When George W. Bush finally launches his war of aggression and dominion against Iraq, the decades-long corruption of the great ideals of the American Republic will be complete. The shadowy militarized oligarchy created after the Second World War — the infamous “National Security State,” a military-corporate complex financed by the looting of the public treasury, protected and promoted by a hydra of secret agencies and covert armies, and driven by the fomenting of almost-ceaseless war–will reach its apotheosis, standing triumphant and alone, having at last devoured the body politic upon which it has fed for so long.
We will then enter a new Dark Age–the Age of Predation and Proliferation. For when the unconstitutionally appointed junta leader Bush sends his soldiers storming across the border into Iraq, the United States–whose principles and ideals, however imperfectly realized, once represented humanity’s brightest hopes of liberty and democracy–will be teaching the world a new lesson: Attack your perceived (or manufactured) enemies even when they haven’t injured or threatened you. Destroy them, seize their lands and drain their resources for your own profit. Attack without provocation, without mercy, with your entire arsenal of weapons of mass destruction “on the table”–including the chemical weapons Donald Rumsfeld has received presidential permission to employ on Iraqi soldiers and civilians, and his vast stockpile of radioactive “depleted uranium” munitions, plus the 21,000-pound MOAB “superbomb” and the planned “shock and awe” barrage of cruise missiles on Baghdad, both of which will “rival nuclear weapons” in their indiscriminate destructive power, according to Pentagon warplanners.
That’s the first lesson: become a predator, or a predator’s lackey–or become prey. To avoid the latter fate, nations will follow the second lesson Bush is teaching: develop your own weapons of mass destruction, as fast and as massively as you can. Emulate the Bush junta’s maniacal proliferation of weapons systems, its abrogation of international arms treaties, its gutting of public services and civil rights in order to feed the bottomless greed of a warmongering elite. Emulate the Bush junta’s crude nationalism, playing on the worst instincts of your people, the fearful, belligerent, monkey-brained tribalism that lurks in us all. Emulate the Bush junta’s religious extremism, lending divine sanction to every act of thievery, hypocrisy, deceit and murder you commit. Emulate the Bush junta’s paranoid suppression and manipulation of information, its obsessive monitoring of citizen thought and behavior, its demonization of sinister “Others” threatening the populace from without–and within.
Use all these methods to bully, frighten and confuse your people into giving you the money and power to build ever-greater arsenals of death. Then use these arsenals “pre-emptively” on your enemies–before they, who have learned the same lessons, do it to you. This is the Bush Way; these are the “principles” now being advanced by the captured and corrupted American government.
Indeed, this is the “Project for a New American Century”–the plan laid out years ago by Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and their think-tank minions, and now unfolding before our eyes almost exactly according to their published blueprint, which eerily foretold the conquest of Iraq, the large-scale militarization of American society and the expansion of America’s global domination. They recognized, of course, that the insular American people would balk at such wild dreams of world empire–unless, of course, the nation was struck by what the Cheney-Rumsfeld group called, with blood-chilling candor, “some catastrophic and catalyzing event–like a new Pearl Harbor.”
Happily for them, the National Security State’s former employees–the army of Islamic extremists raised by the CIA fight the Soviets in Afghanistan–obliged their old comrades with the spectacular “catalyzation” of September 11. The “Project” then became the death-dealing reality of the world today, laying the foundations for a century of hell–blowback, retribution, aggression, proliferation, a long, agonizing slide backwards into chaos, brutality and fear.
But now, as the final hours of peace slip away, it’s even more important than ever–especially to Americans like this writer–to remember that it didn’t have to be this way, that the nation was founded on entirely different principles which for generations guided its conduct in world affairs. These were expressed clearly by President John Quincy Adams on Independence Day in 1821:
“[America] has abstained from interference in the concerns of others, even when conflict has been for principles to which she clings, as to the last vital drop that visits the heart. She goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will commend the general cause by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example. She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force. She might become the dictatress of the world. She would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit. Her glory is not dominion, but liberty. Her march is the march of the mind.”
That glory, long dying, is now gone, given the final blow by George W. Bush–the gravedigger of the American Republic.
CHRIS FLOYD is a columnist for the Moscow Times and a regular contributor to CounterPunch. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org