Bush has assumed the power to disregard any law he pleases, claiming authority from the passage of Public Law 107-40 , Authorization for Use of Military Force against the perpetrators of 9-11, and powers bolstered by a Supreme Court ruling on the right to detain an American citizen which cited the terror authorization as justification and approval for Bush's power grab.
From that congressional authorization and whatever he thinks the constitution gives him the right to do, Bush has directed all of our security institutions to regard any and all perceived terror threats as an outgrowth of al-Qaeda, thus triggering the approval of any and all means available, legal or not, to counter the perceived threat.
But Bush and his agents no longer see any need to actually show a link to al-Qaeda to use their military force. US air strikes were carried out on the 13th of January 2006, on the remote Pakistani village of Damadola where 18 civilians were killed in an attack by a US unmanned predator drone- a remote-controlled airplane- armed with Hellfire missiles. Ten were women and children.
Bush has chosen yet another Muslim dominated nation, in addition to Iraq and Afghanistan, that he feels free to bomb indiscriminately across its border without regard to the lives of innocent civilians to kill whatever 'enemy' his intelligence alerts him to. Who's country is next?
Bush has taken it upon himself to authorize the gathering of the contents of phone calls and e-mails of countless Americans under the guise of waging his terror war. Our former Democratic leader told us of how Bush begged Congress to give him the power to wage war within the United States. With the reluctance of Congress, so far, to restrain him, Bush will assume whatever contrived mandate for power, money, or influence that the senators and representatives will allow.
The time has come when the people, we, the people, have to insist that nothing in the halls of our democracy moves forward until we reassert the power invested in us effective with the signings of the Declaration of Independence and the ratification of the Constitution and the passage of its many important amendments. Nothing- from the Supreme Court nomination to the budgeting of our hard earned contributions to the Treasury- should be allowed to proceed until we can pry these traitor's hands off of the throat of our democracy.
Our nation is not merely 'at war'. Our government is warring, using its subjects as fodder for the machine which gives it the most relevance. Its war machine. Before 9-11 our nation spent a full 60% of our annual budget on 'Defense', the military. Now, although most of the funding for the war is off-budget in the form of emergency appropriations, the percentage of the budget that we toil for has to be overwhelmingly weighted toward the new militarism that Bush has subjected us to as he cossets his imperial oligarchy to the depth that countless future generations will suffer from the debt alone.
We are as removed from our own centers of authority as the suicide bombers are from whoever they regard as their leader. We are being cast against each other to effect a perpetual industry of aggression for the leaders to lord over.
The voice of bin-Laden's violence was as sad as anything that passes for leadership these days. He spoke as if there was no one on the battlefield except he and Bush. No homage to the suffering of Muslims caught up in the violence he advocates, no acknowledgment of the sacrifices of those who have blown their bodies to bits as weapons. He's a politician now, his mandate comes from the violence he directs and advocates. He's safe and unharmed, all of the dying and sacrifice is for others.
Reminds of his nemesis, Bush. Our commander did his best to avoid the sacrifices that hundreds of thousands of his generation made in Vietnam when he had the opportunity. Yet, he has had no compunction about sending hundreds of thousands of his countryfolk to fight, kill, and die in his opportunistic invasion and occupation of Iraq. The deaths of our soldiers are rarely mentioned by Bush, the deaths of the hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians caught in the line of his aggression are hardly an afterthought to him.
We are blessed with the cynicism of Orwell to, at least, reassure us of our plight:
"The war, therefore, if we judge it by the standards of previous wars, is merely an imposture. It is like the battles between certain ruminant animals whose horns are set at such an angle that they are incapable of hurting one another. But though it is unreal it is not meaningless. It eats up the surplus of consumable goods, and it helps to preserve the special mental atmosphere that a hierarchical society needs. War, it will be seen, is now a purely internal affair. In the past, the ruling groups of all countries, although they might recognize their common interest and therefore limit the destructiveness of war, did fight against one another, and the victor always plundered the vanquished. In our own day they are not fighting against one another at all. The war is waged by each ruling group against its own subjects, and the object of the war is not to make or prevent conquests of territory, but to keep the structure of society intact. The very word "war," therefore, has become misleading. It would probably be accurate to say that by becoming continuous war has ceased to exist. The peculiar pressure that it exerted on human beings between the Neolithic Age and the early twentieth century has disappeared and has been replaced by something quite different. The effect would be much the same if the three superstates, instead of fighting one another, should agree to live in perpetual peace, each inviolate within its own boundaries. For in that case each would still be a self-contained universe, freed forever from the sobering influence of external danger. A peace that was truly permanent would be the same as a permanent war. This -- although the vast majority of Party members understand it only in a shallower sense -- is the inner meaning of the Party slogan: WAR IS PEACE."- (Orwell, 1984)
We are the coal that fires the engines of authority that these 'leaders' assume from their positions of commanders in their contrived war. We have let ourselves become slaves to the instruments of our own institutions which have been corrupted to suit their warmongering hosts. But without our participation, there would be nothing left but a pack of megalomaniacs vying for attention, prostituting for whatever influence they could manage. Our participation turns them on and off.
We need a worldwide boycott of corrupt offices and individuals who threaten to dominate us for greed and power. We need to sacrifice and sustain the boycott until we regain control over our own destinies, free from the corruption and destruction of militarization. We should turn our backs on those institutions that disregard our intentions, cut off their access to our contributions and bleed them dry.
The time has long come when we must cast aside our faith that our leaders will eventually realize our own designs for America. Our Democrats have gone only as far as their numbers have allowed, and they act as if their biggest fear is losing more political ground. But the ground has already shifted underneath them. The forces of the military right rule the halls of Congress by wielding the products of the jingoistic fear they have exploited from the 9-11 attacks. Our representatives and legislators who argue for compromise or balance as they allow these military actions to go on, as they continue to allow the Executive to spy on Americans without a warrant, as they sit in silence as Bush bombs yet another sovereign nation with impunity, cause us all to be complicit in their cowardice. Time to pull the plug. It looks like we have to take it into our own hands. What will be our lever? What should be our lever?
My feet are planted and I'm holding fast to the strings of our democracy. Now, for some help . . .
Ron Fullwood is a writer and activist and the author of the book Power of Mischief : Military Industry Executives are Making Bush Policy and the Country is Paying the Price'