The RIGHT to Govern

May 2, 2009

The God Given RIGHT

When the GOP forgot they had to answer to the electorate, or, What God has given, the voters have taken away.

They whined and stomped their feet. The democrats were going to run their budget proposals through congress with only a mere acknowledgment of the Right. “What about OUR ideas?” They cried. “They aren’t listening to us!” They screamed. The democrats were bound and determined to push their agenda through and the Right decided it would be best for America if they just sat back while the democrats failed. And the Right still hopes the democrats will fail.

The Right is confused and bewildered. After Gingrich and Dubya, the Right believed that not only were they elected to lead, they were Chosen to lead. The senior George HW Bush described the concept himself in 1990 when discussing the first Gulf War:

“I’ve got it boiled down very clearly to good vs. evil. And it helps if you can be that clear in your own mind.”

Luckily, we filled Dubya’s cabinet and shadow government with folks well versed in Senior’s ideals.

Ashcroft, Cheney and Bush and their shadow minions had that clear in their minds. Many of these people had been heard from before in the Project for the New American Century (PNAC). The PNAC was very clear during the Clinton administration that the US should be the global “constabulary force”, should “control” space and drastically expand the military and its nuclear arsenal. The PNAC’s “Rebuilding America’s Defenses” is a scary, almost paranoid vision of how American needs to militarily expand its presence across the globe and build on its military superiority Far into the Future.

On a smaller scale, we now had official morning prayer groups in the Attorney General’s office and there was a movement to introduce non scientific ideas into state sponsored scientific studies. But of course, only Judeo Christian ideas.

http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/rightsandfreedoms/a/canyonflood.htm

The President established the “Faith Based Initiative”, where the state would hand over taxpayer money to church groups. The President said:

“We want to fund programs that save Americans one soul at a time.”
President George W. Bush, January, 2004,

So, I ask you, what is more arrogant than someone assuming that my soul needs saving and that HE is the one to determine just how it needs to be saved?

This administration was above the law and the judgment of the American People, nay even the World’s Peoples. This administration answered only to its own version of God and Destiny.

Not since Nixon have we seen this kind of arrogance in elected officials. Not since Eisenhower have we so blatantly interfered in the politics of another country. And 55 years later we are STILL paying for that decision.

Because of this arrogance, this administration drew up, in private and in public, programs and policies to:

Justify and conduct criminal acts of torture and mental cruelty — If you want to know JUST how serious this torture was, I refer you to Peter Phillips discussion of ONE of the 44 torture AUTOPSIES reviewed by the ACLU.

http://www.counterpunch.org/phillips12022005.html

Squander the international support after 9/11 and develop a “Go it Alone” attitude.

Declare the “Axis of Evil” (woops there goes that Good V Evil theme again), essentially isolating N Korea, and Iran driving them into further extremism.

Insist that Iran and Syria conform to US expectations before ANY dialog would be established. These are SOVEREIGN nations folks.

Declare unilateral and unprovoked war against the Iraqi regime in order to liberate the Iraqis and bring (American) democracy to them, regardless of if they wanted it.

Take the Iraqis to task, even to war, for failing to abide by UN Resolutions, while Israel ignores dozens of resolutions. But the US backs Israel, attacks Iraq and wonders why the Arab world is so upset….

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_Nations_resolutions_concerning_Israel

Deregulated the financial sector, we know what happens from there….

Mission Accomplished

Bring Em On!

No support to the Kyoto Protocols

Illegal wiretapping

Violations of the 6th Amendment of the Constitution

Destruction of public documents

Dismissals of US Attorneys.

And the list goes on.

The Republicans garnered a mandate in the 1994 elections. The American people were looking for something new and also some more narrow interests organized and got out the vote. Little became of that new direction and we saw congressional seats begin to slip back to the democrats as early as 1996. The Republican majority continued to slip until 2002. Even the 2000 elections were split similar to the presidential elections. And don’t forget, Gore won the popular vote. Bush had no clear mandate when he achieved power.

9/11 was the event that solidified Bush’s power and helped justify the RIGHT’s belief that they were fulfilling destiny to defeat the infidel Moslems and bring Judeo Christianity to the world. Kinda like the Crusades. (If we can spark Armageddon and the Rapture, that would be neat too). 911 allowed the RIGHT to bring to the fore those PNAC ideas about US global hegemony. The 2002 elections reinforced that idea in the minds of the RIGHT. The dems, the leftist liberals were no longer fit to lead. They played Satan’s hand and were in bed with our enemies. Actually the gains made in the Senate and the House were relatively insubstantial.

