News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: October 2007

Monday, October 29, 2007

Eviscerate the Beast and Discard Its Remnants in the Pit of Hell

The following words from Chalmers Johnson (in the midst of reviewing a book on the inteelectual apparatus leading up to the putsch that overthrew the US) deserve repeating:

There is, I believe, only one solution to the crisis we face. The American people must make the decision to dismantle both the empire that has been created in their name and the huge, still growing military establishment that undergirds it. It is a task at least comparable to that undertaken by the British government when, after World War II, it liquidated the British Empire. By doing so, Britain avoided the fate of the Roman Republic -- becoming a domestic tyranny and losing its democracy, as would have been required if it had continued to try to dominate much of the world by force.
Then again, wasn't it the British--trying to feel a little bit of empire in its stones/ovaries that contributed a bit to Bush's delusions of grandueur? be that as it may, Johnson's analysis is imp[ortant for the way it understands how deep the changes to the present system need to go. Read more!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Don't Say It's About! It's about the Oil...

As I wrote several years ago, the question of why the US is in Iraq is about oil. Though the many innocent and trusting faces of people don't wish to believe this, well... read Alan Greenspan or any other knowing clone. It is about the oil, was about the oil, and will continue to be about the oil. And if you think that Hillary Clinton or any other Democrat will leave Iraq for humanitarian reasons, you are barking up a dead tree.

I have been thinking that the Bushistas may indeed have won and that I and my paranoia about getting out of Iraq were simply self-delusive. Why I haven't had time to elucidate these inchoate intimations is another story. Needless to say, some wits and bright bulbs have beat me to the punch. They do see that Bush et al indeed have won their war, and (as Rupert Murdoch would say) at minimal cost to highly fungible resources.

Robert Holt writes (via Empire Burlesque):

Presiding over this Balkanised Iraq will be a weak federal government in Baghdad, propped up and overseen by the Pentagon-scale US embassy that has just been constructed – a green zone within the Green Zone. As for the number of US troops permanently stationed in Iraq, the defence secretary, Robert Gates, told Congress at the end of September that ‘in his head’ he saw the long-term force as consisting of five combat brigades, a quarter of the current number, which, with support personnel, would mean 35,000 troops at the very minimum, probably accompanied by an equal number of mercenary contractors. (He may have been erring on the side of modesty, since the five super-bases can accommodate between ten and twenty thousand troops each.) These forces will occasionally leave their bases to tamp down civil skirmishes, at a declining cost in casualties. As a senior Bush administration official told the New York Times in June, the long-term bases ‘are all places we could fly in and out of without putting Americans on every street corner’. But their main day-to-day function will be to protect the oil infrastructure.

This is the ‘mess’ that Bush-Cheney is going to hand on to the next administration. What if that administration is a Democratic one? Will it dismantle the bases and withdraw US forces entirely? That seems unlikely, considering the many beneficiaries of the continued occupation of Iraq and the exploitation of its oil resources. The three principal Democratic candidates – Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards – have already hedged their bets, refusing to promise that, if elected, they would remove American forces from Iraq before 2013, the end of their first term.

Among the winners: oil-services companies like Halliburton; the oil companies themselves (the profits will be unimaginable, and even Democrats can be bought); US voters, who will be guaranteed price stability at the gas pump (which sometimes seems to be all they care about); Europe and Japan, which will both benefit from Western control of such a large part of the world’s oil reserves, and whose leaders will therefore wink at the permanent occupation; and, oddly enough, Osama bin Laden, who will never again have to worry about US troops profaning the holy places of Mecca and Medina, since the stability of the House of Saud will no longer be paramount among American concerns. Among the losers is Russia, which will no longer be able to lord its own energy resources over Europe. Another big loser is Opec, and especially Saudi Arabia, whose power to keep oil prices high by enforcing production quotas will be seriously compromised.
It's not about the oil. It is the oil. Whatever that means. Read more!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Xtian-Fascism Awareness Week

I've been critical of Leiter on his views of Derrida and Foucault. But let's let bygones be bygones. He's got something going here with his idea of holding a Xtian-Fascism Awareness Week in response to David "I Lied Before the PA Legislature" Horowitz's proposed plan for an Islamo-Fascism week.

Leiter quotes from an excellent article by Chris Hedges--whose work I have linked to several times--that sums up perfectly what it is that a Xtian-Fascist represents. In the article Hedges quotes a Harvard professor of his who worked with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Karl Barth, and Albert Schweitzer to undermine the Nazi terror machine. Hedges writes:

Adams understood that totalitarian movements are built out of deep personal and economic despair. He warned that the flight of manufacturing jobs, the impoverishment of the American working class, the physical obliteration of communities in the vast, soulless exurbs and decaying Rust Belt, were swiftly deforming our society. The current assault on the middle class, which now lives in a world in which anything that can be put on software can be outsourced, would have terrified him. The stories that many in this movement told me over the past two years as I worked on "American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America" were stories of this failure -- personal, communal and often economic. This despair, Adams said, would empower dangerous dreamers -- those who today bombard the airwaves with an idealistic and religious utopianism that promises, through violent apocalyptic purification, to eradicate the old, sinful world that has failed many Americans.

These Christian utopians promise to replace this internal and external emptiness with a mythical world where time stops and all problems are solved. The mounting despair rippling across the United States, one I witnessed repeatedly as I traveled the country, remains unaddressed by the Democratic Party, which has abandoned the working class, like its Republican counterpart, for massive corporate funding.
I bet you never heard about this in your history classes. Nor will you ever hear about in the so-called free press. Read more!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Dirty Secrets (n): A Continuing Laundry List

If you want to know what's wrong with the media coverage of this so-caled war, you can't do worse than look at this story. I posted on the subject almost two years ago. Only today, however, have I heard anything about the subject, and it comes from NPR. Well, at least they have the courage (I guess) to cover a story that's been out there for two years.

Then there's the statistic that makes the soul reel and the gorge rise in bitter gall: over 28% of US women soldiers report incidents of sexual misconduct, mostly rape. That's from their own comrade in arms. Where do you start when it comes to this kind of hypocrisy?

NPR reports:

A 2003 survey of women using the Veterans Administration health care system reports that 28 percent experienced at least one sexual assault during military service.
I was just thinking about this last night. If there's one thing I hate it's a rapist. Someone who preys on women and takes advantage of them. I still remember scenes from Romero where the young nun is taken out and gang raped and then shot and left dead in the garbage dump. The rape camps of the former Yugoslavia have made their way into my poems and nightmares. The stories that Ken Knange did on the women raped in civil war seared my soul.

I have n irony for this kind of thing. I have no sarcasm left. This either strikes too close to home or I am simply sick of the bestiality that people breed in their souls. And my most lasting bile will be spit in the direction of the men and women who put our daughters and loved ones in these circumstances.

You want to know what betrayal is, Rex Judas? It is that wherein you send people to war and have your shining lies betray them with scars that will never die, never fade, because they are invisible. Read more!