Whose Manifest Destiny?

Who 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.

Over 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 them.

On 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.

Next 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

In 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.

We 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.

After 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.

Our 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.

World 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.

World 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.

In 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.

Another 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.

In 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.

Reagan 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 left?

Bush 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.

Under 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 savages.

Like 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.

Leading 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.

Contrary 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.

Instead, 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.

What 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?

May 29, 2003