in today's alternet, chalmers johnson, writing for tomdispatch, gives voice to some of my deepest concerns...
[B]y the end of March 2007, at least 280,000 American citizens had already contributed some $113.6 million to the presidential campaigns of Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, Mitt Romney, Rudolph Giuliani, or John McCain.he then goes on to outline what he thinks needs to happen if we are to avoid the total collapse of our democracy, actions that i find remarkably consistent with much of what the grassroots/netroots have been so forcefully advocating over the past several years and forcing candidates for political office to consider...
If these people actually believe a presidential election a year-and-a-half from now will significantly alter how the country is run, they have almost surely wasted their money. As Andrew Bacevich, author of The New American Militarism, puts it: "None of the Democrats vying to replace President Bush is doing so with the promise of reviving the system of check and balances.... The aim of the party out of power is not to cut the presidency down to size but to seize it, not to reduce the prerogatives of the executive branch but to regain them."
What the country desperately needs is a popular movement to rebuild the Constitutional system and subject the government once again to the discipline of checks and balances. Neither the replacement of one political party by the other, nor protectionist economic policies aimed at rescuing what's left of our manufacturing economy will correct what has gone wrong. Both of these solutions fail to address the root cause of our national decline.in order to dismantle the empire, johnson proposes a number of things...
I believe that there is only one solution to the crisis we face. The American people must make the decision to dismantle both the empire that has been created in their name and the huge (still growing) military establishment that undergirds it.
To succeed, such an endeavor might virtually require a revolutionary mobilization of the American citizenry, one at least comparable to the civil rights movement of the 1960s.
Even to contemplate a drawing back from empire -- something so inconceivable to our pundits and newspaper editorial writers that it is simply never considered -- we must specify as clearly as possible precisely what the elected leaders and citizens of the United States would have to do.
and if we don't do these things...?
- First, in Iraq, we would have to initiate a firm timetable for withdrawing all our military forces and turning over the permanent military bases we have built to the Iraqis.
- Where spending is rising, as in military supplemental bills to conduct the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it would sharply decline. *
- Where spending is steady or declining (health, education, job training, the promotion of energy conservation and renewable energy sources, veterans benefits, funding for the UN and UN peacekeeping operations, and so on), it would sharply increase. *
- Bush's tax cuts for people with incomes over $200,000 a year would be immediately rescinded. *
- [W]e would have to launch an orderly closing-up process for at least 700 of the 737 military bases we maintain (by official Pentagon count) in over 130 foreign countries on every continent except Antarctica.
- [W]e should rewrite all our Status of Forces Agreements -- those American-dictated "agreements" that exempt our troops based in foreign countries from local criminal laws, taxes, immigration controls, anti-pollution legislation, and anything else the American military can think of.
- We would have to end our belligerent unilateralism toward other countries as well as our scofflaw behavior regarding international law.
- The United States needs to cease being the world's largest supplier of arms and munitions -- a lethal trade whose management should be placed under UN supervision.
- [W]e should take some obvious steps like recognizing Cuba and ending our blockade of that island and, in the Middle East, working to equalize aid to Israel and Palestine, while attempting to broker a real solution to that disastrous situation.
- [W]e need to rewrite the National Security Act of 1947, taking away from the CIA all functions that involve sabotage, torture, subversion, overseas election rigging, rendition, and other forms of clandestine activity. The president should be deprived of his power to order these types of operations except with the explicit advice and consent of the Senate.
* quoted from Noam Chomsky
- [T]he U.S. must cap its trade deficits through the perfectly legal use of tariffs in accordance with World Trade Organization rules, and it must begin to guide its domestic market in accordance with a national industrial policy.
I also believe that unless we follow this path, we will lose our democracy and then it will not matter much what else we lose.he's right... and these aren't issues to be cast in terms of republican or democratic ideology, they are fundamental to the very survival of the country we all thought we were citizens of...
Labels: 2008 candidates, 2008 Election, Afghanistan, Chalmers Johnson, CIA, defense industry, democracy, Democrats, free trade, George Bush, Iraq, Israel, Palestine, Republicans, U.S. arms sales
Submit To Propeller