blast that blew up UN headquarters in Baghdad should have
pulverized the smug complacency of the Washington policy wonks
who openly hail the rise of an American Empire – but I doubt
it made much more than a small dent.
Only in Washington
would it be possible to have a "debate"
Ferguson, historian of British imperialism, who claims
that America is – and should be – an empire, and neocon Robert Kagan, who avers
that no, no, the U.S. is (and should be) a "global hegemon."
As the [Beirut] Daily Star reported:
the air-conditioned comfort inside, the lusty strains of 'Rule
Britannia' welcomed a capacity crowd to AEI's version of a
our modern-day Tories hail the rise of the American Imperium
from the safety of their air-conditioned thinktanks, it's
degrees in the shade in Baghdad, and, as I write this,
huge truck bomb has blown away the United Nations envoy,
killing a dozen others and wounding over a hundred.
that we could send a few of those Washington wonks to fight
for the "hegemony" they blithely assume!
get some real measure of the arrogance of these folks, here
is an exchange that occurred during the question period at
the AEI debate:
Kober with the Cato Institute. On
this question of empire [or] hegemon, two things; one Mr.
Ferguson mentioned. What do you do about the financial constraints?
You said that. You said it would be a problem, but you never
addressed how you get around that in order for the United
States to maintain this role, whatever you call it.
second, something very different from when we were in Vietnam
now. The opposition to the involvement in Iraq seems to be
coming not from the campuses, but from the troops and their
families, the soldiers and their families. This is something
different. How can you be a hegemon or an empire if the soldiers
don't want to play that role?
answer to the first question was full of helpful advice on
how we could wrench medicines out of the mouths of our oldsters
– "radical reform of the Medicare system" and put those
savings into "nation-building" overseas. "It's not a lot of
money compared with $44 trillion," he said, presumably with
a straight face. A trillion here, a trillion there who
cares, as long as we wind up spending ourselves into
imperial penury, just like our British cousins? The high and
the mighty have a style all their own, but Ferguson was just
getting warmed up: "As for the opposition of the troops,"
obviously a problem with discipline in the U.S. Army. You
don't hear this from the squaddies in Basra. Put it that way."
God for the feistiness and fighting spirit of the American
military. It is our best protection against the enemy within,
as well as from outside our borders. The American character
– what Ferguson calls "a problem with discipline" – puts a
check on the dangerous ambitions of would-be American Caesars.
Without public support, a series of bloody and expensive wars
waged in the name of nothing but sheer hubris would end in
a political defeat for the War Party on the home front, regardless
of what happened on any foreign battlefield.
long the American people will put up with the running sore
of the Iraqi occupation is a political calculation that seems
relatively simple: polls show a dramatic
decrease in public support for our policy. If Tuesday's
devastating bomb attack is a portent of the future, then this
support can only drop. This is the soft underbelly of the
neocon campaign to entrench the U.S. in Iraq. The Democrats
are already making a potent campaign issue out of the Bushies'
relative neglect of the fight against Al Qaeda, a struggle
that, unlike the well-publicized war in Iraq, is being fought
in the shadows. But occasionally the lights go on, as in the
Igla sting operation,
and all sorts of unappetizing creatures are exposed to the
light of day – and do their best to scuttle away.
is the latest front in the real war on terror, with Indonesian militant
leader Hambali arrested there for purportedly financing
terrorist operations to the tune of $45,000. Closer to home,
however, the reported financier of a terrorist plot, Yehuda
Abraham, was granted bail by a judge over prosecutors'
objections: Abraham, a 76-year-old Orthodox Jew who lives
in Queens, was arrested on a charge of financing the attempt
by arms dealer Hemant
Lakhani to sell surface-to-air missiles to a "Somali terrorist
group" that turned out to be the FBI. The Thailand connection:
Abraham and his family not only traveled
to Thailand frequently, but he is listed
here as a contact for the Jewish community of Bangkok.
whose bail has been set at $10 million,
is expected by his defense attorney to meet the terms imposed
by the judge – he must wear an electronic tracking device
and "be free this week, as
one New Jersey newspaper reported:
acknowledged they have no proof that Abraham knew he was helping
to facilitate a weapons deal for terrorists."
that could change. Law enforcement sources say agents are
still going over bales of documents and computer equipment
seized in the raid on Abraham's Manhattan office. Given what
we know now, however, a question arises: why would someone
described as "a wealthy and successful man with more than
$1 million equity in his home and shops in Europe, the Middle
East and Asia" engage in such a risky transaction for a paltry
$1,500 commission, as the New York Times reports?
prosecutors are treating Abraham far differently than, say,
an Islamic charity in the U.S. that may have aided and abetted
the financing of terrorism directed against Israel. None of those guys got bail:
they were just rounded
up, closed down, and deported. Why the double-standard?
Mr. Abraham is an American citizen, but why isn't he being
held, a la John
Lindh and Jose
Padilla, as an "enemy combatant"? More than a few interesting
questions come up if we look a little closer at this case,
including what's up with the lawsuit brought by a BBC
journalist against Newsweek, over the latter's report that the
Beeb leaked news of the arrests before the feds could go after
their real quarry. There is a lot more here than meets the
IN THE MARGIN
Paul Freund writes in Reason that the BBC "has
been miring itself in cases of alleged bias in its narratives,
and indeed in disputes involving its moral perspective" –
this from a magazine that hotly denied
the existence of Gulf War Syndrome and never admitted
they were dead wrong.
I guess this
is just a lot of hype, too.
how I hate that magazine, which falsely claims to be
"libertarian." There's hardly a lie spread by the War Party
that they aren't willing to swallow: as far as editor Nick
Gillespie and his crew are concerned, as long as they have
the right to do the drugs of their choice and live out their
"alternative" lifestyles, little else matters. Could
anything be more repulsive? But there's no need to accentuate
the negative, not when we have so many good writers putting
out the truth. A tip of the hat to prolific journalist Jim
Lobe, who has been hot on the trail of the Pentagon's "Office
of Special Plans," and besides that is really up on the
more arcane details
his byline is a guarantee of an
interesting read. Then there's my good friend Chris
Deliso, a regular contributor to Antiwar.com, who has
started balkanalysis.com, wherein he and his associates
bring you the latest from the far frontiers of the New World
Order: don't miss it!
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