By Grady Hawkens
Its time we finally surrendered to political reality. This great nation is no longer a republic, it’s an empire. Our modern-day Roman type bread and circuses are everywhere to be seen. Just tune into your favorite network and there they are. From the gladiators of Jerry Springer to the crowning of our next ‘American Idol’, the empire has gained control of the American heart and mind.
But what is an empire and it’s accompanying Imperialism? It seems that an empire needs control over some other country or territory. We have sovereignty over Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. An empire has an emperor, king “or other hereditary head of state.” This requirement has been met. Not in the classic sense of a Caesar or the Bourbons of France, but in our own home-grown fashion.
Take for example the Defense Authorization Act of 2007. Its hundreds of pages of military appropriations were signed into law in October, 2006. But section 1076 was added. It is only a few small paragraphs but in effect it makes the President of the United States an emperor. It allows him in time of emergency (epidemics, natural disasters, terrorists attacks or incidents, to name a few) to use military force to impose order domestically. He alone determines what the emergency is. He doesn’t have to ask permission to move Federal troops into your home town to “restore Order”. The more disturbing word in the few paragraphs is ‘incidents’. These are not defined. An “incident” could be mass anti- war demonstrations. That could be enough to install martial law.
The Congress of the United States long ago rolled over and surrendered to the Chief Executive. Last November the American people told their representatives that they wanted this country out of Iraq. They gave the democrats the majority. But just a few weeks ago the majority caved in to the President’s veto in a display of the worst kind of cowardice. No excuse was made but one must consider the right-wing Patriot Police. Any politician labeled as ‘not supporting the troops” could be in trouble back home. So they gave the pentagon the money to prosecute this insanity, no questions asked.
One thought concerning the notion of ‘heredity” as mentioned above. The next President of the United States will not end this war. Either Republican or Democrat, male or female, they are cut from the same cloth. The course will be stayed. The military-industrial complex Eisenhower warned us of will not allow it.
Consider this: we are building the world’s largest embassy in the green zone in Baghdad. The cost to maintain this behemoth is over one billion dollars a year. The permanent military bases needed to support it are being constructed as well. The administration is looking to a Korea- like scenario where troops have been stationed for more than 50 years. You can bet that troops will be in Iraq for at least that long.
Iraq is our new American empire’s first colony in this new age. Why do you think Halliburton moved its corporate headquarters to Dubai? Of course, one wonders about their extradition laws.
Whether it’s an “Evil Empire” depends on your point of view. And your point of view depends on who has your attention. The mother of a dead American soldier, sailor, airman or Marine has one belief. And the mother of an Iraqi child killed in a coalition air attack may have another. There is one crucial difference. In our empire, we don’t see the dead child. In the Arab world, millions see it on Al Jazeera. The result of this mid- eastern media coverage can well be imagined. We could be creating more terrorists and sympathizers than we care to think about.
The notion that the parents of a child killed by Americans will hate us seems to come to as a shock to many of our citizens. We’re there to help, after all. If their kid gets killed in the cross fire they should just get over it. We can’t seem to understand that if we accidentally bomb an Iraqi wedding and kill and mutilate the guests, the survivors might not like it. This event might drive them to sympathize, if not actually support or even join the insurgency.
Right now our empire has over 700 military installations of various sizes in 35 countries around the world. We have active military personnel in about 120 others. The total cost of these operations is beyond comprehension. Our military budget is now larger than just about the entire world combined, and it’s going to get larger. On the more alarming side, we are now beginning to put a lot of responsibility on hired soldiers. Many of these soldiers are foreign. The Hessian soldiers hired by the British Empire to fight in the American Revolution come to mind. The pentagon would much prefer the term ‘private military contractor’. This is a much more business-like and benign. But the reality is that these folks are mercenaries. They do the work for pay. Very good pay, I might add. The draw back is that every good mercenary knows that he can’t collect if he’s dead. Private military contractors are not required to go in harms way.
Make no mistake. The neo-con vision of a new world order with the United States as its capitol is still in play. Our American Empire and our Imperial soldiers are on the move.