Domestic U.S. Commentary

2006/07/30

The Myth of Strategic Supremacy

http://www.agenceglobal.com/Article.asp?Id=997

Too late for empire

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Front_Page/HG28Aa01.html

How Legalizing Drugs Will End the Violence

http://www.alternet.org/drugreporter/39565/

Advertisements

Ideology the Driving Force

2006/07/21

 

The driving force of the conflict between Western countries and Arabs may be ideology, but it’s our own. It may be religion, the tree of Abraham is usually drenched in blood. The Religious Right in Islam are the only people with the sand to fight both us and their own governments. I doubt the rise of the Islamic Religious Right could have occurred without incessant Western interference. They had to fight there way to power, peace and prosperity would have choked the Religious Right in Islam. We have engendered enormous ill will and yet failed to accomplish our goals.

The West has forcefully intervened in the Mideast during and after WW1. We back corrupt, repressive, and illegitimate governments. We, the U.S., have had troops and vessels in their territories in large numbers since 1979. Arabs see Israel as a European lodgment and want their land back. Lets not reverse cause and effect. They attacked us after we put our troops in their country. The more we apply force the worse off we seem to be. Maybe we should consider or goals, and reconsider our methods.

Staying the course only makes sense if the course will take you where you want to go; sometimes one must stop and ask for directions. We need a new government, one run that is rational and above board.


Lebanon, Israel, and Iraq

2006/07/21

 

I am not convinced Israel is following sound policy in Lebanon. I am certain this current limited action will bring no peace, but will set the stage for future conflict. This action by Israel may be necessary or, thought to be necessary be the leadership of Israel: yet innocent people are being killed. I see no distinction between the murder of innocents by regular versus irregular forces.

One thing that crosses cultural boundaries, world views, time & place is crushing defeat. But we didn’t defeat Arabs or Iraqis when we occupied Iraq. They didn’t attack us or fight us, so they didn’t lose a war. The more accurate WW2 comparison is not Germany or Japan, but Italy. We could have seen hysterically jubilant Iraqi’s hugging our soldiers, throwing flowers not bombs, but that would have only occurred as American troops voluntarily and in victory had departed: quickly. That would have been liberation. What our government calls Liberation is more an attempt at benevolent occupation.

The Arabs haven’t been defeated, just humiliated. And Israel, both helped and hindered by the U.S., has not been able to turn remarkable battlefield victories into security. Israel has been gambling hugely these last 39 years that half measures would do; that the Arabs would come around. Arabs would would defy human nature if they did. America in a reckless gamble, and in defiance of our own civil war history, thought an invading army, that is furthermore ethnically and religiously different, would be welcomed if its intentions were noble. Our leaders should really read some history and psychology.

The victory in the Six Day War, meant that Israel could have kept its pre-war boundaries in peace. The victory would have sealed the deal. Annexation of all or some of the West Bank will require further victories. Israel will have to crush Syria, and be willing to return that territory, plus part of Lebanon to a successor government, and expel undesirables then there can be peace with Israel in control of the West Bank.

In Iraq we never had the power to remake that society. We had the power to do one of two things. We could have replaced Saddam’s repressive regime with another oppressive regime more favorable, or we could have partitioned the country. A broader Mideast settlement requires, the destruction of the Syrian, Kuwaiti, Lebanese and Saudi regimes in cooperation with Israel, and Jordan, and the creation of an Arab state run by the Hashemites and large enough to accommodate territorial concessions and permanently relocate refugees. Non interference by Turkey, Egypt and Iran would be worth consideration.

If we can remember that “they” are human beings like us, then we have a chance to conclude agreements. To see “them” as other, different, evil, is a waste of time, and deleterious to rational goals.


The Consent of the Governed

2006/07/19

The beginning of the Preamble to the United States Declaration of Independence follows.

We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

The consent of the governed is indeed the foundation of our government. We have consented to a corrupt, incompetent, uncaring government. A government of the special interests, by the special interests, and for the special interests. We have consented to phony baloney elections, where the entire outcome is meaningless. We have consented to call the false choice of two corrupt party machines democracy. And we have consented while the elites and special interests plunder our public treasury and steal the pensions and health insurance of the wage earner. Then they wrap it all in the sanctimonious and beguiling language of the covetous sneak thieves that they are.

We have consented to all of this. But we don’t have to. We Americans should withdraw our consent from our government. They are supposed to work for us. They are bringing us all to ruin, already some people live in fear and squalor in America. We should fix our domestic institutions so that they work the peoples will. We should protect what is ours, give unto the least of us, and be a good neighbor. We need a new government.

I propose that Americans withdraw their consent of this government. Let me be the first of many. And lets develop a mechanism to do so across the nation in an orderly and democratic way.


The Power of Credibility

2006/07/18

Antiochus IV Epiphanes, ruled the Seleucid Empire from 174 to 164 B.C.. The Seleucid empire at times ruled over a vast portion of the Mideast, its seat of power was Syria. During his rule, Antiochus launched a war against Ptolemaic Egypt. The war went well for Antiochus who looked likely to conquer Egypt. The Ptolemaic army was routed and their capitol in Alexandria was besieged. The Ptolemaic forces were spent. So, they lost right? Nope, and thats where the story becomes legendary.

The Roman government decided that its interests would be harmed by a Seleucid conquest of Egypt. The Roman’s sent a plenipotentiary, Popilius Laena to speak with Antiochus. Now old Popilius was proconsular, which means he was a top government official with complete authority to speak in the name of the Senate and Roman People. One guy, with a small retinue accomplished as much as a victorious army.

