Saturday, March 08, 2008

And the Meek Shall Inherit the Earth

When noses we tweak
It is not dominion we seek
But Justice and Truth
More gin than vermouth
And we don’t tell lies
For we’re all nice guys
But War’s for our youth
While for us it’s uncouth
I know that I have focused on hypocrisy from time to time, but this whole narrative of “We had to go to war,” is wearing thin. I commend each of you to read the speech presented by the Reverend Laurence M. Vance on 3 June 2007. The question that we must each ask is: “Is this a Just War, or just war?" Reverend Vance not only answers that question, but he examines the whole fabric of a nation that has chattered incessantly about peace, but has initiated wars now for over a century. Iraq merely puts any pretense to (eternal) rest. Essentially, as a fundamentalist preacher, Vance has challenged the ballyhooed concept of a Welfare State by discussing, in great depth, the Warfare State. He has the ammunition and is unembarrassed to fire away at the myths in our midst. Vance surely challenges us to act like a Christian country by following the tenets of Christianity, instead of merely spouting scripture.
A core issue for each of us should be the stark contrast between what we say we are and what we do. Donald Rumsfeld on 29 April 2003, while interviewed by al Jazeera stated unequivocally "We don't seek empires. We're not imperialistic. We never have been. I can't imagine why you'd even ask the question.” Well, let’s see. We had just invaded a sovereign country preemptively and without due cause and desperately tried to link the invasion to a criminal attack by 16 Saudi nationals and a few assorted Yemeni, etc. Hmmm. We were only tweaking noses? No harm no foul? Oh, the resulting chaos and continuing violence resulted in the death or displacement of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, loss of women’s rights, loss of human services such as health, education, water, electricity, and sanitation as well as public safety and religious freedom? Oh shucks! In truth, our core ideal is that we are a freedom loving people. We honestly believe that we are a force for great good in the world.
Unfortunately, Chapter 12 of the 9/11 Commission Report stated, “the American homeland is the planet.” How can we consider the planet our homeland and not bump into the reality of empire? Incidentally, the precedent of the Roman Empire is not encouraging. Caesar’s Pax Romana was not really peaceful for inhabitants of the empire and neither is Bush’s Pax Americana. Also, the Roman Empire collapsed when it expanded beyond it reach, became bloated and corrupt and depended on mercenaries to defend its core. Both eventually began spying on the people instead of the enemy and torture became a significant instrument of the state. Now we have a president who claims “We don’t torture,” but has today vetoed (Intelligence Authorization) legislation that prohibited torture. Now let me think… according to Vance, we now have a military budget that exceeds the budgets of the next 12 countries combined (including mercenaries and outsourced logistics and interrogation); we have over 700 bases over the globe; Iraq alone will cost us on the scale of $3.3 Trillion or more while we keep up the charade of eliminating taxes. KBR, formerly of Halliburton (until cut loose to face asbestos liabilities) takes in billions of scarce tax dollars while protecting its no bid contract profits from US taxes in the Cayman Islands. Our reality is upside down from our ideal. The irony of that world military stationing is that enemies will inevitably find us or we will create them due to over exposure. Isolationism brings on its own problems, but none of those problems result from over exposure. I support the notion of world travel, but shouldn’t we pick our spots and doesn’t high stationing create targets like the 241 Marines killed in Lebanon during Reagan’s regime? Maybe the planet should not be our homeland.
We praise our democracy and sometimes seem to confuse our ideal with reality. The ultimate denial of reality is that we should lose our 4th Amendment freedom in order to protect our freedom. The President has illegally authorized non-FISA spying on all our electronic communication and then asked the Congress to bless the crime retroactively and provide instant absolution for future crimes as well. We seem to be gathering more and more information that suggests that our great democratic experiment is being contaminated in the laboratory. Major General Boykin has asserted that God selected Bush to be President (not the Supreme Court). “He is in the White House because God put him there.” For those of you who become squeamish at the thought of mixing church and state, General Boykin did that while in uniform and preaching in conservative churches. He claims to have shared classified photographs of demons in those churches but was not prosecuted for either mixing religion in general officer regalia, or for compromising classified information. He was promoted to Lieutenant General.
We as a people have permitted this assault on democracy by our meek acceptance of the absurd. I guess that maybe the meek will inherit the earth as in scripture. The earth is our homeland, after all. Have a martini…and hold the vermouth.

George Giacoppe
8 March 2008

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