"History tells us there's no more unstable, critical configuration than the combination of domestic democracy and foreign empire. You can be one or the other. You can be a democratic country, as we have claimed in the past to be, based on our Constitution. Or you can be an empire. But you can't be both....The causative issue is militarism. Imperialism, by definition, requires military force. It requires huge standing armies. It requires a large military-industrial complex. It requires the willingness to use force regularly. Imperialism is a pure form of tyranny. It never rules through consent, any more than we do in Iraq today."
Imagine the uproar in Washington if the leading Chinese papers
reported that the Red Army's top general had appeared before the
Politburo and gave them a "trot around the globe," detailing, by name,
the many nations that China must be able to attack at a moment's notice.
Or asserted that China must be able to install and maintain hundreds of
military bases all over the world to protect its interests. Or if
Putin's top general told the Duma this. Or if Iran's military leaders
declared that they too were going to place military bases in 130
countries and raise a military force capable of meeting "contingencies"
in a range of specific countries -- with the proviso, of course, that
they "may have missed a few" potential targets for military action. And
all of this, of course, cloaked in the rhetoric of justified defense, of
helping others, of peace, prosperity and security for all humankind.
What an outcry we would hear from the White House, from Congress, from the media:
"The arrogance of these foreign devils! The rank hypocrisy, gussying up their unbridled aggression, their naked greed, with flowery phrases! Why should they need such a vast military establishment -- which goes far beyond the necessary requirements of defending their people -- except to impose their will upon other nations? These ruthless military ambitions will destabilize the entire planet, set off frantic arms races, spark wars, sow mistrust, foment terrorism, drive millions into want and ruin. We won't stand for this kind of domination!"Yet it was precisely this aggression, this greed, this ruthless ambition that was on full display in the generals' Congressional testimony, and the Washington Post article. And we wonder why the other nations of the world mistrust us. We wonder why they would even try -- in their own small, pitiful ways -- to arm themselves against us. We wonder why they denounce our policies, our benevolent interventions, our cruise missiles, our bombs, our checkpoints, our house raids, our renditions, our secret prisons, our unfortunate infliction of collateral damage -- all of which are devoted solely to justified defense, to helping others, to the peace, prosperity and security of all humankind.
Gen. Pace is famously concerned with morality, as he demonstrated last week with his stern denunciation of homosexuality. The idea of two people of the same gender giving pleasure to one another outrages and sickens him. But the obscenity of visiting death and suffering on dozens of countries who have not attacked the United States; of killing, maiming and despoiling multitudes of innocent people who pose no threat to the United States; of bankrupting the people of the United States and utterly corrupting the Republic of the United States in the service of a rampant militarist empire -- this doesn't trouble General Pace, or Congress, or the arbiters of our national discourse such as the Washington Post, in the least.
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