June 25, 2008

Why I Will Happily See Most of You Roast in Hell

Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people. . . . [There is also an] inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and . . . degeneracy of manners and of morals. . . . No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare. . . . -- James Madison, 1793
In seasons of tumult and discord bad men have the most power; mental and moral excellence require peace and quietness.

The worst crimes were dared by a few, willed by more and tolerated by all.
-- Publius Cornelius Tacitus
In "The Fatal Illusion of Opposition," I wrote:
In the final scene [of a common fictional scenario], we learn the truth: the victims' defender had been working for the villain all the time. The defender had never been on the side of the victims: instead, at every critical juncture, he made sure to misdirect the victims' efforts just enough to make certain that the villain was never seriously threatened. The defender had to do this subtly; he had to lie on every matter of moment, and he had to do so repeatedly. He did all this expertly, and the victims never suspected his actual goal. The defender is handsomely rewarded for his work, for he delivered the victims into the villain's power, making certain that the victims would never again be a genuine threat. And the illusion is complete: even after they had lost and their lives had been destroyed forever, the victims never doubted their hero or the fact that he had fought for them so bravely.
We may now be nearing the final scene of the destruction of what little remains of the American republic. Certainly, we are in the last stages of the United States' enthusiastic embrace of its role in history as a barbarian, pariah nation -- one which wages criminal, genocidal war, tortures, obliterates human liberty, and leaves only destruction and chaos in its wake.

The other day, I received an email from Antiwar.com, ominously titled: "Action Alert." The Action Alert concerned what is detailed here: "Iran War Resolution May Be Passed Next Week." That post states:
The bill's key section "demands that the president initiate an international effort to immediately and dramatically increase the economic, political, and diplomatic pressure on Iran to verifiably suspend its nuclear enrichment activities by, inter alia, prohibiting the export to Iran of all refined petroleum products; imposing stringent inspection requirements on all persons, vehicles, ships, planes, trains, and cargo entering or departing Iran; and prohibiting the international movement of all Iranian officials not involved in negotiating the suspension of Iran's nuclear program."

"Imposing stringent inspection requirements on all persons, vehicles, ships, planes, trains, and cargo entering or departing Iran" can be read to mean that the president should initiate a naval blockade of Iran. A unilateral naval blockade without UN sanction is an act of war.

Resolution 362 has already gained 170 co-sponsors, or nearly 40 percent of the House. It has been referred to the Foreign Affairs Committee, which has 49 members, 24 of whom, including the ranking Republican, are co-sponsors. The Iran Nuclear Watch Web site writes, "According to the House leadership, this resolution is going to 'pass like a hot knife through butter' before the end of June on what is called suspension – meaning no amendments can be introduced during the 20-minute maximum debate. It also means it is assumed the bill will pass by a 2/3 majority and is non-controversial."
At the end of the post, we are told: "Those of you who consider this issue controversial can go to the Just Foreign Policy Web site and tell your representative to oppose this resolution."

Tell your representative? Tell your representative?

This is pathetically too little, pathetically far, far, far too late. Short of massive civil disobedience, including a sit-in of a minimum of several hundred thousand people shutting down Washington, D.C. completely, nothing will stop what may now be the inevitable drive to an unprovoked attack on Iran by the United States.

Please understand one very important point. It should not need to be said that my criticisms here are not at all directed at Antiwar.com. Antiwar.com is one of only two or three sites which consistently and comprehensively make the case against the bipartisan foreign policy directed toward the goal of American global hegemony. Antiwar.com has been warning of a U.S. attack on Iran for years, and it has detailed the unendingly nightmarish consequences of such a criminal act in many articles. I salute them for their efforts on this issue, and on many related ones.

Still, the fact remains that only protest on a massive scale -- protest that would be impossible to ignore, despite the efforts of the ruling class and our deeply corrupt media to erase all inconvenient facts and all crucial moral considerations from our national discussion -- has even the slimmest chance of delaying or stopping what may be the coming destruction and rearrangement of much of the world, including the United States. Given the widespread ignorance and sloth of the American public, such protest would have to be preceded by an educational campaign, one that would provide Americans with the basic facts they require to understand how eternally unforgivable an attack on Iran would be in the present circumstances.

