I have a rifle, a shotgun and a few rounds of ammunition locked away in my gun safe. Should I learn that enemy soldiers are landing on the beach, I will hobble down to the dunes and kill as many of them as I can before they kill me.
That being said, as long as foreign folk stay on their side of the border, I don’t give a birdie’s tweet what they do or say or think. We should drop the motto "In God We Trust" and adopt a new one, "Let Us Mind Our Own Business."
Isolationism, as defined by George Washington, is an exceedingly good policy. Washington warned us in his "Farewell Address" to steer clear of entangling alliances, foreign quarrels and feuds. They don’t concern us, he said. Our only concerns, vis–vis foreign powers, should be friendship and commerce. We should treat all countries equally, granting neither favors nor trying to harm anyone.
The only leaders we should be concerned about are our own. God knows we have a difficult time choosing good ones among our own people without worrying about the leaders people in other countries choose or have to live under. Given the economy, the poverty, the decaying infrastructure and the enormous mountains of debt, we have enough on our plate without trying to solve any other country’s problems.
We should end foreign aid, abolish the CIA and withdraw from all international organizations, including the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Americans would be astounded at how much money they could save if we shucked the empire, and pretty soon they would be amazed at how much the rest of the world actually liked us once we quit interfering in their lives.
I am, of course, indulging in wishful thinking. The empire is very profitable for an elite few. Every foreigner with his hand in our treasury has hired lobbyists and public-relations firms to make sure it stays there. On the whole, Congress is gutless and, to a large extent, brainless. Some members are outright crooks, and others have oiled the zippers on their trousers. They are in love with the sound of their own voices. Most are contemptuous of the voters, confident they can dupe enough of them for a slim majority at the next election.
There are a handful of honorable public servants, but they are such a minority and so studiously ignored by the corporate media that chances of improvement from within are slim to none.
And let’s face it: We the American people, beneficiaries of a free republic, are on the whole woefully ignorant, woefully apathetic and woefully selfish. I used to tease my friend at the local chamber of commerce who fancied himself a conservative. I called him a long-distance conservative. He wanted the federal government to save money by not spending any in Oregon, but he lusted after every federal dollar he could lure to his own city.
Local media are likewise. They will openly upbraid a congressman who fails to bring home the bacon, now referred to as an "earmark."
We may or may not be too incompetent to run our own country, but there is no doubt that we are incompetent to rule the world. President Bush, who seems to wish he were Caesar, makes one blunder after another. The only question remaining is, Will he run out of term before he runs out of opportunities to finish wrecking the country?
He’s made a pretty complete mess of the Middle East and seems intent on restarting the Cold War with Russia. As a measure of his stupidity, even as the angry Russians resume regular flights of their long-range strategic nuclear bombers, he is moving the North American Aerospace Defense Command out of its protective mountain bunker and into an office building. Now that’s smart, eh?
Charley Reese [send him mail] has been a journalist for 49 years.