of deterrence.
The revelations of the classified U.S. Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), which was first released in partially unclassified form in January 2002, indicated contingency plans for the potential use of nuclear weapons against at least seven named states. These revelations are sure to have alarmed these governments, and created an atmosphere of mounting risk. The Bush Administration's policy toward nuclear weapons use, combined with its plans to develop and deploy missile defenses - the weaponization of space - is almost certain to encourage the expansion of nuclear weapons programs by Russia and China as well as the development of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction by other countries. It is also likely to give rise to destructive new arms races. But according to the Gospel of Bush, America's military strengths are "beyond challenge" - thus presumably we are invulnerable, as if protected from nuclear attacks by the grace of God, or the NMD. (Is there a difference in Bush's mind?)
... Bush's Gospel did not spring into his mind by divine revelation after September 11. It is based upon planning that began in the early 1990s by many of the men now in Bush Jr's Cabinet, or close advisers - Cheney; Rumsfeld; Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy Secretary of Defense; Richard N. Perle, head of the Defense Policy Board, a Pentagon advisory group, among others (see New Yorker, The Next World Order by Nicholas Lemann, April 1, 2002). A defense strategy was incorporated into a report signed in January, 1993 by Dick Cheney. The primary premise of this strategy is that the United States can attain and maintain permanent global dominance. The power of the men who have been developing these ideas and Bush (who has embraced their strategy) has been enhanced by the events of September 11. (Colin Powell's moderate position has been marginalized.)
... One of the senior officials Lehmann met with told him that the main reason September 11 represents such an opportunity is because it drastically reduced the public's usual resistance to American military involvement overseas. In other words it represents an opportunity to finally overcome the "Vietnam Syndrome." A "preemptive" war on Hussein represents the prize for the Bush Administration - the opportunity to implement a strategic and epochal shift in foreign policy and to impose their new strategy upon America and the world. This official approvingly mentioned to Lehmann a 1999 study by the Triangle Institute for Security Studies, which claimed that the public would tolerate 30,000 American deaths in an effort to prevent Iraq from acquiring weapons of mass destruction. On the basis of his research Lemann concluded in March of 2002 (when the New Yorker went to press) that the Bush Administration was wholly committed to a war to topple Hussein, and he predicted it would take place sometime in early 2003 and require the deployment of a hundred to three hundred thousand American ground troops .
... One person who is not persuaded is Scott Ritter, former UN weapons inspector in Iraq, and a conservative Republican. (See July 26 Znet for summary of Ritter's recent speech.) According to Scott Ritter, who spent seven years in Iraq with the UNSCOM weapons inspection teams performing "acidly detailed" investigations into Iraq's weapons program, no such capability exists. Fearing military retaliation if they hid anything, the Iraqis instituted a policy of full disclosure. Still, Ritter believed nothing they said and tracked everything down. By the time he was finished, Ritter says, he was sure that he and his UNSCOM investigators had stripped Iraq of 90-95% of all their weapons of mass destruction, leaving them with not enough to constitute a significant threat to the U.S.. Therefore, no rationale for a war against Iraq exists. Considering the lives of American soldiers and Iraqi civilians that would be lost in such an endeavor, not to mention the deadly regional destabilization that will ensue, Ritter argues that such a baseless war must be avoided at all costs.
... In June 2002 it was leaked that the CIA had been directed to capture or kill Saddam Hussein. Ritter remarked at the time, 'Now that Bush has specifically authorized American covert-operations forces to remove Hussein, however, the Iraqis will never trust an inspection regime that has already shown itself susceptible to infiltration and manipulation by intelligence services hostile to Iraq, regardless of any assurances the UN secretary-general might give.' (Los Angeles Times, 19 June, 2002) (In the past U.S. weapons inspectors illegally used their positions as a cover for gathering intelligence information about Iraq - a fact widely reported at the time.) As Ritter put it, 'The leaked CIA covert operations plan effectively kills any chance of inspectors returning to Iraq'. It closes 'the last opportunity for shedding light on the true state of affairs regarding any threat in the form of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.' (Los Angeles Times, 19 June, 2002) However Hussein DID attempt to give the U.S. several more chances. These efforts at conciliation began in late June. According to reports in the Financial Times: 'Iraqi officials have sought assurances that the U.S. would call off its planned military campaign if Baghdad co-operated on weapons inspectors.' (FT, July 6, 2002, p. 1) The U.S. refused to respond.
... Common sense alone - not to mention international law - would lead most statesmen to refuse to initiate a war against Iraq since by almost all reckonings it would result in ten of thousands of casualties (on both sides) - unless all other options for containing Iraq had been tried and exhausted. Common sense would lead most people to avoid a war that - following upon the war on Afghanistan, and the Bush's evident partiality towards Israel - will inevitably be seen "on the streets" in the Islamic countries as a war on the Islamic world itself. This common sense view was expressed by the numerous experts who testified at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing. As the New York Times journalist James Dao put it, "an array of experts warned a Senate committee today that an invasion of Iraq would carry significant risks ranging from more terrorist attacks against American targets to higher oil prices." Morton H. Halperin, a senior fellow with the conservative Council on Foreign Relations, told the Committee, "Especially if there is no progress on the Palestinian issue, it is likely that an American military conquest of Iraq will lead many more people in the Arab and Muslim world to choose the path of terror." (New York Times, August 1, 2002)
In other words thousands, if not millions, of Muslims will be recruited to the ranks of Al Qaeda and other Islamic terrorist groups, courtesy of George W. Bush. But Bush and the members of his Administration seem untroubled by the predictions of the experts and indifferent to the counsel of common sense and thus they are prepared to take all Americans on a walk through the valley of the shadow of death - and THEY will fear no evil because our unchallengeable military strengths will protect and comfort them.
... One would have expected that powerful elements within the Democratic Party would have challenged the Strangelovian policies of Bush and Co. But evidently our elected representatives - those who are not themselves true believers in the Bush Gospel - are more disturbed by the prospect of being accused of being unAmerican (as Tom Daschle was by Bush when he made a tepid criticism of his foreign policy) - or losing office - than they are of actually being unAmerican: of supporting actively or by their silence a war that will almost certainly lead to the death of thousands of American soldiers and increase the frequency of terrorist acts upon American citizens. Except for comments made by a few mavericks without much influence (like Ron Paul and Cynthia McKinney) the only salient complaint of our legislators is that they have been snubbed by our Commander in Chief and deprived of the opportunity to contribute to the war effort. Thus the New York Times reported on July 18 that "Democrats and Republicans said there was broad bipartisan support for ousting Mr. Hussein, even if that requires a military invasion if other options fail. But many said they were concerned that the administration was moving toward a major commitment of American troops under a veil of secrecy, with too little consultation with Congress. Members complain that much of what they know comes from news leaks."
Even after the military and other experts argued in leaked statements (see below) and before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, that a war on Iraq would be a disastrous mistake, our representatives continued to assure the Bush Administration that they only want to help it prepare the American people for the slaughter. Thus, after hearing powerful testimony about the dangers and costs of a war from various experts, Senate majority leader Thomas Daschle promised Bush (to quote James Dao's paraphrase) that "Congressional support for an invasion would help the administration build broader support for its Iraqi policies." (New York Times, August 1) There is a glaring disparity between the excoriating criticisms of an Iraqi war presented by the U.S. military, experts on Iraq, leaders of European and Arab countries on the one hand, and the support (occasionally mildly qualified) for the Bush Administration expressed by almost the entire legislative branch of our government.
A closer analysis reveals a whole host of doomsday scenarios that might very well unfold as a result of a war upon Iraq. For example many of U.S. allies in the Arab or Islamic world are totalitarian regimes that are unpopular and unsteady and could easily be toppled by Islamic fundamentalists exploiting the anti-American imperialist sentiment of the masses. An Iranian style Islamic revolution could take place in any number of countries. The military and the ISI (intelligence) in Pakistan, as is well known, is filled with Islamic fundamentalists and Al Qaeda sympathizers. A war against Iraq could shift popular opinion in their favor and they might overthrow General Musharaff, thus becoming the first nuclear power ruled by Islamic fundamentalists. As Pat Buchanan has pointed out (World Net Daily, July 22, 2002) a war against Iraq could trigger coups in Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, or Egypt and create new enemies for the U.S. and new allies to help Iraq fight the Western infidels.
... There is another variable contributing to the likelihood of a war against Iraq: the credibility factor. James R. Schlesinger, a member of the Defense Policy Board that advises the Pentagon who held senior cabinet posts in Republican and Democratic administrations told the New York Times (July 30, 2002) that he believed that the president, after taking into account the risks and costs would opt for a significant ground presence in Iraq. "My view is that given all we have said as a leading world power about the necessity of regime change in Iraq," Mr.Schlesinger said, "means that our credibility would be badly damaged if that regime change did not take place." Credibility is one of the primary motives for U.S. foreign policy as analyzed by Noam Chomsky, who frequently explains, "If you want to know what credibility means, ask any Mafia Don." In Gabriel Kolko's book Century of War, he wrote, "Perhaps the single most recurrent justification that leaders of major powers have evoked for risking wars evolved from their belief that their credibility, which allegedly created fear among potential enemies and thereby constrained their actions, depended on their readiness to use force even when the short-term rationality for violence was very much in doubt," he writes. This led to disastrous results for Austria in World War I, Japan in World War II, and the United States in Vietnam, he noted.
... The stakes are greater today. After all the Soviet Union was far more predictable than the Islamic fundamentalists whom Bush seems intent upon antagonizing. And the obstacles we face are greater. During the early 1980s there were many Congresspersons and Senators who backed the Nuclear Freeze. Today the left stands alone with only the American public to appeal to for assistance in its effort to stop the Bush drive to war. Furthermore unlike the Nuclear Freeze activists, the anti-war movement today is mired in a identifiably left "peace and justice" rhetoric that however noble only insulates it from the American population. Popular sentiment is against a war on Iraq because most people realize that Bush's policies threaten our survival - even people who voted for Bush and otherwise support him.
According to interviews the New York Times conducted in Scottsdale, Arizona, a upscale Phoenix suburb and Bush stronghold, "Democrats and political independents interviewed were nearly unanimous in their opposition to an invasion, and most Republicans felt the same way. "These are the people in whose name the Emperor claims to be acting when he says "this country will defend freedom no matter what the cost." It turns out they don't want to pay with their lives or that of their children to defend Bush's concept of freedom. Cindy Morrow, manager of a shoe store here and a Republican, expressed a common fear among the interviewees that a war with Iraq could widen anti-American sentiment and incite further attacks against the United States. "To me, it's really scary," said Ms. Morrow. "War really opens up a can of worms for us. You don't know where it will go next, whether it could lead to a third world war or what. My son is 13, my daughter is 8. It worries me to think about what's ahead for them. I don't know how you solve these things, but there have to be other ways than war, fighting and all this craziness."
Many questioned whether Bush's motives really had to do with eradicating terrorism. Tom Meaker, a lifelong Republican, supporter of George W. Bush, and former Marine officer in Vietnam said, "I've got to believe that George [W.] Bush, like everybody else, is the sum of a lot of parts. He is his father's son, and like any son, he wants to make his dad proud. Sept. 11 gave him the excuse to focus on something....How many dictators are there? How many terrible places are there? There are so many places to go, so why are we going to commit ourselves to this one?" Patricia Giordano, an elementary school teacher and a Republican, who recently moved to Scottsdale from Rutherford, NJ, agreed. "We have a million other things to think about," Ms. Giordano said. "Why stir this up again? Besides, no matter what we do, nothing is going to change. I don't know what the solution is, but we can't just bomb places and think that's going to take care of everything."
The antiwar forces must put aside for special occasions for the next few months their favorite anti-imperialist anti-racist slogans and appeal directly to Americans' instinct for survival. The anti-war coalitions that exist at present are too self-consciously "leftist," whereas they need to become survivalist - just like the Nuclear Freeze Movement was in its day. It is probably too late to stop a war on Iraq given the absence of any significant legislative opposition - and the absence of a mass movement prepared to take to the streets. But if we begin building now on the basis of survivalist slogans we should be able to mobilize enough people to get several millions to demonstrate in Washington, DC, by the time the bombs start dropping, we should be able to get anti-war candidates elected to the legislature this November, and we should be able to get Bush out of office and an anti-war candidate elected as President by 2004 - hopefully in time to prevent a third world war.
CATHOLICS, IRAQ, AND JUST WAR
by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. - July 18, 2000
[This article first ran in The Wanderer. Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., is president of the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama. He also edits a daily news site, LewRockwell.com.]
When does war accord with justice? When does it not? No philosophical system is better equipped to deal with these most profound of political questions than Catholicism. Long before the advent of "Catholic social teaching" - an unfortunate phrase that implies a chasm between individual morality and political systems - there were the political writings of St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, and the Late Scholastics. One jewel of these writings is the doctrine of Just War.
To pacifists the phrase Just War sounds like an absurdity.
How can mass killing and maiming, the very essence of war, ever accord with justice? In fact, there are times when it is necessary, just as self defense and defense of one's family and community are morally necessary. But to meet the demands of justice, war and the tactics and weapons of war must first submit to moral examination.
To militarists too, the phrase Just War sounds highly suspicious. Why can't nation states defend their interests around the globe through any means necessary? Because that way lies moral corruption and chaos. War is the health of the state and the state is the greatest earthly enemy that the faith has confronted in the long history of Christianity. God's kingdom is not of this world, but states have shown a propensity to try to establish themselves as gods, especially in the modern era.
So there must be restraints on states, particularly on their power to make war. These restraints must be based on Christian moral teaching, and they must also be embodied in the legal structures of nations, including that of international law, a product of centuries of Catholic jurisprudence.
The desire to avoid war is a fundamental idea in the Christian view of politics, just as the romanticization of war is a pagan one that reflects a disregard for the sanctity of life.
What makes a just war? Every Catholic Encyclopedia spells it out. It must be defensive and never aggressive. It must be the last resort, undertaken after all possible means of negotiating a peace have been exhausted. It must be conducted by legitimate authority. The means used must be proportional to the actual threat. There must be a good chance of winning (no sending soldiers to their death for no purpose). After the fighting is over, there may be no acts of vengeance.
Finally, and extremely important in our own century: no military action can be undertaken that seriously threatens civilians (much less deliberately aims at them as in Hiroshima and Nagasaki). There's a word for targeting civilians: murder. Wars are for soldiers, not non-combatants, and if all these conditions are met, war may be undertaken in good conscience (though no one can be obligated to participate).
Now for a test. What if Bill Clinton decides to bomb Iraq because Saddam Hussein doesn't want Americans to be part of the UN inspection team? Would Clinton be justified in ordering a bombing? Clearly not. It would not be a defensive action; indeed what goes on in Iraq is none of our government's business, unless its business is defined in messianic terms. Not all means of peace have been exhausted (indeed, the U.S.'s continued economic sanctions are warfare by another means), bombing would be disproportional (you don't kill someone for allegedly insulting you), and innocent civilians would surely die.
Consider what the U.S. has been responsible for thus far in Iraq. Not only has the U.S. boycott kept food and medicine from getting into the country. Not only have the trade sanctions prevented average Iraqis from making any kind of life for themselves or even feeding their children. But the U.S. deliberately bombed sewage treatment plants around the country to poison the water supply with deadly bacteria. Credible estimates suggest that more than a million people, half of them children, have died of dysentery and other preventable diseases, as well as of malnutrition and starvation, since the end of the /war\ [1991 Gulf War].
By any standard of what constitutes a Just War, the hands of U.S. policy makers are unclean. That is precisely why John Paul II gave allocution after allocution in opposition to the prospect and the reality of the Gulf War. It wasn't some vague attachment to the Arab world that animated these speeches, or some naive view of the intentions of Saddam Hussein. The ["]Holy Father["] wasn't just playing a role as a "man of peace," saying the kinds of things you expect to hear from a spiritual leader, and then can ignore. It was Catholic theology and ethical teaching, specifically as it applies to warfare, that was behind those statements, so widely ignored or condemned in this country. After the carnage, all of it unnecessary, we know he was exactly right to warn of the disasters that the Gulf War would engender. The Pope has also been eloquent in criticizing the post-war sanctions as unjust measures aimed at innocent civilians.
