Swans Commentary » swans.com November 21, 2005  



Blips #29
 From The Martian Desk


by Gilles d'Aymery




"I do not know any country where, in general, less independence of mind and genuine freedom of discussion reign than in America."
—Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America


(Swans - November 21, 2005)  IMPEACHMENT QUARTER: None more than Deck Deckert has been calling on impeaching Dubya. He began clamoring for impeachment as early as June 2003 and he relentlessly keeps at it. His latest rationale is that Bush lied to the American people on his road to the war, which he -- Bush, that is -- certainly did. But I thought that we could add a few other reasons for impeaching the man and throwing his entire administration to the Iraqi lions' den. What about:

Launching a war on a country that had never attacked the U.S.; a war that according to any and all international legal standards was illegal.

Using chemical weapons such as mark 77 firebombs (mk77) and white phosphorous (mk77 is a form of napalm, which was liberally used over Vietnam. The difference being that mk77 is a mixture of kerosene and polystyrene and napalm is a mixture of gasoline and polystyrene -- big difference indeed!).

Using Depleted Uranium, a cancer-causing ammo.

Torturing human beings, whether "enemy combatants," Iraqi (or Afghan) soldiers or civilians, or any nationality's individuals entangled in the US military's fishing nets (some 85,000 people so far -- not all tortured, mind you). "We do not torture," says our evangelical president. Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo Bay...

Extraordinary rendering (kidnapping) people and flying them to secret locations in "friendly" countries in Eastern Europe or in the Middle East, to be interrogated through torture under CIA supervision and/or participation.

Requesting an exemption to the McCain Amendment for the CIA, by Mr. Cheney, vice president of the once-USA. (Again, remember, "we do not torture.")

Flouting many international and US laws on the book.

Gutting Habeas Corpus.

If that's not enough, add secretly paying journalists to pander manufactured stories (aka propaganda). We could also throw in the Plame/Wilson Affair and the collusion of the mainstream media (cf. Judith Miller and Bob Woodward).

ON PAPER it looks substantially good; a long list of potentially impeachable offenses -- a slam-dunk as George Tenet would say -- that should make any reasonable American call for such an outcome. The question, however, is why would this outcome happen this time? If history is a guide of sort, there is nothing here that has not been done by Mr. Bush's predecessors as far back as one can see. Lying to the citizenry into launching wars of choice is not a Bush invention. From the Spanish War onward there is not one war that was not launched on disinformation, forgery, prevarication, and sheer lies. Wilson's propaganda and flip-flopping to get the U.S. into WWI has been meticulously documented; FDR was a master of the craft in the years leading to the US entry into WWII; Truman did a good job with the Korean War; Johnson made a good use of the Tonkin Resolution to get the country stuck in the Vietnam quagmire; ditto of Nixon, who added Cambodia and Laos to his long list of achievements; Reagan had Grenada and, although his heart told him otherwise, the contras; Bush Sr. wanted so much to kick the Vietnam syndrome that he had his own little war, Gulf War One, based on undiluted mendacity; Clinton brought humanitarian dishonesty to the fore to attack Serbia over Kosovo, and deception and disinformation led to Bosnia... And these are merely a few samples of quite ordinary American proceedings. It would be simpler to ask which American war was ever launched without cooking the books with lies and misdemeanors. No US president has ever been impeached for lying to the American people to launch foreign (mis)adventures.

THE USE of chemical weapons and DU is not a novelty either (e.g., South East Asia, Iraq, Serbia...).

TORTURE is as American as apple pie. Ask the descendents of the Indian Nations and of American slavery. Talk to Filipinos and Vietnamese... The irony here is that we allegedly went after Saddam for, among other "crimes," having used chemical weapons and torture against his own people, and the U.S. has used chemical weapons and torture against the Iraqi people. Not only that, now, even the new "democratic" government of Iraq has been caught torturing its own people -- we've trained them well!

ATTACKING A COUNTRY that has never attacked the U.S. is an oxymoron of Rabelaisian proportion. Here again, it would be easier to ask which American wars have been waged in response to an initial attack against the U.S.

