Friday, March 19, 2004

Hypocrisy and Selfishness--Rumsfeld Tells All

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What does that mean? The impetus for today's contribution is a Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld editorial piece for the New York Times. In response to a Korean reporter's question as to why young Koreans should travel halfway around the world to fight in Iraq, Mr. Rumsfeld replied:

As it happened, I had that day visited a Korean War memorial, which bears the names of every American soldier killed in the war. On it was the name of a close friend of mine from high school, a wrestling teammate, who was killed on the last day of the war. I said to the reporter: "It's a fair question. And it would have been fair for an American to ask, 50 years ago, `Why should young Americans go halfway around the world to be killed or wounded in Korea?' "

I don't know whether to be shocked at the sheer disingenuousness of this statement or to conclude that our Secretary of Defense and long time government groupie and hanger-on, Don Rumsfeld, is actually that ignorant. Had Rumsfeld been intending to convince Koreans that their safety and sovereignty depended upon victory in Iraq, he might have had a point. Americans went to Korea in 1950 for the same reason that we have sent armed forces all over the world in nearly every year since--to protect our own perceived self-interest--period.

Let's look at just one of the cherished myths of the typical American (on a par with Washington confessing about felling a cherry tree). The French should be grateful because Americans rushed to Europe in 1942 to save them from the horrible Nazis. Right? After all, we liberated the French? Pardon my language, but history quite clearly records that the USA did not at any point give the proverbial rat's ass for France. In fact, Old Glory stood silently by while Poland, Czechoslovakia, the Netherlands, and others fell to the Nazi war machine. In fact, we did very little to help our "dear friends", the British--who in 1941 were on the brink of being invaded by Germany. No. We did nothing. And then the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Congress was, of course, galvanized, and immediately declared war on Japan. And Germany, too, right? Wrong. We STILL did not voluntarily go to the aid of our European friends. In a move that still seems a mystery, Germany declared war on the United States. Then, of course, we gleefullly leaped into the fray "to help the poor Britains and French". Typical Americans think that we sacrificed blood and treasure out of our kindness, goodwill, noble bearing, and love of our allies when, in simple point of fact, we entered the war in Europe only because we were forced to by a German declaration of war upon us. We fought WWII for the same reason we have fought in every other war--self interest.

What does this have to do with Iraq or Korea? In 1950 (and for 40 years thereafter), those who actually run the USA were absolutely paranoid about "Communism". Well, let's be fair, they were terrified of Socialists who nationalized large industrial concerns. Or, in other words, very wealthy people did not want populist regimes using armed forces to take away their vast wealth. So--"communism" had to be stopped. China--with the largest population of any nation on earth (even in 1950)--did exactly that. After chasing Chiang Kaishek and his supporters to what is now Taiwan, the armies of Chairman Mao divested the wealthy of China of their wealth. Under no circumstances could a popular movement to use force to take wealth away from the wealthy be permitted to spread. What if the people of the United States did the same thing!? Communism had to be stopped. In 1950 it had to be stopped at the 38th parallel. To that end, the USA fed over 33,000 men and women to the beast of war. And, not to explode another myth, we didn't win. We declared an armistice, stopped killing each other, and stationed thousands of troops on the border. That was 51 years ago and those troops are still there. By the way, if you privately ask Army strategists why we have 33,000 troops stationed in Korea today, they will tell you that they are they to provide sufficient reason for the US to go to war if North Korea/China invades South Korea. They are nearly all expected to die in the first hours of any such invasion. Pardon me, I digress.

On to Iraq and the neocons protestations of love of democracy and their gushing sympathy for the poor, oppressed Iraqi people... What unadulterated, nauseating tripe. This administration, like any other, democrat or republican, does not (to use the earlier phrase) give a rat's ass about the poor, downtrodden Iraqi people, just as FDR really did not care at all about the suffering of the Poles, the Czechs, the French, or the British. The election of 2004 may not, after all, turn out to be about honesty and integrity. But if it does (and I hope it does) the bunch of lying hypocrites now in office is in deep trouble. And Mr. Rumsfeld has once again shown us why. This administration--ESPECIALLY this administration--cares for the powerful, old money interests. If we are feeding more young Americans to the beast of war, you may rest assured that it is ultimately to protect the wealth and power of someone whose name you have likely never heard. It most assuredly is NOT about removing evil dictators who are mean to their people.

