not surprised at the news that the
citizenship oath all immigrants take is being "updated."
An empire, after all, demands a different sort of loyalty
than a republic.
the Los Angeles Daily News puts it: "The citizenship
oath, which requires immigrants to renounce loyalty to 'princes
and potentates,' is getting
a makeover after a half-century." According to Eduardo
Aguirre, Jr., director of Citizenship and Immigration Services
in the Department of Homeland Security: "It's being recrafted
so it has more meaning to those who are raising their right
hand and swearing."
new oath will be unveiled on Sept. 17, which as if you
didn't know is Citizenship
Day. Here's the old oath:
hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce
and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince,
potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have
heretofore been a subject or
citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and
laws of the United States of America against all enemies,
foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance
to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United
States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant
service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required
by the law; that I will perform work of national importance
under civilian direction when required by the law; and that
I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation
or purpose of evasion; so help me God."
the current oath is far too republican small 'r,'
please for a nation such as the United States, which claims
the right to preemptively attack
anyone, anywhere on earth, that might prove to be a threat
some time in the indefinite future. A threat as defined
by our Imperial mandarins, whose big internal disagreement
is over whether to pursue mere "global hegemony," or come
out of the closet, so to speak, and openly proclaim the American
we're going to be an empire, then hostility to princes and
potentates has got to go: it's a relic of the bad old days
when "isolationism" held sway and the President had to go
to Congress not the UN before going to war. Let's face
it: our President is more of a potentate than Napoleon and
the Holy Roman Emperor combined.
let's get rid of this stuff about renouncing all allegiance
to foreign states that is obviously a hate crime, and will
no doubt get blue-pencilled out of existence. After all, it
isn't the U.S. that's fighting a war in Iraq: it's "the Coalition."
And, as we all know, certain foreign princes
are in favor at the Imperial Court: loyalty to them is not
only not frowned upon, it is positively required.
what's this about defending the Constitution? We'll have to
change that to defending the Patriot Act, pronto.
reference to God has got to go. Render under Caesar
and, in our pagan era, he comes first. Caesar is,
after all, divine, a deity surrounded by supplicants, hailed
by all factions, who, no matter what their other differences,
swear fealty to the Empire.
the ostensible liberals, as well as the neoconservatives,
are embracing the makeover of our old Republic: from Howard Dean to Bill
Kristol, a left-right Popular Front for the Promotion
of Imperialism has grown up, a general consensus that we must
take up the burden of rebuilding and even "democratizing"
Iraq by pouring billions ($60
billion, to start) into the project, and untold thousands
of American lives. The question of whether war against Iraq
was justified to begin with is the subject of endless controversy,
but both left and right are taking up the cry: "Just fix it!"
the title of the latest column by Molly Ivins, the twangy
Texas liberal whose folksy brand of do-gooder liberalism is
like an old, over-rehearsed vaudeville act that was tired
forty years ago. While Bush is asking for a mere $60 billion
to "reconstruct" Iraq, Ivins and the liberals would up it
to $120 billion or so. Both candidate Dean and Ivins call
for the U.S. to subordinate itself to the UN, in order to
get some French and German troops in there, but that doesn't
stop them from calling for more U.S. troops. As Ivins puts
suggest we send more American troops, because letting Iraq
degenerate into chaos isn't good for the Iraqis or us."
it to the peaceniks to call for the continuation of the war,
albeit properly "internationalized," while the real antiwar
agitation is coming from senior military officers in the Pentagon.
Pentagon report leaked to the Washington Times
shows that the postwar planning process was seriously "deficient":
no one, it is claimed, predicted the guerrilla war that is
now deepening. No one, of course, but General
Shinseki and other high-ranking
military officers, both active and
retired, who opposed
this war to begin with and are working to get our troops
out of the line of fire. With some success, as the Washington
the other day:
Tuesday, President Bush's first day back in the West Wing
after a month at his ranch, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell
walked into the Oval Office to present something close to
a fait accompli.
what was billed as a routine session, Powell told Bush that
they had to go to the United Nations with a resolution seeking
a U.N.-sanctioned military force in Iraq something the
administration had resisted for nearly five months. Powell,
whose department had long favored such an action, informed
the commander in chief that the military brass supported the
State Department's position despite resistance by the Pentagon's
with this revolt by his Praetorians, the Imperial Bush and
his national security chief "quickly agreed," according to
eyewitnesses. You bet they did. Millions
of antiwar demonstrators in the streets can always be ignored,
but when your own troops threaten to mutiny a wise ruler will
order a strategic retreat.
complete turnaround on the question of the UN and its
role in Iraq, this appeal
to our former allies in Europe to send
troops to take some of the heat off the U.S., is a recognition
Empire is dying at the moment of its greatest glory. Having
"won" the battle for Iraq in record time, the U.S. now finds
itself in the ironic position of being unable
to pay the cost of "victory."
troops are sitting ducks for every terrorist outfit known,
and a whole slew of new ones. We have "won" an outsized version
of the Gaza Strip, our own mega-version of Israel's occupied
territories, complete with car-bombs, suicidal killers, and
chanting crowds hurling abuse and throwing stones.