What the American People seemed to be realizing was that the narrow issue focus that brought the Republicans to power, seemed to lack the real depth to lead the country on multiple complex issues. The Bush cabinet was over stocked with big oil, big business and Bush I’s cronies. Every ideal was subservient to the fear of Moslem or Hispanic foreigners bent on destroying our way of life. Every argument was punctuated with fear. Every right was sacrificed for security. And while we yelled voicelessly against FEAR, FEAR, FEAR, the administration went quietly about subtle changes to policies and regulations to further codify their values. For example:

“Instead of taking the Endangered Species Act head on, the administration is working to destroy the effectiveness of it through executive rule changes,” said Brian Nowicki, a conservation biologist at the Tucson-based Center for Biological Diversity, which promotes species conservation. “They can’t just attack it outright, so they try to stop it out of the spotlight.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A26242-2004Jul3.html

Much of these differences were apparent in the race between Obama and McCain. McCain seemed to represent not only a kind of status quo, but a very narrow scope of abilities to lead the country.

The massive gains in the Congress and Obama’s popular vote count placed the left in office with a CLEAR mandate.

What God gives, the voters have taken away.

Each party must remember that they must always, at some point, answer to the electorate. The New RIGHT squandered its opportunity to lead. The Left (is it New, or Old?) has been given back the mantle. The minority ( I hate to say ‘losing’ ) party needs to understand that their influence was greatly limited by the last election. That was what the American People decided. It is neither in the RIGHT’s interest for the government to fail, nor is it moral. Everyone has a moral obligation to work for the success of the decisions of the representatives elected by the people.

You can argue and disagree, but there isn’t room for whining and subversion.

Of course, that goes for all of us, for now and in the future.

*** Nationalism and super-patriotism with a sense of historic mission.
*** Aggressive militarism even to the extent of glorifying war as good for the national or individual spirit.
*** Use of violence or threats of violence to impose views on others
*** Authoritarian reliance on a leader or elite not constitutionally responsible to an electorate.
*** Cult of personality around a charismatic leader.
*** Reaction against the values of Modernism, usually with emotional attacks against both liberalism and communism.
*** Exhortations for the homogeneous masses of common folk (Volkish in German, Populist in the U.S.) to join voluntarily in a heroic mission_often metaphysical and romanticized in character.
*** Dehumanization and scapegoating of the enemy_seeing the enemy as an inferior or subhuman force, perhaps involved in a conspiracy that justifies eradicating them.
*** The self image of being a superior form of social organization beyond socialism, capitalism and democracy.
*** Elements of national socialist ideological roots, for example, ostensible support for the industrial working class or farmers; but ultimately, the forging of an alliance with an elite sector of society.
*** Abandonment of any consistent ideology in a drive for state power.

The Hallmarks of Fascism as defined by Chip Berlet in 1992

Taken without permission from:

http://remember.org/hist.root.what.html


America’s Imperial Army

April 7, 2009

I re read Wesley Clark’s Winning Modern Wars last night.  Although written in 2003, General Clark had a very clear understanding of what was going wrong with the Bush administration’s policies in Afghanistan. 

The US Army/Marines and the effective use of the ground forces face two significant problems.

First, is the size of commitment. At it’s peak, KFOR had 50,000 troops in Kosovo.  That was an international force, not just US.  Compare that to a projected 40,000 to 60,000 troops destined for Afghanistan.  Not significantly more will come from outside the US.  NATO still maintains about 15,000 troops in Kosovo.

It doesn’t take Eric Shinseki to see that Afghanistan will need far more troops for effective security and internal defense. 

Clark’s second point was more abstract but probably more important.  The US military, especially the Army and Marines, is designed and trained to succeed as a force on force military.  The operational theory and tactics that underpin most of the force is designed for maneuver warfare against an organized enemy.

And while tactics can change, the historic mentality of US soldiers is to get in, locate, close with and destroy the enemy — and then get out and go home.  The all volunteer force and its critical reserve components rely heavily on soldiers who are also family members and parents.  Many who aren’t parents were recruited into a military that bills itself as a stepping stone to college or a career outside the military.

These are soldiers who don’t mind the sacrifice, but do so as a means to an end.  Part of a larger whole. 

What happens is that this force, trained and willing to fight, now goes into an environment which doesn’t always have an organized enemy and there may be few fights and some of those with ambiguous goals.  The enemy often seems more like the rest of the population than that host population resembles the American soldiers. 

This means that, overall, the US military makes a poor army of occupation or even a poor counterinsurgency force in a foreign and ambiguous region. 

