Our country is no longer controlled by, and for, We the People, but instead by, and on behalf of, international banking and multinational corporate interests. While the gradual, almost imperceptible takeover of our government by this corporate fascism has been evolving by design for many decades, it is a coup d'etat nonetheless and has been disastrous for the vast majority of Americans. This blog is an exploration and discussion of how this occurred, and the damage it has done to our democratic processes.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Iraq, Afghanistan, and Civil Disobedience

Speaker: Chris Hedges
"Law never made men a whit more just; and by means of their respect for it, even the well-disposed are daily made the agents of injustice.  A common and natural result of an undue respect for law is that you may see a file of soldiers, colonel, captain, corporal, privates, powder-monkeys, and all marching in admirable order over hill and dale to the wars, against their wills, ay, against their common sense and consciences, which makes it very steep marching indeed, and produces a palpitation of the heart.  They have no doubt that it is a damnable business in which they are concerned; they are all peaceably inclined.  Now, what are they?  Men at all? or small movable forts and magazines, at the service of some unscrupulous man in power?  The mass of men serve the State thus, not as men mainly, but as machines, with their bodies.... In most cases there is no free exercise whatever of the judgment or of the moral sense; but they put themselves on a level with wood and earth and stones; and wooden men can perhaps be manufactured that will serve the purpose as well."  ~Henry David Thoreau, On the Duty of Civil Disobedience

As Chris Hedges proclaimed last December when he committed to participate in nonviolent civil disobedience by refusing to obey civil laws in a last ditch effort to induce change in governmental policy concerning the on-going wars and occupations of both Iraq and Afghanistan, "it's all we have left". As war -- perpetual and on-going war -- has become the norm in American society, it is neither criticized or rebuked by either faction of our two-party dictatorship. It's all that remains of hope for an end to the carnage, an end to the depravity of conflict inflicted not only on those we occupy, but also the psyche and ever-increasing percentage of our treasure that goes to training our young men and women in the trades of slaughter. Truly, as Gandhi wrote in Non-violence in Peace and War, "Liberty and democracy become unholy when their hands are dyed red with innocent blood." 

In Washington D.C., yesterday's demonstration and observance of civil disobedience was seen and cheered by hundreds behind police-erected barricades, as over one-hundred activists, including Daniel Ellsberg and members of ANSWER Coalition, March Forward!, Code Pink, and several veterans organizations, risked arrest in order to expose and shine light on the continuing war policies inherited and escalated by the Obama Administration. As many speakers before the march and ensuing civil resistance noted, just showing up for demonstrations doesn't sway our governmental leaders anymore. The exploitation, manipulation, and subjugation continues. As Ralph Nader reminded us, $700 million per day is spent to operate and support the war and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. $700 million per day! This would appear hypocritically obscene and profane if budget talks weren't fixated on austerity cuts that primarily contribute to the well-being and welfare of the less fortunate in American society, but that's not the case. Both wings of our colluding dual-party dictatorship, continually echoing the patriotic script of freedom and liberty, are embarking on taking everything away from the middle and working class people in this society and handing it all over to the wealthy, the elite and the powerful. Perpetual war is one means to achieving that end. Sadly, by not resisting, the American people are complicit in their own demise. Yesterday, over one-hundred resisters stood up for the American people.

Voltaire wrote that it is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.  Chris Hedges, while at the podium yesterday, said war is organized sadism. Both men are right. Nations have borrowed billions for war, while no nation, to my knowledge, has ever borrowed largely for education. Undoubtedly, no nation is rich enough to pay for both war and the betterment of civilization (although Lyndon Johnson tried). We must make a choice, and apparently that choice has already been made. We are seeing that now.


Mary Mayhem said...

It's sick really.

What in the hell is up with my birthday? Iraq invasion March 19th? Tomahawks into Libya March 19th 8 years later? The day is cursed.

I'm going to Switzerland.

Jefferson's Guardian said...

Mary, you'll still have the same birthday in Switzerland. Stay here and fight the good fight. We need people like you to support our cause; the cause that's for what's "right".

Yeah, it was eight years ago yesterday. Eight years being bogged down in a country we illegally attacked, and eight years in a country that's hemorrhaging our treasury by hundreds of millions of dollars a day.

This is what we need to cut from the budget. This, Afghanistan, and a few more billion from the DoD, would have the budget, so sacrosanct to conservatives and many Democrats alike, balanced in quick order. That's a fact.

Mary Mayhem said...

I was listening to a podcast last week about defense spending, I think it was Democracy Now! (it might have been Best of the Left) but they were comparing our defense spending to that of the next most expensive military's yearly spending, which was China, and it was $700 billion compared to $90 billion. Then they went on to talk about the British Empire's whole naval philosophy of only needing to be as powerful as the next two most powerful navies combined, sans Spain + France = British Empire....and how that worked well for a very long time...Seems reasonable. Then I was listening to "Wait, Wait Don't Tell me!" on NPR, and they were talking about the same thing, British Naval Philosophy, but comparing it to how the US will be in a time of dire financial crisis, and borrow money and then ask for James Bond's car. You know, a jet or ship or missile that can do EVERYTHING (spray oil out the back, disappear, etc.), and a LOT OF THEM to boot.

Do people understand how much a billion dollars is?

Do they know that it would take you around 150 years to count to a billion??? 700 billion? The ship I was stationed on was brand new and was 1 billion dollars with no tomahawks and no Helos on it, and they were building like a million more...I was on DDG-87, what DDG-# are they up to now?? And yes they could do everything. James Bond ships. 1 billion bucks a pop...Seriously?? And people are freaking out over CPB funding? What is in the water? GHB?

Anonymous said...

This blog is really rockin! LOL

Jefferson's Guardian said...

Anonymous, it appears the truth causes you to laugh uncontrollably. That's a natural reaction to ideas that cause fear, discomfort, and seem to go against the preconceived notions you grew up believing that are now turning out to be false.

Sometimes the truth is painful, but once you work through it, it's quite liberating.

Anna Van Z said...

Wow - excellent piece! I might have to swipe this for my blog...

Jefferson's Guardian said...

Glad you liked it. Take anything you want.

It was a very moving day -- seeing so many voluntarily putting themselves into a position of getting arrested, as an act of civil disobedience.

Saul Alinsky said...

Nice Blog JG,

We are kindred communist spirits!


Jefferson's Guardian said...

Thanks Saul. Although I can't claim any allegiance or preference for communism, per se, I can say without any hesitation that I'm all in favor of the "commons" -- the one disappearing right before our eyes; the one being engulfed by private interests for the benefit of the few; at the expense of the many.

I'm inclined to think that all the "isms" have failed humankind miserably. I feel like the answer, the panacea to all of our heartache and woes, probably hasn't been named yet. Or, maybe if we'd just give it a chance, "democracy" may be what we're searching for -- true democracy.

Thanks for your comment!