“Proclaiming Death to the Weakling, Wealth to the Strong”
by Jason Miller
Assaulting humanity and the Earth with shocking impunity, the White House’s Machiavellian acolytes of Strauss shamelessly lead the charge for soulless corporations, obscenely wealthy individuals, perverse hypocrites of the Religious Right, a diminishing number of allies, authoritarian regimes that bow to their will, and their state terrorist proxy in Tel Aviv.
Psychologically and economically enslaving billions of human beings, facilitating the deaths of millions, and redefining the word “exploitation”, the relative few who monopolize most of the world’s material wealth and military power mercilessly inflict widespread suffering to ensure the perpetuation of their morally repugnant existences fraught with excess and hedonism.
When satiated to the point of nausea by their gluttonous over-indulgence, they occasionally spew torrents of putrid vomit upon the rest of humanity as they purge to renew their blunted appetites. What a blessing for the have-nots to receive such a feast!
Remember that the United States of America was conceived as a constitutional republic by people who had overthrown a tyrant. Unfortunately, they lacked the foresight to envision the evolution of a predatory economic system which would essentially enslave most of the populace to land-lords, creditors, employers, corporations, a failing health care system, and deeply inculcated materialism.
For years the corporate media have fostered an environment of perpetual hysteria fueled by the public’s fear of contrived enemies such as the “God-less Communists”, and most recently, the “Islamo-Fascists” and “terrorists”. Serving the dual purpose of manipulating the masses and significantly boosting the fortunes of the many-tentacled leviathan known as the military industrial complex, fear-mongering has served the purposes of the ruling elite to near perfection.
The biggest threat to the majority of the population in the United States (and the world, for that matter) is the enemy within. In the malevolent socioeconomic paradigm spawned and perpetuated by the United States, survival of the fittest is the reality. And might does indeed make right. Despite ostensibly enjoying freedom and prosperity, many US citizens pay a devastating spiritual price, much of their freedom is illusory, and prosperity is becoming increasingly concentrated into the hands of a few.
People of conscience with a genuine concern for improving the human condition have struggled since our nation’s founding to make “idealistic notions” like Abolition and Women’s Suffrage a reality. Yet in the “land of the free”, a deeply entrenched White patriarchal plutocracy has fought tooth and nail to maintain the status quo.
One day the malevolent individuals comprising the ruling elite may find themselves in Dante’s Ninth Circle for their betrayal of humanity. Or perhaps the Malebranche will keep watch over them for eternity in Malebolge. But for now those “evolved capitalists” consistently abuse their influence over humanity to maintain their material prosperity, despite the horrific human cost.
Moving from the abstract to the concrete, consider a mere handful of specific examples of US “benevolence” and “democracy”. [Note that a tyrannical socioeconomic system that virtually guarantees that power (in the form of wealth) remains in the hands of a relative few made each event or circumstance possible]:
1. The indigenous people of Turtle Island were nearly driven to extinction.
2. Chattel slavery endured until the Civil War and institutionalized racism persisted into the 1960’s.
3. Dickensonian Capitalism manifested itself through miserably low wages, child labor, hazardous working conditions, employee abuse, and a “Gilded Age” for the wealthy elite.
4. FDR schemed to draw the United States into World War II by provoking Japan into attacking Pearl Harbor (and allowing the attack to happen). On his watch, the United States also interned 110,000 Japanese Americans and killed hundreds of thousands of European and Asian civilians. In so doing, the United States did help take out two ruthless tyrants and a brutal imperialist. However, toppling Hitler, Mussolini and Tojo enabled two of history’s most despicable regimes. Stalin and Mao slaughtered tens of millions as they implemented Stalinism and Maoism. (Unfortunately for reflexive Red-haters who utilize Mao and Stalin as examples of the “evils of Communism”, neither of these monsters were actual Communists).
5. Under Truman, the American Empire annihilated over 200,000 Japanese civilians in Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Truman also paved the way for the formation of Israel and the initiation of the genocide of the Palestinians.
6. LBJ and Nixon oversaw the deaths of three million Vietnamese and 59,000 US military personnel.
7. Monstrous men like Bush’s Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte, who was an instrumental figure in the Reagan administration’s facilitation of the deaths of at least 200,000 people in Central America, continue to thrive and act with impunity.
