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MIGHTY EMPIRE OR COLOSSAL WRECK? May 18, 2011

Posted by wmmbb in Human Rights, Humankind/Planet Earth, US Politics.
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After an epic feat of arms, executing a man in his pajamas with multiple bullets early in the morning in country nominally an ally, the US Empire is seeking to broaden it’s franchise on the killing business.

By the way, it seems to have taken ten years to find the bloke in Pakistan, which I am assuming had already been figured out that he was dead or in Pakistan. The murder of bin Laden and other people will be an interesting story when and if the truth can be told. Even the burial at sea is shrouded in mystery, apparently such is the potency of the fear of terrorism, although the symbolism of the mighty Carl Vinson anchoring in Manila and e Nineteenth and Twentieth Century imperialism was powerfully invoked.

James Carroll has the update on the presumption of global hegemony of violence, via Common Dreams, but originally in The Boston Globe:

The House of Representatives is debating a new definition of America’s military mission in the world, replacing the mandate adopted immediately after 9/11. Instead of merely authorizing the president to make war against those who “committed or aided” the 2001 attacks, the proposed National Defense Authorization Act expands the notion of America’s enemy to include forces “associated” with named antagonists like Al Qaeda and the Taliban.
. . .
But wait a minute. For most of a decade, the US military has already operated against an amorphous, transnational terrorist enemy under the broadest possible reading of its 9/11 authorization. Drones, cruise missiles, special-ops, and mercenary forces have hit targets with impunity well beyond the officially acknowledged battle zones. The Obama administration, otherwise so different from its predecessor, is freelancing militarily, just as the Bush administration did.

So why is an expanded mandate needed now?

Though the language in the proposed legislation simply affirms what has become White House and Pentagon practice, more than policy is at stake. The law after 9/11 made an implicit claim to global force projection based on an emergency; the new legislation would explicitly reject any time or place limitations on that force. In other words, a seemingly subtle shift marks a movement from the exceptional to the threshold of normal. There is a word for the realm into which that threshold opens: The legislation is a step toward an open declaration of American empire.
. . .
But is this the only way? Let’s grant that “invited” US imperialism is mainly benign (which requires leaving aside questions of unfair economic structures abroad, and dehumanizing effects of garrison culture at home). Let’s grant also that contemplated expansions of Pentagon belligerence may successfully defang terrorism (instead of sparking it).

Even so, the more far-reaching consequence of 21st-century American empire will be the final destruction of authentic internationalism — nations bound by the power of agreed democratic law, cross-border systems of checks and balances, all abiding by the same rules, mutually enforced. The destruction, that is, of the only world with a hope of real peace and justice.

The warnings about empire, in particular overreach and economic collapse, are overlooked. The fact that the cost of empire has to be sold to the American voters seems to be overlooked. That the American public is now left with the opportunity cost of unsuccessful national building abroad compared with the almost inevitable success at home is similarly ignored. As with multiple shootings and multi-missile attacks, it seems that along with the assumption of global hegemony so goes the notions of frugality and efficiency. Violence is so good for the ego and assuaging of constructed fears that it must substitute for “the only world with a hope of real peace and justice”. Such is the result of the command of the venal and petty.

Obama as has been observed now has a lock on the re-election, as putative Republican candidates bite the dust now that Geronimo has been reigned in. There are dissidents who do not accept disagree that Obama is the white hat guy.

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