The Choice

Watching the debates between Kerry and Bush is like watching a discussion between wife beaters who certainly have no disagreement about the right of men to beat their wives. On this fundamental issue, there is total unanimity. While they may disagree about when wife beating is justified, they have no doubt that wife beating is a right that all men possess, because the principle of might equals right is divinely ordained.

So, there on the stage stand Kerry and Bush, battling it out, arguing over when the so-called Commander in Chief has the right to unleash mayhem, carnage and destruction. Kerry lambastes Bush for going into Iraq alone and under false pretenses. Clearly, neither would dare question the God-given right of the US Empire to unleash mayhem, carnage and destruction as the President sees fit. So, the wife beaters disagree if invading Iraq was justified, but that the US Empire has the right to rule the globe on its own terms is well understood and sacrosanct. After all, we won the Cold War and have the only arsenal on earth capable of crushing any country we so desire. What good is having such power unless we are ready to use it?

The first years of the 21st century have unleashed the modern day version of the crusades. Of course, the language is now couched in softer terms. No longer is it politically correct to talk about civilizing the savages and heathens and dark-skinned peoples. Such brazen language would not be tolerated. However, while the language may have changed a bit, the mindset has not. The front men for the military-industrial complex still talk about bringing civilization to the darker corners of the earth, and justify it all in the name of doing God’s work. The packaging may be slightly different, but the mayhem, carnage and destruction are the same. Oh, excuse the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians. That is just collateral damage.

Every year since 9/11 the names of the 3,000 odd people killed at the World Trade Center are read out, and a public display of horror and mourning takes place. I would like to know who has been reading out the names of the thousands of Afghan, Palestinian and Iraqi civilians killed by US-Israeli military madness. I haven’t heard a one. And what is truly amazing is the total blindness to the fact that it is WE-the Christians and Jews-who are occupying THEIR lands, not vice versa. Although one would never know it from watching mainstream media, the truth of the matter is that fundamentalist Christian-Zionist forces are bombing and destroying their countries and killing thousands of their innocent men, women and children. Can anyone name any Muslim country occupying a Christian or Jewish country, or bombing one with F-14s and Apache Helicopters?

Each and every day the media saturate us endlessly with fear mongering, going on and on about the threat of terrorism and how any day now the terrorists are going to strike in our own neighborhood. As if the people in Afghanistan, Palestine and Iraq were genetically predisposed to blow themselves up. Believe me, provide the resistance fighters (what the US Empire spokespeople call terrorists) with the same arsenal of weapons-tanks, F-14 fighter bombers, Apache helicopters, cruise missiles-and I can assure you that the suicide bombing would end immediately. Ah, but you see, when the US military forces kill innocent men, women and children-with tanks, F-14 fighter bombers, Apache helicopters, and cruise missiles-this is not terrorism. Because our cause is just, moral, and divinely sanctioned-because we have decided that God has chosen us to spread freedom and democracy.

What we have, in the end, is nothing more than the RULE OF POWER, packaged as the rule of law. A grotesque farce if there ever was one. For if there were even a shred of the rule of law in effect, the dock in The Hague would be a hell of a lot more crowded. The brutal invasion and occupation of Iraq is no less illegal than Saddam’s invasion and occupation of Kuwait. And the destruction of civilian infrastructure in Iraq has been in no less violation of the Geneva Conventions. Yet, I have not heard any pundit or member of the mainstream media call for the indictment of Bush, Blair, Powell, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Rice, Perle and all the others with blood on their hands for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Ah, but to speak of such a thing is of course quite absurd, since the US and UK are the paragon of legality, peace and freedom. It is, therefore, inconceivable to consider indicting the Empire’s leaders and putting them on trial, for only the evil tyrants, as defined by the Empire, could be guilty of such crimes. A Kafkaesque reality par excellence. (Pardon the French.)

It is amazing how little has changed in the last 100 years or so. One of the most famous writings in opposition to imperialism is the Junius Pamphlet, written by German socialist Rosa Luxemburg in 1915 while she was in prison for opposing the First World War. (Four years later she was brutally murdered by German right-wingers.) In this document, Luxemburg argued very convincingly that the stark choice facing humanity was one between socialism or barbarism:

“We stand today…before the awful proposition: either the triumph of imperialism-and the destruction of all culture, and, as in ancient Rome, depopulation, desolation, degeneration, a vast cemetery-or the victory of socialism.”

Perhaps she was a bit premature in her dire prophecy. In any case, in the early stages of the 21st century the choice before us is even starker, given the sheer unbridled power of the US Empire and its global reach. If the barbarism of capitalism and militarism is not overcome, our children and our children’s children could indeed find themselves in a vast cemetery, a brutal world where Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay serve as models for the treatment of human beings, where environmental catastrophe becomes increasingly inevitable, and where the finest products of human culture are reduced to nothing more than commodities to be sold off to the highest bidder. Rosa Luxemburg put it quite eloquently:

“This madness will not stop, and this bloody nightmare of hell will not cease, until the people…wake up out of their drunken sleep, clasp each others hands in brotherhood and drown the bestial chorus of war agitators and the hoarse cry of capitalist hyenas…”

The choice is as clear as ever.

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