Thursday, April 10, 2003
Ich Bin Ein Neoconer
"In removing the terror regime from Iraq, we send a very clear message to all groups that operate by means of terror and violence against the innocent. The United States and our coalition partners are showing that we have the capacity and the will to wage war on terror-and to win decisively." Vice President Cheney 4/9/03
Ok. I’m a convert. I have been studying the neoconservative movement for some time and thought them to be little more than crass imperialists who couched their will to power in a delusion born of discarded leftist radicalism. But, after seeing the American flag draped over the statue of Saddam’s ugly mug, the cheering people getting their first “whiff ‘o freedom” I now know that all that talk of weapons of mass destruction and support for al Qaeda was just a clever ruse by the Bush administration to convince wimpy Americans to support the first in a series of wars against those who operate by means of terror and violence against the innocent. I now believe, like most Americans and good people everywhere, that it doesn’t matter if Saddam had WMD or supported terrorists. It was never about that.
It has now been established that America boldly defied the cowardly Europeans and the perfidious United Nations and put its own blood and treasure on the line for purely altruistic reasons --- the liberation of a repressed people from a cruel and heartless dictator and all that talk of threats to ourselves were forced upon us by cynics who refuse to see that we are a country that operates solely out of humanitarian concern.
You see, Americans have also been liberated today.
We are liberated from the restraints of Realpolitik, the need to consider issues of stability, economic interests or the outmoded concept of the “sovereignty” of nations. No longer will ideology or politics or “strategic interests” play a part in our foreign policy calculations. It will not be necessary for our government to set forth thinly veiled rationales for our actions, paying lip service to silly notions of international law that only serve to protect the guilty. We will not have to provide evidence that the United States or an “ally” (whatever that is) is itself threatened and therefore we are operating out of self-defense. We have openly declared ourselves liberators of oppressed people everywhere. We will use our vast military power to back up President Bush’s words in his State of the Union speech:
“America is a strong nation, and honorable in the use of our strength. We exercise power without conquest, and we sacrifice for the liberty of strangers.
Americans are a free people, who know that freedom is the right of every person and the future of every nation. The liberty we prize is not America's gift to the world, it is God's gift to humanity.”
Our President was clearly chosen by God to be his instrument. We are going to free the world. This, then, truly is moral clarity.
To that end I would like to suggest that the following nations be considered for invasion immediately.
We should start with almost all countries in the middle east (except Israel, which is as devoted to freedom as we are.) Every single regime needs to be changed. We have a small fraction of the troops we will eventually need already in the area and I think it would be a grave mistake to do as Bush’s father did and leave the innocent people of the region in the clutches of what can only be deemed repressive violent governments. We must not repeat the mistakes of 1991.
We can give them warning, as the neocons and the defense department are now doing, but it simply must be backed up with a willingness to invade when a given deadline for reform and/or exile has passed. Only cynical naysayers could object now that we’ve established our sterling motives for invading Iraq.
And, even if they do --- so what? This is about bringing freedom to oppressed people everywhere. We cannot let outmoded notions of casus belli stand in the way of our crusade.
Our “ally” Turkey, for instance, is a known violent repressor of its Kurdish population and is documented to employ torture tactics against innocent people. The most frequently reported methods included severe beatings, blindfolding, suspension by the arms or wrists, electric shocks, sexual abuse, and food and sleep deprivation. Many Kurdish politicians have “disappeared” and political prisoners are numerous. Extrajudicial executions are common.
There is no excuse for this. We must liberate the Turkish people from the yoke of its government’s use of terror and violence against innocent people.
Every other country in the region is guilty of even worse. No political freedom, no democracy, torture, extrajudicial executions, repression of women and ethnic minorities. The list of crimes that must be stopped is so huge as to be overwhelming. We simply cannot allow this to go on.
And, that’s only the beginning. Countries throughout Africa are in even worse shape. Amnesty International reports, “whether in Angola, Burundi, Central Africa Republic (CAR), Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan or Uganda, thousands of unarmed civilians suffered some of the most egregious human rights violations in Africa -- illegal arrests and detention, kidnapping, torture and ill-treatment, rape, murder, "disappearances" -- by both government forces and armed opposition groups.”
Is that any less of a horror than that which we saw in Iraq? Are those people any less deserving of liberation? I think not. And through the generosity and altruism that has been released in the American people by their neoconservative leaders, I have little doubt that we will soon begin the planning to bring freedom and democracy to Africa.
There is so much more work to be done, however. Kazakstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Chechnya, Russia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Myanmar, Indonesia, North Korea, Tibet, Nepal, China and many more all have horrific human rights records. We must systematically prepare to take them down.
We will issue warnings, much as we did with Saddam Hussein, but if they do not capitulate before the deadline, we will invade them, depose their despotic rulers, liberate their people and do whatever it takes to build democracy. Our military is unbeatable and our people are willing to do whatever it takes to bring freedom to the oppressed.
John F. Kennedy told us more than 40 years ago:
Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.
Unfortunately he went on to say:
To those old allies whose cultural and spiritual origins we share, we pledge the loyalty of faithful friends. United, there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures. Divided, there is little we can do—for we dare not meet a powerful challenge at odds and split asunder.
To those new States whom we welcome to the ranks of the free, we pledge our word that one form of colonial control shall not have passed away merely to be replaced by a far more iron tyranny. We shall not always expect to find them supporting our view. But we shall always hope to find them strongly supporting their own freedom—and to remember that, in the past, those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside.
To that world assembly of sovereign states, the United Nations, our last best hope in an age where the instruments of war have far outpaced the instruments of peace, we renew our pledge of support—to prevent it from becoming merely a forum for invective—to strengthen its shield of the new and the weak—and to enlarge the area in which its writ may run.
So let us begin anew—remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.
Thankfully, we’ve learned some lessons since that time. Our oldest allies and newly freed states have proved to only be useful to the extent they agree to do exactly as we say and the United Nations is irrelevant. Civility is counterproductive. Threats backed by guns are what works. American sincerity is unquestioned. We do not negotiate.
But, thankfully, the larger point --- our commitment to bear any burden for liberty --- has now been engaged with all the weight of our vast wealth and power. We are on a crusade for freedom and we will invade, occupy and democratize any country that tries to stop us.
Long live the neocons.
Long live the Pax Americana.
digby 4/10/2003 01:12:00 PM