Whose Manifest Destiny?

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said that we must resist the nation that seeks only to kill us?
Saddam Hussein 2003? No. It was Chief Pontiac of the Ottawa Nation
in 1763. So, the sordid history of federal government power began
to take root. Although the federal republic and constitution had
not yet been formed, the character of the central government was
already becoming clear.

the next several decades, the first objective of the newly formed
federal government would be the systematic decimation of all Native
American tribes. Through a combination of forced relocation and
armed assault, induced by treaties made-to-be-broken, the Indians
were eliminated or marginalized one nation at a time. As in present
day descriptions of peoples such as the Palestinians, the victims
were characterized as "savages" for resisting the government's
ethnic cleansing. (Despite contemporary warnings about biological
terrorism from the third world, it was the British who first used
smallpox as a weapon against the American Indians in the 18th
century.) These savages simply failed to grasp how we could help

December 2, 1823, President James Monroe decided that hegemony over
the Indians of North America was not enough to secure the United
States. The Monroe Doctrine, proclaimed that America's vital security
interests would extend throughout the western hemisphere, where
the US government would be the final arbiter of what was acceptable.

in line for elimination were the Mexicans. A steady stream of provocations
against the Mexicans culminated in the Mexican-American war of 1846,
which resulted in the federal government acquiring by force virtually
the entire southwestern portion of the current United States. Today,
Americans complain about the substantial presence of Hispanic peoples
in these same states, as if they were invaders from another planet

1861, the federal government would turn on its own. When southern
states threatened to secede from the union over the issue of states
rights, Washington sent its army south to reinforce the lesson that
disagreement with Lincoln's policies would not stand. Approximately
600,000 deaths and untold levels of destruction later, federal dominance
over the nation had been re-established.

characterize Saddam as a ruthless tyrant for doing exactly what
Lincoln and Grant had done a century earlier – using brute force
to end an internal rebellion and to teach a lesson so severe that
no group would ever again think of challenging central authority.

the blood had dried and "Reconstruction" had sufficient
time to take root, the federal government would seek out new frontiers
for U.S. military influence. Despite the deeply held anti-war sentiments
of its citizens, the federal government would inject America into
the wars of Europe twice within three decades.

entry into World War I was premised upon lies and deceit, an approach
which would become a standard in all military involvements. Just
as the tragedy of 9-11 was used to generate American support for
the invasion of Iraq, the German sinking of the luxury liner Lusitania
with the deaths of 1,198 civilians was used to incite popular support
for war against Germany. Decades later the truth would finally surface.
The federal government incited the attack by using the Lusitania
to secretly ship munitions to England, callously using American
civilians as fodder.

War I featured the use of poison gas as a weapon of choice. Campaigning
for the moral right to invade Iraq and depose Saddam Hussein, President
Bush's three-line mantra included the well-worn accusation, "He
gassed his own people." We were not so uncivilized. We only
used it to gas other people.

War I was "The War To End All Wars." America and Europe
would shape a perfect world from the ruins, and reap the spoils
of being victors. The desires of the people affected by this central
planning were irrelevant. After all, they were merely backward savages,
and did not understand how we could help them.

less than 25 years, the federal government would catapult a reluctant
America into the Second World War, or "The War To End All Wars,"
Part II. The war would end with Europe and other regions of the
globe shattered, fifty million people killed, economies in ruins,
and the United States government largely in charge. We would impose
military rule on Germany and Japan where thousands of American troops
still remain.

excuse for invading Iraq was to prevent the development of nuclear
weapons. In World War II, the federal government would make America
the first (and still the only) nation in the world to use nuclear
weapons. It was so impressive the first time, we just could not
resist dropping another. Carnage, birth defects, and disease would
plague Japan for decades. As Defense Secretary Rumsfeld would note,
war is "untidy." Besides, these were backward savages.
This was our way of making their lives worth living.

the ensuing three decades the federal government would commit America
to fund and fight a Cold War (If you prefer, we could serve your
war hot.) with the Soviet Union, which involved us directly or indirectly
in scores of local conflicts and civil wars in the Middle East,
South America, Africa, and Asia. The Soviets would be taught the
same lesson that Lincoln taught the South — we have wealthier subjects
whom we can compel to fund our military than you do. Therefore,
you will lose. This was a central theme of the Reagan administration
which would propel the federal deficit to go where no other deficit
had gone before. This was all justified as a confrontation against
The Evil Empire.

would also expand on America's self-proclaimed hegemony, announcing
that the Middle East was now added to those other unfortunate parts
of the globe which would be considered to be part of America's vital
national security. Translation: We reserve the right to invade if
necessary and impose military rule upon you. Was there anything

I acted upon the Reagan Doctrine when he launched Gulf War I, formerly
known as Desert Storm, formerly known as Desert Shield. We simply
could not stand by while a corrupt, self-absorbed and insignificant
nation ruled by a monarch who was forced to forego his solid gold
toilet paper rollers to flee to Europe, was invaded by its neighbor.
Sure they had oil, but this was not about oil, the same way that
Annika Sorenstam's appearance at the Colonial Classic was not about
women's rights.

eight years of Clinton, the federal government would project American
military force into Haiti, Somalia, and Yugoslavia. (Hey, we want
Europe to know we are still around.) We would also lob a few million
dollars worth of military explosives into Afghanistan, the Sudan,
and our old favorite, Iraq, just for good measure. Yeah, backward

the second nuclear blast we delivered on Japan, we just could not
resist a sequel to Gulf War I. Americans love sequels. Enter the
prodigal son, who campaigned upon promises of smaller government,
less taxes, shrinking military involvement around the world, and
(read my lips) no nation building. We would get just the opposite.
Bush II would give us Gulf War II, later known as Operation Iraqi
Freedom (whether you want it or not), where he would try to make
his daddy proud.

up to the invasion, Bush met with disapproval from the United Nations,
his traditional allies, and the people of virtually every nation
in the world, including his own. Bush said he would not be influenced
by those pesky polls. Your President would take you into this war
because…well…because he wanted to.

to the federal government's pre-invasion promises, the Iraqi people
did not greet American troops with flowers, the horribly out-matched
Iraqi armed forces did not stand down, oil fields were not set ablaze,
dams were not dynamited, no chemical or biological weapons were
used against our troops, and no weapons of mass destruction have
been found.

Americans have been given a deck of playing cards and daily updates
on what a great job we are doing. A federal government which cannot
even run the District of Columbia, now endeavors to run a nation
whose language, culture, politics, religions, and currency system
are completely beyond its grasp. Within weeks, the miserable failure
of this approach has led to the sacking of the appointed "rulers"
and their replacement with more experimental bureaucrats. We have
liberated the Iraqi people. Yes, we have liberated them from any
semblance of order, from food, water, electricity, medical care,
and gasoline in a nation with the world second largest oil reserves.

did you expect? You must remember that the Iraqis are savages too.
These people are simply not like us. They may not realize it yet,
but they need our government to make their world proper. Right,
Chief Pontiac?

29, 2003

M. Peters [send him mail]
is a practicing attorney in Michigan.


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