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Editorials The Warlords of America
The Warlords of America PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Pilger ID39   
Friday, 24 September 2004 05:27


Most of the US's recent wars were launched by Democratic
presidents. Why expect better of Kerry? The debate between US
liberals and conservatives is a fake; Bush may be the lesser
evil. From John Pilger in Washington

On 6 May last, the US House of Representatives passed a
resolution which, in effect, authorised a "pre-emptive"
attack on Iran. The vote was 376-3. Undeterred by the
accelerating disaster in Iraq, Republicans and Democrats,
wrote one commentator, "once again joined hands to assert the
responsibilities of American power".

The joining of hands across America's illusory political
divide has a long history. The native Americans were
slaughtered, the Philippines laid to waste and Cuba and much
of Latin America brought to heel with "bipartisan" backing.
Wading through the blood, a new breed of popular historian,
the journalist in the pay of rich newspaper owners, spun the
heroic myths of a supersect called Americanism, which
advertising and public relations in the 20th century
formalised as an ideology, embracing both conservatism and

In the modern era, most of America's wars have been launched
by liberal Democratic presidents - Harry Truman in Korea,
John F Kennedy and Lyndon B Johnson in Vietnam, Jimmy Carter
in Afghanistan. The fictitious "missile gap" was invented by
Kennedy's liberal New Frontiersmen as a rationale for keeping
the cold war going. In 1964, a Democrat-dominated Congress
gave President Johnson authority to attack Vietnam, a
defenceless peasant nation offering no threat to the United
States. Like the non-existent WMDs in Iraq, the justification
was a non- existent "incident" in which, it was said, two
North Vietnamese patrol boats had attacked an American
warship. More than three million deaths and the ruin of a
once bountiful land followed.

During the past 60 years, only once has Congress voted to
limit the president's "right" to terrorise other countries.
This aberration, the Clark Amendment 1975, a product of the
great anti- Vietnam war movement, was repealed in 1985 by
Ronald Reagan.

During Reagan's assaults on central America in the 1980s,
liberal voices such as Tom Wicker of the New York Times,
doyen of the "doves", seriously debated whether or not tiny,
impoverished Nicaragua was a threat to the United States.
These days, terrorism having replaced the red menace, another
fake debate is under way. This is lesser evilism. Although
few liberal-minded voters seem to have illusions about John
Kerry, their need to get rid of the "rogue" Bush
administration is all-consuming. Representing them in
Britain, the Guardian says that the coming presidential
election is "exceptional". "Mr Kerry's flaws and limitations
are evident," says the paper, "but they are put in the shade
by the neoconservative agenda and catastrophic war-making of
Mr Bush. This is an election in which almost the whole world
will breathe a sigh of relief if the incumbent is defeated."

The whole world may well breathe a sigh of relief: the Bush
regime is both dangerous and universally loathed; but that is
not the point. We have debated lesser evilism so often on
both sides of the Atlantic that it is surely time to stop
gesturing at the obvious and to examine critically a system
that produces the Bushes and their Democratic shadows. For
those of us who marvel at our luck in reaching mature years
without having been blown to bits by the warlords of
Americanism, Republican and Democrat, conservative and
liberal, and for the millions all over the world who now
reject the American contagion in political life, the true
issue is clear.

It is the continuation of a project that began more than 500
years ago. The privileges of "discovery and conquest" granted
to Christopher Columbus in 1492, in a world the pope
considered "his property to be disposed according to his
will", have been replaced by another piracy transformed into
the divine will of Americanism and sustained by technological
progress, notably that of the media. "The threat to
independence in the late 20th century from the new
electronics," wrote Edward Said in Culture and
Imperialism, "could be greater than was colonialism itself.

We are beginning to learn that decolonisation was not the
termination of imperial relationships but merely the
extending of a geopolitical web which has been spinning since
the Renaissance. The new media have the power to penetrate
more deeply into a ''receiving'' culture than any previous
manifestation of western technology."

Every modern president has been, in large part, a media
creation. Thus, the murderous Reagan is sanctified still;
Rupert Murdoch's Fox Channel and the post-Hutton BBC have
differed only in their forms of adulation. And Bill Clinton
is regarded nostalgically by liberals as flawed but
enlightened; yet Clinton's presidential years were far more
violent than Bush's and his goals were the same: "the
integration of countries into the global free- market
community", the terms of which, noted the New York
Times, "require the United States to be involved in the
plumbing and wiring of nations'' internal affairs more deeply
than ever before". The Pentagon's "full-spectrum dominance"
was not the product of the "neo-cons" but of the liberal
Clinton, who approved what was then the greatest war
expenditure in history. According to the Guardian, Clinton's
heir, John Kerry, sends us "energising progressive calls". It
is time to stop this nonsense.

Supremacy is the essence of Americanism; only the veil
changes or slips. In 1976, the Democrat Jimmy Carter
announced "a foreign policy that respects human rights". In
secret, he backed Indonesia's genocide in East Timor and
established the mujahedin in Afghanistan as a terrorist
organisation designed to overthrow the Soviet Union, and from
which came the Taliban and al-Qaeda. It was the liberal
Carter, not Reagan, who laid the ground for George W Bush. In
the past year, I have interviewed Carter's principal foreign
policy overlords - Zbigniew Brzezinski, his national security
adviser, and James Schlesinger, his defence secretary. No
blueprint for the new imperialism is more respected than
Brzezinski's. Invested with biblical authority by the Bush
gang, his 1997 book The Grand Chessboard: American primacy
and its geostrategic imperatives describes American
priorities as the economic subjugation of the Soviet Union
and the control of central Asia and the Middle East.

