The Empire of Clowns Continues on Its Murderous, Genocidal Path
by Arthur Silber
by Arthur Silber
At this moment in the monstrously bloody course of American Empire, I suppose I might take the sardonically grateful point of view. At least we now have some direct experience of how easy it was for nauseatingly corrupt Roman leaders to impose their will upon the ignorant hordes, and literally to get away with murder. Hell, who needed to "get away" with murder? Bloody, painful, lingering, ungraspably sadistic murder was one of the major entertainments.
And so it is with us, for the majority of Americans are now both stupid and cruel. Comfort yourselves with fantasies about "good Americans" who "mean well" if you wish; the facts provide you scant support. The criminal slaughter in Iraq goes on from day to day...look, Paris Hilton is being dragged off to jail! Again! It becomes clearer with every day that passes that metastasizing mayhem in the Middle East is not an unfortunate byproduct of a plan gone awry: it was the goal from the start. It provides the perfect excuse for a significant American military presence for decades to come — which was also the plan from the beginning.
A number of Americans may be decent people individually; in the aggregate, they are entirely ignorant of history, both their own and everyone else's. The elites who rule us are no better. The governing class insists that, from its inception, the United States was granted a special dispensation from God, or Nature, or some mysterious, never to be understood combination of galactic forces: we have been endowed with the "Truth" and the One True Way. It is our mission to share this Truth with the rest of the world. When some of the "lesser peoples" unaccountably resist recognizing the Truth which belongs to us and to us alone...well, that's why God gave us the greatest military the world has ever seen. If resistance by these "others" proves especially nettlesome...well, that's why nukes were invented. Why would God, or Nature, or the galactic forces provide such bounty to the United States if we were not meant to use it — or at least threaten to use it? After all, serious leaders know that all options must be kept on the table. Our table is the whole damned planet, baby! The fact that we are willing to obliterate it in its entirety and turn all of life into dust only proves the strength of our dedication to What Is Right. (We've already done this on a horrifying scale, you know, and then lied about every aspect of it. We had our reasons, and you are not to question them.)
If we knew anything about history, we would know that all such claims have been made many times before. Every notable civilization of the past was convinced it was the recipient of special favor; each fervently believed it was unique in this respect. We are not even unique in our claim to being unique. So it goes. And so they went, all those past civilizations. So we will, too — and soon, if we continue on our present path. In our determination to prevent anyone from questioning our status as Ultimate Guardians of the Truth, we may take the whole game down with us. Earlier empires couldn't do that, but we can. This is not precisely a good thing.
Meanwhile, as our governing class courts further mayhem and more widespread murder, our media play their part in the charade. They resolutely refuse to tell us anything beyond the trivial. If you seek for signs that indicate what is still to come, the media will not provide any guidance to you. So you may well have missed two stories from the past week. They're important stories, but almost no one will have told you that. The governing class only wants you to hear about those stories that make their rule easier. Besides, they are endowed with special knowledge denied to the rest of us. Most Americans don't care in any event, not with so many great programs on the teevee.
In connection with the ongoing criminal occupation of Iraq, Jim Lobe writes:
It seems the Democratic-led House of Representatives Thursday approved an amendment that, contrary to the leadership's intention, lays the legal groundwork for a protracted — if not "permanent" — U.S. military presence in Iraq.I derive considerable amusement from the linguistic pretzel-logic of this approach. If the world is going to come to an end, we might as well laugh as it does. This is quite a neat trick, when you consider it: by prohibiting "permanent" base agreements, you make possible a decades-long occupation, perhaps even for 50 years or more. It has a certain elegance.
During debate on the 2008 Foreign Operations bill, the House approved by voice vote an amendment submitted by Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King that inserted the word "permanent" before "basing rights agreement" in the following text:"SEC. 685. None of the funds made available in this Act may be used by the Government of the United States to enter into a basing rights agreement between the United States and Iraq."As King has pointed out in the past, the United States has never had a "permanent" basing rights agreement with any country where, like Germany, Japan, and South Korea, Washington has based troops for decades. So the amendment, if it becomes law, means that the administration may now use funds to enter into any kind of basing rights agreement with the government of Iraq that it wishes — be it five, ten, 25 or even 50 years. Jim Fine of the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) explained the effect of the amendment in a memo last month after King almost succeeded in getting the same amendment attached to the defense authorization bill.
But, c'mon, let's stop kidding around. This was always the plan. No one hid it, or even tried to. For God's sake, we have a global empire of military bases — close to 1,000 bases in over 130 countries around the world. Almost no one is talking about reducing any of that. No. One. The entire governing class, and virtually every national politician in both parties, believes in American world hegemony. Hegemony needs bases, baby! So about the Democratic leadership of the House: either they don't understand what this language means and what its effect will be, in which case they are too stupid to be on the city council of Flat Ass, Alabama — or they know exactly what it means, in which case they belong in jail.
