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Tuesday, October 01, 2002

The only thing new in the world is the history you don't know. -- Harry S. Truman

I've been reading Howard Zinn's wonderful book, A People's History of the United States. Anyone who has a shadow of a doubt about the real reason for Bush's warlust should read Zinn's chapters on the Mexican War, the Spanish-American War, and World War I. Using cheap jingoism to rally the masses, the government has always used a combination of patriotism and repression to drag the country into wars which were undertaken for the basest of motives to benefit the richest of men on the flimsiest of excuses. War is a tool which has always been used by those in power to repress and control the public, and it is truly scary how large a proportion of the American public doesn't know that particular bit of history. The story of the Espionage Act of 1917 is eerily similar to the USA Patriot Act of 2001. The Espionage Act declared speech which might hinder the war effort or the draft as illegal, and thousands of socialists and pacifists were locked up for years. Worse yet, according to Zinn the Espionage Act is still the law of the land!

Even with all the nonsense going on now, it is still hard to doubt that the US is one of the best countries on Earth. But it is so far inferior to what we think it is, or what we are told it is supposed to be, or what it could be. We can't just settle for saying "We are freer, richer and more democratic than Iraq or Syria or Russia or Bangladesh or Argentina; therefore we are completely wonderful and can do whatever we want." Let's reject leaders who want to revel in arrogance and stupidity and use the outrageous power they have stolen to control us and subjugate the world's billions. (Sorry--Zinn quotes speeches from Eugene Debs and other great socialist orators of the past and he's got me fired up!)