But as I have explained in many essays, going back to February 2007 when I laid out some steps for just such an educational campaign, those basic facts are not that complicated. The problem is the blanket of silence on this subject, the same blanket that suffocates our national debate and restricts our discussions to a profoundly, shockingly immoral, narrow range of permissible opinion. We are dying -- and we may be about to become bringers of death on a scale the world has rarely seen -- because almost no one has the courage to speak forcefully, loudly and often enough on those matters that ought to concern us the most, if that is, we revere human life and give a damn about yet another chapter in our nation's continuing campaign of murder and mayhem.

Over the last several months, the signs have been continually mounting that an attack on Iran will come before the Bush administration leaves office. The Republicans and the conservatives obviously have no objection: this is what they want. And what have the Democrats been saying and doing? Nothing -- except, as just one example, running to AIPAC to assure everyone that the Democrats too will make certain that Iran acts as we demand, because we demand it, because we have the unquestionable, inherent right to demand it, because we are God on Earth. You will do as the United States orders -- or you, and possibly the rest of the world, will suffer the consequences.

I have been writing about the inevitability of an attack on Iran for more than two and a half years; many, but not all, of my articles on this subject are listed at the end of "The Worsening Nightmare." I have begged and pleaded for people to help out with a campaign to stop an attack on Iran; with the exception of a handful of people, no one cared. No one gave a damn. No one even noticed. I have never had any proprietary interest in such a campaign; in "Building an Effective Resistance," I encouraged anyone who was interested to use whatever they wished of my writing, without credit or payment. All I have ever cared about is that someone do something.

No one did anything, not anything that mattered.

And what now consumes the liberal and progressive bloggers? FISA, FISA, FISA, FISA, FISA, always, always FISA. Never Iran.

One of the consequences of an attack on Iran was spelled out a long time ago by the wonderful Jim Bovard:
Attacking Iran will put American civilians in the terrorist crosshairs, with little or no federal Kevlar to protect them. The key question is not whether terrorists will attack but how the American people will likely respond and how politicians could exploit the situation.

There is no reason to expect the American people to be less docile than they were after 9/11. The percentage of Americans who trusted the government to do the right thing most of the time doubled in the week after 9/11. It became fashionable to accuse critics of Bush administration policies of being traitors or terrorist sympathizers. ...

The Bush administration has a record of exploiting terrorist attacks to seize nearly boundless power. After the 9/11 attacks, the Bush administration effectively temporarily suspended habeas corpus, railroaded the Patriot Act through Congress, authorized warrantless domestic wiretaps, and nullified restrictions on torture by the CIA and U.S. Military. The Bush administration now claims that the Authorization to Use Military Force resolution passed by Congress in September 2001 raised the president's power above the Bill of Rights.

If there are new terror attacks at home, how much more latent presidential power will administration lawyers claim to discover within the penumbra of the Constitution? How broad would the roundup of suspects be? How many years would it be until Americans learned of how much power the government had seized? Is there any reason to expect that a series of attacks would not quickly result in attempts to proclaim de facto martial law?


If Bush does bomb Iran, the chain reaction could wreck American democracy. The Bush administration shows no signs of developing either an allergy to power or an addiction to truth. The American republic cannot afford to permit a president to remain above the law and the Constitution indefinitely. Anything that raises the odds of a terror attack reduces the odds of reining in the government.
The behavior of the Washington Democrats makes it indisputably clear that, if there are further terrorist attacks here at home, they will be fully, enthusiastically on board with whatever the Bush administration might do. That is trebly true in an election year, when Democrats fear being perceived as "soft on terrorism" more than they fear worldwide nuclear war.