Why should young Koreans travel halfway around the world to fight in Iraq? Let's be honest, Mr. Rumsfeld. They shoudn't. South Korean citizens haves insufficient self-interest in the Iraqi political mess you have created to shed blood over it. And they most certainly do not need to run to the aid of the USA out of gratitude for the Korean Conflict. South Koreans were saved from the fate of North Koreans because they (luckily) happened to be somewhere that the selfish and powerful in the United States decided to protect. Had they been as unlucky as the Ugandans under Idi Amin or the Hutus and Tutsis in Rwanda, our "democracy loving, dictator hating, compassionate conservative" administration would have stood by while Koreans were slaughtered by the millions.

Young Americans really should have asked, 50 years ago, why they should travel halfway around the world to be killed or wounded in Korea. They should have asked more carefully and paid more attention. They may have come to the same conclusion--socialism had to be stopped at the 38th parallel because it threatens the personal fortunes of wealthy families. But then, they might not have.

So now we are in Iraq... The lies, deceptions, half-truths, equivocations, and quibbling on the part of the Bush Administration make an impressive pile. Telling the real truth about any of it seems completely beyond them. And as for Don Rumsfeld himself, anyone who has not seen his stumble-bumbling performance on last Sunday's "Face the Nation" really needs to. This gang of plutocrats is so used to a combination of bald-face lying and complete lack of accountability that Rumsfeld actually denied that he or any member of the Bush Administration ever claimed that Iraq was an immediate threat. He was immediately bombarded by direct quotes--some his, some from other senior administration members--showing the obvious: he and all of his comrades said exactly that, and repeatedly.

If there is one characteristic of the members of the Bush Administration that will almost certainly bring them down, it is there apparently complete inability to understand the concept of accountability. The really wealthy are never accountable. Traffic tickets can be fixed, palms can be greased, indiscretions can be hushed up... After 50 years of casual lying and routine deception, the idea that you might actually be held accountable for something you said or did is completely foreign to them.

They will rely on the "typical American" to survive this year. They will rely on people's fear and a preference for shallow myths over truth. They will wave flags, show you the rubble of destroyed buildings, wear flight suits, and do everything possible to scare the crap out of you--while assuring you that the only way to go is to be the meanest SOB in the valley--that is to back the Administration. The obvious solution to the violence which comes from being (mostly unjustly) hated by millions of people is pre-emtpive warfare, taking the fight to the terrorists, and killing them first. All things which sensitive Republicans (who weep over the suffering of all who don't live in freedom and democracy) will do better than cowardly democrats.

So let's review a couple of other interesting facts about the USA and war. Generally speaking, the USA has fought four major "wars" in the past 100 years (we'll get to Gulf "War" One and the Iraq Invasion later). Also, generally speaking, the USA's 20th century war record is 2 wins, 1 loss, and a draw. The 2 wins? WWI and WWII. And to whom did the American people entrust the national leadership during these difficult times? And, bear in mind, that a loss in either of these wars would have meant the end of the USA. The answer? Woodrow Wilson and Franklink Delano Roosevelt. Democrats.

The Korean Conflict began under Harry Truman, a democrat. But ended in a draw--not a victory--under Dwight David Eisenhower, a Republican.

Next we come to Vietnam. After a slow escalation under Kennedy, and a rapid escalation under Johnson, we lost under Nixon--a Republican.

The other two "major" conflicts of the past 100 years involve Iraq and both occurred under Republican Bushes. Both, I contend, will be judged by history as disasters; the first for its stunning lack of vision and failure to achieve resolution of anything and the second as one of the greatest foreign policy errors in the history of the United States.

Yet, to return to Mr. Rumsfeld and clumsy hypocrisy, what we have now on the national political stage is a plutocratic oligarchy dedicated to the preservation and promotion of vast individual wealth, lying to the common man with every utterance. It doesn't take much to see it if you don't let them blind you with a flag and mythology. The United States, like every nation state, has always and still spends blood and treasure only to protect its own interests. Every time you hear Rumsfeld or Rice or Cheney or Wolfowitz or McClellan wax poetic about that "brutal dictator" and how mean he was to his poor, suffering people, you may rest assured that you are being fed a load of crap.

Grow up and reject this kind of bald-faced lying. Either admit you want to conquer all of the oil-producing countries because you like driving big SUVs and refuse to pay more that 39 cents a gallon for gas or support the removal of ALL brutal dictators. Gas will be $6 a gallon, there will be mandatory military service for all young people, your taxes will go way up, your rights will have to be curtailed, and you will find yourself in a nation at war for you entire life. But, we have to stop the obvious and stupid lying. The nausea is overwhelming.

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