by William Hardiker
In a speech to Congress on July 11 2003, Republican Representative Ron Paul asked the house these rhetorical questions. “How did we get here?” “Does anyone care?” Being so long avoided and overdue they doubtless caused much unease, much averting of eyes, and scrutiny of fingernails. At the conclusion of his speech, with sighs of relief, it was apparent all would soon be promptly forgotten.
But why have such crucially important questions relating to the response of the Bush administration post September 11 not been raised, analyzed, discussed, dissected and debated exhaustedly? Not surprisingly, it was the mighty dollar that caused alarm bells to ring after Senator Paul pointed out that the US national debt is increasing at a rate greater than half a trillion dollars a year and the debt limit was recently raised by the Bush team to a calculator blowing $984 billion. Total US government obligations are $43 trillion, whilst US household’s net worth is just over $40.6 trillion. When the talk turns to dollars, Americans take notice.
In perhaps the first fully fledged outburst of high level government dissent against the Neo-Conservative’s radical and dangerous agenda, Mr. Paul stated that which has been a long time coming; two years to be precise. The time it has taken for many Americans to recover from the psychological damage inflicted by the September 11 attacks which transformed the collective American psyche from one of national invincibility, to one of national vulnerability. “Ideas” exclaimed Senator Paul, “have consequences”, and “bad ideas, have bad consequences”. Let us hope that Mr. Wolfowitz and his cronies were taking notes.
There is cause for optimism in what appears to be a slow dawn of awakening within the United States as to who has been ‘pulling the strings’ within George Bush’s administration, and a beginning of questions being raised in relation to the response to the events of September 11, 2001. Like a death in the family, a period of mourning is required before, hopefully, the reality of life without the deceased is accepted. Sometimes the period is short lived, other times the wound never heals. This seems to have been the circumstance after the world trade center attacks. As the wounds heal we can but hope that perhaps there will be a re-emergence of common sense.
Radical New Foreign Policy
Only now, with questions such as those asked by Senator Paul, does the country appear to be emerging from a ‘twilight reality’ of fearful vulnerability, insecurity, suspicion and suspected danger from the reality of the world beyond the confines of the United States of America, where not all agree with their self appointed status and interpretation of international affairs – difficult though this may be to digest. That it has taken so long a time can be explained innocently on the one hand, because of the surprise, audacity and proportions of the tragedy, and deviously on the other because of the political manipulation of the event which ensured it was exploited in such a way as to implement a radical new foreign policy agenda that was guaranteed to meet with approval by not only the domestic American public, but by the world in general. Under less extraordinary circumstances such policy as “pre-emptive” war against sovereign States and the passing of a “patriot act” would most certainly have been rejected. Vengeance was of paramount priority despite the America’s long history of terrorism against, and interventionist action into weak and defenseless States during the twentieth century. That which we have borne witness to during the past two years is what are commonly described “the politics of fear”. Rather than instigating a criminal investigation, the Bush team pointed the finger squarely at Osama Bin Laden, even whilst they whisked his family out of the United States and harms way. Whether these events have impacted upon the Bush family’s business dealings with the Bin Ladens is at present an unknown. The people have been duped and used as gullible pawns in a grand game of international chess, using the world stage as the board and the ruthless elites, the technocrats, big business and politicians as key players.
Between the attacks themselves and Senator Paul’s questions to Congress, not all were stricken senseless by what might be coined “national post traumatic shock syndrome”. Work towards implementing long defined policy by PNAC members and Neo-Conservatives, led by Wolfowitz and Chenney outlining a doctrine entitled “strategies for a new American century”. was being prepared for presentation to the Bush administration. Senator Paul was perhaps amongst the first “outsiders” to regain the full use of all his faculties, but the real ‘wake up’ call had more to do with philosophical concerns and how they have driven policy over the past two years.
Illustration of Democracy
Certain individuals, who are now widely known as the Neo-Conservatives planned for America’s future role into the 21st century in which they claimed American global hegemony to be essential and maintained at all cost required a massive external threat to homeland security in order to implement it with majority domestic and global approval. All was in readiness waiting for the opportune moment. The events of September 11 2001 provided that opportunity. The fact that the people were neither consulted in regards to the issues, nor that the subject was open to debate, and because of George Bush’s declared love and affection for ‘freedom of speech and opinion’ we are presented with a crystal clear illustration of democracy, as it is defined within the United States of America.
Now that the US military is firmly bogged down in Afghanistan and Iraq, there is new talk as to whose will be the next head to roll. At this juncture, Senator Paul’s speech became more interesting and I am sure all sat forward in their seats in anticipation of the answers he might provide to his own questions. “How did all this transpire?” “Why did the government do it?” “Why haven’t people objected?” “Does anyone care?” Alas, the questions remain rhetorical – at least for the moment.