In the fearsome, awful, terrifying wake of an attack on Iran, as the economy crumbles, as violence spreads throughout the Middle East, Asia and possibly elsewhere, as life falls apart in the United States, do you think anyone will give a damn about FISA? Do you think anyone will even remember FISA? Do you doubt that the government will seize and utilize powers that will make FISA look like child's play? Do you doubt that the government will do all this with the active, eager participation of the Democrats?

And yet, progressive bloggers will still tell us:
Senator Reid just informed his colleagues on the Senate floor that, because of all the other bills in the queue (like the housing bill, and the Iraq supplemental), FISA may not get a vote until after the July 4 holiday recess.

This is honestly the best we can hope for right now. Sens. Dodd, Wyden and Feingold are ready to filibuster and gamely trying to get colleagues to do the same (Sen. Dodd's speech tonight was a bravura performance), but realistically the numbers to stop cloture aren't there. However, that could change if the delay continues. And getting this to the recess means being able to get in a lot of Senators' faces on their trips back home. In addition, there's going to be a very short window in August where a ton of must-pass bills have to get through Congress, and throwing FISA in with that mess means that anything can happen.

Now, after that bleak bit of hopefulness: I'm sad to report that it's only because the Senate REALLY REALLY wants to pump billions into endless war in Iraq that we have a shot to delay the deletion of the Fourth Amendment. Quite a Hobson's choice.
Astonishingly, dday then goes on to say in the same post: "But let's be honest: the truth is that the federal government, on a bipartisan basis, is largely indifferent to their constituents' privacy," thus giving the lie to the earlier statement. In their failure to grasp the full meaning of the history they themselves recite about the multitude of attacks on the Fourth Amendment over many decades, only some of which I recently detailed here, these people fail to grasp that "the deletion of the Fourth Amendment" is not waiting to be accomplished: it has already been accomplished. I would say they should pay closer attention and think more carefully, but I don't think this resistance to facts is based in ignorance. Rather, it is based in a belief system they refuse to challenge or even question.

And about the Senate "REALLY want[ing] to pump billions into endless war in Iraq": so much for the Democrats' protests about this despicable, criminal war. Wait, that's right: the Democrats won't call it a criminal war. It's a "blunder," perhaps the worst strategic "mistake" in our nation's history (also wrong: look to Wilson propagandizing the U.S. into World War I for that one), but it's not a crime. But it is a crime. Again, ignorance is not the explanation.

So the progressives collect hundreds of thousands of dollars (with yet another pitch for same in the identical dday post) -- to spend on targeting "bad" Democrats and electing "better" ones. Even if one granted this to be a legitimate aim, it is a strategy that will require years of work and that, even then, will hardly be assured of success. An attack on Iran may be coming in a matter of months, and not that many months. Will the progressives spend any of their money to try to stop that attack? Apparently, they will not.

Just as they do not genuinely care about stopping the genocidal horrors in Iraq, so they do not genuinely care about stopping the next genocide, and even a global war with nuclear weapons. A few of us can only look on in horror, with mouths agape. Where the hell are these people's priorities? Are they completely insane, or just unalterably corrupt? What the fuck is wrong with you?

At this juncture, the tragic, awful fact is that the explanation doesn't matter any longer. It's too late. It might not have been a year and a half ago, but it certainly is now. "The worst crimes were dared by a few, willed by more and tolerated by all." Not quite all, but there are not enough of us who are still aware to make a difference now.

If the worst should happen, I'll be in hell, too. But I will be sure to make certain the worst torments are reserved for those of you -- which is most of you -- who have looked on, who have indicated every now and then that you might have an understanding of what is at stake, and who have done nothing.

The capacity of most people to live on lies and to engage in massive self-deception is genuinely endless. The horrifying changes that may soon be upon us might finally cause you to reexamine some of those beliefs that, so far, you have adamantly refused to question, in even the smallest degree. By then, it will be too late for you, and for the rest of us.

As I have had occasion to note before:
There is such a thing as being too late.... Life often leaves us standing bare, naked, and dejected with lost opportunity.... Over the bleached bones of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words: "Too late." -- Martin Luther King