Just War doctrine wasn't so widely ignored at one point [in] U.S. history. During the Civil War, Tom Woods of Columbia University has [recently] pointed out, Catholic newspapers in the North editorialized on behalf of the South, the region that fought with a just cause in mind, first for the principle of subsidiarity, and then to protect homes and property from invading Union troops. Slavery has long been discouraged by Catholic teaching, but Just War doctrine could not be violated to abolish it.
That is, the greater evil - war - could not be used to end a lesser evil. Slavery should have been discontinued, as it was in all other countries except Haiti, by peaceful means.
It was a Catholic sensibility that led Irish immigrants to massively resist the wartime draft in New York, and a Catholic sensibility that led a Catholic priest to become the Poet Laureate of the Confederate States of America.
As Murray Rothbard argued in The Costs of War (Transaction, 1997), the South was justified in resisting invasion, and its efforts in that cause entirely accorded with Just War doctrine. It's no wonder Catholics here and abroad - for instance Lord Acton - took the Southern side. Acton's moving letter to Robert E. Lee after Appomattox is a stirring defense of what Acton called the "Principles of Montgomery," named after the first capit[o]al of the Confederacy, and an accurate prediction of where Northern militarism and imperialism would lead America.
In World War I, Catholic Irish and German immigrants were widely considered traitorous to the cause of the American empire. Why? Because they refused to back a global war in the name of the god "democracy," especially when the subtext of that war was the supposed theological mandate to overthrow of the last surviving monarchies (particularly, the Catholic Habsburgs). Catholics suffered vicious treatment at the hands of the Wilson administration, headed by a life-long Catholic hater. They were jailed on the slightest suspicion of insufficient war-patriotism, and forced to recite a pledge to the U.S. flag - authored by a socialist New York minister - that declared the union to be indivisible by order of God.
It wasn't some mystical loyalty to the "old country" that led Catholics - both in the pews and in the hierarchy - to oppose entry into World War I. It was the reality that this country wasn't being attacked or threatened, despite the Lusitania trick, and therefore the war failed the very first tenet of Just War doctrine: a war must be defensive.
It was a morally based opposition inspired by an Augustinian and Thomist philosophical legacy; this anti-war Catholicism confronted a wild-eyed, pro-war, post-millennial form of Protestant Progressivism, embodied in the mind of Woodrow Wilson. It had also been embodied in the mind of Lincoln, who thrilled to the chilling "Battle Hymn of the Republic," in which Our Lord is depicted as joyously killing Southerners through His chosen instrument, the Northern Army.
In the inter-war period, however, there was a just war, because it was eminently defensive. American Catholics prayed for the forces of Francisco Franco as they defended Spain against the monstrous central government. Of course, Franklin D. Roosevelt and his ally Stalin supported the Communists. To this day, the U.S. government and its mouthpieces like the New York Times still herald the appropriately named Lincoln Brigade of New York Communists who went to Spain to help kill priests and nuns.
But as World War II approached, it is no surprise that Catholic priests, intellectuals, and politicians led the movement for non-intervention. By the same token, notes Patrick Allitt (Catholic Intellectuals, 1993), in contrast to those cheering on all aspects of the war, "Catholic journals in the war years never waxed effusive about the Soviet Union, Stalin, or communism, despite the Grand Alliance." Once again accused of subversion (Italians were particularly targeted, and even put in concentration camps), Catholics had to prove their loyalty to the U.S. state by putting the flag of the federal government in every parish. It remains to this day, to "balance" the banner of the Vicar of Christ.
The tendency of American Catholics to oppose American adventures abroad remained a constant theme until the onset of the Cold War. Despite moral qualms associated with raising up an imperial military bureaucracy to threaten nuclear war on a global scale, it was deemed necessary because of the sheer scale and degree of evil of the foe: atheistic communism. Whether or not that was the right decision, or carried out in a proper way, it clearly took a threat on this level for Catholics to set aside their traditional concerns about the uses and abuses of the military power.
Indeed, even as against communism, Catholics were initially strong supporters of the efforts of Senator Joseph McCarthy to rid our own government of communists, not fight a global crusade under the command of anti-Christian social democrats.
Even at the height of the Cold War, John XXIII and the U.S. Bishops raised moral concerns about the use of nuclear weapons. As the Pope and the Bishops pointed out, a nuclear bomb might rightly be regarded as intrinsically evil because it cannot discriminate between soldiers and civilians. In fact, these weapons were designed to wipe out entire cities and could potentially extinguish life on the planet. This is a terrifying and even demonic tool.
With the Cold War over, and the U.S. government still on the global rampage with troops in 100 countries, it is again time to put the spotlight on the doctrine of the Just War. Catholics have a moral responsibility to light the way out of this century of war and destructionism into a time of peaceful cooperation among nations. This is why John Paul II has been such a consistent voice for peace, and why so many Catholics have joined the effort to rein in the messianic ambitions of the new godless threat, our very own government.
There is no threat from abroad that compares with the danger that the federal government represents to our property, our families, our schools, our parishes, and the peaceful practice of our faith. It is not only a danger to us, but to everyone around the world who desires to live in peace.
What is the financial force behind the global proliferation of weapons of mass destruction? What is the institutional force behind the continued subsidization of abortion and birth control here and around the world? **Whose military bases are surrounded by nude bars and prostitution, at home and abroad? Which government continues to prop up and subsidize anti-Christian regimes abroad and promote policies, as in Bosnia, that bring about wars against Christian peoples?
The culprit is not in Baghdad, but in Washington, D.C. That is why every American Catholic has a moral obligation to be aware of the danger the U.S. imperium represents, to resist its encroachments so far as he is able, and to pray for its end. As a first step, the sanctions on the people of Iraq must be lifted.
by Jack Duggan - lewrockwell.com - Aug 15, 2003
The People's Daily Chinese News site is reporting that on August 8, 2003, a secret Pentagon meeting was held outside Omaha, Nebraska, to develop "smaller, more effective special nuclear weapons." The Chinese are alarmed that this would "...exert great impact on the CTBT (Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty), for the treaty aims to restrict the development and testing of new-type nuclear weapons conducted by related countries."
Think of all the money the U.S. spends on weapons delivery platforms, from SSBN submarines with Trident C4 & D5 MIRV missiles, to stealth B2 bombers and other cruise missile launchers that must go within 1,000 nautical miles or so of the target. Billions and billions of dollars.
Now think how the British learned from the Colonists who hid behind trees and won the war of rebellion against their 'superior' combat forces. Today, British troops fight just like Americans, because there are no rules. "The only way is no way," said Bruce Lee, who is still centuries ahead of his time.
We might consider that the U.S., like Britain, has learned from terrorists. In the modern lesson, Muslim fanatics are widely rumored to be sneaking suitcase nukes into America to detonate inside cities and military targets. Searching for such devices is a logistical nightmare.
We can speculate that [it] is not a great leap of Pentagon imagination to plant a higher-yield suitcase nuke anywhere in a foreign city hostile or potentially hostile to U.S. interests, then perhaps even years later send the 'launch codes' directly to it, wiping out that city. No muss, no fuss. No billion-dollar middleman SSBN or B2. No fifteen-minute warning. And think of all the money that could be saved.
It's no wonder that China is alarmed. To their way of thinking, the U.S. already has the means and the motive. All it needs is the opportunity.
Looking down the road, we can imagine every major city on earth with scores of suitcase thunder-eggs nesting in its dusty basements, all from different governments with different agendas but with the exact same solution for political problems: death to dissent.
When is this madness going to end? Probably never. Even if we all destroy ourselves by hatching thousands of eggs, the few survivors will only raise up to do it all over again.
Luke 18 says that "...when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" But I am now forced to think further of a new world using hidden shortcut nuclear weapons, that ... when Jesus [returns], will he find any humans at all.
DIVISION & DIVERSION AMONG US
POWER WINS WHAT?
by Bob Murphy - lewrockwell.com - Jan 10, 2004
[Bob Murphy is author of ECONOMICS FOR REAL PEOPLE, & see www.BobMurphy.net.]
I have spent several articles (1, 2 , and 3) on this site harping on the fact that so far, no weapons of mass destruction have turned up in Iraq, even though our official reason for invading was their removal. In particular, I focused on the tactics of Bush's neoconservative cheerleaders, who slowly morphed their defense of the Administration's policies so that a lack of WMD was no longer a liability. I think I documented this phenomenon quite clearly at the time, but like someone who can't stop his tongue from playing with a canker sore, I can't help myself from commenting on John O'Sullivan's December 30 editorial, "Power Wins."
(Before I get going, let's just stop and ponder that title. Are the National Review guys trying to be cute and put a spin on Lord Acton's famous aphorism? I.e., I have a horrifying suspicion that the NR guys are saying, "You've heard that power corrupts, but we're here to tell you that actually, power wins!" If so, I can stop my analysis right here: these are the type of people who go to the theater and yell at Frodo to stop being so stupid and use the Ring to kill bad guys.)
Anyway, O'Sullivan is very pleased with the capture of Saddam and Khaddafi's newfound contrition. Furthermore, "both events were unquestionably triumphs for the president."
As such they posed considerable difficulties of interpretation for Mr. Bush's rivals and critics such as the Democrats or the "Europeans." It was just about possible for them to maintain through forced smiles and clenched teeth that Saddam's capture was welcome but politically irrelevant since others were now leading the "resistance" in Iraq.
Okay, before we continue, let me help the reader out: I think O'Sullivan is putting the word Europeans in quotation marks (and he does this throughout the article) because he wants to show that, say, just because millions of French or German people hate George Bush with a passion and think he's trying to take over the world, from this it doesn't follow that "Europeans" are critical of U.S. policy. Second, by putting the word resistance in quotation marks (and again, he does this more than once in the article), I think O'Sullivan wants us to recognize that when Iraqis do whatever they can to hinder a foreign occupying army, this is in no way comparable to the French citizens who engaged in sabotage and other more violent actions in order to hinder the occupying Nazis during World War II. You see, the latter group were valiant members of a legitimate resistance, whereas the former are thugs who hate retail stores and bicameral legislatures (hence the quotation marks).
O'Sullivan then gets to the heart of the matter:
__[The capitulation of Khaddafi] is incontestably relevant to the politics of the Iraqi war. For it justifies one of the main arguments for the Iraq war - namely, the so-called "Bush doctrine" of pre-emptive intervention against rogue states seeking to acquire weapons of mass destruction...
Much scorn has been poured on the Bush doctrine on the grounds that the inspectors have thus far found no WMDs in Iraq. What they have found, of course, is evidence that the regime was creating the scientific and technical capacity to manufacture WMDs. And that is quite enough justification for intervention.
Actually, Mr. O'Sullivan, the reason "Europeans" and others were so angry about the lack of WMD in Iraq was that it proved that Bush et al. either lied through their teeth during the months leading up to war, or that their intelligence was horribly inaccurate. As I documented clearly in an earlier LRC article (the third one linked above), President Bush did not say to the American people, "Saddam may soon have dangerous weapons, so we need to invade in order to prevent him from making them."
On the contrary, President Bush and his minions told the world in no uncertain terms that Saddam already had weapons of mass destruction. That's why he ended his State of the Union case for war by declaring (to much applause), "We will consult, but let there be no misunderstanding: If Saddam Hussein does not fully disarm for the safety of our people, and for the peace of the world, we will lead a coalition to disarm him."
Let me address a related point. Several pro-war people have bombarded me with emails linking to news articles purporting to prove that Saddam had links to terrorist groups, and that he dispersed his actual WMDs on the eve of the U.S. invasion.
Okay, even if that's true, then that means our invasion achieved the exact opposite of its intended results. Remember what the war hawks said in response to the argument that Saddam, though evil, was rational and would not launch a nuclear, biological, or chemical attack on the United States? The war hawks came back and said, "That's very na´ve. Saddam doesn't need to directly use those weapons himself. He will surreptitiously supply groups like Al Qaeda who will then use the weapons on Western targets."
So, if we assume for the sake of argument that Saddam really did have WMDs and got rid of them right before we invaded, then that means our invasion was still an abject failure, even on the war hawks' own terms. (Hence the title of this article - power wins what? Elections?)
Now that I'm ranting, let me point out something else. Didn't the nature of Saddam's capture bother the war hawks? Remember, this guy is supposed to be today's Hitler. But if memory serves, Adolf Hitler wasn't arrested by Allied soldiers. No, like the paranoid megalomaniac that he was, he killed himself (and his lady friend) rather than being captured by bourgeois and communist lackeys.
But what happened with Saddam? Even though he was apparently armed, he didn't try to take out any U.S. soldiers and go down fighting. On the contrary, he allegedly said, "I am the President of Iraq and I want to negotiate." Clearly the words of a madman plotting to start World War III.
O'Sullivan goes on in his article to explain that Khaddafi's new attitude is due to the example of Saddam. This is no doubt true to some extent. If I were the leader of a rogue nation and saw that the American people didn't really care whether their leader's reasons for taking over another country turned out to be true or false, I too would get very nervous.
But I'm not sure that I would quickly change my ways, importing blue jeans and asking Alan Greenspan for advice on monetary policy. I would think, "All along Saddam denied that he had WMDs, and from the looks of it he might have been telling the truth. Nonetheless the U.S. invaded Iraq. At the exact same time, my man Kim Jong Il did everything he could to tell the world he was developing WMDs and would attack if provoked, and now the U.S. is negotiating an aid package to North Korea. Hmmm..."
"VIETNAM SYNDROME" IS ALIVE AND THRIVING
by Mark Weisbrot - lewrockwell.com - Jan 26, 2002
Politicians and journalists have interpreted widespread support for the military actions in Afghanistan as a significant shift in Americans' attitudes toward war. In the weeks following the massacre of September 11, Vice President Dick Cheney described the crowd's reaction to a speech he made in New York: "There wasn't a dove in the room," he said with a smile.
This isn't the first time in the post-Vietnam era that our leaders have made such pronouncements. "By God, we've kicked the Vietnam syndrome once and for all," President George Bush the First declared in 1991, in the wake of the Persian Gulf War.
But their words are starkly contradicted by their own actions. In every military action since Vietnam, our politicians and generals have been extremely reluctant to risk American military casualties. In the Persian Gulf War, there were more soldiers killed in training and accidents (including "friendly fire") than at the hands of enemy troops. In the war over Kosovo we did not lose even a single pilot.
The murder of thousands of civilians in the worst terrorist action ever on American soil seems not to have changed this part of the "Vietnam syndrome" at all. The U.S. military has fought this war, like the others, from the air. Our planes now bomb from altitudes so high that they cannot even be seen by the fighters and civilians below.
When it came time to search the caves of Tora Bora for Osama and his friends, U.S. officials started talking about "the right mix of incentives" (money, weapons) to get Afghans to do the job.
From the safety and calm of their armchairs and op-ed pages, pundits have argued vehemently that American troops should take on these tasks. But this isn't likely to happen any time soon.
What our politicians fear, but nobody wants to talk about, are the political consequences of American casualties. This is not because Americans are lacking in courage; as the heroic actions of the firefighters and others at the site of the World Trade Center showed, there is no shortage of people who are willing to risk their lives for the sake of their fellow citizens.
But since Vietnam, there has been a widespread mistrust of American foreign policy. During the war, we were told that we were helping the Vietnamese - saving them and the world from communism. This turned out to be a huge lie, with terrible consequences. Millions discovered that the United States was really fighting a dirty colonial war that the French had abandoned.
