The Preocons

Bush sees hope in Philippines’ past — He compares it to vision of Iraq’s future” but “The Philippines ‘Liberator’ Was Really a Colonizer.”

The Prez said the USA “liberated the Philippines from colonial rule…. America is proud of its part in the great story of the Filipino people.”

The problem is that before liberating the Philippines the US killed over 100,000 Filipinos and colonized the islands for decades. Hopefully there’s a different plan in place for Iraq.

The arguments of today’s unilateralist interventionists — aka neocons — are similar to some of the Philippines annexationists’. It’s been pointed out that the neo-cons are (radical) not conservative. Turns out they’re not too neo either.

Senator Orville H. Platt (R – Connecticut) in the U. S. Senate, January 9, 1899:

“… I believe that we have been chosen to carry forward this great work of uplifting humanity on earth. From the time of the landing on Plymouth Rock in the spirit of the Declaration of Independence, in the spirit of the Constitution, believing that all men are equal and endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights, believing that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, we have spread that civilization across the continent until it stood at the Pacific Ocean looking ever westward….”

Similarly, the analyses of the paleo-conservative, isolationist and libertarian adversaries of the neocons resemble many of those of the pre–Cold War anti-imperialists.

There’s an excellent and huge web resource on this subject: the weirdly-named BoondocksNet.com.

We’ll Need an Alibi, Ms. Coulter

In unreported news, arson caused $50,000 damage to the home of Mennonite antiwar activists on October 20. Assuming this ever comes to trial, here’s a can’t-lose defense strategy:

1. Call the fire a preemptive strike
2. Insist that the victims were stockpiling weapons (the evidence must have been destroyed in the fire)
3. Frequently remind the jury about the goddamn foreigner who lived with the family and the propensity of goddamn foreigners to belong to al Qaeda
4. Note the benefits to the community that will come from rebuilding the home

Presto! Reelection! Er, acquittal.

Tell it to their families

Rumsfeld comments on the recent attack on an American helicopter, which so far has resulted in the death of 16 soldiers:

“In a long, hard war, we’re going to have tragic days, as this is,” Rumsfeld told ABC’s “This Week.” “But they’re necessary. They’re part of a war that’s difficult and complicated.”

A Dictator?

The Washington Post reports that the Coalition has brought the flat tax to Iraq:

    It took L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. administrator in Baghdad, no more than a stroke of the pen Sept. 15 to accomplish what eluded the likes of publisher Steve Forbes, former representative Jack Kemp (R-N.Y.), former senator Phil Gramm (R-Tex.) and former representative Richard K. Armey (R-Tex.) over the course of a decade and two presidential campaigns.

    “The highest individual and corporate income tax rates for 2004 and subsequent years shall not exceed 15 percent,” Bremer wrote in Coalition Provisional Authority Order Number 37, “Tax Strategy for 2003,” issued last month.

Here comes the punchline:

    Bremer’s new economic policy for Iraq will slash Saddam Hussein’s top tax rate for individuals and businesses from 45 to 15 percent. Of course, since Hussein’s government, like others in the Middle East, almost never enforced tax collection, there is no real history of paying taxes in the country.

I have to admit that Saddam had some endearing qualities (ok, just this one)…

War Politics Without Romance

I found this essay: “Public Choice: Politics Without Romance,” by James M. Buchanan, on the excellent (though pro-imperialism-tending) aldaily.com website.

“Armed with nothing more than the rudimentary insights from public choice, persons could understand why, once established, bureaucracies tend to grow apparently without limit and without connection to initially promised functions. They could understand why pork-barrel politics dominated the attention of legislators; why there seems to be a direct relationship between the overall size of government and the investment in efforts to secure special concessions from government (rent seeking); why the tax system is described by the increasing number of special credits, exemptions, and loopholes; why balanced budgets are so hard to secure; and why strategically placed industries secure tariff protection.”