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Revive the Wild Colonial Spirit

By       Message Norla Antinoro       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   No comments

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We!: a Progressive Voice

Where does it come from, this wild urge to colonize the world? What happens to make colonies decide to have colonies of their own? Why do rebels and revolutionaries forget the reasons for their rebellion?

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I’m sure that everyone who thinks about these questions will have a different set of answers but I have recently been dismayed to see how the trend remains unchanged. Humans become mired down under totalitarian or feudal systems and are driven to revolution. They throw off their oppressors in a burst of fury and then turn around and become exactly what they had once fought so hard against.

In listening and reading the progressives of this country describe the way to get the US out of Iraq I once more see this tendency in action. It is clear to many Americans, the overwhelming majority, that we do not belong in Iraq as occupiers and warlords. The American people want their troops to come home where they belong. And so the discussions begin – how do we accomplish such a goal?

When I suggest that they simply put the troops on transport and bring them home I am treated as if I were somewhere between naïve and insane. “We can’t do that!!” They say. I ask why not and the reasons given are varied but ultimately all reflect a refusal of the people of this country to recognize that we do not have any business trying to run the world. Whether the role chosen is policeman, big brother, or empire, it is wrong. Perhaps benevolent big brother, leading the poor benighted of the world to freedom, education, democracy and a higher standard of living seems like an improvement over the blatant imperialism of the corporations that we now have, but it is still wrong.

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Noblesse oblige is not an attractive thing to see on a wild colonial. Have we forgotten our roots and our heritage?

Recently I talked with a progressive voter in the Pacific Northwest and we found that we agreed on many topics. The war in Iraq is wrong and should end as soon as possible. The troops should not be occupiers. America needs to rebuild its infrastructure. America needs to rebuild its work ethic and it manufacturing base. Jobs need to be insourced, brought home. Tax penalties need to be set on companies that outsource services and products that can be obtained domestically. Tariffs have a purpose and we need to remember what that is. We found many points of agreement indeed. Then I stated that we should simply put our troops on transports and bring them home. There is plenty of work for them to do here. The Gulf Coast needs to be rebuilt for one thing. Infrastructure needs to be rebuilt across the entire country.

Pack em up and bring em home said I.

“We can’t do that!” said he.

Why not?

Well he was not the only one I asked this question of. The answers were varied and, in my opinion, all wrong.

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My local progressive acquaintance said we had to stay because we had to make sure that the access to the oil was established and protected for the western industrial nations. This is a viewpoint I see among many who claim themselves to be progressives. They claim that we must keep a reduced number of troops in Iraq to protect the pipelines and support the Iraqi military forces. Those in the military, and others with military sympathies, add to this that we must keep enough troops in Iraq to maintain the five permanent bases we have established there at such great cost to the world. They have been trying to get permanent military bases in the Middle East since the mid 1950s at least, that I know of. Now that they have the bases in Iraq, Kuwait, and Afghanistan, they will be damned if they are going to let them go.

Once again, like an annoying child, I ask “Why?” And like thoughtless parents who have not prepared any reasonable answers, they stumbled and mumble, or try to intimidate by claiming I simply don’t understand – that perhaps it is too complicated for me. None have a reasonable answer as far as I am concerned.

Why do we need to have permanent military bases in the Middle East? Oh I know their answers backwards and forwards. I was raised on this cant.

We must have these bases and the troops to maintain them:

  • To guard the interests of America and her allies
  • To insure access to the dwindling oil supplies
  • To prevent an Arab dominated OPEC from controlling the world’s energy supply and thus controlling political policy globally
  • To insure that the western industrial complex has the energy it needs to keep rolling
  • To insure that American citizens [and their allies] can be protected at all times from the lesser peoples of the world
  • To guide the development of these regions toward democracy and capitalism
  • Well, because. We just do. The Iran hostage crisis would not have gone the way it did if we had permanent bases in the region from which to launch our rescue.

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    Norla Antinoro is a life long Democrat. Born in California she spent most of the last 45 years in and around Tucson, Arizona; Guelph, Ontario; Buffalo, New York and currently resides in Oregon. She is an editor and writer for We! Magazine - a (more...)

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