Recent revelations have only reinforced this mistrust, as well as the worst picture imaginable of that war: the atrocities committed by former Senator Bob Kerrey, for example, or historian Michael Beschloss's analysis of President Lyndon Johnson's tapes, showing that he knew as early as 1965 that the war in Vietnam could not be won - yet continued to send tens of thousands of Americans to die there.
In the post-Vietnam era, Washington has mainly contracted out the dirty work - mass murder in Guatemala and El Salvador, or trying to overthrow the government of Nicaragua in the 1980s. But whether the U.S. military was directly involved - as it was in the invasions of Grenada and Panama, the Persian Gulf War and Kosovo - or not, it is a sordid record. In general, U.S. officials lied about the purpose of their interventions, and none of them had much to do with U.S. national security.
For these reasons, public support for the "War on Terrorism" is miles wide but only an inch deep. Our political leaders want to use this crusade the way they used the "War Against Communism," and more recently, the "War on Drugs" in Colombia: as an excuse for the violence and brutality that are necessary to police a worldwide empire.
It remains to be seen how much of this they can get away with, or whether they will expand the current war to countries such as Iraq, Somalia, Iran or elsewhere. But they know one thing very well: they cannot allow the U.S. casualty count to rise very high before people begin to question their motives.
This "Vietnam syndrome" will not be reversed. It is a permanent change in American consciousness, like those that followed the abolition of slavery or the victories - however partial and incomplete - of the civil rights movement. What will fade, eventually, is our leaders' addiction to empire. But when that goes, America will not have much need for foreign military adventures.
WE CAN'T WIN THIS WAY
by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. - lewrockwell.com - Oct 19, 2001
The government cannot win its war against terrorism, at least as it is currently being pursued. The terrorists will always outsmart the central planners in DC, now and until the end of time. First the terrorists used a commercial airliner as a bomb, now they send anthrax-laced letters, and what's next nobody can know or anticipate, but the fears are running wild. Insurers are so terrified that they are bailing out of the World Cup and the Winter Olympics.
At every step, the response by government has been predictably bad. Ex post, it punishes the innocent, because they are easiest to get to, with mandatory and costly inconveniences, none of which would have stopped previous terror attacks, to say nothing of preventing future attacks. Meanwhile, under the cover of emergency, the government attacks rights previously considered sacred.
But nothing the U.S. government is capable of doing - whether it's shutting down the mails, grounding all planes, reading all our email, or wiping whole countries off the map - will make the difference. The U.S. military will not defeat terrorism this way, and the Office of Homeland Security will not protect us from the Pentagon's failure.
As soon as the entire U.S. population suits up in anthrax-proof suits and gas masks (now advertised in the New York Times), a new method will be found. Use your imagination. There's no limit to the chaos that sheer malice can cause.
The more the government does in response, the more our sense of insecurity will grow. This follows the general principle that government can't do anything right, not even those things that many believe it is supposed to do, like provide security. Not even maximum security prisons can ultimately prevent riots if the prisoners have decided that they have nothing to lose.
Consider the obvious: In the strategy laid out by George Bush, he theorized that punishing terror with war would reduce it. For two weeks the government has punished terror by dropping weapons of mass destruction on Afghanistan. Are the terrorists deterred? If anything, the opposite is true. They are emboldened, radicalized, more intensely committed than ever. As they become ever more creative, they are going to revel in how they can outsmart the government.
We should not really be surprised at this result. Every modern war was supposed to have been the war that ended war. Recall that when George Bush's father drove Iraq out of Kuwait, it was supposed to send a message that aggression will never be tolerated.
To make sure that Iraq got the message, right at the end of the war, the feds bombed all the water-purification and sewage-treatment plants, to spread disease, imposed a ten-year embargo (on medicine, food, and parts to repair broken water-purification and sewage-treatment machinery, among other things), and stationed troops in Saudi Arabia. These actions, which led to incredible death and suffering, gave birth to a hatred that knows no bounds.
The Iraq war didn't eliminate aggression but instead spawned more. In the same way, the wars against poverty, smoking, illiteracy, and crime all increased the very thing targeted. It is one of the great paradoxes of government that we never seem to anticipate, a fact which makes it no less true.
The government cannot do what it sets out to do because it is a monolithic bureaucracy that bobbles everything it tries. In the war against terror, it is battling private, quicksilver activists driven by hatred and uncircumscribed by a library of regulations and mandates.
No matter how many resources government has at its disposal, it lacks the key tools to accomplish the job: flexibility, insight, and the incentive and ability to anticipate the future. The U.S. will forever be "Striking Back," but never anticipating and thereby preventing the next unpredictable attack.
Because the proven perpetrators in September 11 are all dead, the objective of the U.S. government is to kill Osama bin Laden and punish governments that support him. But does anyone really believe that this is going to take care of the problem? Bin Laden doesn't control people like puppets. Those acting on his behalf have free will. Even if they didn't, there will be other bin Ladens, and they will multiply exponentially.
I am not counseling despair, just realism. The immediate response comes: "well, we have to do something!" Yes, we do. That something is to recognize that coercion and bombings are not going to work, and instead try freedom and peace, starting with free trade with Iraq.
The embargo has reduced a country that once had high living standards and a thriving middle class to a state of total barbarism. It has done nothing but entrench Saddam's despotic rule, in the same way that the terrorism has strengthened the hand of government here at home.
This war has so far followed the general pattern from the whole of human history: what begins in the interruption of trade ends in invasion and destruction. Along with permitting trade, we should address a major sore spot and pull the troops out of Saudi Arabia.
What's to lose? The option is to have the U.S. government continue to tighten its iron grip over the American people in the name of protecting us while it makes life ever more dangerous for all of us. With or without terrorism, changing policy is the right thing to do.
There is no way to preserve freedom at home while the government wages war abroad. Those who cheer on the war while regretting the imposition of despotism at home are engaged in an impossible intellectual balancing act. The proof is all around us. The war won't reduce terrorism, and pretending otherwise makes us less free and less secure.
APPLYING NATURAL LAW TO IRAQ
by Bob Wallace - lewrockwell.com - Sep 9, 2002
I believe in Natural Law. Law is discovered, not created. This applies not only to physical laws, such as the law of gravity, but also to the laws of economics, society, war, and human nature.
Apparently our coming war with Iraq is a done deal. Let's apply some Natural Law and see what we come up with.
A big strong country with a big strong military will always beat a little weak country with a little weak military.
Iraq is already one-third conquered as it is. After ten years of blockade, I don't believe they'll offer much resistance. The 22 Islamic countries in the world have a combined GNP (excluding oil) slightly less than that of Spain. Iraq has a GNP the size of South Carolina.
The invasion may not be exactly a "cakewalk," but it'll be close. A lot more of them will die than us. Most of "them" that die will be innocent.
Slave soldiers are no soldiers at all.
__The conscripted slave soldiers in Iraq's army will surrender by the thousands, if we let them. It's what they did the first time, when they were surrendering to TV news crews. They don't want to die for a nut like Saddam Hussein.
Democracy is ... government that will always collapse.
__After we conquer Iraq, what exactly are we going to do with it? Try to impose the silly and dangerous leftist dream of "democracy" on it? I doubt most of them know what "democracy" means ("It means..uh...it means...freedom! And, uh, jobs! Yeah, that's it! Freedom and jobs!") Even most Americans don't understand what it means. Self-rule? What exactly is that? The rule of the majority over the minority? The rule of organized special-interest groups busy trying to steal everyone else's money? Iraq is a country that has no understanding of "self-rule" in the slightest. Because of this...
__When one country conquers another, it will be there a long time.
Because it will be trying to set up a stable government that will be no threat to the conquerors. Har har! Right now the "President" of Afghanistan has the American military as his Praetorian bodyguards because other Afghanis are trying to kill him.
Conquered countries are a financial drain on the conquerors.
__I've never understood Empire. In the history of the world, not one colony has ever been a financial benefit to the conqueror. Not one. They've always sucked more treasure from the conqueror than they've given back.
Now maybe certain people will benefit. I think it's pretty obvious that an armchair-general chickenhawk warmongering coward like Dick Cheney will make out like a bandit on the oil money from Iraq. But the American public? They'll just expend their blood and treasure on a country halfway around the world.
It's a lot easier to conquer than occupy.
__If we're big and strong, and they're little and weak, conquering is easy. But occupying is a whole different ballgame, because...
__Guerilla warfare is the only way a weak occupied country can fight back against its conqueror.
__Guerilla warfare is the Achilles' Heel of any occupying army. We forced the British out during the Revolutionary War through guerilla warfare, and Zionists forced the British out in Palestine the same way.
It's not possible to tell a guerilla from the innocent. A guerilla may be a cabdriver by day, then sneak into the woods at night and shoot an enemy soldier in the head. Then he goes home, goes to sleep and drives his taxi the next day.
Because of this, the only way to completely put a stop to guerilla warfare is to...
__And we're not going to do that.
What's probably going to happen is the U.S. government is going to conquer Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia. We're going to be there for years, expending the American public's blood and treasure. The U.S. military will have to tolerate casualties from guerilla warfare. But in the long-run...
Empires always withdraw.
__In the history of the world, not one Empire hasn't collapsed or withdrawn from the territories it occupies. They have destroyed themselves economically trying to run the Empire. They resorted to ruinous inflation, or destructive deficit spending. Either way, it ended up collapsing the Empire.
So either we can withdraw now, or we can withdraw later. Of course we will withdraw later, because...
__The state is evil and stupid.
DOING AL QAEDA'S DIRTY WORK FOR THEM
by Bob Wallace - lewrockwell.com - Feb 13, 2003
So now we've supposedly got a tape by bin Laden, who I believe is as dead as Elvis, in which he calls on Muslims to show solidarity with the Iraqi people in the face of a U.S. invasion. The administration pounced on this like Sylvester on Tweety, claiming it proved a link between bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said the tape "underscores what the president and Secretary Powell have said about al Qaeda linking up with Iraq."
I've got a better explanation. Al Qaeda wants the U.S. to invade Iraq. Some of the European countries, such as France and Germany, are trying to derail a U.S. invasion. Russia doesn't want an invasion, either.
But al Qaeda does. Saddam Hussein is an atheist who believes only in himself, and a secular dictator sitting on top of an ocean of oil. They want to make sure there is an invasion to get rid of Hussein, and what better way than to claim there really is a link between Hussein and al Qaeda? This way, the U.S. will invade, kill Hussein and all his buddies, and take over Iraq. We'll be getting rid of Hussein for al Qaeda. Then, ten years down the road, the U.S. pulls out, and al Qaeda takes over the place and installs a fundamentalist regime. Then they'll have hundreds of billions of dollars from the oil.
All of this are just some basic tactics in Sun Tzu's The Art of War. The first tactic is, "All warfare is based on deception." Then we have, "Hold out baits to lure the enemy," like flying airplanes into skyscrapers. Another is to make him fight on many fronts, like Afghanistan and Iraq. Still another is to make it a long war to impoverish the enemy's citizens.
Another one is to win battles without firing a shot ("those skilled in war subdue the enemy's army without battle"). Like getting the U.S. to get rid of Hussein for them.
Are the people in the administration so stupid that this hasn't occurred to them? I suspect they aren't, and it has. I also suspect they don't care, because they are so arrogant they believe that nothing can stop them. Sun Tzu had a comment about that, too - "if he is arrogant, try to encourage his egotism."
The United States has turned into an empire. It's getting bigger, too. But, all empires fall. They always withdraw. Are the neocons so stupid they don't know this? I suspect that in the case of the United States they don't believe it. They apparently think the U.S. is going to be the one exception in the history of the world.
The word for this kind of arrogance is Hubris. And Hubris is always followed by Nemesis.
Let's see what happens ten years down the road, after the U.S. invades and conquers most of the Islamic world. Invading is one thing...occupying is another.
THE BRAIN OF THE CHICKENHAWK
by Bob Wallace - lewrockwell.com -May 27, 2003
I used to wonder how to define cowardice. I don't anymore. Cowardice is not running away when you're scared. Everyone has a breaking point. I'd never hold it against anyone if he ran. Under the right circumstances, I'd run. Right time, right place, everyone would.
Cowardice is when people insist that others fight while they won't fight themselves. To use the phrase popular today, they're armchair-warrior chickenhawks. Want some names? Rush Limbaugh, William Kristol, Max Boot, Jonah Goldberg, Dick Cheney. Every one of them went out of his way to avoid military service, yet now urges - no, insists! - others to fight and die.
Limbaugh is one of the more amusing of the chickenhawk cowards, since the persistent rumor is that he declined military service during Vietnam by claiming he had a cyst on his butt. How can he not be embarrassed about this? Yet recently on his program he was calling the generals in Iraq "George McClellans" for not moving fast enough for his taste.
George McClellan was a Civil War general who was reluctant to send his soldiers into battle, claiming he needed more men, training and materiel. Yet the eternal combat virgin Limbaugh, sitting on his former cyst and thousands of miles from the front, possesses the ignorance, arrogance and cowardice to try to direct military operations from behind a microphone.
Then we have Dick Cheney, who avoided Vietnam with five deferments, claiming he had "other priorities." Sounds like he was almost hysterical about not joining the military.
These men are deserving of nothing but contempt. They're cowards, all of them. They think they are so intellectually and morally superior to everyone else that it gives them the right to reduce other people to the status of things. That's why they can so casually send others to die, while they won't fight. They think they're indispensable, but believe those they urge to die are expendable.
The graveyards are full of people who thought they were indispensable.
If anyone's expendable, it's these neocon armchair-warrior chickenhawk cowards. Removed from power - which will happen someday, when people finally see through them - life in the U.S., and the world, will improve.
These people's problem, ultimately, is hubris, which I believe is the basis of almost all crime, and is a crime itself. Hubris is one thinking he is so grandiose it gives him the right to run roughshod over the rights of others. People afflicted with hubris believe, to repeat what I just wrote, that "they are so intellectually and morally superior to everyone else it gives them the right to reduce other people to the status of things." Hubris is thinking you're indispensable.
Hubris is an old sin, not only the worst but probably the first. It's the sin of Satan, who thought he should be God and didn't mind killing anyone who got in his way. Do the people in the current administration think they are god-like? If they don't, why are they so hell-bent on sending others to fight and die while they won't go themselves?
How do these people turn out like this? Is this what power and privilege does to the weak? Is this what happens when the na´ve and innocent gain political power? Is it what happens when people don't grow up?
Sometimes I think that Robert Bly had it right. Bly a dozen or so years ago wrote a book called Iron John, about the lack of modern initiation rights for males. In some ways it's a vague, meandering book written by a much-too-chatty poet, but his main point is right on the mark: these days there are no initiation rites for young men.
In the past, in nearly every culture, these rites were performed at the age of 12, initiating the boy into manhood. Today, we send 12-year-olds to middle school, and then wonder why society and schools have such problems with them.
Is this lack of initiation rites the problem with these armchair-warrior chickenhawk cowards? Are they still in some ways 12 years old? They've never grown up, maybe? They're trying to prove they're men by starting wars? They're trying to overcome their childishness and become men by murdering innocent people?
I recently saw Donald Rumsfeld raise his arms in a cheer when he heard about American victories in Iraq. He looked like a middle-schooler at a football game. What is he, 71 years old - and has never grown up? And he's proud the U.S. demolished a fourth-rate country like Iraq? What sort of childish megalomania is that?
Maybe all these chickenhawks need to be taken out in the woods and subjected to the ritual death and rebirth that all cultures visit on their 12-year-old boys. Then maybe they would be transformed into the men they're trying to be, and without starting unnecessary wars.
Maybe one of the purposes of these ancient rites is to overcome childish hubris. Thomas Hobbes made the oh-so-accurate observation, "The evil man is the child grown strong." An adult understands hubris and fights against it in himself. Children don't even know what it is.