But curiously these are the very same questions I (and I’m sure many others) have been asking myself continuously since the dust settled in Lower Manhattan two years ago. Not surprisingly, such questions were not going to be provided with answers, and silence prevailed in the rarefied atmosphere of Congress. The end of “major combat operations” in Iraq, or in “the war that nearly ended”, and the continuing return home to the US of young marines in body bags is dampening much of the war euphoria which reached it’s crescendo and erupted in joy when the statues of Saddam were toppled (no analogy intended, but after all it has been said that war is but the deadly games of grown boys) and the desire for revenge against a non visible, abstract enemy began to dissipate. Despite the efforts of the Pentagon and defense Department to create and apply a public persona to an unseen “enemy” that consumed so much attention, tax dollars and lives, the US is facing an increasingly difficult task in “perpetuating the myth” that vast, highly organized and efficient terror organizations are threatening US homeland security and global peace and stability. The inability of government and military to stifle the flow of non-corporate news and enormous amounts of independent information from reaching huge audiences throughout the world via the world wide web handicaps the corporate media propaganda machine in accomplishing that which it’s sponsors (the US government) would hope to achieve. Though certainly a great proportion of the American public are content to apathetically absorb and espouse whatever nonsense they are told to believe by corporate media giants such as “CNN”, the “Wall Street Journal” and “New York Times”.
Ambiguous and Obvious
Now that Senator Paul had the full attention of Congress he made admirable efforts to address his concerns with some surprisingly astute interpretations. “We got here because ideas have consequences,” he said. “And bad ideas have bad consequences”. Certainly a reasonable assertion despite being both ambiguous and obvious to all but the disengaged American public. However let us keep in mind that these congressmen and women are the returned “posse”, the sated “lynch mob” that went seeking Osama Bin Laden in his mountain caves and Saddam Hussein with fire in their belly and hatred in their blood. But at least the questions are finally being asked, and for that we should all rejoice. Whose philosophic ideas drove us to this point? Let us reject them before it is too late and decide upon another set of intellectual parameters. Worthy aspirations indeed, but an enormous demand of the United States of America.
Those amongst us “in the know”. Those who ignored the corporate media coverage of events since September 11, 2001 have long been aware of who is calling the shots within the Bush Administration and Rumsfeld’s Pentagon. There is abundant evidence exposing those whose influence, ‘political clout’ and extreme right wing fundamentalist agenda that has persuaded George Bush’s revivalist God to instruct him to embrace and implement as official US foreign policy irresponsible, Prejudiced, and dangerous politics. These are the Neo-Conservatives. The remnant of ex- President Ronald Reagan’s administration and it’s reinvigorated 21st century prodigies. They constitute a powerful voice within the American establishment and have infiltrated all facets of government, society and the media. They must not be taken lightly. The “Think Tank Institutes” and “Defense Policy Boards”, comprising the so-called experts of Washington and New York called upon by pro-government media to comment and pass judgment on all who stand before America’s national interests and who espouse their bias, prejudice, racism and xenophobia in relation to that which they consider America’s unique importance in view of it being the solitary and unchallengeable hyper-power.
Amongst these all-powerful organizations are the pro-Israeli lobbyists, (the powerful American Zionist organizations who seek a greater Israel whilst murdering, destroying, subjugating and denying the culture of a people with no regard for humanitarian issues or respect for human dignity whilst they invade and occupy Palestinian territory backed by American state of the art military hardware. An American President such as George Bush needs all the advice he can get, and because his key advisors are Neo-Conservative’s we can expect to see a continuation of the strategy as outlined by PNAC (Project for a new American century) and implemented as stated in their mission statement. Key words that best encapsulate their ideology are; militarism, Zionism, domination, patriotism, racism, global hegemony, empire and peacemaker. All condoned under the maxim; “perpetual war for perpetual peace.”
After September 11, shell-shocked Democrats lost course to a large extent and virtually abdicated their responsibility as an influential organization. No policy was too severe or extreme in the face of such audacious attacks at the heart of the US establishment. During this period of understandable political disarray, the Neo-Conservatives lay down the doctrine they had been sitting on waiting for just such an opportunity to present itself. Conspiracy theorists have made much of the timing of these events and certainly after studying the order of events as they occurred after the first airliner hit twin tower number one, there is much that remains questionable in relation to who knew what and when. The American public and the world in general were caught up in a patriotic fervor that manifested itself in anti-Islamic sentiment and, to the delight of the neo-cons happily endorsed military adventurism was enthusiastically endorsed and resulted in the high altitude bombing of Afghanistan and the occupation of Iraq, a weak and harmless state without the ability nor will to again fight the US aggressor.
