By November 2008 America will have chosen her next president and if all the hype and promises prove true we are all in for a huge change. Many people have diverted their attention from the anti-war movement and are actively supporting and putting all their energies into the Obama or Clinton campaigns believing that the upcoming election will be the cure-all for what ails the country. Just try to email or talk to some of these candidate’s more fervent supporters about the fact that Obama and Clinton are not addressing and not actively repudiating the Bush agenda and you will usually get a vehemently defensive reply. It’s as if some these supporters are so infatuated with these candidates and the hoped for changes they are promising that they can’t or won’t look at the weaknesses of these candidates. A common opinion is that there’s only a few months left in Bush’s term and then he and his administration will be gone and the Bush era will be over and what’s important now is to concentrate on electing a new president who promises change, and to do otherwise at this point is a waste of time. Is it a waste of time to continue to drive out the Bush regime? What is at stake in the next several months if Bush is not driven from office?
While Americans concentrate on the ’08 elections American soldiers and Iraqi and Afghanistani civilians will continue to die, thousands will continue to be injured and permanently maimed, detainees will continue to be tortured, human rights will continue to be obliterated, and Bush will continue his warmongering after Iran. In five years over a million Iraqis have died, and over 4,048 American soldiers have died in Iraq, over 70,000 people had been detained in deplorable conditions, and hundreds have been tortured in this “War on Terror”. The daily life of women and children who still survive in these affected countries continues to deteriorate. (http://www.defenselink.mil/transcripts/transcript.aspx?transcriptid=2282) With these statistics it is reasonable to assume that over the next eleven months that another 200,000 Iraqis will die, another 800 American soldiers will also die, and perhaps another 14,000 detainees will be subjected to the deplorable treatment that Bush has codified and made into law. Are these deaths acceptable? Can we ignore this horror to concentrate on an election?
Just as sinister is the possibility that there will be no election at all. A terrorist attack, natural disaster, or perceived civil unrest could launch the U.S. into a state of martial law. The possibility of the suspension of an election is not unheard of, it was widely publicized that Mayor Rudy Giuliani attempted to suspend the elections in NYC in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. http://men.style.com/gq/blogs/gqeditors/2008/01/an-oral-history.html What would stop Bush from doing likewise in the event of martial law being declared?
Bush has long since laid the groundwork for unprecedented power and control over the citizens of the US in the event of any perceived danger, real, imagined, or purposely manufactured. Bush has also signed an executive order giving himself the power to seize the assets of anyone impeding the Iraq war, anyone, that would include any US citizen, peace activist, clergy, anyone working to stop the Iraq war. http://rawstory.com/news/2007/Oldline_Republican_warns_somethings_in_works_0719.html http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/07/20070717-3.html
Even more frightening, with the passing of the John Warner Defense Act of 2006 Bush obliterated Posse Comitatus and gave himself the power to suspend the Constitution. As James Bovard writes in his article “The Martial Law Act of 2006”, “Section 1076 of the Defense Authorization Act of 2006 changed the name of the key provision in the statute book from "Insurrection Act" to "Enforcement of the Laws to Restore Public Order Act." The Insurrection Act of 1807 stated that the president could deploy troops within the United States only "to suppress, in a State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy." The new law expands the list of pretexts to include "natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition" -- and such a "condition" is not defined or limited.” http://www.counterpunch.org/bovard01092008.html
In a February 2008 San Francisco Chronicle article entitled, “Rule by fear or rule by law?” Lewis Seiler and Dan Hamburg wrote:
“Since 9/11, and seemingly without the notice of most Americans, the federal government has assumed the authority to institute martial law, arrest a wide swath of dissidents (citizen and noncitizen alike), and detain people without legal or constitutional recourse in the event of "an emergency influx of immigrants in the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs."
Beginning in 1999, the government has entered into a series of single-bid contracts with Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR) to build detention camps at undisclosed locations within the United States. The government has also contracted with several companies to build thousands of railcars, some reportedly equipped with shackles, ostensibly to transport detainees.”
The article goes on to say: “Also in 2007, the White House quietly issued National Security Presidential Directive 51 (NSPD-51), to ensure "continuity of government" in the event of what the document vaguely calls a "catastrophic emergency." Should the president determine that such an emergency has occurred, he and he alone is empowered to do whatever he deems necessary to ensure "continuity of government." This could include everything from canceling elections to suspending the Constitution to launching a nuclear attack. Congress has yet to hold a single hearing on NSPD-51” http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/02/04/ED5OUPQJ7.DTL
Another frightening development is the power the FBI has given to corporations in the event of martial law. Mathew Rothschild, editor of The Progressive, wrote in a February 2008 article, “Today, more than 23,000 representatives of private industry are working quietly with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. The members of this rapidly growing group, called InfraGard, receive secret warnings of terrorist threats before the public does -- and, at least on one occasion, before elected officials. In return, they provide information to the government, which alarms the ACLU. But there may be more to it than that. One business executive, who showed me his InfraGard card, told me they have permission to "shoot to kill" in the event of martial law. InfraGard is "a child of the FBI," says Michael Hershman, the chairman of the advisory board of the InfraGard National Members Alliance and CEO of the Fairfax Group, an international consulting firm.” http://www.alternet.org/story/76388/
With these facts in mind it is obvious that each one of us needs to be focused not on what they have to gain by a newly elected president but instead should focus on preventing the Bush agenda from continuing. We cannot allow ourselves to be distracted by unsubstantiated promises from presidential candidates. While millions are showing up to vote for the democratic primaries, there is no guarantee that the democratic candidate will win the election. Look at what happened in the 2000 and 2004 elections, the circumstances surrounding those elections prove that it’s possible that McCain could win. If McCain wins it is absolutely guaranteed that not only will the Bush agenda continue it will be expanded. And because neither Clinton nor Obama are actively calling for a complete repudiation of the fascistic policies of the Bush regime the changes they promise should they win the election will be superficial at best, and most if not all of the Bush agenda will continue unchallenged.
Many supporters of the democratic candidates will argue that their candidate has promised to close Guantanamo, to end the war, to repeal the Military Commissions Act and so forth, but why have these candidates not done so already? Neither candidate has put forth legislation to do this now, in fact they have voted to fund the war, and neither have filibustered or fought long, hard, and loudly to pass legislation to restore habeas corpus rights, or to stop the illegal spying on Americans, in fact they have not filibustered or fought long, hard, and loudly to stop any of the policies that power the Bush agenda. What does this say about the abilities and passion of these candidates to promote and create change in the future?
It is said that the very definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again and expect different results, but Americans continue to do the same thing over and over by investing time, effort, beliefs and hope into a system that continues to exploit and wreak murderous havoc over the face of the earth. It is not that the democratic process of elections and voting is so wrong, it is that is has proven powerless to put a halt to the Bush agenda. And while the policies of the Bush regime are arguably the actions of a criminally insane government, the Bush agenda, indeed the agenda of the United States has wrought and wielded unprecedented power by aggressively changing, codifying and ignoring the rule of law and will continue to do so as long as those who are on board with this agenda remain in power, whether under the rule of George W. Bush or the next elected president. In light of the continual propensity of the Bush regime to thirst for more power, more resources, and more horror it is the responsibility of every citizen and every soldier to do much more than simply cast a vote. It is the responsibility of every person with a conscience, to the best of their ability to do so, to Stop the Business as Usual, to end the wars for empire, to proclaim to the world that We Won’t Live in a Torture State, and to Drive Out the Bush Regime now.