propaganda continues to gush from the Bush administration,
like vomit from a drunk. The latest comes courtesy of Condoleezza
Rice, the President's national security chief and a woman
who, in any other circumstances, would have been out on her
ear, but in this clueless administration maintains a highly
visible role. Speaking
before the National Association of Black Journalists,
her latest outrage is accusing critics of the President's
war policy of "racism."
Invoking the history of the civil rights movement, and the 1963 bombing of a black
church in Birmingham, Alabama, Condi's rendition of Al
Sharpton's race-baiting act was even better than the original:
"Knowing what we know about the difficulties of
our own history, let us always be humble in singing freedom's
praises. But let our voice not waver in speaking out on the
side of people seeking freedom. And let us never indulge the
condescending voices who allege that some people are not interested
in freedom or aren't ready for freedom's responsibilities.
That view was wrong in 1963 in Birmingham and it is wrong
in 2003 in Baghdad."
uranium, Iraq's nonexistent role in
9/11, and those missing WMD –
this may be the biggest lie of all.
fanciful fib, weirdly inverting history, must have provoked
more than a few guffaws. In the Condi Rice school of revisionist
history, the antiwar movement of the 1960s did not come out
of the civil rights movement, and, furthermore, the segregationists
and their hero, George
Wallace, didn't disdain the protestors as Commie-pinko-hippie-queers.
condescending saviors of the Bush administration couldn't
wait for the Iraqi people to seek and win their own freedom.
Now they stand guard over a conquered province, delaying free
elections until the Iraqis are "ready." Washington rightly
fears a truly democratic election will sweep radical Islamists
into power, inaugurating a Shi'ite Muslim "republic" in the
southern region of the country and leading to the break-up
of Iraq along ethnic lines.
blacks are in no way analogous to Iraqis: after all, the former
are, in spite of George Wallace's heirs and the Africanist
rantings of "black nationalists," Americans, while
the latter are foreigners. One wonders why this even has to
be pointed out.
didn't fight in the American Revolution, but blacks did, as schoolchildren are ceaselessly reminded.
The Iraqis didn't have a Jefferson, or a George Washington:
their Founders were in
the British Foreign Office, ours rose up in rebellion
against that Office and established the first enduring constitutional
republic on earth. Not that this would much impress Ms. Rice,
who clearly has it in for the Founders, as she makes clear
in her remarks:
Democracy is not easy. Our own histories should remind us
that the union of democratic principle and practice is always
a work in progress. When the Founding Fathers said "We the
People," they did not mean us. Our ancestors were considered
three-fifths of a person. America has made great strides to
overcome its birth defects but the struggle has been long
and the cost has been high."
lies just keep coming. That the historic compromise reached
by the Constitutional Convention was motivated by contempt
for blacks is another of Ms. Rice's "revisionist" bon mots.
However, this left-wing fairy tale is not only a myth, long
a staple of anti-Americana, it is certainly an odd way for
an ostensibly conservative administration to justify its foreign
Rice no doubt sincerely believes that the Constitutional Convention
was the moral equivalent of a cross-burning, but history tells
a different story. In the face of a threat by the Southern
states to go off on their own, the convention took no position
on the slavery question, neither recognizing it nor forbidding
it. As Garet Garrett pointed out
in The American Story (1956):
Constitutional Convention took refuge in the hopeful position
that in time slavery would disappear of itself, provided it
were left to states. In that mood the Convention performed
the first great feat of documentary ambiguity in our history.
The Constitutoin recognized slavery in an oblique manner without
accepting it, and it never once used either the word slave
or Negro. It referred instead to 'persons held to service
draws a portrait of the Founders familiar to the inmates of
our universities, where an atmosphere of political correctness
is all-pervasive and strictly enforced: they were white slave-owning
property-owning men, and therefore evil to the max. How, then,
did they come to found the freest nation on earth? Ms. Rice
never does get around to explaining that conundrum. But her
complaint about blacks being gerrymandered out of their full
person-hood is particularly odd, considering the origins of
the three-fifths formulation. As Garrett explains:
a slave state enumerated its population for purposes of representation
in Congress it could count five slaves as equal to three free
men. The purpose of this was to give the Southern states
more seats in the House of Representatives than they would
have been entitled to hold on the count of their white population
blacks couldn't vote, equalizing this formula would have given
the pro-slavery faction even more votes, granting the
South a comfortable majority in Congress. The whole point
of the three-fifths rule was to limit the power of
the slave states. Employing this sort of demagogic rhetoric
was, perhaps, merely pandering to the prejudices of her audience,
but Rice's apparent ignorance of the historical facts is astounding.
idea that we Americans cannot rest until the "civil rights"
of people the world over are secured is utter madness, and
indicative of how far the "civil rights" revolution has usurped
the original libertarian vision of the Founders, who abhorred
the empires of Europe and charted for us a different course.
