Friday, June 24, 2005
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
If My Home Is Invaded, Can I Shoot Back?
Over two years ago, the United States, under the leadership of a semi-literate and inarticulate, vainglorious and rigid, near-psychotic leadership and against the loudly proclaimed consensus of the rest of the civilized world, brutally invaded a sovereign foreign nation on the other side of the planet.
This foreign nation, Iraq, a former ally and recipient of American foreign aid dollars, had suddenly been proclaimed, based on fabricated evidence, “evil” and its leadership no longer worthy of existence. Further, on the basis that it owned valuable national resources that American corporations coveted, namely vast reservoir of crude oil, a National Emergency was declared by Executive Order 13303. Iraq’s cities were firebombed and laid waste and its citizens arbitrarily arrested or shot. A set of US stooges, including an indicted criminal, were installed in a puppet government after mock elections in which the electorate had no inkling as to who the candidates were until the very day of the elections. And, as amazing as it is to any rational human being, when the populace of that sovereign nation picked up arms and resisted that invasion and its resulting make-believe government, its citizens were proclaimed “insurgents” and “terrorists” and imprisoned, disappeared or “rendered. “
Leaving aside the sacking of the national treasury that this occupation is costing our country, the escalating animosity of the American people against its own government, the shredding of our Bill of Rights as an expediency in the “war on terror” and the transformation of the US’s persona into that of a rogue nation, the question has been raised, do these poor souls have the right to resist that occupation?
In an ordinary world, in a universe in which rationally prevailed, this question should not even have to be asked, but we apparently are not living in rational times, at least for this generation, ignorant as it is of world, that is to say, human history, and displaying an appalling lack of compassion. The sad fact of the matter is that arrogance and strength of arms have predominated in human affairs since the very beginning, when homo sapiens first encountered others who just happened to be standing too close to resources that the tribe wanted. They got wiped out. The entire history of the human race bears witness to this core fact.
Now the neo-conservatives have repackaged this human peculiarity into a philosophy, a mission and published their credo to the world. The United States is in the process of carrying out that mission, and woe to anyone who stands in the way. Astonishingly, even so-called American patriots and pundits have bought into this triumphal mission.
This mission, repackaged in fancy words and obfuscation, has as its primary goal the guardianship, nay, the ownership, of all the world’s most valuable resources, from it’s gold to it’s grain to it’s oil and to it’s to intellectual property rights. As an example of the latter, the neo-cons and their fellow travelers have usurped the English language, and in an Orwellian twist of logic, magically transformed reality into a place where failure is “mission accomplished,” quisling governance is “democracy,” hard-won international law is “quaint,” and dubbed persons who would resist their program as “insurgents” and “terrorists.”
Still, the magic wasn’t good enough to prevent the emergence of the smoking gun that reveals the cynical planning that went into this war for resources. This neo-con program has failed in its justification of this war for natural resources and yet the war goes on.
Not everyone agrees that this is the case, however, including almost all of the pundits and many so-called progressives, and, in their slippery grasp of reality, they wonder if in fact the Iraqi people have a right to their own resources, and whether they can justifiably defend their property, their homes, and not incidentally, their freedom.
So, the Question: does an invaded population have a right to defend itself against an aggressor? More specifically, do the Iraqis have a right to attempt to repel the American occupying army?
Well, do they?
Property rights/ownership of natural resources
Propaganda/deliberate misuse of language
Magic and misdirection
Misuse of government funds/national bankruptcy
New American Century
If you are unfamiliar with any of these terms, try Google. You might be surprised at the results. And it's free.
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Christian conservatives love to spout sayings like the “United States is a Christian nation” and “since our national motto is ‘In God We Trust’ it proves that we are a nation founded on the Bible,” etc. This is logical rubbish, of course, since the words God, Bible, Ten Commandments, etc., appear nowhere in the founding documents, specifically the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution itself. Where do they get these ideas? Well, partly, there’s a reading dysfunction going on here, there’s an element of wishful thinking, and there’s a great deal of ignorance about just who the authors of these documents were in regard of their understanding of philosophy and politics, as well as a lack of appreciation of their being in the midst of a paradigm shift in the relationship between governments and the governed. Of course, a lot of them are just shit heads.
To take a single example, in the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson pens the phrase “Nature’s God…” This is not a reference to a benevolent sky-god or gods; as a man of the Enlightenment, and classically educated, Jefferson was referring to the concept of natural powers inherent in the universe and to man as a creature of that universe. Try to explain that concept to a Bible-thumper. Jefferson himself was often accused of being an atheist, but as a rational man, he was willing to let others believe whatever they wanted, as long as they weren’t pushy about it. Theologically, he was a deist, and he rejected the concept that rights were “granted” from a sky god. To him, as well as to the other Founding Fathers, all men’s rights are inherent and rationally demonstrable and arise as a result of the natural order of the created universe. Jefferson also famously wrote, “The United States is in no wise a Christian nation.”
Again, the thrust of the Declaration is to proclaim that the rights of man are inherent in the man, in and of themselves, and to declare their intention to establish a nation founded on rational principals, for enumerated reasons. Jefferson, and all the political thinkers at that time, went out of their way to hammer home that the United States government was to be secular, deriving its power from the “consent of the governed,” and not from any authority in the sky or anyone sitting on any throne.
Contrary to popular belief, the United States had no "official" motto for almost two hundred year after its founding. The United States got along just swell with a couple of widely-used de facto official mottos, the first being “Novus Ordo Seculorum” or “A new order in (or of) the world.” This is a reference to the paradigm shift of authority from top-down government to bottom-up and a reinforcement of the concept of the denial of government’s powers accruing from divine authority. The phrase is ascribed to either Ben Franklin or Tom Jefferson.
We do know that "E Pluribus Unum" has a long well-established claim as being the unofficial official motto of the United States. The other original motto was “Annuit Coeptus” or “Always watchful.” Sounds to me like they were telling us to be on our guard against people who would have us stamp meaningless slogans like “In God We Trust” on our currency. This gem was the wish-fulfillment of the Secretary of the Treasury, Salmon P Chase, who pestered members of Congress endlessly, and, as it was thought mostly harmless, they allowed Chase to print the slogan on US currency. The law making it the "official" motto of the US wasn't passed until July, 1955. Congress uses alternately "In God We trust" and "E Pluribus Unum," but what do they know?"
The Founding Fathers are all dead, but it is doubtful they would have permitted a religious slogan on official US documents, although they might have appreciated the irony of its usage on our cash.
So beware of people who tell you that the official motto is “In God We Trust.” It is only one of four, and a Johnny-come-lately at that.