Perpetual War, Perpetual Greed
Condoleezza Rice, the failed National Security Advisor, promoted by President Bush to be Secretary of State, recently appeared before a U. S. Senate Committee. There her lack of candor was only matched by her brazen disdain for the United States Constitution and the idea of democracy.
Rice asserted categorically that Bush did not need to come back to the senate before invading either Syria or Iran. Her idea of presidential "war powers" is so expansive that the president does not need a declaration of war or a specific congressional resolution to invade another country, she asserted, connecting her thesis with the alleged "war" on terrorism as if the latter were an officially declared world-wide war.
Now, the idea of having a leader who can send armies at will around the world, invading other lands, squandering billions of people's tax dollars, and wasting the lives of thousands of men and women, reminds one of Imperial Rome, Nazi Germany, or Communist Russia! Such power is totally at odds with democratic government and with the professed traditions of both the Republican and Democratic parties.
On the other hand, such brazen militarism does accord well with undeclared U.S. Wars against Native American nations and past invasions of weaker American republics (i.e. Nicaragua, Haiti, Mexico, and so on).
Why is it that the clique around Bush want so much to erode the Constitution, the rule of law, and democratic checks and balances? We see the same trend in many other areas, including the president's desire to be able to treat (torture) prisoners without normal constitutional or Geneva Convention protections. Again and again we have seen Bush appointees, such as Attorney-General Albert Gonzales, arguing for presidential powers equal to that of a dictator.
"Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely" is an old truism which is certainly to the point here. But the seeking of power by people like Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney also has an economic aspect. This brings up the issue of what appears to be the incredible corruption associated with the Bush regime, after Hurricane Katrina but also in the operation of the entire Iraq affair.
Perhaps one day, when we know the entire truth about the so-called "reconstruction" of Iraq (as well as of the U.S. Gulf Coast) we will be incredibly shocked. If indeed we are ruled by "Mafiosi" with silk ties, then one can speculate that the Bush regime allowed Iraq's hospitals, public works, power plants, oil refineries, et cetera, to be sacked on purpose during the invasion of Iraq. Why?
The more that was destroyed and rendered non-operational, the more money would be made by U.S. corporations and contractors at the time of "reconstruction."
Even if the destruction of Iraq's infrastructure was not purposeful, the manner of awarding contracts was clearly suspect and costly, as well as stupid and counterproductive. Instead of using Iraqi resources and putting Iraqis back to work, they brought in foreigners to replace Iraqis, at exorbitant wages. And most of this chicanery (or stupidity) to be paid for by us, the U.S. taxpayers.
Have we been held-up and robbed or what?
Since 9-11 we have lost a great amount of personal freedom as well. The U.S. government has become a bloated collection of secret agents, spies, data analyzers, bureaucrats, and police with extraordinary powers to spy on and compile dossiers on all of us. Becoming a spy upon U.S. citizens has become the growth industry of the 2000s, and protecting us from "terrorists" (real and/or imagined) has been used to justify the structure of a totalitarian-like Stalinist state.
My wife believes that she was singled out on a recent flying trip, to Pueblo, Colorado, (of all places), either because she is my wife or because she is non-white in appearance or both. We both have had our checked suitcases searched for no obvious reason, but hers seemed a hassle. She was actually told by a checker that she was being tracked!
Of course, all of this is nothing compared to the gathering of personal data which is going on. Even the recently adopted Medicare Prescription Drug benefit raised my suspicions when I read the questionnaire each applicant was required to fill out. No citizen would have any financial privacy left after that (and we know that the data will be shared).
Bush wants us to have to use "smart" passports and we can be sure that a "smart" national identity card will soon follow the new driver's license requirements unless we resist. Already the rule of law, habeas corpus, and fundamental rights to privacy have been shattered.
The case of Josť Padilla should alarm us all. Padilla is a Boricua (Puerto Rican) raised in Chicago. He appears to be of Taino-Arawak Native American race (judging from the single photograph we have been allowed to see). He was accused of planning to set off a "dirty" nuclear device in the U.S. but that charge has been forgotten about now.
The Bush regime decided to classify Padilla as an "enemy combatant" (the manner in which most Native Americans were classified by the U.S. until 1910 at least). Under this category the Bushites pretend that a U.S. citizen (as well as a non-citizen) can lose all rights guaranteed by the Constitution, can be held in prison indefinitely without any charge, can be punished while still legally innocent, and can be tortured (being held in limbo without any charge or term of imprisonment is certainly torture).
If you never knew what Stalinism meant, you know it now. My readers, we are being ruled by turds. It is a crude word, but it fits.
© Jack Forbes, who can be reached at Native American Studies Department, University of California, Davis, One Shields Ave., Davis, California 95616; fax: 530-752-7097; phone: 530-752-3626. (Jack Forbes has written over 500 books, articles, poems, and stories. His work seems to be banned from mainstream daily newspapers these days)
News from Indian Country, April 3, 2006.