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Friday, March 29, 2013

The Bloody Path to Empire

The Bloody Path to Empire

By Dick Overfield
OpEdNews.com
March 29, 2013

A new Gallup poll indicates 65% of Americans favor using drones to
kill people identified by our government as a problem of one kind or
another.

By government, the language used in the poll presumably refers
not only to the president, but to some person, or persons in the
intelligence community and/or the military.

There is no meaningful moral distinction between a young man
wielding a military assault rifle slaughtering children in a classroom
and another young man, and now woman, slaughtering children who
happen to be near a person Washington has decided to assassinate.

One chooses to experience first hand the bloody results while the
other pushes back from the console & has another cup of coffee.

One wades through the blood while the other is safely on the other
side of the world heading home for dinner with the spouse and kids.

All are engaged in sociopathic behavior.

Our schizophrenic media define the one as a crazed psychopath
and the other as a hero.

The hero, known in the military as an "unmanned systems operator"
following orders in a secret base somewhere, possibly next door or
in an abandoned salt mine, the location doesn't much matter, gets
to retire on a full pension, while the other's life ends violently with
suicide, or in a similarly violent event at the hands of the police.
Some face a darker fate in the ascending horror of one of America's
privatized prisons.

Both are executioners.

For The Examiner, in December of 2010, William Hamby wrote the
following:

Rachel Kalish and Michael Kimmel proposed a mechanism that might
well explain why males are routinely going crazy and killing people.
It's called "aggrieved entitlement." According to the authors, it is
"a gendered emotion, a fusion of that humiliating loss of manhood
and the moral obligation and entitlement to get it back. And its
gender is masculine." This feeling was clearly articulated by Eric
Harris and Dylan Klebold, the perpetrators of the Columbine
Massacre. Harris said, "People constantly make fun of my face, my
hair, my shirts..." A group of girls asked him, "Why are you doing
this?" He replied, "We've always wanted to do this. This is payback.
This is for all the sh*t you put us through. This is what you deserve."

There is not one syllable in our Constitution that identifies the
purchase of an ultra sophisticated weapon designed to kill as
many people as possible as quickly & efficiently as possible as
an "unalienable right" bestowed on us by the Creator.

To say you believe this, stains the founding values of this country
and diminishes the humanity of the person saying it as well as the
person who believes it.

We, you and I, cultivate & prepare the minds and shape the thoughts
of those pulling the triggers on the weapons pointed at our children
in our schools as well as the children sitting down for dinner with the
wrong person in Pakistan, or Yemen, or Jordan...you get the idea.

It doesn't matter whether those thoughts occur in the head of a
pilot in a Blackhawk gunship, or one using the weapon system of
an F-18, or one using a 9mm Glock he just moments before used
to kill his mother.

Currently, no "she" has appeared at one of our schools, but do
any of us believe she won't make an appearance soon?

That Gallup poll makes it clear that Americans are now so morally
degraded that they believe the rule of domestic and international
law and the moral values that underpin it are no longer relevant.

We all know, or we all should know, that the CIA and its brothers
and sisters in the US intelligence community have been murdering
and torturing people for decades.

Conservatives routinely and openly think that's just hunkey dorey.
Liberals not so much. In any case, the distinction is completely
useless.

Here's why all this is a such a kicker.

By not prosecuting those in power who preceded him, a central
feature of Obama's legacy is going to be this festering truth.

He has made it clear conservatives, liberals, progressives,
independents, communists, christians and atheists, of
all political persuasions, genders, and colors, are directly
responsible for America's policy of torture and murder.

How has Obama done this?

He led us to believe he would end the torture, assassinations and
illegal wars.

He promised change that would put us on a stronger moral footing.

He insinuated that all public officials who committed crimes would
be prosecuted.

He failed.

He might have been just lying through his bright white teeth, or
he might have actually believed what he was saying.

For whatever reasons, he simply didn't do it. Not only did he fail,
he allowed it to get worse.

At a time when the US is transitioning military power to the Afghan
government and planning its 2014 withdrawal, it broke a new record
with the 447 drone strikes it launched in that war-torn country in
2012.

Every American, but particularly that 65% of Gallup's poll, should
know that they authorized their government to carry out more
strikes in Afghanistan than it did in Pakistan in the past eight
years, which is how long the CIA has been conducting such strikes.

Moreover, the US has decided to launch more drones this year than
ever before. About 338 drone strikes have been launched in Pakistan.

