by Philip Greenspan
(Swans - July 3, 2006) It's an ironic juxtaposition ideally fashioned for the sarcasm, satire, and wit of H. L. Mencken! It's the richest most powerful country on earth. Its educated citizens are governed by the foremost democracy so they claim. Yet, from amongst its vast population whom do they choose for its president? An incompetent fool! But instead of grieving or crying in chagrin at the thought that they and their fellow citizens put a doofus in office, they crack jokes about him and laugh. They should be yelling, screaming, and taking to the streets to overturn this atrocity, as Venezuelans and Bolivians have done.
Many prominent and knowledgeable activists as they speak and write about the current world situation frequently fret that they are speaking to the choir. Well, if I am one of those choirboys I am singing out of tune, for I disagree with much of what they say.
They are continually blasting Bush -- for promoting wars, for condoning torture, for spying on the public, for overriding the Bill of Rights, for lying, for corruption, for abrogating treaties, for malfeasance, for . . . oh, why continue to itemize, he's the source of all evil. Their rhetoric conjures up the Founding Fathers, whose sacred Constitution has been desecrated. And so they advocate impeachment. Aren't they aware that Bush's policies conform to the fathers' intentions? Aren't they aware that the practices that they find so objectionable have been standard operating procedures for Bush's predecessors? The only difference -- they were more competent, more skillful in clandestinely accomplishing their nefarious deeds. Are they blind to what has really been going on in the U.S. over the years or am I delusional?
The resident in the White House is a source of enlightenment for evils deliberately designed into the constitutional system by those Founding Fathers, who are mistakenly extolled by the speakers and writers. The Bill of Rights was not their conception. They are Amendments wanted by the people, and reluctantly included by the fathers to secure ratification. Former presidents have provided Bush with ample precedents for his transgressions. And that hokum about checks and balances -- where are the Congress and the courts? Why do they constantly back him up? The evils listed above were passed by the Congress and/or approved by the courts. Why not impeach the congressmen and judges as well?
War Monger Presidents
Preemptive wars, unprovoked and unjustified attacks, are as old as the country. In fact in colonial times, the Native Americans were already victims of what would become S.O.P. for the U.S. of A. Every US president from George Washington, the first, until Benjamin Harrison, the 23rd -- when the Indians were finally subdued -- condoned that genocide. Many of those presidents, namely Andrew Jackson, William Henry Harrison, and Zachary Taylor, gained their stature and popularity as Indian fighters. Other presidents and the wars they presided over were: James K. Polk, Mexican War; Abraham Lincoln, Civil War; William McKinley, Spanish-American War; William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt, the Philippine-American War; Woodrow Wilson, World War I; Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman, World War II; Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower, Korean War; John Kennedy, Bay of Pigs; John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, Vietnam; Ronald Reagan, Grenada and Lebanon; George Bush, Panama and Gulf War I; Bill Clinton, Somalia, Serbia and Kosovo; George W. Bush, Afghanistan and Iraq. In each instance a justification was claimed for the military action, but they were always lies.
The American people at least knew of and supported those wars. Many clandestine operations attained similar results by the CIA's employing any and all means necessary, including assassinations and torture. During Eisenhower's term, democratically elected Mossadegh of Iran and Arbenz of Guatemala were ousted and replaced by US puppets; for Nixon it was Allende of Chile; for Johnson it was Sukarno of Indonesia; for Reagan the CIA used counterinsurgencies in El Salvador and Nicaragua.
Were JFK's expectations revealed in his inaugural address with the passages "...ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what you can do for your country..." and "...pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship..."? Quotations most appropriate for Mussolini or Hitler but when uttered by the charismatic JFK had the booboisie enthralled. The Bay of Pigs and Vietnam were two costly fiascos of those expectations. The failure of the first induced him to press for Castro's assassination and the overthrow of the Cuban government, ventures that enlisted the mafia and Cuban dissidents as well as the CIA and continue right up to the present. Besides the assassination attempts, an airliner was sabotaged with loss of all passengers and crew, and the island was subjected to biological warfare -- viruses and insects destroyed various crops and a swine fever caused hundreds of thousands of pigs to be slaughtered. JFK's introduction of military "advisers" into Vietnam led under the guidance of his "best and brightest" appointees to a full scale military intervention there.
Ford and his Secretary of State Kissinger gave the Indonesian government a green light to take over East Timor, when the Portuguese abandoned their colony. Carter expanded and accelerated the delivery of military equipment to that murderous Indonesian regime.
