Bob's Links and Rants

Welcome to my rants page! You can contact me by e-mail: Blog roll. Site feed.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

A bigger rant

Yesterday, someone posted this article by John Pilger on our local peace Yahoo group. Pilger argues that Kerry really provides no real alternative to Bush, even suggesting that Bush is the lesser evil. I'm not sure I'm willing to go that far. But the post drew a rather predictable response from a high-school kid in the group who is a die-hard Kerryista. He argued that there is a huge difference between Bush and Kerry, citing stem-cell research, abortion, tax cuts, deficit spending, and judicial appointments.

I decided I'd better burst his bubble. I'm currently reading Chalmers Johnson's The Sorrows of Empire, and am now firmly of the belief that all of our rights, as well as our hopes to keep important social programs and get new ones, are threatened by rampant militarism. Anyway, enough prologue. The rest of this post is the response I put on Yahoo:
I'm afraid you've missed the point. Pilger's view, one that I agree with, is that the true American political agenda has nothing to do with stem cells or abortion or gay rights or gun control or even judges. It is about power and control of the world. The American military-industrial complex saw the opportunity to rule the world after World War II, and has been relentless in pursuing that goal. The endless red scares were used to justify the development of our huge nuclear arsenal, to which the Soviets obligingly responded. The CIA was created in order to maintain or install governments compliant with the US agenda all over the world, starting with Iran and Guatemala in the early 1950's and continuing today in places like Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Indonesia, Colombia, and dozens of others. The military's special forces have basically the same mission.

Pretty much every US military intervention since World War II, whether the stated reason was self-defense, humanitarian, upholding UN resolutions (which we had pushed for), or just for the heck of it (Grenada, Panama, Haiti about five times, Iraq) has resulted in new American military bases projecting power. The negative effects on the freedoms of the six billion non-Americans of this rampant militarism should be obvious. But from James Madison to Smedley Butler to George Orwell to Dwight Eisenhower, and many others, thoughtful people have for centuries recognized that militarism is destructive of freedom at home as well. Not only does it provide abundant enemies for whom we can be arrested as traitors for assisting, it also bankrupts the treasury, keeping it from providing any meaningful funding for
anything else.

There is no need or legitimate excuse for the huge American military. It is currently doing much more which reduces both our freedom and our safety than it is protecting us. Its effect on people all over the world is appalling. None of our liberties are safe as long as the military-industrial-petroleum complex is ruling our country.

This is why I'm so disgusted with Kerry. He wants to take this immense, bloated, wasteful and dangerous military and make it bigger. He's been on board with the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and only complains about the "war on terror" because he thinks Bush isn't doing enough. Bush suggests (a lie, almost for sure) that he might actually scale back our enormous military presence in Europe and Asia, and Kerry is there, right on cue, to say that's a bad idea. Kerry TOTALLY supports American militarism.

And don't forget that Kerry will probably be faced with a Republican Congress. While the president has fairly wide latitude in military matters (thanks to the Bushes and their Democratic supporters), Kerry won't be able to repeal a single tax cut, fund stem cell research, or appoint any federal judges without the support of Congress. And he won't have it.

Our freedoms, both those written into the Bill of Rights and those won by progressive women, minorities, union members, and millions of others over the past 150 years, will continue to deteriorate as long as corporations and the military-industrial complex are calling the shots. That's what needs to be stopped. Kerry's not the person to do it, because he doesn't even want to. I know, Bush is even worse.

But Kerry had a chance to raise these issues, given Bush's total and obvious failures in his illegal wars. But instead of making Iraq the issue, which should be a sure loser for Bush, he decided that he'd make Vietnam his main selling point. The Bushies have predictably slimed him on that, obviously without a boat to stand on, but seriously--why is a 35-year-old war the issue now? People are dying every day in Iraq.

I realize that I'm left with no good choices in this election. It just pains me to see people pretending that Kerry is a good choice.