2004: The Superpower Kept Sinking

by Philip Greenspan

December 13, 2004   


(Swans - December 13, 2004)   On 9/11/01 each of the twin towers of the World Trade Center was struck by a 767 jetliner. The impact of the planes and the explosion of the jet fuel did not bring down the towers. The North Tower stood for 104 minutes; the South, 56 minutes. During those minutes the well designed and formidable structures were slowly losing strength until they finally collapsed.

The world's only superpower appeared as strong as those majestic towers. But since then, like the structural steel in the towers, the U.S. weakened and during the year 2004 that weakening accelerated.

Rather than highlight news stories that could alert the public to possible dangers ahead the major media fiddles like Nero while the country metaphorically burns. Pseudo-news presented in an entertaining style is a bigger money-maker than truthful hard news. And in America profits for the owners is the sacrosanct purpose of every business enterprise.

During 2004 the most column inches in the papers and the most time on radio and television were devoted to news stories on the primaries and the election. As usual, the media exaggerated their importance thereby diverting the attention of the public from more meaningful events. Since those unreasonable facsimiles of American politics, the Republicans and Democrats were each proposing nothing basically different on most major policies, the election was a nonentity.

The Anybody But Bush crowd felt the time had come to oust the bogeyman haunting their dreams. Their white knight, Dennis Kucinich, who lost out quite early in the primaries promised to uphold their honor by obtaining an anti-war plank in the Democratic Party's platform. But their hero sold out, supported the pro-war candidate and party, and urged his fans to do the same. The patsy ABBers were rewarded for their loyalty by being abused by the party they supported. Medea Benjamin had the honor of being dragged out of the Democratic Convention in handcuffs for displaying a banner that read "End the Occupation of Iraq." Why, oh why, did the ABBers let the Dems crap all over them? Why didn't they open their mouths? Nevertheless they expended time, money and effort on behalf of a candidate who promised to more effectively fight a war that they opposed.

While that farce was garnering most of the front page headlines numerous other stories were disclosing that the Bush administration was in trouble. Almost every day some bad news would appear. Bush reacted defensively and was helped by a supportive media. Kerry also helped by not opposing the failed Bush policies and by ignoring those who offered his best hopes. Not only was Dubya able to survive but with sophisticated ballot stuffing pulled off the election. The ABBers were devastated.

They abandoned Nader, the man who most closely represented their interests. They went for ANYBODY BUT -- but ANYBODY turned out to be a NOBODY. At least Nader was SOMEBODY. They should now learn the tune "I ain't got NOBODY and NOBODY cares for me," and start warbling it.

Kerry's loss is not as bad as they imagine. Had that pro-warrior won, he would have been given a six-month honeymoon that new presidents usually enjoy. With his promises for more troops, etc., he would have used that time to screw things up but good. Look at history, candidates who promised to keep the country out of war, shortly thereafter brought the country into war -- Wilson, Roosevelt, and Johnson -- all Democrats. Here was a guy who made a pro-war, not a no-war promise. Can you imagine him breaking that promise when the elite who control him are still gung-ho? And if Kerry occupied the White House would Congressional Democrats, who have finally started opposing the war, not feel obligated to support their Democratic president?

The Bush gang is old merchandise. They will get no honeymoon. Instead their miserable track record should cause any new exploits to be carefully examined. No longer can they expect congressional blank checks for their adventures. Their future should be tough, rough and rugged.

Before the year started the major purpose of the war had been accomplished. Not only had Saddam been deposed and captured, his sons had been killed, and military victory was at hand. The time was ripe to pull out.

By hanging in there, they created problems galore. Nothing but nothing seemed to work for them. Their lies and the media cover-ups were unable to suppress the numerous fiascos that regularly popped up during the year.

The following names and events are some that destroy the illusion that the U.S. is winning its terrorist wars: Former US Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill and former counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke who wrote whistleblower books. FBI translator Sibel Edmonds, who disclosed incompetence and corruption in the FBI. US weapons-hunter David Kay and weapons-inspector Charles Duelfer, who reported that Hussein had no WMDs. Ahmed Chalabi, the neocons' original favorite to take over Iraq. Seymour Hersh, who disclosed Abu Ghraib tortures. Discredited military men General Shinseki, General Zinni, and Major Ritter whose predictions were right on the money. The hearings and report of the 9/11 commission. Investigations of the Valerie Plame leak.

Domestically things keep getting worse. More people cannot pay the price for adequate health insurance. More people have to pay increasing fees for schooling. More people have to pay increasing fees to visit public parks. More people are incarcerated. More people are losing their jobs. More jobs are being outsourced. More people are being dropped from Medicaid because of reduced or restricted eligibility.