I think these rites are a really good idea. Imagine Limbaugh, Boot, Goldberg, Perle, Wolfowitz...all of them, sitting in the woods, smeared with chicken blood, feathers in their hair, beating tom-toms and dancing around a bonfire. If George Bush had gone through something like this, maybe he wouldn't have graduated college at age 29 (and this from a man who didn't do work a day in his life!). Or maybe, even today, he wouldn't be a little boy still trying to impress Daddy.
Then they can say, "At last, we are men." Then, with their heads on straight, they'll cease to be bullies and cowards, and won't be so eager to send soldiers into quagmires.
It's either that, or we'll continue to be ruled by kids in adult's bodies.
WAR AND THE CAPITALIST PRESS
by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. - lewrockwell.com - May 16, 2003
During the war on Iraq, and the one before that on Afghanistan, the Wall Street Journal predictably became the noisiest mouthpiece for the War Party. Readers of this publication have noted how much more passionate the paper is on that subject than on economic themes. One easily gets the impression that war socialism is a far greater priority in their halls than a free commercial sector.
The following is a speech I gave in 1999 at a Rothbard-Rockwell Report conference, during a time when the Journal was whooping it up for another war. It strikes me how closely the propaganda war on Iraq mirrored that of the Clinton wars, particularly that against Serbia. Some people complain that the WSJ is partisan, but the following demonstrates that this criticism is unfair. When it comes to uncritically backing war, the WSJ is truly non-partisan.
To make a case against the Nato killers who have laid waste to Yugoslavia, it might be enough to simply quote Bill Clinton. "Our children are being fed a dependable daily dose of violence," the president said. "And it sells." Further, it "desensitizes our children to violence and to the consequences of it."
But in these comments, presumably, he wasn't revealing the essence of his war, and its convenient effect of eclipsing Monica as his legacy to the world and its dreadful consequence to imparting an example of violence and bloodshed to anyone who still looks to the government for moral example. Rather, it turns out, he was leveling an attack on the private sector, which entertains us with movies and video games. He says it is the movie and video-game industries, not real-life war, that is corrupting morals.
And yet the violence being inflicted and the blood being spilled by the troops Clinton commands are real. It is foolish to believe that this does not have an effect on the children of this country. It is sadly true that the behavior of the president still has an undue influence on those who yet believe the civics-text lie that the office is the most morally exalted in the land. The most corrupt media mogul does far more good, and far less harm, than the president.
But for those who still believe in the modern civic religion, it is the president who sets the moral tone, and the boundaries of right and wrong. It is no wonder, then, that one of the killers at Columbine had widely proclaimed his desire to drop some bombs on Serbia. Neither should we forget that the man convicted of bombing the Oklahoma City federal building received his training in how to kill during the war on Iraq ordered up by the last madman to hold the office.
But it is not only the killers themselves who must be held accountable. It is also those who would attempt to put the best possible spin on the killing machine, trying to make its actions morally justifiable and putting in print calls for wartime escalation rather than peace. They serve as handmaids to the warfare state and as megaphones for the leviathan state, and I don't care if their politics are from the left or the right: they must be held to account.
Two unfortunate facts undergird the thesis and argument of this talk. First, the Wall Street Journal is seen the world over as the preeminent capitalist organ of opinion, one that is seen to speak for the American tradition of free enterprise. Second, of all leading publications, it has proven to be the most aggressive in its promotion of the blood-soaked war on Yugoslavia. Since the war began, the Journal has been unswervingly enthusiastic, tolerated no dissent against its pro-war position in its news, its editorial pages, or its op-ed pages. Its content wouldn't have been different if the most hawkish division of the State Department had been exercising full editorial control.
How can these two disparate positions of free enterprise and imperialism be reconciled? The Left has a ready answer. In the Leninist tradition, Marx's failure to predict the overthrow of capitalism can be explained by reference to the international policy of the capitalist nations. Once the capitalists had fully exploited the workers at home, they would seek out foreign markets to exploit and impose their will using war and imperialism.
Thus ran Lenin's analysis in August 1915:
"Imperialism is the highest stage of capitalism, one that has been reached only in the twentieth century. Capitalism began to feel cramped within the old national states, without the formation of which it could not overthrow feudalism. Capitalism has brought about such economic concentration that entire branches of industry are in the hands of syndicates, trusts, or corporations of billionaires; almost the entire globe has been parceled out among the 'giants of capital,' either in the form of colonies, or through the entangling of foreign countries by thousands of threads of financial exploitation.
"Free trade and competition have been superseded by tendencies towards monopoly, towards seizure of lands for the investment of capital, for the export of raw materials, etc. Capitalism, formerly a liberator of nations, has now, in its imperialist stage, become the greatest oppressor of nations. Formerly progressive, it has become a reactionary force. It has developed the productive forces to such an extent that humanity must either pass over to Socialism, or for years, nay, decades, witness armed conflicts of the 'great' nations for an artificial maintenance of capitalism by means of colonies, monopolies, privileges, and all sorts of national oppression." (Socialism and War, Chapter 1, 1914)
Now, before we all convert to Leninism, let's admit that he was not wrong on the facts, but remember that he made a grave categorical error, as explained by Ludwig von Mises in his 1922 book Socialism. Free trade and free enterprise are not aggressive; they are the global font of cooperation and peace. When conflicts do arise in a free market, they are settled based on the terms of contract. So long as the State does not intervene, private property and free enterprise insure peaceful cooperation among men and nations. What Lenin identified as attributes of capitalism were in fact attributes of the State, particularly the State which claims to be master of economic affairs. As Mises explained:
"Military Socialism is the Socialism of a state in which all institutions are designed for the prosecution of war. It is a State Socialism in which the scale of values for determining social status and the income of citizens is based exclusively or preferably on the position held in the fighting forces. The higher the military rank the greater the social value and the claim on the national dividend. The military state, that is the state of the fighting man in which everything is subordinated to war purposes, cannot admit private ownership in the means of production. Standing preparedness for war is impossible if aims other than war influence the life of individuals.... The military state is a state of bandits. It prefers to live on booty and tribute."
Pairing the Leninist with the Misesian position on the ideological basis of imperialism helps illuminate the crucial framework for understanding this war. As Hans-Hermann Hoppe has explained, the great intellectual error of classical liberalism was its Hobbesian concession in favor of what it believed could be a limited State. In reality, the State is far more dangerous in a productive, capitalist society than it is in an impoverished, socialized society, simply because it has far more private resources to pillage and loot for the State's own benefit. Availing itself of the vast fruits of private production, the State engages in self-aggrandizement, expansion, and, inevitably, imperialism.
By way of illustration, in the U.S. today, we have two economies, one free and one unfree. The free one has given us the great abundance of consumer goods, the widest distribution of wealth, and the fastest pace of technological innovation known in the history of man. The unfree one - characterized by the two trillion dollar federal budget and the more than one-quarter of that spent on apparatus that builds and administers weapons of mass destruction - has produced what we have been reading about in the headlines for the last two months. Military Socialism, which exists by pillaging the free economy, is responsible for a brutal and immoral war on a civilian population halfway around the world - the destruction of hospitals, churches, nursing homes, residential neighborhoods, and town squares.
In an ideal world, the daily newspaper focusing on American economic life would celebrate the free economy, which the Wall Street Journal does on occasion, but also condemn the unfree one, which the Wall Street Journal does not. There is a reason why this is not the case. The horrible reality is that the unfree economy may be murderous and wasteful but it also makes many people very rich. The stocks of the companies that build the bombs and enjoy the booty after the war is over, are publicly traded, in the same manner as the stocks of real capitalist companies. When the Journal celebrates this war, it is speaking on behalf of the companies that stand to benefit from the war.
But that doesn't innoculate the newspaper from moral responsibility for backing the bloodshed. And it doesn't shield it from open displays of confusion, as when the paper's support for free enterprise conflicts with its support for military socialism. For example, the paper recently editorialized about the Clinton administration's drafting of pilots and technicians in the form of an order prohibiting their leaving. Think of it as the nationalization of talent, or simply a stop-gap measure to stop the drain from the public to the private sector.
Incidentally, the pilots in the armed forces should be allowed to resign for the private sector anytime they want to. Actually, these pilots have a moral obligation to resign. They must not use their considerable flying talents to commit the war crimes they are being ordered to commit. They have a moral obligation not to murder and destroy property, a moral obligation not to aggress. By prohibiting them from changing jobs, Clinton is coercing these pilots into committing gravely evil acts.
But somehow, even though pilot resignations would benefit the private sector, the editors at the Wall Street Journal couldn't bring themselves to condemn Clinton's tyrannical action. Instead, it suggested various incentive programs that would cause pilots to be less likely to abandon their nation-building, or nation-destroying, actions. The paper suggested higher pay and a greater clarity of mission. In this case where the interests of the free and unfree economies collide, the Wall Street Journal sides with War Socialism.
And just so that we are clear on how bad things have gotten at the Journal, let's sample some of the analysis that it has printed over the last several months. No journalist today has provided analysis of the high-tech world as trenchant as that of the Journal's regular columnist George Melloan. When he writes about the free economy, he is usually level-headed and morally sound. But on the matter of war, he has epitomized the capitalist-imperialist mode denounced by Lenin.
Melloan writes that the purpose of this war is "something far more ambitious than pacification. It is trying to civilize Serbia." If this be civilizing, God save us from barbarism, and from warfare statists masquerading as advocates of free enterprise.
What about the U.S. bombing of the Chinese embassy, which would have been perceived as a world-historic crime and act of war if a U.S. embassy had been the target? "The [embassy] bombing," Melloan writes, "was clearly the kind of accident that happens in war." Besides, he further opined, "the Chinese government clearly gives aid and comfort to the Serbian barbarian, Slobodan Milosevic. It has joined with Russia to try to sway United Nations Security Council votes in his favor."
Well, clearly then, murder and destruction are just what the State orders for anyone who would give aid and comfort to the Serbian barbarian. In fact, can't we say that anyone who isn't on board with this war is giving aid and comfort to the enemy? Shouldn't their voices be quelled? Can we really say they don't deserve to be bombed? It's all part of the civilizing process.
The day after the bombing, there was no time for regrets at the Wall Street Journal. No, the editorial page used the occasion to spread the war fever. After all, the Journal said of the bombed embassy, "War is dangerous, and while NATO has sought to avoid civilian casualties, clearly people have died on the ground. [Catch the responsibility-shedding passive voice?] An obvious question may dawn on Chinese people eventually," the Journal continued, "Why, in the middle of such a war, did their government choose to keep all those people in its embassy and potentially in harm's way?"
Imagine that. The U.S. never declared war on Belgrade. The State Department never demanded that all diplomats leave the city. It promised at the outset only to hit military targets of the Yugoslav army. And yet when the U.S. bombs the Chinese embassy, according to the Journal, it is the fault of the Chinese diplomats in Belgrade.
Along these lines, imagine further the future of death coverage in the Journal. Those kids in the Littleton High School: what were they doing there anyway? Don't they know that school can be dangerous? Those people murdered by an immigrant on the Long Island railway: didn't they know the New York metropolitan area is a place not unfamiliar with killing?
This is the moral reasoning of a blunted conscience, one no longer struck by the pain of human suffering and the evil of violence except when affecting the appearance of shock serves a political purpose. This illustrates a broader point: in American public life today, there are two kinds of death. Death caused by the U.S. government is justifiable, as Madeleine Albright tells us about the death of children in Iraq. Only death caused by enemies of the U.S. government is considered an atrocious and intolerable act that cries out for vengeance. The operating principle here is not the sanctity of life but the sanctity of the nation state that determines which kind of life is valuable and which is not.
And yet this cannot be the entire answer to the mystery of why bloodshed would be overlooked by the Journal. We've all been struck by the mystery of how otherwise sensible people could come to support a massacre to achieve their own view of political utopia. I can't say I have the answer. How were U.S. communists able to reconcile themselves with the mass bloodshed wrought by the Bolshevik revolution and its aftermath? How were German intellectuals and religious leaders able to justify in their own minds the bloodshed wrought by the Nazi dictatorship? How were U.S. citizens able to observe the bombings of Dresden, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki, and the mass ethnic cleansing of German civilians after World War II, and call it patriotism in action?
It will always be something of a mystery, but if you want to see the same moral blindness at work right now, look no further than the early column by Max Boot, whose usual beat is the litigation explosion. Writing on the Journal's op-ed page which he edits, he praised this war on grounds that "humanitarianism truly is in the driver's seat." He speaks for many in the pundit class, who regard this war as uniquely motivated by a moral end. Similarly, Robert Samuelson wrote in the Washington Post the other day that "Kosovo may represent the first war in U.S. history that has been undertaken mostly for moral reasons."
There are several problems with this theory, aside from the fact that the families of the 2,000 civilians killed do not likely consider their deaths the consequence of humanitarianism. First, the Clinton regime has made an appeal, not only to the well being of the Kosovars, but to American interests as well. Clinton himself says we all have an interest in a stable world where Europe is not embroiled in war. On Memorial Day, he even vaguely suggested that if we don't stop Milosevic now, he and his armies will someday come attacking U.S. shores.
Second, no one can convince me that charity and love are the driving forces behind a war in which tens of billions may eventually be transferred from taxpayers to the merchants of death. Perhaps greed also plays a role?
Third, every war I can think of, as far back as you look in U.S. history or world history, has been justified under some moral theme. The enemy must always be demonized and the home government sanctified, if only to provide a necessary ethical coating to the nasty business of mass murder. The pundits who say the moral themes of this war are unique are only displaying their historical ignorance.
Finally, Boot's phrase about humanitarianism reminds me of Isabel Paterson's brilliant chapter in her book, The God of the Machine entitled "The Humanitarian With the Guillotine." She argued that the great evils of holocausts and mass slaughter could not thrive anywhere in the world unless they were given a benevolent public face.
"Certainly the slaughter committed from time to time by barbarians invading settled regions, or the capricious cruelties of avowed tyrants," she wrote, "would not add up to one-tenth the horrors perpetrated by rulers with good intentions." She pointed to the example of Stalin: "we have the peculiar spectacle of the man who condemned millions of his own people to starvation, admired by philanthropists whose declared aim is to see to it that everyone in the world has a quart of milk."
In a similar way, we are rattled on a daily basis by the atrocities committed by our own government, justified in the name of ending atrocities. Asked about the mounting civilian casualties - first denied, then called mistakes, later dubbed military targets - Nato spokesman Jamie Shea finally if implicitly admitted the existence of the bloodshed that has shocked the world. "There is always a cost to defeat an evil," he responded. "It never comes free, unfortunately."
Doing evil so that good may come of it, using evil means to accomplish good ends - these are condemned by the Western religious tradition, particularly in light of the rethinking of public morality after the rise and fall of totalitarianism. Hence, many around the world are already comparing the U.S. with Hitler's army, including Alexander Solzhenitsyn. I wonder why? Perhaps because Gen. William Odom, director of the National Security Agency under Reagan, urged copying German military tactics in a ground invasion of Belgrade. Also, writing - where else? - in the Wall Street Journal, the general praised the Nazis who "swept down this corridor in World War II, taking the whole of Yugoslavia in a couple of weeks."
The Journal editors were similarly jingoistic as the prospect of peace raised its ugly head. They raise the horrible prospect, only recently considered an essential feature part of the democratic system, that Milosevic "will remain in power unless his own people throw him out." The Journal just presumes that it is somehow up to the U.S. to decide who gets to be president in far-away sovereign countries.
One wonders how it is possible that in wartime, all the normal rules of civilized life, all the lessons learned from history, all the checks on power that have been established over the centuries, are thrown into the trash heap. It's a question to ask Carlos Westendorp, who calls himself the "High Representative of the International Community for the Civil Implementation of the Dayton Peace Accords." Also writing in the Wall Street Journal, he says that after the Serbs have been defeated "a full international protectorate is required. It may last for a few years. Yes, this disregards the principles of sovereignty, but so what? This is not the moment for post-colonial sensitivities."