Popilius Laena sails to where he will find Antiochus, commanding an army of 70,000 men, besieging Alexandria. Upon his arrival in the midst of Antiochus’ army, Popilius gets right to the point, the Seleucid army must quit Egypt immediately and entirely. Antiochus begins to speak, and it’s clear that he views Popilius words as simply a starting point for negotiation. Popilius cuts him off, and he walks around Antiochus drawing a circle in the sand as he does. Popilius then informs Antiochus that either Antiochus will answer in the affirmative before leaving the circle, or there will be war.

Well, you may have guessed, Antiochus capitulated. Rome needn’t send an army because Rome had credibility. Popilius didn’t scream and yell, or bluster. He didn’t whine, cajole third parties, or make dire threats. He just spoke plainly, but those words carried a terrible force. Sometimes people flippantly compare America to Rome; remember Popilius Laena when they do, and really weigh it in your mind.

Things are slipping away from American power. We have no credibility, and no idea of the consequences of our actions. And the soft, overfed, incompetent, elitist leadership of our country makes no one tremble. We can’t regain the power we had in 1965 or even 1992, but there are corrective actions that we take. But we’ll need a new government to do it.


Arab Israeli Wars

2006/07/17

 

This latest spasm in the Mideast will pass. Violence will continue and there will never really be peace until a fundamental and overlooked problem is addressed. Where will the Arab people who once lived in Israel, live now?

In 1914, 92% of the people of Israel/Palestine were Arabs. These Arabs, whether late comers or centuries old timers have been forced off their land, and herded into ghettoized enclaves, where they are deprived of basic human dignity and place. They have no work, they have no land, they have no hope. What do you all expect them to do? What would anyone do if they were forced off the families land, imprisoned and humiliated? Might you hate them? American’s can look to our own history and recall how much occupying armies are hated, and we all had the same religion and language.

The nationalities of Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia are all generally agreed upon fictions. The West drew these borders without regard to the Arabs, or geography. After 83 years there is some coalescence around these stunted countries, but none of them function well. This is a problem for Israel and the displaced Arabs both. Were there a large and unified Arab nation, Israel would have a negotiating partner, and the displaced Arabs would have a country. The current fragmented situation leaves no authority amongst the Arab people and nowhere to go, and allows Iran, an economic basket case, to meddle at will. There can be no resolution under the current model.

In Israel we see a country that has taken military and intelligence effectiveness to probably, a practical limit on human endeavor. Israel has won some extraordinary victories, yet still has no peace. This should give one pause. America would do well to observe that adopting similar polices will likely have similar outcomes. We should note that throughout history nations with good a military and bad politics have usually succumbed. U.S, support has augmented the Israeli economy and military, and prevented outside intervention, can they rely on that forever? Israel is playing a very dangerous game, and the U.S. Is facilitating distorted outcomes.

The people and leaders of Israel, find military victories more ambiguous and elusive, and less viscerally satisfying. While they still have power enough, they should consider whether real security lies in the gun as practiced or in accommodation such as the U.S. And Canada. Canada and the U.S. Are at peace because of good enough policy, and mutual recognition of the others humanity and interests. Canada and the U.S. have the longest undefended border in the world, we do not have the best defended border in three world.

So, people of Israel, you have the whip hand. You may want to recall that it was Europeans, not Arabs who committed the holocaust. You must decide what to do with these people over whom you rule, you must either accommodate them, or slaughter and relocate them. What is it to be Cyrus the Great or Sargon II? It is long past time (1967) when this decision had to be made. The longer the current cruel paradigm continues the more pernicious the effect on the culture of Israel. Warfare is full of unsavory consequences even in victory, let alone defeat.

Tick tock, what will you do?


Unconstitutional Government

2006/07/13

 

The electoral system gave us President Bush in 2000, not the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court halted a recount without standard, for a dismally incompetent or tainted Florida election. The Supreme Court once again showed its uselessness, as I have described before. The court once again, ham handedly settled no policy or electoral questions, and left us with no thoughtful wisdom. Does anyone know what was scheduled to occur the day after the courts weighty yet thoughtless decision was made. I’ll tell you! The Florida legislature was going to meet to certify a slate of electors to vote for GWB. To rephrase, the Florida legislature was going to choose Florida’s electors without reference to the popular will. And that was constitutional. An ethical Congress would have found Florida’s slate not in good order and excluded them from the Electoral College.

We do not and never have elected president’s with the popular vote. The popular votes relationship to the selection of the president is imagined. It is like saying that because it usually rains after I wash my car, that the act of car washing causes the rain. Typically a given states electoral votes go for the candidate who represents the legislative majority party. Most countrymen get caught up in which of the two major party candidates is the lesser of two evils, and never notice that there is dramatic inadequacy in our presentation of two special interest vetted candidates and that the game is fixed even when the popular vote is in line with the Electoral College.

America needs a different way of qualifying and electing Presidential candidates, and reigning in the monarchical presidency that crushes the constitution. The Executive branch is wildly exceeding its mandate no matter what crook the party’s install. The President is the chief administrator of government functions. He or she is supposed to report to Congress not ignore them, or lie to them. Now the Congress is full of corrupt windbags, but that doesn’t charge the constitution. The notion of the Unitary Executive, Executive Privilege, Bush II’s take on signing statements and other arrogations of power to the executive are unconstitutional. The Congress is surely impossible to work with, but again, that doesn’t change the constitution.

Probably it is time, and long past, to review the evidence of our history and experience, to bear in mind our national goals and reform our system. We need a new government.