November 06, 2007

The Barren, Deadly Wasteland that Is Now Our Life

I have been thinking of writing an essay for some time: the theme would be that the Democrats are now worse than the Republicans. The argument supporting this conclusion is not a complicated one. The Republicans proudly assert their support of our aggressively interventionist foreign policy -- a policy which includes "preemptive" war against nations that constitute no serious threat to us. The Republicans thus support criminal wars of aggression, in violation of the Nuremberg Principles. Moreover, the invasion and occupation of Iraq have unleashed a genocide that is ghastly and monstrous in its magnitude. The Republicans also proudly and repeatedly confirm their support for a dictatorial executive branch, indeed for the imposition of a full dictatorship here in the United States. The Republicans stake this criminal territory for themselves, they do so without apology, and they act accordingly.

Meanwhile, the Democrats say that they now oppose the invasion and occupation of Iraq. But they consistently and adamantly refuse to recognize the criminal nature of what the U.S. has done. At worst, they will say that the invasion of Iraq was a monumental "blunder," and that the invasion and occupation have been executed "incompetently." They cannot and will not say that we have committed a crime of historic proportions. According to the Democrats, if we had committed the crime efficiently, all would be well. In addition, despite all their pathetic mewling that they can't, they just can't end the criminal occupation of Iraq, the Democrats could do exactly that within months. They won't -- while they continue to insist that this "blunder" is profoundly damaging our country. In a similar manner, the Democrats say they oppose an authoritarian executive branch, and that they oppose the incipient dictatorship at home. Despite these protestations, they permitted the Military Commissions Act to pass -- and they have provided no indication whatsoever that they propose to repeal it. The Democrats helped pass the FISA bill several months ago -- an act that significantly increases the government's surveillance powers. At every opportunity, the Democrats either fail to mount any serious opposition or they actively support the further means to a more oppressive government. (In fact, and as I have explained in detail - see "Blinded by the Story" and "Cui Bono?" -- the Republicans and Democrats do not disagree about fundamentals; they both work toward worldwide American hegemony in foreign policy, and toward a corporatist-authoritarian state at home.)

So which is worse? Those who support evil, but insist they believe it is good? Or those who support evil while claiming, at least some of the time, that they actually know it is evil? I didn't write that post in the form I originally planned for only one reason: given the nature of the evil involved -- the complete destruction of liberty domestically and an unending series of murderous, ungraspably destructive wars abroad -- I consider distinctions of this kind ultimately to be morally insignificant to the point of invisibility. The only fact that matters is that Republicans and Democrats -- two or three honorable exceptions aside -- all act to destroy liberty and to further criminal war abroad. But in a psychological sense, I probably would have to say the Democrats (and certain of their apologists) are worse: to say you recognize evil to any extent at all, yet to fail to oppose it or, which is still more reprehensible, to act for its furtherance, consigns one to the lowest rung of Hell.

While I was reflecting on these issues yet again, I came across the following story from today's news. It is truly staggering. In terms of the political and moral reality it reveals, it tells us that we have now entered a cultural No Man's Land -- a world where principles, the most basic concepts of good and evil, responsibility and accountability, justice and every other foundation of even a minimally civilized society have been banished altogether:
House Republicans on Tuesday prevented Democratic leaders from blocking a resolution to impeach Vice President Dick Cheney.

The vote to table the privileged resolution, offered by Ohio Democrat Dennis Kucinch, began as a largely party-line vote to kill the measure, but Republicans developed a strategy to force Democrats to debate the resolution by supporting Kucinich. GOP leaders felt as though it was in their interest to debate the measure because it would make Democrats look bad.

After more than an hour of waiting for the vote to close, the motion to table the resolution failed by a vote of 162-251 after Democratic leaders failed to convince a group of liberal caucus members to side with them.
Let's be clear about the stakes here. First, if anyone in Washington recognized the scope of the worldwide catastrophe that would almost certainly result from an attack on Iran, they would realize that impeachment of both Bush and Cheney is the strongest means of trying to prevent that eventuality. If the Democrats actually gave a damn about preventing such an attack, they would take at least one of the further actions I outlined here many months ago. They won't. Second, the long list of indisputable crimes committed by the Bush administration -- aggressive, criminal war, explicit and systematic adoption of torture as a normalized means of warfare and of government policy, rendition, secret prisons, and all the rest -- demands impeachment. Impeachment is the least that key members of this administration deserve.

But the Democratic leadership of the House doesn't want to even debate Kucinich's resolution. The Republicans tried to make them -- because the Republicans understand, in the way that repellent, nauseating slugs sense these things about other repellent, nauseating slugs, that the Democrats have no convictions that matter to them, and that the Democrats are incapable of making a principled argument about anything. The Republicans knew that these Democrats would "look bad" -- which they certainly would have. People devoid of conscience, lacking in all principles, unable to grasp the most overwhelmingly significant truths of our time, and as stupid as human beings can be while still managing to breathe will undoubtedly "look bad" in such circumstances.

This is where we've come: two criminal gangs run the United States from Washington. Neither of them understands the supreme and sacred value of an individual human life. Neither understands any matter of principle relating to liberty or peace. Both of them are intent upon power, no matter how many innocent people must die, and regardless of how many countries must be destroyed, including our own.

This is your government today. Two murdering, thieving, plundering, power-mad gangs, both of which deserve the worst fate that can be imagined. These are the people who will rule you for years to come.

This is our national life now -- and this is your future.

[More about what happened today from Cindy Sheehan. Note the list at the end of that post of the 135 Democrats who voted to kill any and all serious consideration of impeachment. Some of the names may surprise you, if you still retain any such capacity. I myself lost the ability to be surprised by such developments some time ago.]