There we have it. It is not just democracy; the very principle of sovereignty itself that is reduced to a mere "sensitivity" not suitable in emergency times such as these. Thus the Wall Street warriors were among the first to call for arming anyone but Serbs, and, in this war, demanding that the U.S. put together an invasive army to conquer the country and overthrow the government - a plan now summed up as "ordering up ground troops." By calling for ground troops, and criticizing anyone who might be skeptical of the idea, the Journal is able to maintain its anti-Clinton posture and appeal to what it believes is the latent hawkishness of its readership.
On the very day that the New York Times reported progress in the desperate attempt by non-British European governments and Russia to broker something of a peace agreement, the Journal at last conceded that too many innocents were dying in this war. "Of its nature, war is about suffering," the comfy editors typed into their word processors.
Modern war, the editors continued, is particularly irritating because "we now live in an age in which television brings the inevitable ruins of war into everyone's living room every night." This has forced a national conversation about whether blowing up civilian infrastructure is morally wise. Further, the publicity given to civilian killings - no thanks to the Journal here - is "creating divisions inside Nato itself." Interesting how the Journal can muster more moral pathos over divisions within an aggressive military pact than over the death of 2,000 innocents, and the destruction of the property of millions.
So how does this bit of soul searching on the part of the editors end? With - you guessed it - another call for ground troops, which they now claim would have prevented civilian casualties. "What the American people do not want are casualties for no purpose," says the Journal. Besides, "going to Belgrade and throwing out a war criminal is not going to lose elections. And while it would involve casualties, it would bring the destruction and killing to an end."
The use of language here is strange: note the supposed distinction between mere casualties and killing. That one sentence is a case study in the language of imperialist propaganda. Opposite the editorial page on the same day, a pollster named Humphrey Taylor mulls over the question of popular support for the war, noting that this one has been seriously lagging in that area. The reason, he concludes, is that there have actually been too few casualties on our side. He ends with this stirring call to arms: "It's quite possible that casualties could strengthen, not weaken, American resolve to defeat Slobodan Milosevic."
Yes, it's true. This sentence appeared in a respectable newspaper, the voice of capitalism in our times. Thank goodness for the pollsters and their advice!
You know, I've been thinking. Clinton says he needs to draft pilots to conduct his war, but this is bad for morale. Shouldn't those who are most enthusiastic for ground troops be the first ones forced into combat? If we are to reinstate the draft, I say let's start by drafting the people who write this drivel and give them the opportunity to become the war heroes they so badly want to be. Let's institute another Lincoln Brigade, staffed by the Journal's own editors, that will make all the necessary sacrifices to save the world for social democracy.
I've only scratched the surface of the Journal's two-month-long campaign for U.S. war. True, I have left out the pretentious prattle of a certain Margaret Thatcher, who wrote on its pages in favor of "the destruction of Serbia's political will, the destruction of its war machine and all the infrastructure on which these depend." She could have just summed it up by calling for a wholesale ethnic cleansing of Serbs from Serbia.
Also, I have left out the ridiculous parodies written by some British fellow calling himself Winston Churchill, Jr., who appears to be trying, without success, to turn some history-making phrase. In sum, let me say that in these last 70 days, the only truthful statement on the war from the Journal's editorial page came on May 13: "Propaganda, especially in wartime, knows no bounds."
All this war propaganda might be expected from the likes of the New Republic. But for the Journal to beat the drums louder than anyone does great damage to the cause of free enterprise. It links capitalism and imperialism in the public mind, and fans the flames of Leninist theory in the academy and abroad. This damage is deepened by the broader problem that it is not just the Journal that is perceived to be a defender of economic freedom; the U.S. itself, particularly at the end of the Cold War, was, until recently, perceived to be the standard bearer of liberalism.
Here is where this war has been so costly. Liberal reform movements in China, Romania, Greece, Serbia, and many other places in the world, have suffered serious blows to their credibility, because their cause is treated under the general rubric of Americanization. The bombs that fall on innocents have the indirect effect of fanning the flames of anti-Americanism, which translates into anti-liberalism. To the extent that America still represents the hope of freedom in the world, this war is very harmful to the cause of liberty, free trade, and human rights.
How can such a result benefit Wall Street? Well, there's another side effect of the defeat of liberal reform movements in such places as Serbia and other European and Asian states. The end result of this war is likely to be the rearming of the world, after a period in which it appeared that we were in for a long period of disarmament. You can only imagine yourself as the head of any State that has had difficult relations with the U.S. in the past - and that is most. You might draw from this experience the crucial lesson that States without nuclear weapons, such as Yugoslavia, are vulnerable to the most brutal forms of imperial assault.
The only way to forestall this result would be for Congress to take a drastic step and eviscerate the military budget, refusing to pay for this or any future war. But this will not happen, due to a deep intellectual incoherence at the heart of the Republican Party. It was only days after the GOP voted not to endorse the war that it voted to double the fiscal outlay to pay for the war. But this is no different from scolding the local gang for their pillaging while giving it the key to a weapons stockpile. If the warfare state has funding and armaments, it is naturally going to go looking for enemies on which to use them. Every bureaucrat knows that he must justify this year's budget in order to position himself for next year's budget battles.
Isn't it time the Republicans fundamentally rethink their pro-military bias? Hardly a day goes by when I don't hear some conservative spokesman, GOP presidential hopeful, or right-wing commentator complain about how Clinton has supposedly gutted our defenses. But look at the facts. The U.S. will spend more than $300 billion on the military this year. The second highest military spending in the world comes from Russia, which spends the equivalent of $60 billion. Scary imperialist China spends $37 billion. Just from looking at these numbers, the U.S. could slash the military budget by two thirds, and still spend well more than any other country.
The conservative attachment to militarism has doomed the program to cut government in the entire postwar period. The Journal's own editorial position - favoring huge tax cuts and equally huge spending increases - illustrates the problem. This view is rightly denounced as hypocritical by the Left who point out that the American Right is only for limiting government spending when it goes to the wrong people, but all for the tax and spend agenda when it buys military hardware.
The usual response to this in the past is that defense is a legitimate constitutional function, whereas welfare redistribution is dubious at best. But there is nothing constitutional about the biggest and most destructive cache of weapons of mass destruction ever held by a single government, much less controlled by a single man we call the president.
The original constitutional vision was of 50 states that protected themselves from invasion through local militias. The function of the federal government was to intervene only when this proved insufficient in the case of an invasion. There is no more constitutional justification for the warfare state than the welfare state.
In the past, we have been able to count on a large peace movement to oppose U.S. foreign policy adventures. But for reasons that are still not entirely clear to me, the soft left has gone AWOL in its responsibilities, leaving only the truly principled Left and the truly principled Right to stand up against the massive nuclear arsenal of the world's biggest power. But it can be done, provided we don't shrink from our responsibilities.
Some people have complained that in condemning the U.S. intervention in the Balkans, the antiwar movement has ignored the atrocities of Milosevic. In the first place, it is very difficult to verify claims in wartime, though since Milosevic is both a nationalist and an avowed socialist of the old school, not to mention an elected politician, I can readily believe he is capable of doing all that he is accused of doing.
Similarly, I am also quite willing to believe the worst that is said about the U.S. head of state. People in power are not like the rest of us. In their careers, the ordinary vices and evils are rewarded as political successes, an incentive structure that tends to insure that the higher you go in politics, the less you believe you are bound by the moral tenets of the mortal class.
At the same time, I do not believe that we, as Americans, have an obligation to denounce all tyrants with equal moral passion. No foreign tyrant ever killed anyone while invoking my name and my heritage. But a long string of American presidents has done so, and one is doing so now.
As citizens of this country, as a part of our civic duty, if not as the sum total of our civic duty, we must do our best to denounce and restrain our own tyrants. We cannot stop bloodshed in Rwanda or ethnic conflict in Turkey, but our voices can make a real difference in what our own government is allowed to get away with. When a regime that rules in our name engages in any form of mass killing, the primary question that will be asked of us is: did you speak out against it? Did you do all that you could do to stop it? Or did you remain silent?
Near the turn of the last century, two months into the U.S. war on Spain, Charles Eliot Norton of Harvard gave an address that ended this way:
"My friends, America has been compelled against the will of all her wisest and best to enter into a path of darkness and peril. Against their will she has been forced to turn back from the way of civilization to the way of barbarism, to renounce for the time her own ideals. With grief, with anxiety must the lover of his country regard the present aspect and the future prospect of the nation's life. With serious purpose, with utter self-devotion he should prepare himself for the untried and difficult service to which it is plain he is to be called in the quick-coming years. Two months ago America stood at the parting of the ways. Her first step is irretrievable. It depends on the virtue, on the enlightened patriotism of her children whether her future steps shall be upward to the light or downward to the darkness."
YOU'RE IN THE ARMY NOW
by Mike Rogers - lewrockwell.com - Dec 23, 2003
Because of TV and movies, more Americans actually spend much of their time "in the military," whether they know it or not.
Recently I have been corresponding with a few friends who seem to have come to some of the same conclusions about American society that I have: Simply put, America and Americans are very militaristic.
Nonsense! You say? I don't think so. I have lived in Japan for nearly 20 years now and have never once seen a TV commercial or heard a radio commercial that promoted joining the military. Perhaps Japan is not "normal." No Japanese has died in combat in a foreign country for 60 years. I guess, compared to the U.S.A., that's not normal. I asked my wife about this and she told me that it was against the law in Japan for the military to advertise on TV, radio, or newspapers and magazines. (Kind of like how in America it's illegal to broadcast cigarette commercials - cigarettes will kill you!) Perhaps that's all going to change someday soon considering that the current Prime Minister of Japan is dead-set on breaking Japanese law and sending Japanese troops to Iraq.
A year or two ago, I was talking to another American friend at work. He is black. I mention this because I have found that many black Americans I have met have a much better understanding of the social problems in America than Caucasians do. I suppose, when you consider the circumstances, that is obvious; of course a minority person would have a deeper understanding of these types of issues than middle class white America.
It's kind of like the time I met a Japanese man who once told me that there was no racism in Japan. He said; "I have lived in Japan all my life and have never been discriminated against even once." I'm not making this up. He was dead serious. I'm sure if he were a Korean born in Japan, he wouldn't think so.
My black friend asked me why I was so interested in World War II. I had always thought that guys my age, born in the mid-late 1950's, were all fascinated by the Second World War. And I thought that the rationale for this was that war ended just ten or twelve years before we were born. But I am now questioning my own beliefs. I grew up in the "Golden" sixties. It was hard to imagine all the hell that broke loose just a decade before I was born.
This morning, my daughter was watching some movie on satellite TV. It was an American movie starring Danny DeVito. I didn't pay much attention to it, but, DeVito played the part of some teacher for a group of soldiers. I gather he was trying to teach them "humanity" while staying in top fighting shape. "Typical American war movie," I thought.
I've also noticed on satellite TV from America recently, a lot of TV shows about the U.S. military and the fantastic super-duper weaponry the U.S.A. possesses. And all of the destructive power that weaponry has.
Perhaps it is just because of the war in Iraq that I have come to be more aware of this "military broadcasting," but then I thought about it for a while....
Right after the 9-11 incident I noticed that all the American baseball teams started having U.S. flags on their uniforms as a sort of "show of solidarity." Sorry to seem cynical, but I think that it was just another good way to cash in on other people's misery.
One of my friends tells me that in America now, even dog food cans have the American flag on them. What utter and complete non-sense! What utter and complete blatant propaganda! Joseph Goebbels would have been proud! "Show your neighbors and the world that terrorists will never destroy the Homeland spirit by feeding your dog Homeland made dog food!" I'd hate to hear what the neighbors are whispering about you if you were seen buying foreign dog food for your stupid mutt. God forbid that your dog has a palate for French Cuisine!
Has it always been this way? Has America always been so paranoid; so ignorant of how they are being manipulated by the Military-Industrial complex? And what does the Military-Industrial complex have to do with your dog's diet?
Laugh now. But bear with me while I take you on a little trip down memory lane; a trip through some of the famous TV shows and movies that I (and perhaps you too?) have fond childhood memories of. I'm going to go through some really famous ones and you tell me what they all have in common....
The Phil Silvers Show (also affectionately known as Sgt. Bilko)
Sgt. Bilko was played by a very famous TV comedian named Phil Silvers. This show ran from 1955 to 1957 and was one of the very first hit "sitcoms." Lots of laughs as Sgt. Bilko shows what fun can be had with the boys in uniform! One memorable episode was when Bilko, acting as master of ceremonies, tries to book Bing Crosby (Probably the greatest "crooner" during World War II) for a performance at Fort Baxter in "Sgt. Bilko Presents Bing Crosby," but if the songster doesn't show up, the sergeant might have to employ an impersonator. Being in the military is fun. Memories to last a lifetime! The best years of your life.
Combat! was TV's longest running W.W.II drama, honoring the frontline U.S. infantryman. On ABC from 1962 through 1967, Combat! starred Vic Morrow as Sergeant Saunders and Rick Jason as Lieutenant Hanley. Combat! was even on TV in Japan I hear. I guess killing Nazis was okay for Occupied Japan. Years later Hollywood would try to remake this movie only to have it turn into a disaster which killed the original star of the show, Vic Morrow. I wonder if he got a Congressional Medal of Honor or an Academy Award? Either way, he died fighting "the good war."
Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C.
Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C. ran from September 25, 1964 - September 19, 1969 on CBS. It was one of classic TV's earliest spin-off series, Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. was the military cousin to The Andy Griffith Show. Originally introduced in the third season of Andy Griffith, Gomer was the local mechanic with an uncanny aptitude for annoyance. And since all these military shows were doing so well, CBS decided that the Marine Corps needed a promotional boost too! Heck, the Marines wiped all those Japs off Iwo Jima, right? A nice guy but stupid as hell, Gomer was everyone's favorite lovable son. And if Gomer could make it in the Corps, than anyone could. Gomer decides to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps. Sure things were tough in the Marines. But hey, life is tough. And the Sarge was actually a big, lovable, softie in his heart. The best years of your life are spent in the military.
Hogan's Heroes was one of my personal favorites. Nazi's may be really bad guys, but not all of them are so bad! And they are funny too! What with all that goosestepping and stuff! And, hey! If you are captured and sent to the cooler, you'll still have your buddies with you, spending the best years of your life, disrupting the bumbling German back lines. Because, well, Germans are only good at war. They aren't really all that bad (or that smart.) This show ran an amazing six years from Sep 1965 to: Apr 1971.
By about this time, people began "waking up" about the Vietnam War and the lies of the U.S. government. An interesting bit of trivia; The Vietnam War was not called the Vietnam War until after it was over. It was initially called the Vietnam Conflict. Anyhow, the American public had lost its taste for war and, sadly, military TV shows. But what's a TV producer who has Corporate American sponsors to satisfy to do? Well, here comes a military show with a different slant:
M.A.S.H. ran from September 1972- February 1983. It was originally a hit movie. The movie was released in the fall of 1970 when anti-Vietnam sentiment was high, and was an instant hit. Ring Lardner Jr. won the Oscar for Best Screenplay and the film was nominated for Best Movie. Sally Kellerman also received a Best Actress nomination for her role as Hotlips. MASH, while being funny and showing how dedicated the medical corps are in the military, it also showed that war is hell and people actually bleed and die,.... Sometimes. Besides that, the MASH TV show gave average America some great memories of the military. Probably some of the best years they've never spent in their entire life.
Okay, this is not a TV show, it's a movie. A movie by one of America's hottest comedians at that time; Bill Murray. Bill has a really bad day (He is ripped off, he abandons his cab on a bridge, has his car repossessed, and his hot model girl friend walks out on him.), sees an Army commercial and decides to be all he can be. Because this is a buddy movie and he had nothing else better going on that day pal Harold Ramis joins too. When they come to their senses, they realize the Army is actually no fun. Who knew? Still the military is a good way to do something important with your life. Sure it's tough, but living life is living without regret.... This movie is funny too (well, kinda).