Obama has initiated six times as many drone strikes against
Pakistan as occurred under Bush.

Obama clearly likes drone strikes. His administration has
refused to reveal how many civilians have been killed.

Could it be because they don't know? Or, if they do know, that there
are just too many children and assorted other "collateral damage" in
the numbers?

Is it really true our government is doing this? How reliable are
these numbers?

Well, we don't know, but how reliable are any of the numbers
about the ugly stuff we get from our government and its
agencies?

Obama is not alone here.

President after president has made it clear we cannot trust our
political leaders to honor their promises let alone change the
corporate war profiteering agenda that shapes our government.

Most Americans believe that the federal government attracts
the dregs of our country and we expect next to nothing from
them beyond greed and febrile narcissism.

We do expect and hope for more from our presidents and we
nearly never get it.

So, can we ever know the truth? Whom can we trust?

We certainly can't trust our religious leaders. They are on a
par with what we find in Congress, or worse, if that's possible.

We can't trust our business leaders to do it because they are
the ones on whose behalf & obscene profits all the torturing
and murdering is being done.

War, and all its antecedent arts, is incredibly profitable.

A good capitalist would never pass up an opportunity like war.

Can anyone even begin to make a case that the Koch Brothers,
Halliburton, Raytheon & Lockheed Martin are anything beyond
predatory, ethically decrepit war profiteers?

Apparently, and this is most painful of all, we re-elected
Obama to continue pulling the triggers for these ingrates.

Yes, each of us re-elected him and that goes for everyone
who voted against him or didn't vote at all.

There is no escaping what our government does in our name.

So, when we tolerate criminal acts on the part of our political,
religious and business leaders, and do nothing to take away
their wealth and power, we lower ourselves to their level, we
become an accomplice to the evil they do.

What does this mean?

It means we are as guilty as are those who pull the trigger.

We are as guilty as those who give the order to pull the trigger.

We are as guilty as those who lie about the reasons for pulling
the trigger.

We are as guilty as those who cynically manipulate language
to justify pulling the trigger.

The trigger pullers know all this which probably makes it
easier for them to go ahead and pull the trigger.

We, at least those of us with a shred of conscience and pride in this
country still intact, are the only ones who can turn our country away
from the bloody path we have chosen.

What does this all mean?

It means we become the evil that we tolerate in others.

It's a very, very old idea and the Greeks had a great word for it
"Enantiodromia" or you become what you hate.

In this sense, every single American is guilty of every single second
of torture and every murder, no matter when, or where, or why it
was done. We all bear a collective guilt.

The only way to change this is for every one of us mature enough to
understand what is being done in our name with our tacit permission
to stand up and do everything possible to stop it.

Don't believe for a moment the perverse propaganda that we
must kill these men, women & children because they hate us
for our freedoms.

Don't believe for a moment you have a right to endorse these endless
murders and torture because those being killed are not interested in
your God.

Don't believe for a moment that they are about to attack us and
blow up the White House, the Pentagon, or Candlestick Park and
therefore we have to kill them all before they get a chance.

They hate us because we are allowing our corporate/congressional
cabal to use the US military to loot their countries and kill absolutely
anyone who stands in our way.

They hate us because we are doing to them what the most powerful
empire on earth was doing to us in the late 1700's and what we did in
turn to Native Americans, Mexicans, Filipinos, Cubans, and so many
others.

Now we are the strongest military empire in history.

It has been a bloody business getting here.

Our wars of empire, from our wars with Native Americans
to Afghanistan, have killed nameless millions.

At this moment, no nation is strong enough to stop us.

That will change and if history is anything it is a reckoning.

Is there an upside here somewhere?

Yes, there is. Outrage.

There are voices naming these crimes for what they are Alan
Grayson, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Jane Mayer, Julian
Assange, Medea Benjamin, Noam Chomsky, Cynthia McKinney,
and many others.

Yes, MANY others.

At this moment in the history of this republic, every American
needs to be thinking long and hard about what all this means
and to what extent we as a people are willing to let the looting,
torture, assassinations, and destruction of our country continue.



Richard Overfield is an artist and writer currently based in
New Mexico after living in Vancouver, Canada for 20 years.
His paintings are represented in over 300 public and private
collections in the U.S., Canada, Switzerland, France, England,
and Japan.

http://www.opednews.com/articles/2/The-Bloody-Path-to-Empire-
by-dick-overfield-130328-480.html

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