Benchmarks: Democratic Complicity in American Empire
Tension Mounts as Antiwar Movement Challenges Dems' Commitment to Stop the War
by Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone via Alternet.
Matt writes on webpages 2 and 3:
The law, endorsed here by the Democrats, is an unusually vicious piece of legislation, an open blueprint for colonial robbery of the Iraqi nation. It is worth pointing out that if you go back far enough in the history of this business, the law actually makes the U.S. an accomplice in the repression of Saddam Hussein, the very thing we claim to be rescuing the country from. ...
Now, I live in America and have been known to drive a car occasionally and I also understand something else -- when mighty industrial countries need oil or anything else, they're going to take it. They're also unlikely to acquiesce forever to the whims of an organization like OPEC out of mere morality and decency, when military power can change the equation. Anyone who's going to be shocked, shocked by this kind of shit had better be prepared to live in a tent and eat twigs and berries instead of African cocoa or Central American sugar or any of the millions of other products we basically steal from hungry, dark-skinned people around the world on a daily basis.
But I'll tell you what I can do without. I can do without having to listen to American journalists, as well as politicians on both sides of the aisle, bitch and moan about how the Iraqi government better start "shaping up" and "taking responsibility" and "showing progress" if they want the continued blessing of American military power. Virtually every major newspaper in the country and every hack in Washington has lumped all the "benchmarks" together, painting them as concrete signs that, if met, would mean the Iraqi government is showing "progress" or "good faith." ...
Of course, among politicians, it was the same bullshit. "And we now have to see... a good-faith effort on the part of the Iraqi government," said Maine's Olympia Snowe, "that they're prepared to do what it's going to require to achieve a political consensus." The recently "antiwar" Chuck Hagel concurred: "We'[v]e seen the Iraqi government miss benchmark after benchmark," he said. "You have to connect consequences to those in some way."
Nancy Pelosi, meanwhile, described the benchmarks as a means to "hold the Iraqi government accountable." As if their failure to pass the Oil law would make them "not accountable."
See: Mark Twain and the Onset of the Imperialist Period. We have returned to where we were 100 years ago both economically and imperialistically. We are no better or wiser than we were then. What is worse, we are now far more fragmented making it much harder to find common cause and fellowship amid the myriad groups that purport to be about serving the common good.
This morning Larry Wilkerson referenced the aforementioned Spanish-American War (the Mark Twain link) in an interview on NPR that was posted at Truthout.org:
To which I say, yes, there are differences between then and now. But what has not changed is the degree to which power-mongers and the greedy will go to achieve their ends.