5 10 2005

I said last month that the United States has as much right to invade Iraq as the Germans had to invade Poland. I would like to expand on that theme a bit. The United States invaded Iraq without the sanction of the UN, although the spin Herr Bush and his junta put on it convinced a lot of Americans that the UN did approve our invasion. Here’s the skinny: UN resolution 1441 ordered Saddam Hussein to “disclose or destroy” his weapons of mass destruction. He, as everyone knows by now, played by the rules: he didn’t have any, he said he didn’t have any, and he invited the UN inspection team in to prove it. He knew full well his army couldn’t stand up to the US army—what was he going to push his luck for?

Bush and co. claimed that there were weapons hidden, told the UN inspectors to get out, and invaded—only to find that there were, in fact, no weapons of mass destruction—and the evidence that has emerged since, from the Downing Street memo to Joseph Wilson, points to the probability that the Neocon cabal knew they were lying all along—”fixing the intelligence and the facts to fit the policy” is a, um…diplomatic way to say THEY LIED.

So, the United States Government–Bush, Cheney, Colin Powell, Condoleeza Rice, Karl Rove, Don Rumsfield, et al, launched a war of aggression against a country that was fully in compliance with the UN resolution the US said it was violating. If a smaller country did that, there would have been serious, immediate consequences—look at what happened to the Serbs, for instance–but since the US really is the only military superpower on the planet, we’re a little hard to take on.

Satisfying as it is to fantasize, we’re not likely to see Bush and Cheney in chains before the Court of International Justice in the Hague, where the Serbs ended up—much as the Bushies deserve it, for killing thousands of innocent civilians—bombing a restaurant in Bagdad, for just one example, because it was rumored that Saddam was going to be there—now doesn’t that sound like a terrorist act? Just because it was done by a government with a missile instead of an angry man with a backpack full of explosives, it’s no less of an act of terrorism. But, I digress.

Nobody is going to take on the United States with brute force, and win, at least nobody from this solar system. What other countries can do, however, is undermine us, or rather help us undermine ourselves, since the Bush junta’s economic policies effectively do that.
Alan Greenspan, the high priest of the American Church of Economics, recently admitted to England’s finance minister that debt in America is “out of control,” and this while everyone’s still being nice to us. Well, almost everyone. Hugo Chavez recently announced plans to take all of Venezuela’s money out of the US financial system and start taking Euros rather than dollars for oil. Now, Venezuela’s 30 billion in assets in American markets is a drop in the bucket—tho for me personally, it’s hard to think of 30 billion dollars as a drop in the bucket—but he could start something—an avalanche that leaves the US economy out of the world loop, and in ruins.

Of course, the last person to try that was Saddam Hussein, and we all know what happened to him. But, I digress.

So, if the Bush Junta invaded Iraq in contravention of international law, that not only makes them criminals in the eyes of international law, it makes them criminals in the eyes of the laws of the United States. We’re talking a much more unimpeachably impeachable offence than a come stain on a dress here, folks. We are talking high crimes and misdemeanors. Maybe even treason. No wonder he wants to put his personal lawyer on the Supreme Court!

And all those congresspeople who go along with Bush, Democrats and Republicans alike, are complicit and criminally liable. This means you, John Kerry. This means you, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden. I am simply aghast that the alleged opposition party in the US congress isn’t raising hell—they’re politely debating the merits of Bush’s proposals and nominees. If they had any spine, they’d have walked out of congress and refused to play along. At this point, they might as well be the German Reichstag in 1942, debating the merits of SS appointees and drawing up regulations for the proper conduct of concentration camps. Let me say it again: the United States has as much right to invade Iraq as the Germans had to invade Poland.

I think this whole ponderous mess is collapsing of its own stupid weight—but I’d like to think there’s something positive I can do. That’s one of the reasons I’m involved with the Green Party. It’s a party for people whose moral standards are too high for conventional politics in this country. When the smoke clears and the dust settles, we will need some kind of overarching political philosophy to guide us, and for me the Green Party is an excellent way to discuss, develop, and propagate that philosophy. Can we talk?


12 08 2005

Last week marked the sixtieth anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which to me are the two most horrible acts of terrorism ever committed. Our government promotes fear of non-Governmental terrorism, but if you look at the historical record, state terrorism has it all over the amateur variety. Dresden, Dachau, the slaughter of the Indonesian Communists and the reformers in Guatemala, Chile and Iran, the Chineses invasion and continuing occupation of Tibet, Stalin’s administration of Russia, the list goes on and on. And of course there is the United States’ treatment of North America’s original inhabitants. From the first years at Massachusetts Bay Colony to Wounded Knee, it was women and children first—as in, shoot the women and children first.

The mistreatment continues, albeit usually on a subtler level. A current example is the “Indian Trust Reform Act” that John McCain has been trying to pass for years. It never quite gets anywhere, but it attempts to address the fact that the government has, since the very beginning, both intentionally and negligently mismanaged a trust fund that is supposed to benefit the Native People.

In the mid-nineties, following the actual passage of one attempt at reforming the “Indian Trusts,” the government hired—of all people—Arthur Andersen to reconcile the accounts. The firm worked at it for over a year before reporting that the accounts were so severely mismanaged that they could probably not be reconciled, at least not for a price the government was willing to pay. This leads to questions of whether the firm’s subsequent troubles have been a form of shooting the messenger, but I’m not going there today.

This trust fund collects, or is supposed to collect, money from ranchers, oil and mineral extraction companies, and other for-profit businesses that use native peoples’ land to make their profits. What Arthur Anderson uncovered was that in many cases these monies have never been collected, and that much of the money that was collected did not actually get back to the native people it was supposed to benefit.

Senator McCain’s bill is based in a compassionate desire to get some money to the native peoples who were robbed, first of the land that was their birthright, and now of income they deserve from what we left for them. McCain’s bill, as I see it, has two drawbacks: the first is that the Native people are owed billions and billions of dollars (depending on how you figure interest and penalties) and McCain’s bill offers only pennies on the dollar. The second is that McCain’s bill expects the federal government to supply the missing funds—and the only money the federal government has is the taxes it collects from you and me and a few corporations that don’t quite have their accounting down. Why should we pay for the BIA’s malfeasance? It seems to me that the best way to collect these stolen and uncollected funds would be to get them from the businesses that failed to pay them in the first place or from the managers who pocketed the money on its way past—well, okay, some of those people are long in their graves and their ancestors are no more responsible for the current mess than you or I. Maybe we should give the native peoples the billions we owe them in the form of land—like, most of the upper midwest. Hey, they did a better job managing it than we have.

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