No wonder Rice, the neo-imperialist, is denouncing them. Washington
averred, in his "Farewell
great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations
is, in extending our commercial relations to have with them
as little political connection as possible. So far as we have
already formed engagements let them be fulfilled with perfect
good faith. Here let us stop."
in his first inaugural address, called
for "peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations,
entangling alliances with none." The framers of the Constitution
understood, as Madison put it, that "war is in fact the
true nurse of executive aggrandizement," which is why
they gave to Congress, alone, the exclusive power to declare
war – a power that has been usurped by the executive branch
on account our foreign policy of global intervention..
said John Quincy Adams,
"is the well-wisher to the freedom
and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator
only of her own." Any attempt to export liberty at gunpoint
would "involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in
all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice,
envy, and ambition, which assumes the colors and usurps the
standard of freedom."
was a seer: he foresaw Ms. Rice and that gang in Washington
a couple of centuries ahead of time, and then some. As we
find ourselves involved beyond the power of extrication in
on the other side of the world, his words of warning haunt
our policymakers' worst nightmares.
administration still refuses
to provide Congress with a projection of long-term costs in
Iraq. In reading Rice's remarks, however, not a few jaws must
have dropped on both sides of the aisle as they learned how
and our allies must make a generational commitment to helping
the people of the Middle East transform their region."
we're going to be in Iraq for the next fifty years or so:
the truth at last, buried amid a mountain of lies:
grandiosity of such a project is the best argument against
it. History, too, is witness to its folly. But such traditionally
conservative reservations about the limits of power fail to
neoconservatives and their Washington accomplices, such
as Dr. Rice. Perhaps they are even emboldened. That's why
they call it megalomania.
Ms. Rice to announce that the U.S. will henceforth take up the White Man's
Burden may have been an unconscious strategy, but I doubt
it. Nothing done by this administration is left to chance:
the whole farce is carefully choreographed, down to the last
photo op. Sending Ms. Rice to pander to this group's well-developed
sense of political correctness in order to justify the
war is a typical tactic of the recent neocon "left" turn:
the idea is to give the antiwar movement the Trent Lott treatment.
you oppose getting bogged down in Iraq for a generation, eh?
You don't want to sacrifice your sons and daughters, your
hard-earned tax dollars, in a world crusade to ensure that
everyone has the "civil right" to be occupied by American
troops? Well, then, you're a "racist" – it's as simple as
IN THE MARGIN
trope describing "all the wars of interest and intrigue, of
individual avarice" brings to mind the
case of Joseph Braude, recently caught trying to smuggle
stolen Iraqi artifacts into the U.S. The author of The
New Iraq: Rebuilding the Country for Its People, a
book widely touted
of the "liberation," was found to be in possession of three
4,000-year-old stone seals looted from the Baghdad National
Museum. Braude at first denied traveling to Iraq, but later
up, and is now facing a maximum sentence of 5 years in
jail and a $250,000 fine. In announcing Braude's arrest, a
federal prosecutor crowed:
administration has sent a clear signal that we would not allow
thieves to take advantage of the conflict in Iraq to pilfer
its antiquities. This prosecution demonstrates that we are
committed to preserving that archaeological heritage from
looters and profiteers."
what Braude did merely reflects, on a microeconomic level,
what the United States has done in a larger sense: Braude
stole a few artifacts, but the War Party stole an entire nation.
Braude is an
analyst at Pyramid Research, a consulting company that
analyzes overseas investment opportunities for American investors
in high-tech communications, with particular emphasis
on North Africa and the Middle East. His book is a sales pitch
for American hi-tech companies to get on the "reconstruction"
bandwagon. Braude is cited selling the war as good for
business in a February 18 New York Times piece on "The
Race to Rewire a Postwar Iraq":
new government in Baghdad more favorably disposed to the United
States could tilt the geopolitical favor of telecoms' future
contracts in the direction of American companies,' said Joseph
Braude, a senior analyst at Pyramid Research, a company in
Cambridge, Massachusetts, that conducts international telecommunications
"Braude, who is also the author of 'The New Iraq,' a book
soon to be published about rebuilding that country's infrastructure,
estimated that Iraq needed to invest at least $1 billion over
the next several years to improve its basic fixed-line telephone
their chops before a shot had been fired, the slumping telecom
giants were chafing at the bit, drooling over all those juicy
government contracts. The looters and war profiteers are being
collared for petty acts of pilfering, but as the occupation
government and its Iraqi front-men hand out franchises to
favored few, the wholesale looting of Iraq is a crime
that goes unpunished.
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