His analysis says that "local wars" are merely the beginning
of a final conflict leading inexorably to world domination by
the US. "To put it in a terminology that harkens back to a
more brutal age of ancient empires," he writes, "the three
grand imperatives of imperial geostrategy are to prevent
collusion and maintain security dependence among the vassals,
to keep tributaries pliant and protected, and to keep the
barbarians from coming together."

It may have been easy once to dismiss this as a message from
the lunar right. But Brzezinski is mainstream. His devoted
students include Madeleine Albright, who, as secretary of
state under Clinton, described the death of half a million
infants in Iraq during the US-led embargo as "a price worth
paying", and John Negroponte, the mastermind of American
terror in central America under Reagan who is currently
"ambassador" in Baghdad. James Rubin, who was Albright's
enthusiastic apologist at the State Department, is being
considered as John Kerry's national security adviser. He is
also a Zionist; Israel's role as a terror state is beyond

Cast an eye over the rest of the world. As Iraq has crowded
the front pages, American moves into Africa have attracted
little attention. Here, the Clinton and Bush policies are
seamless. In the 1990s, Clinton's African Growth and
Opportunity Act launched a new scramble for Africa.
Humanitarian bombers wonder why Bush and Blair have not
attacked Sudan and "liberated" Darfur, or intervened in
Zimbabwe or the Congo. The answer is that they have no
interest in human distress and human rights, and are busy
securing the same riches that led to the European scramble in
the late 19th century by the traditional means of coercion
and bribery, known as multilateralism.

The Congo and Zambia possess 50 per cent of world cobalt
reserves; 98 per cent of the world's chrome reserves are in
Zimbabwe and South Africa. More importantly, there is oil and
natural gas in Africa from Nigeria to Angola, and in Higleig,
south-west Sudan. Under Clinton, the African Crisis Response
Initiative (Acri) was set up in secret. This has allowed the
US to establish "military assistance programmes" in Senegal,
Uganda, Malawi, Ghana, Benin, Algeria, Niger, Mali and Chad.
Acri is run by Colonel Nestor Pino-Marina, a Cuban exile who
took part in the 1961 Bay of Pigs landing and went on to be a
special forces officer in Vietnam and Laos, and who, under
Reagan, helped lead the Contra invasion of Nicaragua. The
pedigrees never change.

None of this is discussed in a presidential campaign in which
John Kerry strains to out-Bush Bush. The multilateralism
or "muscular internationalism" that Kerry offers in contrast
to Bush's unilateralism is seen as hopeful by the terminally
naive; in truth, it beckons even greater dangers. Having
given the American elite its greatest disaster since Vietnam,
writes the historian Gabriel Kolko, Bush "is much more likely
to continue the destruction of the alliance system that is so
crucial to American power. One does not have to believe the
worse the better, but we have to consider candidly the
foreign policy consequences of a renewal of Bush's
mandate . . . As dangerous as it is, Bush's re-election may
be a lesser evil." With Nato back in train under President
Kerry, and the French and Germans compliant, American
ambitions will proceed without the Napoleonic hindrances of
the Bush gang.

Little of this appears even in the American papers worth
reading. The Washington Post's hand-wringing apology to its
readers on 14 August for not "pay[ing] enough attention to
voices raising questions about the war [against Iraq]" has
not interrupted its silence on the danger that the American
state presents to the world. Bush's rating has risen in the
polls to more than 50 per cent, a level at this stage in the
campaign at which no incumbent has ever lost. The virtues of
his "plain speaking", which the entire media machine promoted
four years ago - Fox and the Washington Post alike - are
again credited. As in the aftermath of the 11 September
attacks, Americans are denied a modicum of understanding of
what Norman Mailer has called "a pre-fascist climate". The
fears of the rest of us are of no consequence.

The professional liberals on both sides of the Atlantic have
played a major part in this. The campaign against Michael
Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 is indicative. The film is not
radical and makes no outlandish claims; what it does is push
past those guarding the boundaries of "respectable" dissent.
That is why the public applauds it. It breaks the collusive
codes of journalism, which it shames. It allows people to
begin to deconstruct the nightly propaganda that passes for
news: in which "a sovereign Iraqi government pursues
democracy" and those fighting in Najaf and Fallujah and Basra
are always "militants" and "insurgents" or members of
a "private army", never nationalists defending their homeland
and whose resistance has probably forestalled attacks on
Iran, Syria or North Korea.

The real debate is neither Bush nor Kerry, but the system
they exemplify; it is the decline of true democracy and the
rise of the American "national security state" in Britain and
other countries claiming to be democracies, in which people
are sent to prison and the key thrown away and whose leaders
commit capital crimes in faraway places, unhindered, and
then, like the ruthless Blair, invite the thug they install
to address the Labour Party conference. The real debate is
the subjugation of national economies to a system which
divides humanity as never before and sustains the deaths,
every day, of 24,000 hungry people. The real debate is the
subversion of political language and of debate itself and
perhaps, in the end, our self-respect.

John Pilger's new book, Tell Me No Lies: investigative
journalism and its triumphs, will be published in October by
Jonathan Cape. 
This article first appeared in the New Statesman.

"I would rather be a member of this [Afrikan] race than a Greek in the time of Alexander, a Roman in the Augustan period, or Anglo-Saxon in the nineteenth century." - Edward Wilmot Blyden

"However much we may detest admitting it, the fact remains that there would be no exploitation if people refused to obey the exploiter. But self comes in and we hug the chains that bind us. This must cease." - Mohandas Gandhi


The Drum Collective -

Assata Shakur Forum - http://www.assatashakur.org/forum

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InPDUM - http://www.inpdum.com

The Talking Drum - http://www.thetalkingdrum.com

*Thanks to The Talking Drum for sending this over. Check them out HERE . Knowledge is power


Editorials The Warlords of America

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