The affect of Neo-Conservative policy as adopted by the bush team in the past twelve months has seen the demise of medical, personal and financial privacy. Free speech and the fourth Amendment have been under relentless attack. Policing the world, nation building and regime change issues are popular campaign targets. Yet none of this happened by chance. The Neo-Cons have diligently worked their way into positions of power and influence. They documented their agenda in a policy paper in the 1990’s entitled “Rebuilding America’s defenses for a new century” In it they outlined they’re doctrine; Geo-strategic primacy achieved by “preventive” war. These people are not your everyday conservatives dedicated to limited constitutional government. They are ruthless, extremist, militant, Christian fundamentalists with a clear vision of what they perceive to be America’s role in the 21st century. The unchallengeable superpower, with the means, the will and determination to preserve global geo-strategic primacy and ward off any future challengers at whatever cost and by all available means.
Who are these people?
Principals include Dick Chenney, Paul Wolfowitz, William Kristoll, Richard Perle, Eliot Abrams, Robert Kagan Michael Ledeen, Donald Rumsfeld, James Woolsey, Bill Bennett and Frank Gaffney. Do they matter? To begin, they endorse attacks on civil liberties and they unconditionally support Israel and have a close alliance with the war criminal and Israeli President, Ariel Sharon and his Lukud Party. Organizations that were created to cater for the Neo-Cons cause and agenda are “The Bradley Foundation”, “The American Enterprise Institute” and “PNAC” (project for a new American century). Prominent media sympathizers are the Wall Street Journal and New York Times.
American hegemony in the twenty first century is indisputably absolute. As a people Americans are peaceful, altruistic and compassionate much as people are the world over. However when power is absolute, unchallengeable and on a global scale there will always be those who seek to use it to pursue they’re self-righteous immoral, unethical and misguided goals. American power in the hands of such people as the neo-conservatives may be used to cause much havoc, misery, suffering and death in the world. On the other hand the US is potentially a force capable of maintaining and contributing to the greater good.
The key is education. There must exist counter-propaganda news and information service easily accessible to all Americans, particularly the young in order that false stereotyping can be abolished and in order that balanced coverage of events and political agenda’s in all parts of the world is ensured. The means must be made available to counter the efforts of the right wing neo-conservatives. The US has presented itself to the world as the squeaky clean “good guys” battling the forces of evil through sophisticated media manipulation from romanticized, idealized Hollywood cinema interpretations of historical events to biased, one-sided coverage of current affairs. The alternatives to a hegemonic empire may be even less desirable, but that should not imply any should exist.
“Are the Neo-Conservatives a dangerous threat to world peace and security?”
1. They agree with Trotsky on permanent revolution, violent as well as intellectual.
2. Believe that the map of The Middle East must be re-drawn and are prepared to use force to achieve this.
3. Accept the concept that the ends justify the means.
4. Believe in “preventive” war to achieve desired outcomes. (As opposed to “pre-emptive war.”)
5. They express no opposition to the welfare state.
6. Believe in the legitimacy of an American Empire and strongly endorse it.
7. Believe lying is necessary for the State to survive.
8. Believe in powerful Federal government.
9. Believe society should be ruled and held together by an elite ruling class.
10. Reject neutrality in foreign affairs.
11. Believe imperialism is appropriate.
12. Believe deploying US military might to enforce US ideals on others is acceptable. Force should not be limited to the defense of the nation.
13. Events surrounding the September 11 attacks (the much needed and timely massive threat to US homeland security after the cessation of the cold war are enveloped in controversy, since they provided the timely springboard for long dormant neo-conservative policy.
Neo-Conservative law makers such as Tom DeLay the influential leader of Republican majority in the US house of Representatives and one of George Bush’s closest allies in Congress, who whilst in Israel recently addressing members of Knesset (July 30/ 03) dismissed the unilateral cease fire implemented by Palestinian factions and which had resulted in a virtual cessation of violence against Israeli civilians and occupation forces as “nothing more than a 90 day holiday” for “terrorists” and “murderers”. He urged Israel to ignore the ceasefire and go on killing Palestinian activists. DeLay is an avowed Christian Zionist and fundamentalist amongst many in the Bush Administration. A fact, which I am afraid, eliminates any serious proposals for peace in the conflict whilst the Bush team holds power. This is the kind of insane diatribe that must not be passed on to future generations.
Thankfully, not all Americans support the Neo-conservative’s agenda. Two distinguished professors, Stephen Brooks and William Wolfforth wrote recently in “Foreign Affairs” “Uni-popularity makes it possible to be the global bully – but it also offers the US the luxury of being able to look beyond it’s immediate needs, to it’s own and the worlds, long term interests. Magnanimity and restraint in face of temptation are tenets of successful State-craft that have proved their worth.” Listen up, America!