This list could go on and on and on for all administrations, Republican and Democratic alike. Instead I will limit further examples to a reputed "good guy" president, Jimmy Carter, the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize.
Carter stuck with the Shah of Iran to the bitter end; supported Somoza -- training Contras in Honduras to fight the Sandinistas; extended military and economic aid to El Salvador, whose military was implicated in widespread massacres; and propped up Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge after their defeat by the Vietnamese. Pol Pot is the one bum of all those labeled "Hitler" by US politicians who is truly entitled to that designation. And what do you know? He turns out to be on the US side! Yes, and subsequent administrations stood by him because he opposed the hated Vietnamese. Jimmy embraced the secret scheme of his National Security Adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, to organize, finance, and train Islamic fundamentalists to fight in a war in Afghanistan that would ensnare the Soviets. Brzezinski is elated that his stratagem led to the collapse of the Evil Empire, even though the Taliban and al Qaeda emerged from that enterprise.
A hawkish disposition is certainly required for entrée to the presidency; the more hawkish the better. While Bush compares favorably, he is not yet outstanding on this score.
Since 1946, the U.S. has trained Latin American security personnel at a school labeled by its critics the SOA -- "School of Assassins" -- advocating torture, extortion, and execution. Many administrations and many congresses, the gangs who regularly appropriate its funds, have sustained it. They are well aware of this abomination, for they are inundated with calls and letters from disapproving citizens. Although its name and location have changed its mission remains the same and its graduates redeem the US investment by their involvement in murderous attacks on innocent folks. Every year increasing numbers protest at Fort Benning, Georgia, where the school is situated, to have it closed permanently. What reward awaits a zealous objector to torture who oversteps the Fort Benning boundary line? A prison sentence!
Well before the U.S. established the SOA, torture was already a common practice amongst slave masters who had the right to torture and regularly whipped their slaves; by the military who tortured enemy captives; in US prisons -- where Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib-type punishments have been inflicted -- up to the present day, etc.
Putting undesirables away has always been in fashion, starting with the indigenous Americans who were dumped onto reservations, a tactic adopted by Hitler -- read about it in Mein Kampf -- for his concentration camps. During WWII resident Japanese, including citizens, were packed into camps in the U.S. Those in Hawaii, much closer to the hated enemy, were not affected because their labor was deemed essential for the viability of the islands. By criminalizing the use of certain drugs, a sizable segment of the defenseless poor have been locked up for unconscionable lengths of time and propelled the U.S. to the unenviable number one spot of prison populations.
"The Do Nothing Congress" was how Harry Truman described it, but those "Do Nothings" enacted the Internal Security Act of 1950 (McCarron Act), one of its provisions authorizing concentration camps for emergency situations. There are now over 800 empty prison camps in the U.S. fully staffed and ready for operations by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) should Marshal Law be invoked.
Violations of the Bill of Rights
The Bill of Rights will be overridden if it might stymie the intent of a major government policy. Illegal clandestine means are usually what are required but when necessary and appropriate, the legislature and the judiciary will oblige by providing cover for vitiating a right.
During the administration of the second US president, John Adams, several prominent and outspoken citizens were convicted under the Alien and Sedition Acts for exercising their First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and press. During the Civil War Lincoln disregarded a ruling by Roger Taney, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court that his suspension of "habeas corpus" was unconstitutional.
The twentieth century ushered in the Palmer raids, McCarthyism, and the infamous COINTELPRO activities of the FBI. To maintain the existing social order, the FBI illegally spied on and infiltrated legitimate anti-war, civil rights, labor, and other organizations. Perjured testimony, dirty tricks, etc., led to murders and imprisonment of innocent individuals, some of whom are still serving sentences.
Will impeaching Bush and even Cheney make a difference? Will regime change make a difference? In both instances the cast of characters will change but the succeeding acts will conform to the already-established plot line.
That venerable document inspired by the Founding Fathers sanctified PROPERTY RIGHTS. Accordingly those possessing property with the accompanying rights are blessed. The more they possess the more they are blessed. Blessed with wealth! It follows logically that wealth under the founders' Constitution translates to power behind the throne. To effect change the system that equates wealth with power must be junked! A new one that provides for human needs, a decent standard of living for every individual -- food, clothing, housing, health care, and employment -- must be established!
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