8. 3,000 people died on 9/11 as a result of the Bush administration’s breath-taking incompetence (or unproven but highly plausible complicity in the destruction of the WTC).
9. At least 1,800 human beings are dead in New Orleans as a result of the Bush Regime’s willful criminal negligence.
10. Over 2,600 US service personnel have been sacrificed at the Altar of Mammon and hundreds of thousands have suffered deep physical and psychological wounds. Many of these dead or broken people enlisted in the military because the corporate media and revisionist historians indoctrinated them into believing that they would be defending their country. Instead, their sacrifices came to bolster the fortunes of those at the top of the food chain. Over a hundred thousand Iraqi civilians have died. But they are simply “collateral damage” in the Empire’s “noble cause” to introduce “democracy” into the Middle East.
11. Psychological torture methods have been in the CIA’s arsenal since they were developed through Project MKULTRA and have apparently been used liberally in the “War on Terror”. Unfortunately for “The Decider”, torture violates the Geneva Conventions. How can Bush “lead the free world” if he is not free to torture?
12. The Bush Regime’s Patriot Act, NSA eavesdropping, assault on habeas corpus, and “free speech zones” have left the Bill of Rights in tatters.
13. The 2000 Presidential election was decided by Katherine Harris and the Supreme Court. In 2004, a powerful corporation with strong ties to the Republican Party ensured Bush’s continued reign.
In November of 2003, Bush proclaimed:
It is no accident that the rise of so many democracies took place in a time when the world’s most influential nation was itself a democracy.
To what influential nation was he referring? I see little evidence of extant meaningful democratic principles in the United States.
And a recent personal experience crystallized this perception for me.
On 9/17/06, I attended a veteran’s rally for Claire McCaskill, the Democratic challenger to Missouri’s incumbent Republican US Senator, Jim Talent.
As I sat there, the sparse turn-out reminded me of the tragic demise of the influence of We the People. Two parties primarily representing the interests of the affluent have duopolized the political system. Impotence has engendered apathy.
Providing further evidence that Herbert Spencer’s dream of Social Darwinism is becoming reality in the United States is the fact that a man like Jim Talent has not been forcibly removed from office, tarred and feathered. His voting record as a US Senator clearly demonstrates that he has vigorously devoted himself to corporate interests, militarism, and the demise of laws and public programs beneficial to We the People (the majority of his constituency!).
Democracy in the United States, you say? Where?
Yet it also occurred to me that within the almost hopelessly corrupt Republocrat system are some ethical individuals striving on behalf of the poor and working class. They are few in number, face numerous obstacles, and are limited in their influence, but they do exist. So I have concluded that participation in the process and efforts to evoke change are not completely futile.
As the Bush Regime steadily moves to strengthen Bush’s expansive powers as a unitary executive, reestablishing a Democratic majority in Congress to eliminate the partisan rubber-stamp which now exists is the immediate hope for We the People. I do not support either party, but at least a Democratic majority in Congress would provide a foil to the Bush administration and would probably initiate impeachment proceedings against him.
Yet I digress. The focal point of the rally for McCaskill was the keynote speech by Max Cleland. And I had the distinct honor of meeting him prior to the event.
“Max Cleland is a truly admirable individual”, I concluded as I listened to him speak.
Cleland is a man who volunteered to go to Vietnam on what he had been led to believe was a noble crusade against the “Communist threat”. He returned home a triple amputee.
His Silver Star citation reads:
Captain Cleland distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous action on 4 April 1968 … during an enemy attack near Khe Sanh.
When the battalion command post came under a heavy enemy rocket and mortar attack, Captain Cleland, disregarding his own safety, exposed himself to the rocket barrage as he left his covered position to administer first aid to his wounded comrades. He then assisted in moving the injured personnel to covered positions.
Continuing to expose himself, Captain Cleland organized his men into a work party to repair the battalion communications equipment, which had been damaged by enemy fire.
His gallant action is in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service, and reflects great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army.
