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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 4/11/09

Military Imperialism and War Crimes

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It’s like getting cancer. You go through horrendous procedures and get turned inside out. Then, they put you back together, set you on the side of the bed and tell you everything is clean as a whistle, that they got it all, that you are A-OK again. Then, three months later, during a routine check up, you are told it’s back.

Make no mistake. Cheney, Gonzales, Feith, Bush and their supporters in Congress would not have betrayed the American people to such an extent if they had been convinced we, the American people, would hold them legally accountable and prosecute them for their crimes.  The Justice Department under the Bush Administration was given clear instructions: find the language to make our unconstitutional policies appear constitutional.  When Justice Department officials and others objected, they were told to do it or leave. This is all part of the public record. Some left. Most stayed. Many are still there. It will take years to root them out. If we don’t prosecute, it will take even longer. If we fail to find the courage to face this and deal with it in our courts the disease will remain and reoccur.

Just so as in this from the NY Times, April 9th, “…in a statement to employees [of the CIA], the agency’s director, Leon E. Panetta, said agency officers who worked in the program “should not be investigated, let alone punished” because the Justice Department under President George W. Bush had declared their actions legal.”

Christine Bowman, in her April 9th analysis on buzzflash, cites recent events at the Department of Justice (DOJ):

“To summarize, the DOJ wants to allow the (National Security Agency) NSA to keep doing unrestricted electronic surveillance; the DOJ wants to keep the NSA's secret documents from being used in court; and they want the Jewel v. NSA case thrown out. The EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) wants Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable invasion of privacy upheld for American citizens. They want the case to be heard. They seek to stop what they call the government's "iillegal, unconstitutional, and ongoing dragnet surveillance ... of millions of Americans." As Kevin Bankston told BuzzFlash, the EFF "believes and alleges based on widespread news reports and whistleblower evidence" that the NSA is intercepting not only the transactional information but also the contents of "practically everyone'" emails and phone calls illegally.”

Tim Jones explains the DOJ's arguments in the case further at the EFF website: 

“Previously, the Bush Administration has argued that the U.S. possesses "sovereign immunity" from suit for conducting electronic surveillance that violates the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). However, FISA is only one of several laws that restrict the government's ability to wiretap. The Obama Administration goes two steps further than Bush did, and claims that the US PATRIOT Act also renders the U.S. immune from suit under the two remaining key federal surveillance laws: the Wiretap Act and the Stored Communications Act. Essentially, the Obama Administration has claimed that the government cannot be held accountable for illegal surveillance under any federal statutes.”

So, there it is in all its unadorned ugliness. There is no end to this. It’s not about moving on, taking care of business, forgiveness, Christian charity or nurturing a functional partisan atmosphere in which our government can function. If we don’t prosecute rapacious criminality on the part of our executive officials we not only put the republic at risk, we are betraying our constitution and ourselves.

In the absence of the will to seek justice and defend the rule of law, the constraints on the national security state are removed & we as citizens have no effective control over the imperial ambitions of the extreme right and their enablers to the left.  There is a one to one correlation between the far right’s extremism and fear mongering and the interests of the predatory oligarchy seeking to suppress open government and full accountability on the part of our political leaders.

All governments lie to their citizens in order to persuade them that if they do not support the de jour war and demonstrate their support by making their children available to die in them, that their country and they personally will be destroyed. A misinformed, poorly educated, financially stressed, apathetic, conservative population is much more easily persuaded and therefore very compatible with the interests of an oligarchy.

Never in our history has our government lied to the American people and the world so brazenly and transparently on behalf of corporate war profiteers as the two Bush administrations lied to us about the Gulf War and the Iraq War. A key tool for accomplishing this has been, and is, the main stream media’s “professional” journalists and the corporate interests running the show. Governments and corporate managers cannot successfully lie to anyone in the presence of a genuinely unmanipulated, uncensored, free press void of partisan, ideological agenda. We haven’t had that in this country for a very long time.

Our situation is not new. It is an ancient, reoccurring problem.  Julius Caesar was assassinated because he defied the oligarchy of Rome with his reforms. Eisenhower warned us this was coming. For years numbers of historians and political analysts have been warning us about the gathering shadow of imperial militarism. Its greatest evil is that it inevitably strengthens the pernicious corporate elite addicted to war profiteering while it weakens and degrades the rest of us.


Defense spending numbers are not reliable because a high percentage of the public funds consumed by military and intelligence budgets are black, but what we do know is appalling. Americans allowed the military to consume $711 billion in 2008 alone. That was 48% of all military spending in the world for that year. That number does not include intelligence budgets, nor all the military weapons labs like Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos, Sandia and others operated by civilians and miscellaneous universities around the nation. Whatever the numbers are, we know they are vast and well beyond anything most of us can imagine. We also know that we have allowed ourselves to become a nation perpetually at war. We know that we have allowed our military and intelligence services to turn us into torturers and assassins. We know that it clearly does not improve our lives while America’s parasitic wealthy elite get richer and richer.

We know that our government is flooding the world with U.S. dollars which are being used to finance speculation and corporate takeovers which destabilize the governments of defiant states.

We know that foreign central banks underwrite our debt through investments in our U.S. Treasury bonds effectively being forced to finance the expansion of America’s encompassing military empire. See Prof. Michael Hudson’s article Economic Meltdown: The "Dollar Glut" is What Finances America's Global Military Build-up on Global Research.

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Richard W. Overfield is an artist/writer currently based in New Mexico after living in Vancouver, Canada for 20 years.His paintings are represented in over 300 public & private collections in the U.S., Canada, Switzerland, France, England, Japan & (more...)
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