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All things equal, it looks like a shoo-in for George W. Bush.
So I’m wondering: is it too early to start hating the Republican
administration and all the groupies it is going to bring to town, all
the pork it will hand out, all the flimflam artists it will employ to
cover the sellouts and abuses of power? You know it’s going to happen.
The presidency of George Bush Jr., however much of a relief from the
Clinton administration, is going to be a repeat of his father’s with
slightly different coloring. That is, one long dark night of politics
will be replaced with another.
The glory of American democracy is that it permits us to kick out the
nasty tribe of parasitical despots that is currently ruling us. The
tragedy is that it installs another group that will do essentially the
same thing. Already you get the sense that GOP apologists,
propagandists, and power brokers are gearing up for their turn at
steering Leviathan. This is one reason the Republican Congress didn’t
cut government. Why shrink something you are going to inherit?
There are already signs that Republican Rule is going to be dreadful.
Consider the choice of Richard Cheney as vice president. He was the
mouthpiece for the military-industrial complex during the war on Iraqi
civilians that Bush’s father undertook ten years ago. Watching Cheney
justify the killing fields in a distant country that never did any harm
to us reminded me of Hannah Arendt’s phrase: the banality of evil.
To this day, people wonder what the point of that war was. Here’s a
good conspiracy theory for you: it was designed to set back Iraq’s oil
business, permit OPEC to consolidate its power, drive up the price of
oil, and put new profits into the hands of the oil companies that were
the sponsors of the Bush presidency. Hey, take it or leave it, but this
theory certainly fits the facts. You have a better theory as to why
American tax dollars were spent to massacre those poor folks, not just
during one period but for an entire decade of sanctions and bombings?
Raimondo points out that Cheney, as CEO of the Halliburton Company,
a major recipient of wartime and postwar subsidies through its Texas
subsidiary Brown & Root, benefited enormously from the war on Serbia. It
received the engineering contract to house and feed U.S. troops in
Kosovo. It gets better: Halliburton’s main job is providing
infrastructure for oil extraction, particularly in countries with
nationalized industries. With Bush-Cheney, we have an all-oil ticket,
one with a history of war-making and war-profiteering.
Oh what joy it will be to have our guys in charge! The Bush
administration can surely find a spot for the “highly respected” John
Danforth, whose report on the Waco massacre is a model for how the
government goes about justifying itself.
At Waco, we thought we saw a small religious community minding its
own business, suddenly invaded by a huge SWAT team carrying and firing
automatic weapons, tortured for 51days by the best psychological warfare
techniques, asphyxiated with flammable poison gas, and then crushed by
tanks ramming through their home and church.
But what were we thinking? The government didn’t fire a single shot.
It was merely defending itself against the violent people inside. The
Davidians could have surrendered. Instead, they got themselves killed or
even killed themselves. In either case it was their own fault.
I might suggest some further employment for this trope.
The government has never stolen anything from anyone. Sure, it finds
the need to collect revenue from those who benefit from its services,
and there are some freeloaders who resent this and try to make an issue
of it. Sometimes the deadbeats have to be reminded that they must pay a
price for civilization. And, yes, wages are sometimes garnered when the
arrears grow beyond that which the tax code permits.
But steal? Never!
Also, the government has never murdered anyone. In wartime, there is
sometimes collateral damage, as in Serbia, Iraq, Haiti, Somalia, El
Salvador, Nicaragua, Grenada, Panama, Colombia, Vietnam, etc., etc. It
is said that these casualties are “civilian.” But in what sense are
people who resist the U.S. really civilians? By failing to overthrow
their own evil governments, they share responsibility for making the war
necessary, and thus are military targets.
Murder? That’s just the stuff of conspiracy. There’s no evidence. If
there is evidence, there’s a justification for U.S. behavior. There
always is. Sure, mistakes are made. But never evil. Never malice.
Also, the government has never abducted or kidnapped anyone. Draft
registration and conscription are necessary to defend freedom. The
experience young people get from the military is often valuable later in
life. In fact, people ought to pay the government to draft them!
How dare you compare the draft to actual crimes.
Are you getting the hang of this now? Here’s the deal. The
government, by definition, cannot commit crimes. What it does may
superficially look criminal, by the standards applied to private
individuals. For example, if you surrounded John Danforth’s house with
tanks and sprayed poison gas into his living room, you would be in a
heap of trouble. But that’s the way the system works. Government makes
the laws, and decides what’s right and wrong. When it says it isn’t
doing wrong, it’s not. Got it?
Danforth, of course, is a Republican. And even Republican
conservatives are celebrating his silly report. Here’s the actual,
real-life words of Michael Potemra, deputy managing editor of National
Review: “Danforth’s conclusions are serious and balanced. What the
government did wrong in the Waco case was on the order of bungling and
defensiveness, not evil or malice.”
And now, the clincher, the dread words that remind you that
Republicans are just as in love with power as the Democrats, and that
Clintonian misrule will be replaced by Bushian misrule. Says Potemra:
“We’re about to have a national election to transfer power to a new
administration. … To be effective in doing the work of government,
that new administration will need to count on a public sense of its
legitimacy. It’s important, therefore, that we not encourage the
fantasies of those who want to believe the worst about our American
But the central government is no longer an American institution. It
is positively un-American. The only possible reason for wanting the
Leviathan state to have legitimacy today is the belief that you and your
friends are going to be in charge of it. But don’t call that patriotism.
It’s nothing more than power lust.