Not only can the soldiers be confused, but often, the populations we are there to help can become confused.  The US forces can become a symbol of Western influence and interference.  The presence of US and European troops becomes center stage in a propaganda war.  Remember, the host population and the enemy insurgents have more in common with each other than with the foreign soldiers.

These considerations mean that it is possible that a big US troop presence in Afghanistan could be a square peg in a round hole.

US troops in Afghanistan are similar to British troops in Northern Ireland in that their PRESENCE is part of the problem.  But, without a strong security presence, Afghanistan cannot succeed. 

Certainly a short term presence of US forces may be the only solution.  But the long range goal should rely more closely on security forces that look less like a US presence and a more multinational force evolving eventually into Afghan security and police forces.

This is only looking at the security issues and not the far more difficult problems of building a viable Afghan nation recognized as a sovereign country by all parties.

But it is just one more reason why a large enough US presence may ultimately backfire from within.

And we’ve seen THAT movie already.

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Can the world afford the Balkanization of Afghanistan?

March 31, 2009

Afghanistan is not a country we in the West followed much before 9/11.  We focused on it at times while the Soviets were fighting there, mostly in hopes of a Soviet defeat.  But we didn’t really understand it as a country or what it offered to the West and the world.  After 9/11, the US efforts in Afghanistan centered more on shoring up the country in hopes that it would take care of itself.  We helped establish a central government and then acted contrary to that government through our direct support to the warlords.  Afghanistan could be a region of warlords and tribes essentially Balkanized and broken up to act as client states to the powers in the region.  Although Afghanistan is a very poor country with little influence, its importance in the region is its potential to keep separated the nations whose influence and even borders collide in the region.

Bin Laden is in some ways a product of US support to the Mujahedeen.  The man who defeated the Soviets could force the US out of the Middle East and, without US support, could bring down Israel.  The man who defeats Israel could be a star in some Islamic circles. 

So, ultimately, it was Osama Bin Laden who refocused the world on Afghanistan.  Our focus on Afghanistan brought to light the Taliban and their extreme Deobandi interpretation of Islamic rule/law.  Where did these Taliban guys come from?

Well, we pretty much know the Taliban were born and nurtured by the Pakistani intelligence service – the ISI.  Their purpose was to create a Pakistani client state to deny India inroads into Afghanistan, thereby threatening Pakistan and the Kashmir by almost totally surrounding Pakistan. 

The Taliban regions of Afghanistan were those Pashtun areas in the eastern and southern  portions of Afghanistan bordering Pakistan.  The artificial borders of Afghanistan mean that tribal regions don’t necessarily match political borders leaving shared cultural influences in both Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Iran shares the long western border of Afghanistan and carries influence with the warlords in the west.  The Shi’a Iranians would not like to see an extremist Sunni state bordering it and so are a countering influence to Pakistan. 

In the North, the tribes and warlords are more closely aligned with the Uzbec and Tajik populations acting in many ways as Russian client states.  To the North also, of course, is Russia cushioned from Afghanistan and Pakistan by the Central Asian states.  Russia depends on its buffer states to keep influence out of Russia and its satellites and the Taliban influences in Afghanistan only seem to provoke the insurgencies in Chechya and the other Moslem states of Central Asia which border Russia.

Not to forget, the vast expanse of China also touches the region.  China’s far western border is one of the least secure areas of China with its own separatist Moslem population.

So Afghanistan is essentially another artificial country made up of unrelated tribes and peoples who happen to sit on the road between East and West.  Its geography is more important than most of its natural resources or agriculture, with the exception, of course, of its poppies — so vital to the international drug trade and a source of wealth to warlords who would have few other sources of income to buy their influence and their weapons.

So what of the Balkanization of Afghanistan?  Breaking the country up into its ethnic regions where the influence of the closest neighbor decides its politics and culture?  Here too, influence of other neighbors are sought through intrigue and often, today, violence and intimidation.

The country of Afghanistan is important to the world because it exists.  It keeps the peace between Iran, Russia, China and Pakistan by its mere existance.  But it undergoes a continuous war of Balkanization.  The efforts to support warlords and tribes over nationalism tear at the fabric of the country and contributes more and more to a potential breakup. 

An independent Afghanistan is vital to the region to keep the conflicting interests separate.  Balkanization is the short term solution to those who would capitalize on the instability of the region.  Maintaining Afghani sovereignty is the long term solution which promotes stability to all the parties in the region.

Afghanistan must remain an independent country – client to no single state but cooperative participant in the region.

The US policies in the region have contributed to the possibility of Balkanization and now it is up to the international community to build a strong, independent country with a viable central government to prevent a free-for-all in the region.  

@antipov

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