Because Bush and his buddies are extremely vulnerable they are attempting to eliminate all traces of dissent. Providing accurate information is heresy if lies are what is called for.

When Lyndon Johnson became president on Kennedy's death, he discovered that the executive branch was staffed with extremely brilliant men -- the best and the brightest. But those best and brightest were the men responsible for the Vietnam debacle.

Bush's new tactical approach to staffing is to avoid the most truthful and capable. He is applying a variation of the Hruska principle. The Hruska principle arose when Tricky Dick Nixon shocked the legal community by nominating an unqualified G. Harold Carswell to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court. Roman Hruska, a Nebraska Senator, defending the nominee declared "Even if he was mediocre, there are a lot of mediocre judges and people and lawyers, and they are entitled to a little representation, aren't they?" Well, it seems the Bush team is adopting a similar formula. Why employ the best and the brightest? They failed the test. Let's bring in the worst and the darkest provided they support the administration one-zillion percent!

The changes must be made quickly because day after day more and more bad news keeps surfacing.

Some recent tidbits: November 2004, well after Bush triumphantly declared the war had ended, the highest GI death toll was announced. Rebels are mounting as many as 150 attacks per day -- 10 times more than a year ago. Military units originally scheduled to leave Iraq in October will now be kept until March 2005.

As this is written, the following numbers picked up from the Internet, show what the war has already cost the U.S., and the costs to innocent Iraqis are far, far greater. 1,273 GIs killed, 9,552 wounded, and over $148 billion spent. Those numbers keep increasing.

Do people still believe the bullshit that we are there to bring democracy to the people of Iraq? We are really there to take over the country lock, stock and barrel with the assistance of a suitable puppet to give voice to the charade. The Iraqis are no fools. They don't intend to sell out. The bonanza that was anticipated has not resulted. Companies that went in are pulling out hoping the danger will disappear. The bribed allies are losing support of their home constituents and are deserting.

With terms in Iraq stretched the GIs' morale is sinking. In Vietnam a GI knew that if he survived one year there he was going home. Now even when your tour of duty and your enlistment should be over, it might not and probably isn't. Recently "mutiny," a taboo military word, appeared in the press to describe the refusal of a unit to perform an assignment. When morale in Vietnam sank to the where mutiny became pervasive the military called it quits.

2004 is a continuation of the fateful decision for war against the terrorists. As time progresses it becomes more and more apparent that the decision has backfired. The numerous lies and distortions that justified the administration's actions were exposed. Their predictions have proven false. The enormous costs severely weakened the US infrastructure.

Traditional allies, all of whom were most sympathetic to what occurred, refused to join them in the Iraq war. The few small nations that offered token support have withdrawn or are on the verge of withdrawing.

Peoples around the world, some in direct opposition to their own governments, protested the actions of the U.S. and many even consider the U.S. the greatest danger on earth. Within the U.S. the numbers who oppose the administration's actions are constantly increasing.

And then most importantly there is the economy -- the structure that holds the whole system up. The debt and balance of payments deficit keep rising. The value of the dollar vis-à-vis the Euro, the yen and gold keeps dropping. The dollar may soon lose its preeminence as a reserve currency. The Chinese, Japanese, Koreans and Taiwanese hold forty percent of US treasuries. Only the Japanese have not cut back on the purchases, and as the yen gains against the dollar their holdings lose value. The overvalued dollar will soon meet its Waterloo. States and municipalities who have been picking up burdens that were formerly handled by the Feds are strapped.

Dwight Eisenhower, a man who intimately knew both the military and government having served in top capacities in both, warned in a speech on January 18, 1953, "The problem in defense is how far you can go without destroying from within what you are trying to defend from without."

It happened to the Soviet Union in 1989. It happened throughout history to superpowers of their day. Egypt, Greece, Rome, Spain, France, Britain and many more. It may not be long before the U.S. joins the list as well.

One worrisome factor exists. What actions might the crazies in Washington take to avoid the ignominy of defeat? Will that load of A-bombs be resorted to?

There were other news stories of the year that deserve more than a passing comment. During the coming year I will try to tackle each: The Israeli-Palestinian conflict; a 57-year struggle that always receives biased coverage. The CIA's clandestine activities in Haiti, Venezuela, Sudan, and the Ukraine. The deterioration of the environment with global weather changes becoming more and more apparent.

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America the 'beautiful' on Swans

Israel-Palestine on Swans

Actions & Ideas to NOT play the Game on Swans


Philip Greenspan on Swans (with bio).

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Published December 13, 2004
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