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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 12/25/18

When the American Hitler and His War-Criminal Defense Chief Battle It Out... Do We Have a (Mad) Dog in Their Fight?

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A war criminal and a fascist walk into an oval office... This could be the beginning of a joke, but the consequences for humanity are anything but.

Trump and his regime's raison d'Ã tre--the reason that they are in power--is to upend what have been the prevailing norms of how the most powerful country in history is ruled and how it enforces and extends its imperialist domination of the world. Over the last few months Trump has been plowing ahead with his fascist program in many ways, including clearing out opposition from within his regime.

General James "Mad Dog" Mattis' resignation as Trump's secretary of defense was unprecedented in that while still serving in the regime, he wrote a stinging rebuke that directly repudiated the Trump/Pence regime's foreign policy. Mattis warned that what Trump is doing is dangerous to core U.S. (imperialist) interests. He is straight-up advocating that what has been U.S. policy of world domination since World War 2 is the best if not only way to extend and enforce that domination. Mattis, who represents a significant section of the U.S. "national-security establishment," wrote of being "clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors... We must do everything possible to advance an international order that is most conducive to our security, prosperity and values, and we are strengthened in this effort by the solidarity of our alliances."

Mattis tendered his resignation as of the end of February. Trump abruptly said, you're gone by January 1. Such a serious split at the top of the ruling class, particularly when it concerns the essential element of government--deployment of the armed forces--reveals extremely high stakes.

If you aspire to justice for the masses of people here and around the world, guess what? YOU, and your values, are not the WE of which Mattis speaks. At the same time, if and as this conflict sharpens, it could provide possible openings for important mass struggle from below to drive out the whole regime.

But NOT on terms in which huge sections of the so-called "progressive" movements and their pundits such as The Nation magazine, along with the Democratic Party and its mouthpieces such as the New York Times, MSNBC, CNN, etc., are dealing with this. They have fallen head over heels indoctrinating masses of people in the most craven American chauvinism, and this is extremely dangerous. It's not as if Mattis earned the "affectionate" nickname of "Mad Dog" centuries ago. He directed war crimes in the Iraq War deploying the horrific chemical weapon white phosphorus to burn the flesh of Iraqi citizens in Fallujah in 2004. Joan Walsh wrote a lead piece in The Nation magazine that was nothing other than an appeal to scurry to Mattis' defense-a disgusting call to what she sees as the "safer" foreign policy for those Americans who have been insulated up to now from the deadly impact of U.S. wars and foreign policy. She positively referred to the literal war-criminal Mattis as a "lifelong military leader and public servant." What we starkly see here is the complicity of a progressive strata with a war criminal who collaborated with and legitimatized a fascist (Trump) for two years, with the impact of numbing people and lining them up to support what has been the bloody mainstream of the U.S. ruling class.

What Mattis represents, and what he argues for in his resignation as Trump slams forward with his program, has been the dominant mode of bludgeoning the world to submit to U.S. dictates. This has been a program that combines brutal military slaughter with the threat of massive military capacity including nuclear devastation, covered over and facilitated by "multilateral" honeyed words of democracy and cooperation, with the forceful imposition of bourgeois democratic norms on the people of the world.

Trump is cutting the knot on that package. Trump's "Make America Great Again" and "America First" are not just nostalgic slogans to satisfy a rabid base fearful of a world where their privilege is eroding... but concentrate a fascist program that is a response to the reality that the imperialist program that has held since WW2 is failing--with the longest war in U.S. history in Afghanistan an acknowledged disaster. The old world order has been increasingly wracked with deepening problems, and the top dog, the U.S., has been losing its edge in a world system of imperialism.

The Trump/Pence regime's foreign policy is at one and the same time radically reactionary and rooted in the uninterrupted world view and history of "Manifest Destiny," a quasi-religious belief that America is divinely entitled to enslave, to destroy--including through genocide--to conquer and expand anywhere it deems its "interests" to be, without a shred of concern for other peoples or lands. Manifest Destiny, from its inception, has white supremacy as the thread running through it. This mission of world domination is not just historic, but runs right down to today, through both Democrats and Republicans, including the Afghanistan/Iraq wars of Bush and Obama, and Obama's horrific wars in Libya and Yemen now carried forward by Trump--wars with genocidal impact that continue to crush in the most torturous ways millions of people, including millions of children.

Wake up! If you have an ounce of concern for the people of the world, face up to the reality that when Mattis speaks of "we," the reality is that: WE are not THEY. We--in the interests of humanity--need a revolution to sweep aside this system. The time is now--when those on top of this system are deeply divided--to recognize the stakes for humanity, and to go to work and prepare and organize people for an actual revolution.

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