INTERNATIONAL LAWS, standards, and treaties are not even worth the weight of the paper on which they are written. They are unenforceable for there is no international institution to enforce them. They are simply matters of convenience to be used or abused or discarded at will. The U.S. has historically ignored them when applicable to its policies and used them to intervene in foreign countries.

IT WOULD BE the height of hypocritical absurdity to attempt to impeach Bush Jr. as well as a diversion from more pressing issues, and it would also be counterproductive. How do you go about impeaching a president for actions that so many of his predecessors have engaged in and that so many of his political opponents have voted for and encouraged? Whatever the temptation for the Democrats to "rewrite history," they did give the Bush administration carte blanche to deal with Iraq and still want to stay the course. Note how fast the Democratic leadership distanced itself from Rep. John Murtha's call for leaving Iraq within six months -- kudos to Nancy Pelosi, the oh-so-liberal House minority leader, for her cowardice. No, instead of spending energy on impeachment strategies and running the risk -- though quite improbable -- of facing Dick-The-Torturer as president, one would be better served to keep the pressure on by attacking Bush's credibility and using the death by a thousand cuts metaphor to weaken his lame duck presidency.

CITATION FOR THE AGES: "I am embarrassed that the USA has a vice president for torture. I think it is just reprehensible. He advocates torture, what else is it? I just don't understand how a man in that position can take such a stance."
--Admiral Stansfield Turner, former CIA director in the 1970s.

IT WON'T stop Dubya from ordering a US attack on Syria or Iran if the ruling classes -- and that includes the Democrats and the mainstream media (is there a war The New York Times has not abetted and supported?) -- decide to move on with the policy to take over the Middle East and control the black gold (some would say in preparation for the Rapture), but it will weaken him for all other purposes. Better to have a weakened president than new blood that will indubitably pursue the same objectives. As to Iraq, the war will end, like with Vietnam, when the military falls into disrepair, the government coffers are empty, and the populace agitated beyond countenance. Then, the civilian bullies will be confronted with the inevitable, withdrawal. The action taken by Rep. John Murtha, who has the ears of the military, may be a fair indication that the days of reckoning are closer than the ruling elites think.

IT'S THE POLITICAL STRUCTURE that needs be opposed and replaced. As Jeremy Scahill points out in "This War Can't Be Stopped by a Loyal Opposition," we are confronting complicit bipartisan efforts to take over the Middle East and the policies followed by Bush were essentially put in place under the Clinton administration in the wake of Bush Sr.'s first Gulf War.

ANOTHER CITATION FOR THE AGES: "Happily for the busy lunatics who rule over us, we are permanently the United States of Amnesia. We learn nothing because we remember nothing."
--Gore Vidal

WHEN WILL YOU REALIZE, dear readers, that our rulers belong to a bicephalous system in which both sides of the same coin represent the interests of our corpocracy? Going after Bush is a mere diversion of the actualities that assail and pin us down time and again. Keep this in mind when you find yourselves prodded yet again to vote for the lesser evil by the like of the mainstream Greens, Michael Albert and his fellow travelers at ZNET, and the cohort of so-called Progressives (another oxymoron) such as Ted Glick, Norm Solomon, Marc Cooper, Doug Ireland, Leo Casey, Katrina vanden Heuvel, Michael Bérubé, et al. -- the Designer Left and the Cruise Missile Left (aka the Cruise Line Left, which just ended another of its famed and fabulous Nation cruises). Yes, please, don't fall into amnesia. Take the time to think again about what happened in 2003 and 2004 and how these "good people" hooded you and made you swallow hook, line, and sinker the democratic "alternative."

Here are a few reminders:

Ralph Nader: A Vote For Sanity - 10/18/04
Ralph Nader: If Not Now, When? - 3/1/04
Another Friendly Blow To Ralph Nader - 1/19/04
Disquieting Green Politics - 9/1/03
The American Caliphate: US Establishment Bipartisan Strategy - 8/18/03
Peter Camejo-Cynthia McKinney: A Green Presidential Ticket? - 7/21/03

I'LL TELL YOU WHAT: In comparison to this prattling "progressive" coterie, Dubya is a model of steadfastness!


