William M Hardiker
In a speech to Congress on July 11 2003, Republican Representative Ron Paul asked the house the following rhetorical questions, “How did we get here?” “Does anyone care?” Being so long avoided and overdue they doubtlessly caused much unease, averting of eyes and scrutiny of fingernails. At the conclusion of his speech, and with audible sighs of relief, it was clear that such a politically incorrect outburst of passionate dismay would promptly be dismissed and forgotten.
But why have such crucially important questions relating to the response of the Bush administration post September 11, not been raised, discussed, dissected and debated exhaustedly? Not surprisingly it was the mighty dollar that caused alarm bells to ring after Congressman Paul pointed out that the USA national debt is increasing at a calculator blowing more than half a trillion dollars a year and the debt limit was recently raised by the Bush team to $984 billion. Total USA government obligations are $43 trillion, whilst USA 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. Events, which transformed the collective American psyche from one of national invincibility, to one of national vulnerability. “Ideas” exclaimed Mr. Paul, “have consequences”, and “bad ideas, have bad consequences”. Let us hope that Mr. Wolfowitz and Cheney were taking notes.
There is however, cause for some optimism in what appears to be a ?slow dawn of awakening? within the collective American conscience as to who have been ‘pulling the strings’ within the Bush administration, and a beginning of questions being raised in relation to the inappropriateness of the administration?s response to the events of September 11th, 2001. As with a death within a 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 mourning process is indefinite. The former would appear to be the case in the USA, for in terms of global disasters, man-made or natural, those now known as 9/11 were relatively minor. As the recovery process proceeds, we can only hope, though certainly not count on, a simultaneous re-emergence of common sense amongst Americans in general.
Only now, with such questions as those asked by Mr. Paul, is the nation appearing to emerge from a ?twilight reality? of misguided, fear, vulnerability and insecurity and a genuine bewilderment in relation to why do “they” hate us? The fact that a people are considered “they” as opposed to “us” is a fundamental contributing factor to the problem. The real world beyond the borders of the United States has made itself known to Americans, and the message is that it will no longer tolerate exploitation, interventionism and economic hegemony - a world in which not all agree with America?s self-appointed status as world police force in order to pursue a policy of global geo-strategic primacy. A difficult fact of life for your average American let alone corporate player to absorb, but essential nonetheless.
That it has taken such a time for the USA to even question it?s foreign policy 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. This ensured that it was exploited (by the neo-conservatives) in such a way as to enable the implementation of radical new policy, which under the new changed circumstances was ensured to meet with not only domestic approval, but also that of the world in general. And this we subsequently witnessed. The grave external threat to homeland security, which was required, was indeed orchestrated on September 11th, 2001. It is appearing more than likely that this was not a surprise attack, but one forewarned and allowed to proceed by the powerful American/Israeli establishment. Without such an impetus, policy such as “pre-emptive” or “preventive war” against sovereign states, and the passing of a “patriot act” amongst many other restrictions on civil liberties, would most certainly have been rejected.
Vengeance, revenge and punishment were the priority despite America?s extensive and shameful record of terrorism and interventionism against weak and defenceless states throughout the length and breadth of the twentieth century. This is especially perplexing for a nation, which has dished out much terrorist activity, interventionism and the installing and toppling of regimes as befit the national interest at the time. That which we have borne witness to during the past two years is quite simply the immoral, unethical and highly effective, though reprehensible playing of “the politics of fear”. Rather than instigating a criminal investigation, the Bush administration pointed the finger squarely at Osama Bin Laden, even whilst they whisked his family out of the United States and harms way. Whether subsequent events have impacted upon the Bush family?s business dealings with the Bin Ladens is at present unknown. That the people have been duped into believing they face a threat greater than the reality of the so-called “new changed world of terrorism”, and used as gullible pawns in a grand game of international chess, using the world stage as the board and the ruthless elite?s, the technocrats, big business and politicians as key players.
Terrorism as an Opportunity
Between the attacks themselves and Mr. Paul?s questions to Congress, not all were stricken senseless by what might be coined “post terrorist attack syndrome”. Work towards implementing long defined policy by PNAC (Project for a New American Century) members and neo-conservatives, led by Wolfowitz and Cheney outlining a doctrine entitled “strategies for a new American century”, was being prepared for presentation to the Bush administration. Mr. 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.
Certain individuals, now widely referred to 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 11th 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 presently defined within the United States of America.
Now that the USA military is firmly bogged down in Afghanistan and Iraq, there is new talk as to whose will be the next regime to be toppled. At this juncture, Mr. Paul?s speech became more interesting, and I am sure all sat forward in their seats in anticipation of the answers he might provide 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 remained rhetorical - for the moment at least.