Apocalypse Now (1979) re-release in 2002
Okay, so maybe Vietnam was bad. But we never lost a battle. Guys listened to the Rolling Stones, smoked dope, dropped napalm, surfed and other cool stuff too!
Top Gun, Saving Private Ryan, Pearl Harbor, and a myriad of other Hollywood blockbusters in the last 15 years.
Tom Cruise, America's newest heart-throb flies a jet, gets the babes. Private Ryan, Pearl Harbor, etc. etc. Americans shoot things and blow stuff up - all the while getting the hot babes! Hey this military thing is pretty cool after all! And it's all "towel heads" (or Japs - who are now our friends) that we're killing anyway, so who cares? And, if by some slim chance it's you who gets killed, well then it's for a higher cause; because America never forgets.
Well, you get the picture (no pun intended). I'd tell you about more TV shows and movies but I have started to feel like I am a TV/cinema critic reviewing the DVD/Video hit parade of hell. American society glorifies the military. No doubt about it. If you don't think so, then you have never lived outside of the U.S.A. I have never once seen a Japanese made movie that glorified the military (okay you got me there, consider Tom Cruise as the Last Samurai.... No, that's an American movie!) Never mind. I think I've made my point.
The military is great and it makes great viewing. It's fun and exciting. We always win. And after all, that's what counts, right? Have a good holiday season! And don't forget to watch the Super Bowl or whatever sports TV event that's on this holiday season.
Watch carefully too! Cause I won't need to be reminding you about what you actually should be doing while watching the big game. The TV commercials will be reminding you constantly: Do something useful with your life. Don't just sit there; Hell, be all you can be!... And while you are doing it, get the babes too!
HIGHER POWERS OF ROMANS 13
by Lloyd Kinder
If it's okay to obey the powers that be, even if they're not divine powers, then, what if 2 different powers in the chain of command say to do 2 different things? For example, the Constitution is said to be the supreme law of the U.S. No one is a higher authority than the Constitution, except for the bible. So, if the president or Congress or the Supreme Court command anyone to do anything contrary to the Constitution, which one do you obey, the public officials or the Constitution? If the president or Congress tell you to support a war, but they don't follow the procedures outlined in the Constitution, do you obey the public officials or the Constitution? Since the Constitution is the higher authority and it says there can be war only if the Congress declares war by majority vote of both houses, but they don't vote to declare war, then, if you obey them, you're breaking the law, just as the officials are breaking the law. Does God excuse law-breaking, if officials or a large majority of the people break the law?
__"Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31).
__"And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him" (Colossians 3:17).
__"And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men" (Colossians 3:23).
__Does this mean to make war to the glory of God?
THE NEOCONS' PSALM
by Lawrence M. Vance
The military is my god; I shall not want.
The army maketh me to lie down with my rifle in green pastures: the navy leadeth me on gunships beside the still waters.
The air force's carpet bombing restoreth my soul: The marines leadeth me in the paths of war for the [Beast's] sake.
Yea, though I walk through the deserts of Iraq, I will fear no evil: for the military is with me; thy bombs and thy bullets they comfort me.
The joint chiefs prepareth a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: the secretary of defense anointeth my head with crude oil; my tank runneth over.
Surely death and destruction shall follow me in the military all the days of my life: and I will dwell on the bases of the military for ever.
HARIRI ASSASSINATION & U.S. RESPONSE
by Stephen Zunes - lewrockwell.com - Mar 3, 2005
[Stephen Zunes is a professor of Politics and chair of the Peace & Justice Studies Program at the University of San Francisco. He serves as Middle East editor for Foreign Policy in Focus and is the author of TINDERBOX: U.S. MIDDLE EAST POLICY AND THE ROOTS OF TERRORISM (2003).]
The broader implications of the Feb. 14 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, who was seen by many as the embodiment of the Lebanese people's efforts to rebuild their country in the aftermath of its 15-year civil war, are yet to unfold. A Sunni Muslim, Hariri reached out to all of Lebanon's ethnic and religious communities in an effort to unite the country after decades of violence waged by heavily armed militias and foreign invaders.
The assassination took place against the backdrop of a growing political crisis in Lebanon. This began in September 2004, when Syria successfully pressured the Lebanese parliament, in an act of dubious constitutionality, to extend the term of the unpopular pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud, a move roundly condemned by the international community. Washington was particularly virulent in its criticism, which can only be considered ironic, given that the United States attempted a similar maneuver back in 1958 to extend the term of the pro-American president Camille Chamoun. The result was a popular uprising suppressed only when President Dwight Eisenhower sent in U.S. Marines.
Hariri had his critics, particularly among the country's poor majority, whose situation deteriorated under the former prime minister's adoption of a number of controversial neoliberal economic policies. A multi-billionaire businessman prior to becoming prime minister, there were widespread charges of corruption in the awarding of contracts, many of which went to a company largely owned by Hariri himself. A number of treasured historic buildings relatively undamaged from war were demolished to make room for grandiose construction projects.
The size and sophistication of the explosion that killed Hariri, his bodyguards, and several bystanders have led many to speculate that foreign intelligence units may have been involved. Initial speculation has focused on the Syrians, who had previously worked closely with Hariri as prime minister. That relationship was broken by the Syrians' successful effort to extend the term of President Lahoud, with whom Hariri had frequently clashed as prime minister. As a result, Hariri was poised to lead an anti-Syrian front in the upcoming parliamentary elections in May.
Hariri made lots of other enemies as well, however, including rival Lebanese groups, the Israeli government, Islamic extremists, and powerful financiers with interests in his multi-billion dollar reconstruction efforts. A previously-unknown group calling itself "Victory and Jihad in Syria and Lebanon" claimed responsibility for the attack, citing Hariri's close ties to the repressive Saudi monarchy. As of this writing, there is no confirmation that they were responsible for the blast or if such a group even exists.
While Syria remains the primary suspect, no evidence has been presented to support the charge. Damascus has publicly condemned the killings and denied responsibility. Syria's regime, while certainly ruthless enough to do such a thing, is usually not so brazen. They would have little to gain from uniting the Lebanese opposition against them or for provoking the United States and other Western nations to further isolate their government.
The United States, however, has indirectly implicated Syria in the attack and has withdrawn its ambassador from Damascus.
Syria's Role in Lebanon
__Syrian forces first entered Lebanon in 1976 at the invitation of the Lebanese president as the primary component of an international peacekeeping force authorized by the Arab League to try to end Lebanon's civil war. The United States quietly supported the Syrian intervention as a means of blocking the likely victory by the leftist Lebanese National Movement and its Palestinian allies. As the civil war continued in varying manifestations in subsequent years, the Syrians would often play one faction off against another in an effort to maintain their influence. Despite this, they were unable to defend the country from the U.S.-backed Israeli invasion in 1982, the installation of the Phalangist Amin Gemayel as president, and the U.S. military intervention to help prop up Gemayel's rightist government against a popular uprising. Finally, in late 1990, Syrian forces helped the Lebanese oust the unpopular interim Prime Minister General Michel Aoun, which proved instrumental in ending the 15-year civil war. (Given that General Aoun's primary outside supporter was Iraq's Saddam Hussein, the United States quietly backed this Syrian action as well.)
The end of the civil war did not result in the end of the Syrian role in Lebanon, however. Most Lebanese at this point resent the ongoing presence of Syrian troops and Syria's overbearing influence on their government.
The Bush administration, Congressional leaders of both parties, and prominent media commentators have increasingly made reference to "the Syrian occupation of Lebanon." Strictly speaking, however, this is not an occupation in the legal sense of the word, such as in the case of Morocco's occupation of Western Sahara or Israel's occupation of Syria's Golan region and much of the Palestinian Gaza Strip and West Bank (including East Jerusalem), all of which are recognized by the United Nations and international legal authorities as non-self-governing territories. Lebanon has experienced direct foreign military occupation, however: from 1978 to 2000, Israel occupied a large section of southern Lebanon and - from June 1982 through May 1984 - much of central Lebanon as well, resulting in the deaths of thousands of Lebanese civilians.
A more accurate analogy to the current Syrian role would be that of the Soviets in the Warsaw Pact countries of Eastern Europe during much of the Cold War, in which these nations were effectively client states. They were allowed to maintain their independence and distinct national institutions yet were denied their right to pursue an autonomous course in their foreign and domestic policies.
Currently, Syria has only 14,000 troops in Lebanon, mostly in the Bekaa Valley in the eastern part of the country, a substantial reduction from the 40,000 Syrian troops present in earlier years. This does not mean that calls for an immediate withdrawal of Syrian forces and an end to Syrian interference in Lebanon's political affairs are not morally and legally justified. However, the use of the term "occupation" by American political leaders is an exaggeration and may be designed in part to divert attention from the continuing U.S. military, diplomatic, and financial support of the real ongoing military occupations by Israel and Morocco.
In September of last year, the United States - along with France and Great Britain - sponsored a resolution before the UN Security Council that, among other things, called upon "all remaining foreign forces to withdraw from Lebanon." UN Security Council resolution 1559 was adopted with six abstentions and no negative votes and builds upon UN Security Council resolution 520, adopted in 1982, which similarly calls for the withdrawal of foreign forces.
The Bush administration, with widespread bipartisan Congressional support, has cited Syria's ongoing violation of these resolutions in placing sanctions upon Syria. Ironically, however, no such pressure was placed upon Israel for violating UNSC resolution 520 and nine other resolutions (the first being adopted in 1978) calling on Israel to withdraw its forces from Lebanon. In fact, during the Clinton administration, the U.S. openly called on Israel to not unilaterally withdraw from Lebanon as required, even as public opinion polls in Israel showed that a sizable majority of Israelis supported an end to the Israeli occupation, during which hundreds of Israeli soldiers were killed.
Today, many of the most outspoken supporters of a strict enforcement of UNSC resolution 1159 - such as Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer of California - were also among the most prominent opponents of enforcing similar resolutions when they were directed at Israel. In short, both Republicans and Democrats agree that Lebanese sovereignty and international law must be defended only if the government challenging these principles is not a U.S. ally.
(Israel was finally forced out of Lebanon in May 2000 as a result of attacks by the militant Lebanese Shi'ite group Hezbollah. Four months later, the Palestinian uprising against the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip began. Militant Palestinians claim they were inspired by the fact that Israel ended its 22-year occupation not because of the U.S.-led peace process and not because of the United Nations - which was blocked by the United States from enforcing its resolutions - but because of armed struggle by radical Islamists. Though, for a number of reasons, such tactics are unlikely to succeed in the occupied Palestinian territories, the support of extremist Islamist groups and the use of violence by large sectors of the Palestinian population under Israeli occupation can for the most part be attributed to the United States refusing to support an Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon through diplomatic means.)
__Whether or not the Syrians played a role in Hariri's assassination, his death will likely escalate pressure by the Lebanese to challenge Syria's domination of their government. Once centered primarily in the country's Maronite Christian community, anti-Syrian sentiment is growing among Lebanese from across the ethnic and ideological spectrum. Ultimately, the country's fate will be determined by the Lebanese themselves. If the United States presses the issue too strongly, however, it risks hardening Syria's position and allowing Damascus to defend its ongoing domination of Lebanon behind anti-imperialist rhetoric.
While there are many areas in which the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad should indeed be challenged, such as its overbearing influence in Lebanon and its poor human rights record, there is a genuine fear that increased U.S. efforts to isolate the regime and the concomitant threats of military action against Syria will undermine the efforts of Lebanese and Syrians demanding change.
One major problem is that most charges against the Syrian government by the Bush administration and the Congressional leadership of both parties are rife with hyperbole and double standards.
For example, the United States has demanded that Syria eliminate its long-range and medium-range missiles, while not insisting that pro-Western neighbors like Turkey and Israel - with far more numerous and sophisticated missiles on their territory - similarly disarm. The United States has also insisted that Syria unilaterally eliminate its chemical weapons stockpiles, while not making similar demands on U.S. allies Israel and Egypt - which have far larger chemical weapons stockpiles - to do the same. The United States has demanded an end to political repression and for free and fair elections in Syria while not making similar demands of even more repressive and autocratic regimes in allied countries like Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan.
Contrary to U.S. charges that Syria is a major state supporter of international terrorism, Syria is at most a very minor player. The U.S. State Department has noted how Syria has played a critical role in efforts to combat al-Qaeda and that the Syrian government has not been linked to any acts of international terrorism for nearly 20 years. The radical Palestinian Islamist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad have political offices in Damascus, as they do in a number of Arab capitals, but they are not allowed to conduct any military activities. A number of left-wing Palestinian factions also maintain offices in Syria, but these groups are now largely defunct and have not engaged in terrorist operations for many years.
Much has been made of Syrian support for the radical Lebanese Shi'ite group Hezbollah. However, not only has Syrian support for the group been quite minimal in recent years, the group is now a legally recognized Lebanese political party and serves in the Lebanese parliament. During the past decade, its militia have largely restricted their use of violence to Israeli occupation forces in southern Lebanon and in disputed border regions of Israeli-occupied Syria, not against civilians, thereby raising serious questions as to whether it can actually still be legally considered a terrorist group.
Currently, the Bush administration has expressed its dismay at Russia's decision to sell Syria anti-aircraft missiles, claiming that it raises questions in regard to President Vladimir Putin's commitment against terrorism. The administration has been unable to explain, however, how selling defensive weapons to an internationally recognized government aids terrorists.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Congressional leaders have also accused Syria of threatening the Arab-Israeli peace process. However, Syria has pledged to provide Israel with internationally enforced security guarantees and full diplomatic relations in return for a complete Israeli withdrawal from Syrian territory seized in the 1967 war, in concordance with UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338, long recognized as the basis for peace. They have also called for a renewal of peace talks with Israel, which came very close to a permanent peace agreement in early 2000. However, the right-wing U.S.-backed Israeli government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has refused to resume negotiations and pledges it will never withdraw from the Golan, thereby raising questions as to whether it is really Syria that is primarily at fault.
Another questionable anti-Syrian charge is in regard to their alleged support of Saddam Hussein and ongoing support of anti-American insurgents in Iraq. In reality, though both ruled by the Ba'ath Party, Syria had broken diplomatic relations with Baghdad back in the 1970s and was the home of a number of anti-Saddam exile groups.
Syria and Iraq backed rival factions in Lebanon's civil war. Syria was the only country to side with Iran during the Iran-Iraq war and contributed troops to the U.S.-led Operation Desert Shield in reaction to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. Syria, as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in 2002, supported the U.S.-backed resolution 1441 demanding that Iraq cooperate with UN inspectors or else face "severe consequences." The Syrian government has substantially beefed up security along its borders with Iraq, and U.S. military officials have acknowledged that relatively few foreign fighters have actually entered Iraq via Syria. Most critically, there is no reason that Syria would want the insurgents to succeed, given that the primary insurgent groups are either supporters of the old anti-Syrian regime in Baghdad or are Islamist extremists similar to those who seriously challenged the Syrian government in 1982 before being brutally suppressed. Given that Assad's regime is dominated by Syria's Alawite minority, which has much closer ties to Iraq's Shi'ites than with the Sunnis who dominate the Arab and Islamic world, and that the Shi'ite-dominated slate that won the recent Iraqi elections shares their skepticism about the U.S. role in the Middle East, they would have every reason to want to see the newly elected Iraqi government succeed so U.S. troops could leave.
Despite the highly questionable assertions that form the basis of the Bush administration's antipathy toward Syria, there have essentially been no serious challenges to the Bush administration's policy on Capitol Hill. Indeed, Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid have strongly defended President George W. Bush's policies toward Iraq and Lebanon and helped push through strict sanctions against Syria based upon these same exaggerations and double standards. (See my article "The Syria Accountability Act and the Triumph of Hegemony," Oct. 27, 2003.) During the 2004 election campaign, Senator John Kerry, the Democratic presidential nominee, criticized President Bush for not being anti-Syrian enough.