Anne Coulter, the mean-spirited propagandist who has been a gleeful accomplice of the war criminals in the White House, wrote this of Cleland:
“Max Cleland should stop allowing Democrats to portray him as a war hero who lost his limbs taking enemy fire on the battlefields of Vietnam….[he] lost three limbs in an accident during a routine non-combat mission where he was about to drink beer with friends. He saw a grenade on the ground and picked it up. He could have done that at Fort Dix. In fact, Cleland could have dropped a grenade on his foot as a National Guardsman. … Luckily for Cleland’s political career and current pomposity about Bush, he happened to do it while in Vietnam.”
Max Cleland served his country with honor, lost both legs and an arm, and was awarded the Silver Star for valorous action in combat. He returned home and overcame his physical limitations, severe depression, and a sorely inadequate VA system. He went on to a distinguished career in civil service, including stints as the administrator of the Veteran’s Administration and as a US Senator from Georgia.
Crusading for veterans, resigning from the 9/11 Commission to protest stonewalling by the White House, vehemently expressing his opposition to the illegal Iraqi Occupation, and campaigning for fellow Democrats, Cleland has suffered the wrath of the Bush Regime and its sycophants like Coulter.
In 2002, Cleland was “Swift-Boated” in his re-election bid for the US Senate. Saxby Chambliss took his place. Chambliss (an ardent supporter of the bellicose agenda of the Bush Regime) is a chicken-hawk who sat out the Vietnam War with a “bad knee” but won the Senatorial race with a vicious campaign that portrayed Cleland as being soft on national defense.
Thanks for your courageous service, Senator Cleland. We appreciate you sacrificing your body parts. Now bend over while we stick it to you.
Cleland and the veterans for whom he advocates so tirelessly are amongst the most grievously harmed victims of the ruling elite. Lured in by patently false assertions that they are joining the military to defend their country (or in some cases conscripted–clearly an act of a “democracy”), US military personnel have been, and are, mere cannon fodder for the imperialist war machine. Departing as heroes, veterans often return home to find themselves treated like yesterday’s garbage.
As Cleland spoke, he voiced his concerns about the Bush Regime’s numerous abuses of US military personnel, starting with sending them on a fool’s errand in Iraq chasing non-existent WMD’s and killing tens of thousands of innocent civilians. According to Cleland, the Neocon Empire is burning out the United States military. He assailed the backdoor draft and the misuse of the National Guard as a fighting force on foreign soil. As he indicated, National Guard personnel and equipment in Iraq were sorely missed during Katrina.
Characterizing the Iraqi Occupation as “Vietnam without water”, Senator Cleland called for the withdrawal of our troops. He reminded us that the United States needs to prepare for a flood of about a million returning veterans. Many of those people will need medical and psychological care, housing assistance, and job training.
When Cleland finished speaking, he received a long standing ovation. I continue to applaud him in my mind when I reflect on his speech. Max Cleland is an inspirational human being who is one of the millions of US veterans who have been exploited by the American Empire in a particularly reprehensible way. While the chicken-hawks and their cheerleaders sit safely on the side-line, members of America’s poor and working class are thrust into the maelstrom of war to further the interests of the wealthy and powerful. Jenna and Barbara Bush won’t see combat action any time soon; in spite of their father’s repeated assurances that our troops in Iraq are fighting for a noble cause.
In his recent essay entitled Why I Hate America, Mickey Z echoed William Blum’s assertion:
“I’m committed to fighting U.S. foreign policy, the greatest threat to peace and happiness in the world, and being in the United States is the best place for carrying out the battle. This is the belly of the beast, and I try to be an ulcer inside of it.”
From my perspective, the wealthy elite, nearly omnipotent corporations, avarice, impunity, hubris, and bellicosity are the elements of America that comprise the beast. And as the beast of my understanding takes the implementation of Herbert Spencer’s perverse social theory to new heights, there is nowhere I would rather be than in its belly, striving to be a festering, and cankerous wound.
Someone needs to persistently document and decry the myriad foreign and domestic crimes of the American Empire. Join those of us who are. And perhaps one day justice will be served.
Jason Miller is a wage slave of the American Empire who has freed himself intellectually and spiritually. He writes prolifically and his essays have appeared widely on the Internet. He welcomes constructive correspondence at firstname.lastname@example.org or via his blog, Thomas Paine’s Corner, at http://civillibertarian.blogspot.com/.