In fact, there are exactly two people in Congress seriously opposed to Imperial America, and both of them put in an appearance in connection with the second story. One of those individuals is Dennis Kucinich, who tells us what happened:
Today the House of Representatives passed H. Con.Res.21, a resolution that pressures the United Nations Security Council to charge Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with violating the 1948 Convention on Genocide and the United Nations Charter because of his alleged calls for the destruction of Israel.More about this mistranslation will be found in this entry from Juan Cole, and in this article (some links via Eric Garris).
"There is reasonable doubt with regard to the accuracy of the translations of President Ahmadinejad's words in this resolution. President Ahmadinejad's speeches can also be translated as a call for regime change, much in the same manner the Bush Administration has called for regime change in Iraq and Iran, making this resolution very ironic," Kucinich said.
Kucinich attempted to insert into the Congressional Record two independent translations of the speech from The New York Times and Middle East Media Research Institute, which contain significant differences in the translations of the speech compared to the resolution before the House. However, Members objected formally and the attempt was blocked.
"When I learned of these translations, I felt obligated to bring it to the attention of the House. It seems that much has been lost in translation. Members have a right to know of the translations and the refusal to permit them to become a part of the Congressional Record does a disservice to Members."
"I object to resolutions that lay the groundwork for an offensive, unprovoked war.
"The resolution passed by the House today sets a dangerous precedent in foreign affairs. A mistranslation could become a cause of war. The United States House may unwittingly be setting the stage for a war with Iran.
"We must make every effort to ascertain the truth because peace in the world may hang in the balance. The only way to definitively know what President Ahmadinejad meant is for the United States to engage in meaningful, diplomatic relations with the country of Iran."
Kucinich does make one serious mistake in his comments, when he says, "The United States House may unwittingly be setting the stage for a war with Iran." C'mon, Dennis. The United States has a long history of aggressive war — the Spanish-American War and the Philippines occupation, Vietnam, numerous covert operations all over the world (including endless such operations in the Middle East ever since World War II), the Clinton interventions of the 1990s — on top of which, every leading national politician, including Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, agitates endlessly for confrontation with Iran. There is nothing remotely "unwitting" about any of this. Endless wars and unceasing slaughter didn't just "happen" while we were minding our business elsewhere. We believe we are entitled to world hegemony. It is our destiny to rule the world. We will have our way. "Unwitting"? Please.
Two people — two — voted against the House resolution, Kucinich and Ron Paul. Of course, we all know they're just silly people, laughingstocks in fact. They aren't "serious." If you aren't committed to American hegemony, world empire, and the unprovoked murder of possibly millions of people, you aren't "serious." So they should shut up and go away somewhere.
I draw your attention to one further point buried in the middle of the Iran resolution:
Whereas Iran has aggressively pursued a clandestine effort to arm itself with nuclear weapons....And that, as they say, is the ball game. In this manner, the Democratic House concedes, sanctifies, and gives its nearly unanimous support to the major propaganda point of the Bush-Cheney-Israel drive to war with Iran.
Thank God the Democrats took back Congress. That's all I can say. Otherwise, who knows what might have happened! Why, we might be on our way to a nuclear world war!
Please note: Iran disputes, as it has always disputed, the truth of this charge. Moreover, it is very far from clear just how far Iran may have gotten in its pursuit of nuclear weapons, even if one assumes that is what they are doing.
And I repeat: even if Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons, SO WHAT?
But now, the House is fully on board with the Bush-Cheney-Israel program. When Bush gives his speech announcing that bombing runs began four hours earlier, that some of Iran's nuclear installations have already been destroyed, and that the rest of them will be similarly destroyed in another two or three days, on what grounds will the Democrats object? As war, possibly with nuclear weapons, spreads across the Middle East and beyond, on what grounds will the Democrats object?
Of course, if the Democrats actually disagreed, there are a number of actions they could take. But they do not disagree, so they won't take those actions. In the same way, there are a number of actions leading liberal and progressive bloggers could take in an effort to get Democrats to at least try to prevent Armageddon. But they have done next to nothing, other than endlessly blather about how awful it would all be (with nary a mention of the invaluable aid to the Bush-Cheney-Israel war program now provided by the Democrats themselves), and there is no indication they ever will. So I say again that, if the worst should happen, I don't want to hear a single goddamned word from any of these people.
And if the worst does happen, I plan to drink in copious quantities, take some excellent drugs, and f**k my brains out. And laugh a lot.
An Empire of Clowns. What a ridiculous, sickeningly homicidal, disgusting nation we've become.
June 25, 2007
Arthur Silber's [send him mail] blog is Once Upon a Time, where he writes about political and cultural issues. He has also written a number of essays based on the work of psychologist and author Alice Miller, concerning the implications of her work with regard to world events today. Descriptions of those articles will be found at a companion blog, The Sacred Moment. Silber worked as an actor in the New York theater many years ago. Upon relocating to Los Angeles in the late 1970s, he worked in the film industry for several years. After pursuing what ultimately proved to be an unsatisfying business career, he decided to turn to writing full-time, a profession which he happily pursues today.
Copyright © 2007 Arthur Silber