on the American empire …
It an Empire?
I say that America has become an empire, someone is sure to say I’m
what do you call a government that has tried (usually successfully)
to force "regime changes" in Panama, Grenada, South Vietnam,
Cuba, Guatemala, Chile, Rhodesia, South Africa, Iraq (in 1963), the
Philippines, Serbia, Afghanistan (twice), Iran and several other countries
that don’t immediately come to mind?
do you call a government that has troops
stationed in a hundred countries around the world?
do you call a government whose leader says everyone must play by his
rules or risk being attacked?
then someone is sure to instruct me that "American troops are
stationed abroad because those countries asked for them."
people in foreign countries want American troops there – just about
as much as the Poles enjoyed having Soviet troops in Poland.
troops are in those countries only because the governments
of those countries were bribed with your money to allow American troops
would you feel if there were Chinese troops wandering around your
do you think Germans feel about seeing American troops walking their
streets – or Korean or Japanese citizens watching American soldiers
commit murders and rapes in their countries without facing local prosecution?
rules the world – by force.
that’s ironic. Because for as long as I can remember, conservatives
have been railing against the threat of world government.
now we actually have a form of world government – a government run
by George Bush and enforced by the American military – and most
conservatives are all for it.
government decides what rules Iraq must live by, and if Iraq breaks
those rules it can be bombed or invaded.
government decides which governments are legitimate and which must
be replaced, which dictatorships are evil and which are "our
partners in the War on Terrorism."
people can’t understand why our government is getting ready to attack
Iraq, but is ignoring North Korea – which admits to having nuclear
weapons and the ability to fire them at Alaska.
difference between the two countries is simple: North Korea has the
means to hurt us, Iraq doesn’t.
past 50 years, our government has attacked many countries – Panama,
Grenada, the Sudan, Afghanistan (twice), Cuba, Vietnam, Iraq and others.
But it has never attacked a country that had the capability to hurt
China, Pakistan, India, North Korea, Israel – all have nuclear weapons.
So we participate in "constructive engagement" with those
Iraq? No threat to us, so we can bomb it and invade it with impunity.
9-11, some people said we should try to find the people responsible,
capture them and prosecute them. They were largely laughed at as being
unrealistic. Only by bombing and devastating Afghanistan could we
be sure to get Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida. And our president assured
us that they would be brought to justice.
it’s a year later. Osama bin Laden hasn’t been captured or killed.
Al-Qaida is alive and well. So is anyone concerned?
not. Our attention is directed to Iraq – even though there’s no public
evidence that Iraq has anything to do with al-Qaida – and a lot of
evidence that they’re enemies of each other. Suddenly, Osama bin Laden
is no longer important.
doesn’t make sense if you think the object is to end terrorism. But
it makes perfect sense if the object is to demonstrate the empire’s
power to intimidate.
Do They Hate Us?
the past year, we’ve been hearing over and over that the Muslims and
others around the world hate us because of our freedoms and our prosperity.
true, the terrorists have won – because we’re rapidly giving up our
freedoms, and the loss of those freedoms is destroying our ability
actually, it is only Americans who say that our freedoms and prosperity
are the reason foreigners hate us. If you ask the foreigners, they
make it clear that it’s America’s bullying foreign policy they detest.
also told that we must give up some liberty for the sake of security.
But that’s not true.
most of our history, Americans enjoyed both liberty and security from
as Tim O’Brien has pointed out, while it’s possible to have both liberty
and security, you can’t have an empire as well. Once the American
government decided to run the world, Americans were forced to choose
between liberty and security – because you can’t have all three. Once
you become an empire, either liberty or security must go.
likely, however, we will lose both liberty and security. We’re
losing our liberties, but innocent Americans will continue to be hurt
by terrorists because of what our government is doing overseas.
I write on these subjects, I invariably get e-mails accusing me of
hating America or "blaming America first."
the contrary. I love America, and I can’t stand quietly by while the
land of peace and liberty is being destroyed.
the America of the Constitution and limited government – not the America
of the Patriot Act and the Orwellian Department of Homeland Security.
the America that Washington and Jefferson said should be far removed
from all the age-old quarrels of Europe and Asia, while trading benevolently
with people all over the world – not the America that has troops in
a hundred countries while our own government prohibits us from peaceful
trading with dozens of countries.
I want my country back.