While You Were Busy With Good Work
Politicians have many calls upon their attention and they have a lot of details to sort out. Dedication to routine work makes it very easy to lose a firm grip on the current big picture. So, for those of you who have been busy, here is a big picture snapshot.
The conduct of military forces and clandestine state functions has probably never been much constrained by the rule of law, or even by ordinary ideas of decency, but something has changed about public perception. Combining the World Wide Web with the mass distribution of pocket computers equipped with movie camera technology has made reality more broadly visible. From time out of mind it was possible for leadership elites to arrange for selective perception among the citizens of urban-industrial nations. However, peer-to-peer investigation and information sharing among ‘proletarian’ individuals and groups all over the world is now commonplace. The blogosphere is recapitulating the political effects of the Republic of Letters of an earlier era. A new consensus is taking shape against the networks which have controlled national and international narratives from the top down. In 2011, large popular protests were conspicuous in Chile, Spain, Greece, France, Israel, The North African and Middle Eastern Arab Spring nations, Russia, China, and in numerous cities across the U.S.A., Canada, and the U.K. in the Occupy Wall Street movement. That these are not isolated incidents is the really encouraging feature of the current big picture. It is the good news to keep in mind as we turn to darker features.
From the new sources of information, it is now broadly acknowledged that democracy has been subverted by organized wealth in the U.S.A.. There has been a slow but effective coup d’etat completed by something like the military-industrial complex which was introduced into public consciousness by Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th. president of the U.S.A.. Donors of political funding, corporate lobbyists, and agents of influence of foreign governments pre-determine the candidates, policies, and programs which political parties can offer the public. Organized wealth also owns mass media, and controls think-tanks and educational institutions by attaching conditions and delayed disbursement schedules to outrageously large donations. Votes can’t influence official conduct in anything but cosmetic ways, even though public money pays for it. This is generally perceived to be the case in spite of the chatter that passes for standard journalism from the advertising and government funded media.
The success of the coup is revealed by many things. It is impossible to miss the fact that the president who got elected for change has continued the main policies and practices of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, with only a more charming presentation. There remains a constant push for war in spite of the fact that the U.S.A. faces no credible threats. American police, spies, and military keep receiving additional powers and immunities, even as there is a creeping erosion of ordinary citizen’s legal protection against them. In spite of the catastrophic costs and absence of public benefits from the Iraq war, and in spite of the obvious illegitimacy of the invasion based on official lies about weapons of mass destruction, there is no public inquiry or national conversation about learning lessons and avoiding similar crimes from now on. American war crimes are quietly dismissed. The financial industry which crashed the world economy has not been changed or held responsible in any way, but instead has been richly rewarded with unlimited supplies of public money.
Public figures posture and preach as if the U.S.A. and her allies have some claim to moral superiority. However, everybody knows that the assault on Iraq by the U.S.A., the U.K., Australia, and others in 2003 was a war of naked aggression sold to the public by a complex of official lies. Everybody knows about the U.S. Haditha massacre, the conduct of U.S. officials at Abu Ghraib prison and at the U.S. prison at Guantánamo Bay. Everybody knows about the American campaign of torture and the archipelago of secret prisons established by the C.I.A. to hide some of their criminal activity. Everybody knows about the U.S. use of white phosphorus as an anti-personnel weapon in Fallujah, in violation of international law, about the ongoing use of cluster bombs and land mines, and the development of new nuclear weapons. These are more than enough incidents to reveal a pervasive culture of organized criminality. Everybody knows about the willful blindness of Canadian officials and military personnel concerning the mistreatment of prisoners in Afghanistan. It would be easy to continue this list, but the point is that the allies of the U.S.A. have thrown away the advantage of moral superiority. Law and decency are consulted only when it seems necessary because of intense public scrutiny. Public figures who do not act against this moral collapse are effectively part of it.
There is a direct connection between the coup pulled off by organized wealth and the moral collapse in the institutions of sovereignty in the U.S.A. and her allies. The think tanks and individuals who design the public relations campaigns, policies and programs, the taxes, laws, and wars of the wealth oligarchy have no grounding in any common morality. From the public record as sketched above it appears that the guiding principles are “the end justifies the means” and “might makes right”.
To summarize, while you were busy with good work, the people who consider themselves the meritocracy of the U.S.A. subverted democracy and the rule of law, drained their nation of honour, credibility, and moral legitimacy, and got caught doing it in the flash of a newly invented camera. Having been caught, they show no intention of reconsidering either their agenda of death-grip control or their entitlement. They are more aggressive than ever transferring wealth upward at the same time as denying all responsibility for anything.
The failures of this cultural system are failures of thinking and of institutions of thinking. The age of science has delivered us to an uncertain fate in a society with an insane oligarchy which is drunk on power from unlimited wealth and nuclear weapons.
Fast forward to The Security Council Resolution on Syria, February 4, 2012, and the veto by China and Russia. The disproportionate force and violence being directed against the insurgency in Syria is deplorable. However, it seems obvious that the government of the U.S.A. or the U.K. would do much the same if faced with an insurgency at home. Consider the state-sponsored violence used to dispose of the totally peaceful Occupy Wall Street protests.
The veto by Russia and China must be considered in the context of both the recent NATO assault on Libya, and the ongoing assault on Iran launched by the U.S.A. and her allies. NATO used the pretext of a UN Security Council resolution to take control of Libya economically, absorbing it along with recently crippled Iraq into the all-consuming empire of the American military-industrial complex. Hundreds of civilians were killed by NATO operations in Libya, apparently without regret or hesitation. It is impossible to doubt that NATO has the same plan for Syria and then Iran. As just shown, NATO has no credibility as champion of morality and justice. Somebody had to draw a line and that is what Russia and China were doing. An attack on Iran would be a threat to vital interests of Russia and China and could well ignite World War III. Anyone who claims concern about Iran’s nuclear program must answer for the provocation presented by Israel’s nuclear arsenal. The middle-east should be a nuclear-free zone. The whole world should be a nuclear-free zone, but for now Russia and China must serve as a deterrent against a nuclear, aggressive, and trigger-happy U.S.A.. The veto was a clear warning to the American war machine that their feeding frenzy must stop. Russia and China were the adults in the room.
The only kind of international intervention which makes sense for Syria would be strictly Arab League action, in spite of the member states’ lack of legitimacy with respect to human rights, due process, and the rule of law. At least they have knowledge of local sensitivities. The American war machine must not be appeased again.
Copyright © 2012 Sandy MacDonald. The moral right of the author is asserted.