The third part in this series focusing on my continued disappointment with my country, I have gone a different path. I am not going to simply "rant" as the very term indicates someone just spouting off. While I state my opinions in a very "matter of fact way", this particular post is far from a rant. It is a disposition that is founded on some very scary and very disturbing facts. I am speaking of course, about the American Empire.
Most people will picture the Romans, or the Greeks, or the Ottomons , perhaps even the Byzantines when they read the word Empire. Some might even site the British Empire. However, these would not compare well to the US in current form. The Empire the US has built is built from bases. Forge under the guise of "nation interests" which this country uses as an excuse to create and keep bases in nearly every country in the world. In fact, of the 194 independent countries listed by the state department, we have military troops and/or operatives in 135 of them. We have troops station in some form or another in 70% of all the countries of the world!
While it is hard to gather a true count of just how many troops are abroad, Pentagon and State Department sources list approximately 1.5 million military personel that are stationed abroad, with over 400,000 of them being troops. They range from deployments as small as 1, in the country of Malawi, to nearly 75,000 in Germany. Germany! Is Germany really so much of a threat that we need 75,000 military personel there?
What essentially happens is that where ever we go, for any reason, we leave behind our own forces to protect our "national interests". Really bad part is that people don't even seem to be aware of it. Just think back to any deployment you can imagine. Every president in recent history has left troops abroad. Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush 2, and Obama will share in the blame for the same troops that W Bush sent abroad. Because we aren't ever coming home.
Whats worse, is that this Empire has grown cocky, and evil. George W. Bush began a wide spread practice of Extraordinary Rendition, which is the kidnapping of suspects and taking them to secret prisons. He also started the practice of using torture. And make no mistake, the memo's are mostly out, there were tortures worse than waterboarding going on. He also started the process of holding people, indefinitely, without trial.
President Obama is a unique president in that he ran specifically on taking away such things. Stopping these evil practices devised to use fear as a tactic of control over the world. Yet, nearly two years into his presidency, things have gone awry. The Obama administration defended the act of holding a prisoner without a trial. Extraordinary rendition CONTINUES to this day. And Guantanimo Bay remains open, along with other prisons designed to hold anyone deemd an "enemy combatant".
You can be rest assured that we will NEVER really leave Iraq or Afghanistan. Obama has all but said those exact words. We will eventually end the war, but our troops will remain there indefinitely. Note the careful wording of the promise to leave Iraq. "Combat Troops" is the term used to describe the withdrawal. Combat troops may leave, but we will remain in some capacity until we are forced out. That is the hallmark of Empire. Empire goes where it pleases, takes what it wants, and lets you know when you can have your space back, if you can have your space back.
When you look at the greater picture, you realize that people don't hate us for our "freedom", rather, they don't hate us at all. They hate the American Empire, oppressive and agressive as any in history. Built not on military conquest of the world, but slowly, over time, moving in and never moving out. With over a quarter million troops abroad excluding Iraq, we have the forces to do serious damage in a very short period of time to who ever doesn't do what we want. And there is no one to stop us. The UN showed that when they said no to Iraq, and we did it any way. Because we are bigger and greater than the UN. We are the only nation whose strength GREW because we refused to pay UN dues after Iraq! We pay so much into the UN that our refusal to pay dues nearly forces their hand. Only an Empire could control a world body in such a fashion.
History is a great teacher. It tells us that all Empires fall eventually. Only the people in full force, can slow, stop, and reel in the expansion of Empire. And this is where the problem lies. The people are kept busy and occupied with partisan nonsense. The people are kept busy defending or attacking the opposite party constantly. They use key words to get people riled up. Socialist, fascist, nazi, obstructionists, patriots, unpatriotic, anti-change, pro-oil, pro-big business and numerous other key words designed in their usage to get people angry and upset at the opposing party. This has the effect of turning the eye from the reality at hand.
And just what is the reality at hand? The reality of todays world is the escalation of Empire. The Endless War. Endless war is the process this Empire has worked for, for decades, and we now see the culmination of that process. We saw it starting in Vietnam. We saw attempts to give reason to stay at war with Reagan and his dealings with Iran and the USSR. George H. W. Bush saw the down fall of the USSR creating a vacuum. He immediately turn towards another boogie man, another country to invade, Iraq. But that ended very quickly. We did, however, manage to keep troops in the region to secure our "national interests".
Clinton managed to put us in several more countries we didn't have forces in at the time in the name of stopping genocide. Genocide happening in a very strategic place, happening right where a major natural gas pipeline was being constructed. Of course, with no resources of need and no strategic advantage, Rowanda was left for dead as millions were slaughtered in a racial cleansing genocide while the US and the world looked on and did nothing.
George W. Bush, exercising a principle echoed by the current Administration of never letting a good disaster go to waste, used 9/11 to send troops to Afghanistan. Afghanistan, we are told, refused to hand over Bin Laden. Okay. So why then is Bin Laden still not caught after all this time? Why then was the mission, from the beginning, to unseat the taliban and "rebuild" the nation?
Since Iran has been rather lippy, they had to be dealt with. The best way to do that was strategically place yourself, something the first Bush failed to do. So we created a reason to attack a country that never had the ability to strike us. Not even close. We were lied too. But the damage had been done, and the fact that we were lied too, had not impact on their ultimate goal, even if we knew about it. Yet, the genocide in Darfur went unchallenged as millions died in a religious holocaust that rivals any in history.
But Obama had the chance to start fresh, and end both wars. But the result came as a surprise, even to me. Afghanistan was escalated. Iraq still holds problems. And we aren't going any where. And Darfur? Nearly forgotten in the minds of the people as the media failed to cover it as more than just a side show. We are kept busy worrying about other things. Healthcare, the environment, taxes, and terrorism. Fear is used as a weapon. Fear of terrorism, fear of being over taxed, fear of being called unpatriotic. And we are the conduit that allows this power to flow.
All of this works to keep us unaware the worst danger to this world is the machine that keeps us afraid. And as terms that are all but obsolete in the modern word keep being thrown at the left, like socialism, the majority of the left are kept defending against this absurd claim, while the majority of democrats are sold out to the companies that profit most from endless war. And while the Tea Party crows about taxes and freedoms, they ignorantly work towards allowing corporations more power in the government and over them. Corporations who benefit financially from this endless war.
As time marches on and the people kept distracted, the Empire Grows. While people are worrying about republicans and democrats, people are being taken to secret prisons, tortured, held without charge and without evidence indefinitely, and our children are being sent to die on foreign soil for a purpose that has no connection to our freedom. To die in the name of freedom when freedom is not being defended, is an insult to our soldiers. But don't say that out loud. The Empire will hear you, and deem you unpatriotic. And we can't have that. Can we?