NOW, A QUICK ONE to mollify Deck Deckert. We don't see eye-to-eye on everything, which is a healthy predisposition in our respective books. Deck has long been convinced, or, at least has long thought, that there was more to 9/11 than meets the eye. Well, Steven E. Jones, professor of Physics and Astronomy at Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, has come up with a scholarly paper -- "Why Indeed Did the WTC Buildings Collapse?" -- that begins thus:

In writing this paper, I call for a serious investigation of the hypothesis that WTC 7 and the Twin Towers were brought down, not just by damage and fires, but through the use of pre-positioned explosives. I consider the official FEMA, NIST, and 9-11 Commission reports that fires plus damage alone caused complete collapses of all three buildings. And I present evidence for the explosive-demolition hypothesis, which is suggested by the available data, testable and falsifiable, and yet has not been analyzed in any of the reports funded by the US government.

I don't personally buy this conspiracy train of thought, but Deck is an old friend and a steady horse with a strong head: I owe him (and our readers) honest disclosure of what appears to be serious work. You'll be judge.


BOONVILLE NEWS: Here's an interesting sighting that I hope won't be repeated. About eight days ago, a Wednesday evening around 19:30, the front lights of a vehicle showed up on the dirt road leading to the house. It was pitch-dark. I switched the floodlights on and went out through the back door to greet the unexpected visitor. As I turned around the corner of the house I saw the vehicle, an SUV, had stopped about 100 feet from where I was. An unknown individual of the male gender got out of the SUV brandishing, surprise, surprise, a handgun, and made a couple of steps toward me pointing his pistol in my direction. This, one can imagine, stopped me right in my tracks, not only surprised but, I confess, frozen and petrified. My only reflex was to extend both arms away from the body, palms turned towards the now rather unwelcome personage, and to utter a long winding "ehhhhhhhhhhh?" as though I'd wanted to ask "what's going on here?" but no word could come out of my mouth -- the only sound I could really hear was the pounding of my heart. Had the day come to end my misery? Nope. The guy turned around, jumped in his vehicle, and out they went in a hurry. For my part, I remained standing in the same position, wholeheartedly flummoxed, for a few seconds before walking back to the house where I poured a drop of scotch in a glass and swallowed the elixir in one gulp. Wonder why, my hands were slightly but uncontrollably trembling.

(Hey, as I am writing this, Thursday, November 17 at 10:50, someone just discharged seven shots in the distance, somewhere on the other side of Highway 128.)

According to a local observer, my unfriendly visitor might have taken the wrong fork on the road and reached the wrong house. Once he realized his error, he simply turned back and went about taking care of his business. More and more people are involved in the "trade" -- that is pot, meth, and other mind-altering substances such as cocaine and heroin (pot and meth are predominant in the Valley; pot may well be the largest cash crop in Mendoland.) -- and "powder" is increasingly doing the talking...

Did you report or call the Sheriff department? asked my interlocutor. Well, why? It would have resulted in one of the asinine lines one can read in the "Sheriff's Log" of the Anderson Valley Advertiser, our local rag, like: "11/9 7:40 pm Vista Ranch resident reported a man pulling a gun at him in front of his house before leaving without firing a shot. Deputy Nordin was dispatched to investigate but did not see any SUV, man, or gun. The resident was not there to confirm, having gone to sleep due to heavy stress and scotch gulping." Okay, I made that one up, but that pretty much sums up newsgathering in the Anderson Valley as well as the Sheriff's involvement... As I've been constantly warned, one is on one's own -- a pleasant thought in our age of evangelical nationalism.


Ç'est la vie...

And so it goes...

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Internal Resources

Blips and Tidbits


Patterns which Connect

America the 'beautiful'


About the Author

Gilles d'Aymery is Swans' publisher and co-editor.



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This Edition's Internal Links

Re-Reading Wittgenstein To Grok Now - Milo Clark

How Much Longer Will The War Last - Philip Greenspan

Cold Porridge, The Morning After - Robert Wrubel

The Politics Of No Choice - William T. Hathaway

Impeachment Is Just Another Word, For Nothing Left To Lose - Deck Deckert

When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Go To Asia - Jan Baughman

End Of Story - Alma A. Hromic

Cinematizing Shakespeare - Charles Marowitz

Letters to the Editor

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Published November 21, 2005