Powell still adheres to one of the chief strictures of the
Doctrine, which is to devise an exit strategy before going
into battle. That this was not done, and that we are now paying
in blood and treasure for this oversight, gives Powell and
the more reasonable faction of the Imperial Court some authority
to move forward with their plan to "internationalize" the
conflict, and get out partially, and eventually through
the back door, without ever acknowledging our ignominious
of course it was no oversight that the postwar planning for
the "reconstruction" of Iraq was rushed, and inadequate. According
to the neocons' own public
statements, the Iraq war was scheduled to be only
the first in a series of conflicts, a regional war of
"liberation" aimed at toppling the "democratic
dominoes" Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and beyond in
fairly rapid succession. As Laurent Murawiec, the Rand Corporation
"expert," put it in his famous Powerpoint presentation
to Richard Perle's Defense Policy Board:
is the tactical pivot,
Arabia the strategic pivot,
why they didn't plan for policing and reconstructing Iraq.
By this time, according to the neocon timetable, we should
already have taken Riyadh and started marching on Cairo.
have they given up on this scenario. Secretary of Defense
Donald Rumsfeld made a surprise visit to Iraq, explaining
that he's concerned about the infiltration of "foreign fighters"
into Iraq, and pinning the blame on Syria
and Iran. Forget what's happening in Baghdad: look to
Tehran and Damascus. If we're bogged down in Iraq, the hawkish
answer is escalation.
widening this war isn't in the cards, at least politically:
public opinion is taking a different
direction. A presidential candidate who campaigned on
a platform of instituting a "humbler" foreign policy is facing
a nation already war-weary with the war not even six months
along. A year from now, what will the polls say? You don't
need to be Nostradamus to hazard a guess. The neocons may
stamp their feet, demanding a wider war, and may even turn
on the President if they don't get one, but Karl Rove is not
about to go down that road. At least, not yet
the U.S. making a U-turn on the road to Empire? The tentative
answer appears to be yes, thank God. So let's hold
up on that national makeover, at least for the moment. This
episode of Imperial
Eye for the Republican Guy looks like a wash-out.
IN THE MARGIN
think David Frum has, er,
missed the point of Anthony Gancarski's polemic
directed at Michael Ledeen. I hardly think Gancarski took
seriously the idea that Ledeen had actually received a
cool 25 mil for services rendered in revealing the "real"
whereabouts of Osama bin Laden. (He's in Iran: but then, you
knew that). It seems clear that this was meant as sarcasm,
and so it's distinctly odd, I think, that Ledeen and now
Frum took it literally. But then, again, ideologues are
not known for having a sense of humor. Certainly Frum is far
from being the neocons' Seinfeld. And what can you say about
a man who uses the moniker of a fascist
dictator as part of his email address? I guess Ledeen's
authorship of a book entitled Universal
Fascism is just one of those funny coincidences. Sheesh,
you couldn't get away with making these characters up.
what gets me is that this is what they choose to argue
about: not a substantial point of policy, not the momentous
question of Republic vs. Empire, but the petty details of
who said what about whom. Ledeen and Frum resemble nothing
so much as a couple of old ladies exchanging gossip over a
back fence, nattering on about imagined insults and obscure
slights, and using the opportunity to characterize their enemies
in the worst imaginable terms. According to Frum, this sarcastic
sally by Gancarski is "a loony new conspiracy theory." Antiwar.com,
he says, is "the most strident of the editorial outlets of
the antiwar right." It's like that "study"
of conservatives done at the University of Berkeley (where
else?) that characterized right-wingers as psychopathological
basket cases. It's a pure argumentum
ad hominem, expressed by Frum in terms that can only be
called childish. Frum raves on and on in an editorial
voice that sounds distinctly squeaky, one might almost
say adolescent pretending that Gancarski wasn't kidding
about Ledeen collecting his "reward," and triumphantly declaiming:
then if you thought that rationally, you wouldn't be writing
for Antiwar.com, would you?"
here we have the leading neoconservative polemicist reduced
to sticking out his tongue and jeering like some inarticulate
schoolboy: Nyah, nyah, nyah!
this obnoxious twit for real? No wonder they kicked him out
of the White House. A former presidential speechwriter has
now descended into pure name-calling but, then again, what
do you expect from the author of that infamous phrase, "axis
of evil," that got us into so much hot water in Korea?
of National Review, they have the
scoop on the new citizenship oath (those guys have connections),
and it looks like I was right: potentates is out. So
is foreign. NR is mad because the new oath "sheds
a worthy martial flavor." Maybe we should make all immigrants
wear uniforms, put John
Derbyshire in charge of them, and march them all off to
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