Among the few dissenters is Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia, who expressed his concern to Secretary of State Rice during recent hearings on Capitol Hill that the tough talk against Syria was remarkably similar to what was heard in regard to Iraq a few years earlier. One of only eight members of Congress to vote against the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act in the fall of 2003, he warned his fellow senators that the language was broad enough that the administration might later claim it authorized military action against Syria.
As long as the vast majority of Democrats are afraid to appear "soft" toward the Syrian dictatorship and as long as so few progressive voices are willing to challenge the Democrats, President Bush appears to have few obstacles in his way should he once again choose to lead the country to war.
Chapter 17: THEY HATE OUR FREEDOM, SO LET'S END IT
YOU MIGHT BE A TERRORIST, by Brad Edmonds - lewrockwell.com - Nov 15, 2001
__[Brad Edmonds of Alabama is author of the new book THERE'S A GOVERNMENT IN YOUR SOUP]
H.R. 3162, "The Patriot Bill," or the antiterrorism bill, might make you a terrorist. Any persons among us who have accepted that certain civil liberties must be abridged in time of war, or forever, for the sake of security, are going to learn Ben Franklin's lesson the hard way: Those who would give up freedom for security deserve, and will get, neither.
First, the antiterrorism bill so loved by Congress and the White House has redefined terrorism. According to Sec. 802, (a)(5)(B)(ii), "the term 'domestic terrorism' means activities that appear to be intended to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion." Again: If the activity appears to be intended to influence the policy of a government - not just the United States government - by intimidation, it's domestic terrorism. Most important: Since all we require is intimidation, how would we define that?
"Intimidation" does not seem to be defined in H.R. 3162. We thus must turn to authoritative dictionaries, which say such things as "to make timid." Put it in the hands of a trial lawyer, and here's how it could play out: Have you ever felt intimidated by someone smarter, larger, older, wealthier, higher in rank, more attractive, more physically fit, more passionate, or more popular than yourself? That's all it takes to establish intimidation in court - being made timid. Get a jury or judge to buy your version of events, and you win.
So while intimidation is a weak criterion, far too easy to establish in a court of law, you don't even have to establish anyone's intent to intimidate, much less his success at intimidating someone. You, the prosecutor, have to establish only the appearance of the intention to intimidate any government, and you can try anyone for domestic terrorism.
So, those of us who disagree publicly with the government's responses to 9/11 - especially if our disagreements are reasoned, well-supported, and impassioned - are, by definition, terrorists. The only requirement is that someone, somewhere believes it appears we're trying to intimidate the government. This is an ominous glower over free speech.
How ominous? It depends in part on whether you're a foreigner. Suppose a Canadian citizen writes an anti-war column for an American website. Bush signed an executive order on Tuesday, November 13, which allows for any foreigner connected to the events of 9/11 to be tried by military tribunal. This means, among other things, that the trials can be held in secret, defendants do not get the usual protections (such as an extended appeals process), the death penalty is an option, and Bush decides who is tried. If the notion of "connected" is as vague and potentially encompassing as the definition of "domestic terrorism" mentioned above, all foreigners who speak out in disagreement with the U.S. government might have reason to fear suspicion with regard to 9/11.
Remember that foreigners aren't alone - H.R. 3162 applies to everyone. Foreigners are singled out only in Bush's executive order. The only difference between foreigners and citizens is the option of the military tribunal.
We've all heard how new laws won't function in unintended ways: The Civil Rights Act wouldn't result in hiring quotas; the Americans with Disabilities Act wouldn't result in costly and ridiculous lawsuits (such as the Supreme Court deciding the rules of golf); and the Endangered Species act wouldn't threaten property rights.
__With such unintended consequences being the rule rather than the exception, be careful not to complain about the amount of your Social Security check or tax liability. Don't complain about emissions regulations. Don't complain about anything the government says or does. According to the definitions in H.R. 3162, your speech (especially if it's cogent) need only criticize the government, and you could stand accused of domestic terrorism.
by Brad Edmonds - lewrockwell.com - Apr 22, 2004
Senator Chuck Hagel has told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that it's time to reinstate the draft. Among the reasons: We need more troops in Iraq; and we need to get some wealthier kids over there fighting. "Why shouldn't we ask all of our citizens to bear some responsibility and pay some price?" Well, for starters, drafting is not asking; and for another, many of us feel the government's action in Iraq is morally wrong.
Chuck believes we need to draft 18-year-olds to fight in Iraq. That means coming to their homes if necessary, taking them by force, and shoving them into harm's way. It means shoving them in front of the rifles and improvised explosive devices of radical Islamic fundamentalists, and not-so-radical Iraqis who resent being told what to do at gunpoint by people from a completely different country, culture, and value system.
It means shoving these kids, at gunpoint, into a country that shouldn't even exist. Great Britain created Iraq's borders 90 years ago, putting under the same coercive rule three different groups, each of which hates the other two.
It means supporting an American regime that demands that these factions stay united (at gunpoint if necessary, for as long as necessary) under a system of government they don't even want, with a constitution they don't want - a constitution written in part by us. Our regime demands they institute democracy - mob rule - among three disagreeable peoples for whom democracy guarantees violently repressive Islamic fundamentalist rule by the largest group.
Let's retrace some of the insanity: We invaded a foreign country first under the claim that it was self-defense, because Hussein had WMDs, ties to al-Qaeda, and was thus a danger to strike at the U.S.. All of this being proven false, the strategic objective the regime announced to the public changed to liberating Iraq and providing a stabilizing influence in the Middle East. We've actually enslaved Iraq, and the Middle East is now far less stable than it was before we invaded.
Now, the strategic objective is lifting the ironhanded rule of Hussein from the poor Iraqis. Unfortunately, this objective fails to explain why we invaded Iraq and not The Sudan or a half-dozen other African states that murder their own citizens at a far greater rate than Saddam has been doing the last several years.
The fact is, no government can dominate millions of people who simply refuse to be dominated. Any government that tries will either be overthrown or must kill millions, as Sudan and others have done. Human beings, as a group, do not take lightly to governments violating their moral beliefs and killing their friends and family. Even the USSR's oppressive government finally died, even with constant free food shipments from the U.S. (at taxpayer expense), even without religious fundamentalism among their people.
But in Iraq, we have religious fundamentalists who are willing to kill over a perceived moral wrong, even when the moral wrong is as slight as someone else's having a different religion, or even merely following a different version of the same religion. Sometimes religion isn't even required - mere racial or tribal hatred, or a minor personal slight, is sometimes enough for them to kill.
The culture over there is obviously completely incomprehensible to our regime. While the Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds delight in killing each other (at least as long as they're forced to live under the same political rule), if an outsider kills one of them, they unite against the outsider. So what do we do? Shut down a newspaper for printing falsehoods (as though any paper over there needed to print anything but the truth to make American policy look bad; and while they're at it, why not shut down the New York Times?).
Then we put Marines on rooftops, order sections of towns evacuated, kill unarmed civilians who don't obey, and let the civilians return to their own homes on our timetable. We surround entire cities because someone there killed four of our men (we've killed thousands of their innocent civilians in the past year).
And let the neocons shut up - my telling the truth does not mean I wish for an American defeat, whatever that would mean in this situation. I wish we could expect not a single additional American or Iraqi casualty. I wish America had never gone over there, indeed that America had never violated the original foreign policy prescription of George Washington.
__We've already extended the stay in harm's way of 20,000 troops. Just say No to the draft, and in the meantime, tell your congressman to get all of our troops out of there now.
OUT OF THE LIGHT
by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. - lewrockwell.com - Apr 4, 2002
Don't expect the war skeptics to be credited with predictive power, but the fact remains: the war on terror isn't working. The crisis in the Middle East escalates by the day, with all sides experiencing more terror and death, and the ranks of terrorists and potential terrorists grow larger by the day. The U.S. has never had more enemies in the world than it does today. The world isn't safer since the war on terror began, but rather more vulnerable to violence.
The pro-war pundits aren't backing off but becoming ever more extreme in their demands that only more bloodshed will remedy the problem, even though this approach hasn't worked so far. They continue to harbor the illusion that terrorism is a product of conspiracy brought about by hateful and well-funded Svengalis who exercise mysterious mental power over would-be suicide bombers, without whom all would be right with the world. The goal, then, is to wipe out the terror leadership and intimidate potential followers with impressive displays of political hegemony.
This theory, which is as anti-intellectual as any argument made for the Total State, serves only those who have a limitless faith in the power of coercion. It is essentially no different from Stalin's theory about why socialism wasn't working in the 1930s: the problem was the Kulaks who had to be eliminated before the path was clear for the victory of the State. It parallels Hitler's view of why he wasn't winning the hearts and minds of Europe: the problem was the Jews standing in the way of Aryan autocratic rule. When confronted with resistance, despots do not rethink but escalate.
It's tragic but not fatal when this attitude strikes a small State in Latin America or an aberrant State in Europe. It is ominous when it overtakes an entire region. But when it happens to the world's only superpower, the damage to the long-term cause of liberty is immense. Few have considered what message this war on terror is sending to all States in the world. It has encouraged political leadership to do what they would like to do anyway: silence all dissidents and violently suppress all political opposition.
At some point in the course of George W. Bush's speechifying on the topic of terror, he let loose with this one: "So long as anybody's terrorizing established governments, there needs to be a war." As James Bovard points out, it was soon after that the Cuban government added a new law that allows for the death penalty for anyone using the internet to incite political violence. In a report to the UN, Cuba cited this law as evidence that it is cracking down on terror. Similarly egregious laws have been passed in Zimbabwe and Syria.
The progress of civilization is inseparable from the long struggle to establish a right to dissent. Along with that comes the need to strictly limit the power of the State to punish political opposition. That is the upshot of every important political advance in the last 500 years, from the Magna Carta to the Bill of Rights. The 20th century demonstrates nothing if not the productive power of human liberty and the horror of State control. Generations of high school students have been taught about the courage of the dissidents and martyrs in Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany.
We are told that September 11 changed everything. Apparently so. The war on terror has put the full faith and credit of the U.S. government behind a theory of power that stands the lessons of history on their head. Instead of supporting the right to dissent, the U.S. now backs any government willing to crush and destroy [this right]. Instead of sympathizing with refuseniks and the oppressed, along with captive nations and peoples, the U.S. stands ready to back the suppression of every human right in the name of stopping terror.
For those who care about the world of ideas, the ideological meltdown has been the most stunning of all. The postwar American conservative movement was weaned on the ideas of men like Richard Weaver, Russell Kirk, and F.A. Hayek. From them we take the broad lesson that civilization is the product not of power but of faith, community, and liberty. We must not be swayed by the latest crusade, but rather embrace the wisdom of tradition, they said. Prudence, not fanaticism, must be the basis of political order, they believed.
Take a look at the writings at National Review Online, or the Wall Street Journal, or the Statements by the Republican Party. The concern for restraining fanaticism and power is not only missing. It is positively trampled on and denounced as the attitude of appeasers of terror. Anyone who would invoke the writings of Weaver, Kirk, and Hayek now are dismissed as, in the eloquent phrase of Opinion Journal's James Taranto, a "wacko."
Have pity on the kids in college who take their politics from the new conservative leadership in the reign of Bush. To them, conservatism will be synonymous with the uncritical celebration of war, power, and violence. Forget about reading Edmund Burke or Eric Voegelin. To flex your conservative muscle, call for more government consolidation and shout down anyone who has doubts about U.S. global hegemony. Power, control, coercion: these are the new watchwords of American conservatism 2002.
And yet, it will not work. Every action by the U.S. produces some counteraction. Those with critical minds understand that September 11 was not the beginning of something new but a demonic retaliation for something old that began after the Cold War when the U.S. military, looking for a new crusade, went to war to settle a border dispute between Iraq and Kuwait. The troops went to Mecca, the embargo was placed on Iraq, and one war followed another until a group of suicidal killers decided to exact vengeance on American civilians, which the U.S. government interpreted as a license to repudiate every principle of good government.
__War fever and the lust for bloodshed - the core impulses of barbarian peoples - are having a good run of it these days. Pray for the return of civility and peace.
SAFETY VERSUS FREEDOM: THE FALSE DICHOTOMY
by Bob Murphy - lewrockwell.com - Sep 20, 2001
While reading the responses of Free Republic's participants - many of whom devote more time to pithy pseudonyms than to thoughtful criticism - to an excellent article by a fellow columnist, one comment struck me, because it epitomized a basic fallacy in the standard arguments over government regulation. In reference to the terrorist attacks, the columnist wrote, "The security failure by the government was total and complete." To this one FR participant smugly declared: "Methinks that real security would have [the columnist] screaming fascism."
This comment is symptomatic of the very popular and very false view that there is a spectrum by which we can characterize airline travel: At one end there is complete safety, but no privacy; hijackings and bombings would be impossible, but only at the cost of snooping government agents. On the other end of this imagined spectrum there is complete liberty but no safety; individuals can carry whatever they want on board, no questions asked, but only at the cost of frequent terrorist attacks. The ostensible challenge of a democratic republic is to strike the right balance on this spectrum, weighing the need for safety against the desire for liberty.
But this analysis is complete nonsense. Despite countless examples offered everyday, most people seem incapable of learning that even if the government spends billions of dollars and violates fundamental rights in the name of Noble Goal X, the government almost always fails to achieve it. For example, the arguments over the EPA generally contrast economic growth with environmental protection. But this too is a false "tradeoff." The same EPA that forces school districts to spend millions removing the last traces of carcinogens declared that the former site of the World Trade Center - despite the tons of asbestos thrown into the air and the irritated throats of the rescue workers - was perfectly safe and posed no danger to those working near it. Anyone who thought the EPA would classify the area as dangerous - and thus cause a "panic" - doesn't understand how the government works.
In the same way, the demands for increased oversight over the airline industry will not only restrict individual liberties, they will also fail to achieve their goal. All of the commentary blaming the hijackings on the "private" security measures overlook the fact that, on Tuesday morning, the FAA had full responsibility for the safety of U.S. airplanes. All of the subsequent discoveries of outrageous security breaches can be laid at the feet of the agency that cartelized the industry in the name of consumer protection. The U.S. airline industry was certainly not operating in a free market milieu on Tuesday morning, and thus the free market should not be blamed for the hijackings.
By its very nature, the FAA cannot possibly provide the same measure of true security that a free market would. After this abysmal showing, what will happen to those who set FAA policy? Will they be fired, as would a private company that failed so miserably in its one basic task? Of course not. The FAA will undoubtedly be given more money and more powers. Those who think greedy businessmen will do anything at all for profit would do well to consider the incentives of government regulators.
Lest I be misunderstood, I am not claiming that the FAA intentionally allowed terrorists on board. But I am saying that government agencies, by their very nature, are inefficient and counterproductive in whatever tasks they set for themselves. Plenty of people over the years have complained about the lax security at airports, about the bored personnel at the metal detector checkpoints, about the asinine questions concerning your baggage. No doubt the FAA took these complaints very seriously. I'm sure they sent thousands of memos back and forth, formed committees to study the problems, and even compiled elegant lists of pro-active recommendations...
In contrast, what steps would a truly free airline industry take to protect its customers from terrorism? In the first place, the different airlines would be allowed to compete with each other, to come up with different approaches. Unlike the one-size-fits-all monopolized approach, such competition would provide the true test of protective measures. If one airline were consistently safer than the others, consumers would flock to it, and its competitors would adopt its procedures.
This ultimate criterion of consumer patronage would be supplemented by the insurance industry. In a purely free market, insurance companies would provide expert oversight (i.e. private "regulation"). If an airline had one of its planes smash into a large building and cause billions of dollars in damages, it would be liable for this. The insurance company backing the airline would thus take great pains to ensure that its client (i.e. the airline itself) had adequate procedures to render this nightmare scenario as unlikely as possible.