But curiously these are the very same questions I (and I?m sure many others) have been asking since the dust settled in Lower Manhattan two years ago. Unsurprisingly, they were not going to be provided answers, and silence prevailed in the rarefied atmosphere of Congress. The end of “major combat operations” in Iraq, or rather “the war that nearly ended”, and the continuing return home to the USA of young marines in body bags, is dampening much of the war-mongering and euphoria, which reached a 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 Defence Department to create and apply a public persona to an unknown “enemy” who has consumed so much attention, tax dollars and lives, the USA is facing an increasingly difficult task in “perpetuating the myth” that vast, highly organized and efficient terror organizations are threatening America?s sense of homeland security and global peace and stability in general. 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 USA 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, the truth not yet revealed will eventually betray the schemes of those in whose interests it was to invite, incite, and participate in the terrorist attacks on the USA in 2001 for political and geo-strategic gain. Was the USA aware of plans for a major attack prior to the event? The answer in my view is most assuredly.
The Real Danger?
Once Mr. Paul had the full attention of all, he made admirable efforts to address such concerns with surprisingly astute observations. “We got here because ideas have consequences, and bad ideas have bad consequences”. Certainly a reasonable assertion, despite being both ambiguous and obvious to all but the disengaged and apathetic American public. Nevertheless let us keep in mind that these people of congress are the metaphorical returned “posse”, the sated “lynch mob” that went hunting Osama Bin Laden 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 certainly, but an enormous intellectual demand to make of the United States of America.
Those who ignored the corporate media’s coverage of events since September 11th, 2001, and heeded the widespread, independent, unbiased and impartial coverage accessible through the world-wide-web, as well as by alternative news services such as Al-Jazeera, 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 a USA foreign policy that is 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 “Defence 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 unchangeable hyper-power.
Amongst these all-powerful organizations are the pro-Israeli lobbyists, (the powerful American Zionism 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, as 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 advisers 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 USA 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 fervour that manifested itself in anti-Islam sentiment, and - to the delight of the neo-cons - happily endorsed military adventurism, resulting 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 USA aggressor
Thousands of people opposed to the Bush administration?s policies have been harassed, deported, or locked up, during the anti-human rights clampdown in the USA.
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-conservatives 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 Defences 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 to ward off any future challengers at whatever cost and by all available means.
Who are these people? Principals include Dick Cheney, 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-conservatives? cause and agenda are “The Bradley Foundation”, “The American Enterprise Institute” and “The 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, and when such power is 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 ideals. American power in the hands of such people as the neo-conservatives can only be used may be used to cause much havoc, misery, suffering and death in the world.
The key must be education. It is essential there be counter-propaganda news and information services easily accessible to all, not only Americans and non-Islamic States, but throughout the world in general. In particular the young must not be encouraged to hate those who persecute them, even whilst justifiably hating their actions, for it is not the people who devise the policy that builds walls through Palestinian territory, bulldozes houses, and shoots children, but the lawmakers, the politicians, technocrats and 21st century courtiers who seek not peace but power. Because they accomplish this largely through perpetuating false and negative stereotyping of Islam, it must be countered by a humane, civilized depiction of the antagonists who have no choice but to co-exist side by side.
Israeli peace-activists work side-by-side with fearful Palestinians, during an olive harvest near the village of Hirbet Jabara, which is imprisoned between the Green Line and the Apartheid Wall.
The USA has very much to answer for in relation to this perpetual conflict by seeking to create an all-powerful Israeli state in the Middle East in order to protect and further it?s strategic and economic interests. These began directly after the second world war with the establishment of Israel on Palestinian land which, it was claimed, was uninhabited. The same story is applicable to the settlement of Australia and denial of an indigenous population, and in America in regards to the native Indian populations, and it continues to this day. Such policy as carried out by Sharon and the USA is directly responsible for the entrenched negative perceptions of Arabs throughout the world. It has served to increase Israeli occupation, oppression, subjugation, and the killing of Palestinian men, women and children. News coverage in the West is so unashamedly biased and one-sided that people have neither idea of the reality regarding the conflict, nor any option but to condemn the suicide bombing of Israelis, in ignorance of the reasons why Palestinians are driven to such desperate measures. Ignored are the horrendous crimes of the ?illegal occupier? who has ignored dozens of UN Security Council resolutions, and condemnation by world humanitarian agencies.
The USA has deceived the world with its ?squeaky-clean? propaganda of the ?good guys? battling the forces of evil, through sophisticated media manipulation and romanticized, idealized Hollywood cinema interpretations of events, which present a blatant and biased one-sided view of American involvement in global affairs. The alternatives to a hegemonic empire are being suppressed by the neo-conservatives, and in doing so we are bound to evolve into a population of “Have?” and “Have-nots”. This will not be tolerated, and the prognosis is global warfare. The alternatives to American geo-strategic primacy may be even less desirable, but that should not imply none should exist.
But are the neo-conservatives a dangerous threat to world peace and security?
Neo-Conservative law makers such as Tom DeLay the influential leader of Republican majority in the USA 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 cease-fire, and to 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” that “uni-popularity makes it possible to be the global bully - but it also offers the USA the luxury of being able to look beyond it?s immediate needs, to it?s own and the world?s, long term interests. Magnanimity and restraint in face of temptation are tenets of successful state-craft that have proved their worth.” Listen up, America!
Article courtesy of Palestinian Chronicle