I certainly can't say what the "best" defense against terrorism would be, and that's why I (unlike government regulators) don't try to impose my will on the airline industry. Other LRC writers have suggested that arming passengers would do the trick. Maybe it would; if so, most (if not all) of the airlines in a free market would allow this. I think one obvious tactic would be to tailor attention to the most suspicious passengers. In other words, especially after the recent events, Middle Eastern men would be scrutinized more carefully than a young mother from Idaho. (Note that if the airlines had attempted that on their own, prior to the attacks, they would have certainly been sued for discrimination. Just another example of how the government crippled the ability of the airlines to protect themselves.)
Of course, as the guy from Free Republic claimed, if the government were to institute further measures in the name of security, other libertarians and I would cry foul. But this isn't an inconsistency on our part. There is all the difference in the world between allowing private individuals or corporations make whatever rules they want for those who wish to do business with them, as contrasted with the government using force to impose such rules on everyone. If private individuals start a religious school that teaches Islam as the one true faith, that is perfectly admissible. But if the government required all schools to engage in such indoctrination, it would be monstrous indeed.
__The U.S. federal government assumed responsibility for protecting airline passengers, and it failed miserably, as always. The supposed tradeoff is illusory: Only in the free market will passengers be both safe and free.
THE MOST HONORABLE THING A PATRIOT COULD DO
by Mike Rogers - lewrockwell.com - Aug 13, 2005
Fight for your country, my friends. Fight for the poor and destitute. Fight for the poor children who will never again have a father or mother. Fight for the aged and the handicapped. Fight for truth, justice, and peace.
__Fight for your country. Do not fight for a political belief. Do not lay down your life for criminals, liars, and thieves. Fight to put those same criminals where they belong: In prison.
__Fight for your country - do not fight for someone else's country. Do not die far off in some foreign land. Do not die for the greed of an emperor or king. Fight to protect your homes and your loved ones - for there is nothing in this world more important than that. And if the Good Lord blesses you with health, a happy family, and love, and you one-day die in your sleep as a righteous old man or woman, rejoice that you stood for truth in your days on this earth. For you shall surely be rewarded by Him.
There is a test of wills going on right now in Crawford, Texas. It is a test of wills between a loving mother who lost her child - her child - in a war built on lies and deceit and a man who is representing the one we know as the supreme personification of evil. This man is a despicable liar. This man is a mass murderer - as well as those who associate with and support him. They must be stopped and they will be stopped. Need proof? Just look at this one woman's faith. As you know, faith can move mountains.
Help support Cindy Sheehan in her efforts to stop this insane war. Help stop this war that is killing untold numbers of innocent children. Put an end to this disastrous war that is bankrupting you and your children's future - as well as destroying your country.
__Join with me as I plan on visiting Cindy and bringing a message of peace and support from the people of Japan. In-spite of what the mainstream mass media in the USA says, the average Japanese thinks this war is just as insane as the man who created it. And I want to let the American people know about it. Please, if you can, join Cindy too and show your support. Show the criminals - and the king - that you will not tolerate the Land of the Free becoming an international pariah.
I plan on leaving on Monday morning (Japan time) and hopefully arriving in Texas by Wednesday - Thursday at the latest. Won't you please come and show your support for the truth and show your support for what America is really supposed to stand for?
__If you cannot come yourself and personally support Cindy how about sending flowers in lieu of your presence? It's easy. Amazon has a beautiful bouquet of red roses on sale now for $20 off at $19.99.
So please friends, help Cindy to fight for peace. Help her as she fights for the truth. Help her to end this senseless, criminal killing. After all, in the end, she is not only fighting for her child, she is fighting for yours and mine too. Isn't that worth a small showing of your support?
__I can think of no nobler cause than saving the lives of children. Can you?
__Here is the information you will need to send flowers to Cindy in a show of support:
__The Crawford Peace House
9142 5th Street, Crawford, TX. 76638-3037
WHAT DOES CINDY SHEEHAN REALLY WANT?
by Mike (in Tokyo) Rogers - lewrockwell.com - Aug 20, 2005
[_Mike (in Tokyo) Rogers [send him mail] was born and raised in the USA and moved to Japan in 1984. He has the distinction of being fired from every FM radio station in Tokyo - one of them three times. His first book, Schizophrenic in Japan, is now on sale.]
The Cindy Sheehan "Camp Casey" phenomenon grows daily. It has spread like wildfire capturing the imagination of Americans all across the country - foreigners alike - and has lit a fire in the hearts of so many who seemed to have given up long ago. But Cindy Sheehan has come under attack from many sides in these last few weeks. Does she really have an ulterior motive? Is she using her son's death for a hidden purpose? Or is she just what she says she is: An angry mother who wants answers? I went to the United States to meet with her personally and to find out for myself - I wanted to know if she was doing this protest for real.
I arrived late in the evening in Austin, Texas on Sunday night August 14th. After unpacking my bags and some small talk, I was ready for a nightcap and some sleep. The nightcap was impossible because this was "God's country" I was told, and it is illegal to sell alcohol after midnight. I was flabbergasted. Why, oh why had I returned to this nutty Socialist nanny state?
"You mean to tell me that a person cannot go and buy alcohol after 12 to consume inside the privacy of their own home according to the laws of Texas?" I couldn't believe it. "That's the law." was the reply. Well, so much for the so-called Land of the Free. I thought. Can't wait to get back to Japan - a much freer country - where you can buy whatever you want, anytime you want.
But I digress, this is not an article criticizing the lack of freedoms you poor folks have in the United States. This is about Cindy Sheehan. I hear that Cindy Sheehan has started a spark that is uniting a fragmented country and that this is the beginning of the end of the Iraq War. I came to Crawford, Texas to put my money where my mouth is. Personally, I am dead-set against this Iraq War and I know that George W. Bush and his crew deserve to be impeached and tried for treason. Some have said to me that if I felt so strongly about this, then why don't I return to the United States? Well, I did. And while I was there, I am happy to report, I saw a small part of the America I thought no longer existed. I saw that there still is an America in the hearts of those who chose to stand up and be counted. And now I ask all of you, whether you are for this war or against it: Put up or shut up. As your president said, "You are either with us or against us." Even a broken clock is right twice a day, and by some strange ironic twist of fate, Georgie-boy could be right for once. Now is the time to join the anti-war movement and support Cindy Sheehan or support the war by joining up for the armed forces today. You have no excuses. And that goes for you Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, Bill O'Reilly, Jenna and Barbara Bush; as well as out-of-work Tucker Carlson. You all have no excuse for not joining up. Pat Tillman made a heck of a lot more money than any of you do and he joined up. Age is no excuse either as the Army took a 72 year-old woman from Syracuse, New York. It's time now for all Americans to either put up or shut up.
I wanted to show Cindy Sheehan that I am 110% behind her - as are the people of Japan. I came the 8000 kilometers, risked my safety due to the "no fly list" (A few fake letters here and there - just goes to show you how screwed up Homeland Security is) and I came to support Cindy Sheehan and Camp Casey. I "put up."
The morning after arriving, I awoke at 6 AM. Scott Horton from Antiwar.com agreed to drive to Crawford, Texas to see for ourselves just what exactly was going on at Cindy Sheehan's vigil. The vigil had grown in the last 6 days from one woman sitting in a lawn-chair along the side of the road into a virtual uproar of people from all parts of the world showing up in solidarity with the mother of a son who died in Iraq.
Looking at the daily paper I saw that the media were having a field day. The right wing smear machine was out in all its resentful guilt-ridden glory. They were attacking her as being Anti-American. Of course there is something to be said for that particular right-wing slur: In today's America, what kind of a mother raises her child to become an honor student, a boy scout, and a decorated war-hero? I guess if that makes Cindy Sheehan anti-American then that explains what kind of a cesspool people like Bill O'Reilly came from.
And for the rest of the right wing who wish to slander the mother of a fallen soldier I say to you, dear reader, that they can be ignored for they are the vilest form of humanity. This woman's own flesh and blood made the ultimate sacrifice and those hypocrites will slander her? Think about it: Who is the hateful anti-American in this picture? The mother of the fallen soldier; or the TV/radio talking head who has never seen service?
When we arrived at the Crawford Peace House, the first stop before Camp Casey, I was shocked to see how a small grass-roots movement like this could turn into a national phenomenon. Many people gave me hugs of joy and told me that I was "witnessing the beginning of the end." I wasn't sure if they meant the beginning of the end of the Iraq War or the beginning of the end of George W. Bush. In my mind, they go hand in hand. But this was not my event. This was Cindy Sheehan's event.
The actual Camp Casey surprised me with its simplicity. It wasn't much really. It was just a few dozen cars and a couple dozen tents along the side of the road. I thought, This is what has become a social movement in the United States!? This simple, made-in-USA, protest by a mom as American as they come? This is what is snowballing into what could become George W. Bush's Waterloo? What an idiot this president must surely be! Anybody with just one iota of common sense would have met with this American mother on the first day of her protest and ended this. But this, sadly, is not a person with any common sense. This is George W. Bush: The simpleton President of the United States - the mental giant who claims to have never made a mistake.
This Cindy Sheehan protest movement shows everyone just what a straw dog George W. Bush and his cronies are. Sorry, George, you are at least 0 for 3. You've lost Afghanistan; you've lost Iraq; and now you've lost the American public because you are not enough of a man to go toe-to-toe with this American mom.
Now the right wing media are pulling out all stops to smear Cindy Sheehan. They are saying that she has a "left wing agenda" or that she is doing this or talking that. I interviewed Cindy Sheehan. What she wants is very simple. What she wants crosses all political boundaries and has no hidden agenda: She wants this war to end. Period.
Here is a transcript of a short, no frills interview I took with Cindy Sheehan on the morning of Monday, August 15th, 2005 at the Crawford Peace House:
Me: How long have you been here? When did you start?
__Cindy: Last Saturday at about 12:30.
__Me: What are you doing here?
__Cindy: I want the president to talk to me and give me answers.
__Me: About what?
__Cindy: I want to know what noble cause my son died for. I want to know if it is such a noble cause, does he encourage his daughters to enlist and take the place of some soldiers who may want to come home? And then I want him to stop using my son's memory to stop justifying the continued killing. My son's memory is standing for peace. I don't want it to stand for war and killing.
__Me: Why doesn't President Bush come to meet you?
__Cindy: He's probably afraid.
__Me: Afraid of what?
__Cindy: The truth. He's afraid of facing a mother who's here because of a broken heart and who wants the truth from him."
That's it. The who, what, when, where, and why of Cindy Sheehan. Now you tell me, who is anti-American: This American mother who lost her war hero son and now wants some answers; or this lying excuse for a man who hasn't the guts to face her?
__George W. Bush, you are a damned all-American disgrace. Cindy Sheehan has no hidden agenda. She just wants answers. I personally have no hidden agenda either: I pray for the day I see you, George W. Bush, in chains.
__To support Camp Casey and a non-political antiwar movement contact:
__The Crawford Peace House
9142 5th Street, Crawford, TX. 76638-3037
by Jack Duggan - lewrockwell.com - Jul 28, 2003
The Health Care Personnel Delivery System (HCPDS) was approved by Congress in 1987. All it needs is a signature from the U.S. President and a war. Probably any "war" will do, such as that with Iraq or declaring a "terrorist attack" an act of war, even by an unknown individual or group. Perhaps even in the face of a "possible" terrorist threat by "possible" terrorists. Look at who gets to decide whether a person is a terrorist threat.
The HCPDS was enacted to "provide a fair and equitable draft of doctors, nurses, medical technicians and those with certain other health care skills if, in some future emergency, the military's existing medical capability proved insufficient and there is a shortage of volunteers."
At an unknown future date (soon?) the Selective Service System will "...begin a mass registration of male and female health care workers between the ages of 20 and 45. They would register at local post offices. HCPDS would provide medical personnel from a pool of 3.4 million doctors, nurses, specialists and allied health professionals in more than 60 fields of medicine." Right now the SS claims it's in a "standby mode," at least until after the next election.
Selective Service? And here I thought that was a moldy bureaucracy doing the bidding of nasty old men to send poor kids to war so that their rich kids could stay in Yale and Harvard. In WWII Germany the SS made sure that their war facilities also stayed filled with slave laborers.
The SS doesn't say what the penalties are for the majority of medical workers who will tell them, "Hell NO we won't go!!!" The government hopes that the cattle mentality they drilled into them at publik skools will now pay off and that most of them will meekly register because "...it's the law." Just like black slavery was once the "law."
Is the government so out of touch with reality that they actually believe that an unconstitutional draft can make nurses and physicians willingly accept $4 per hour for their skills while they lose their homes, cars, and families? Notice that the fat-cats in government get to keep their salaries, homes, families and positions.
The Fed always has the same cure for everything: confiscation. Confiscation of money, services, systems and now, slaves. The masters have not changed, they just moved off the plantation to Washington, DC, using the cruelest whips of all, "laws" passed for their own benefit and empowerment.
Now, the SS is fixing to draft doctors, nurses and technicians just like Abraham Lincoln did with 300,000 poor kids in New York, to force them at gunpoint to kill other poor Americans during the Civil War. Of course, during a "large-scale biological attack," only military casualties are important, so to hell with our families, especially our children who the military is supposed to protect. Without enough doctors and nurses the government will just let them die so it can go on to kill even more.
You of the medical community, when are you going to get the message? All you have done is suck up to the same government that pushes relentless and ruinous regulation of your profession as if it knows anything about healthcare. Since the Fed enslaved you as a profession, it's no wonder that it has now established actual slavery over you individually, since not one of you told it to go to hell years ago when it began its takeover of medicine - all in the name of good, of course.
So get ready to walk away from that three-year-old writhing on the gurney before you, she's simply expendable; time to leave for the battlefield to keep the killing going. After all, the Hippocratic Oath is irrelevant to the hypocrites you allowed to encircle you with their chains.
So, don't forget to be patriotic, wave your flags and sing God Bless America when the SS soon begins "a mass registration of male and female health care workers between the ages of 20 and 45...at local post offices." (So that's why the price of a stamp keeps going up.)
__Don't forget to vote in the next election for the same patriots that brought you the SS and the draft, Democrat or Republican, it doesn't matter, since each holds but one side of the handcuffs behind your back.
[Cont. from Ch. 10]
GAZING INTO THE ABYSS
by Bob Wallace - www.lewrockwell.com - November 10, 2003
Having seen war first-hand, Fussell understands the horrible waste of lives that is its inherent and eternal nature. Here he quotes John Toland: "...Sitting in stunned silence, we remembered our dead. So many dead. So many maimed. So many bright futures consigned to the ashes of the past. So many dreams lost in the madness that had engulfed us. Except for a few widely scattered shouts of joy, the survivors of the abyss sat hollow-eyed and silent, trying to comprehend a world without war."
But think of all the jobs created for companies producing artificial arms and legs! And wheelchairs! And the long-term care facilities for those reduced to mental three-year-olds after getting whacked in the head! Think of all the self-deluded sentimental, mawkish chickenhawk armchair-warriors who can go to military cemeteries, and with a tear in their eye, feel proud over the ultimate sacrifice, made by others.
As for the enemy, once we destroy 'em, then we can rebuild 'em. That way, once they get hooked up with DVD players and all the other goodies, they'll easily forgive us blowing the hands and feet off of their children. And after they watch Monsters, Inc. they'll be enlightened to the truth that monsters are really just big cuddly pushovers.
Each generation forgets what war is like, Fussell tells us. They romanticize it, they cheer it, they clean it up and try and make it honorable and patriotic. He says, "Animals and trees and stones cannot be sanitized, only human beings, and that's the reason it's going to happen again, and again, and again, and again."
What was that Santayana said? "Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it"? Something like that.