JACKIE MARCUS FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Recently, Common Dreams ran an article entitled, "As New War Rages, Mainstream Media Silences Debate, Study Finds." Indeed most of the people in the US probably go through the day without ever thinking about the nation's ceaseless wars.
Many US voters are disgusted with both major political parties for reasons that go back a long way.
If elected Republicans think that they have a mandate as a result of the November 4th elections, they are laboring under a grand delusion.
The fact of the matter is that more than a third of those who voted for a Republican House candidate were dissatisfied or angry with GOP leaders in Congress, according to preliminary exit polls. A quarter of Democratic voters were similarly upset with President Obama.
Over the last decade, many voters have come to believe that going to the polls is an exercise in futility. They intuitively sense that elected officials from both parties work for corporate millionaires and billionaires, and that the oligarchs from the oil and weapon industries will continue to shape foreign and domestic policies in their favor to the detriment of the vast majority of those in the US - no matter who is elected. As a case in point, the economy is backsliding for most workers in terms of pay.
Why is it that there is always plenty of money for military spending, approved by Congressional members on both sides, even when the nation is already in deep debt from fourteen years of US invasions in the Middle East? How, then, can the federal government afford to keep the wars going?
You don’t have to be a Pulitzer Prize winning economist to see the obvious: our national debt has soared because of funded and unfunded military and intelligence undertakings. These are common sense issues that many US voters have been asking for the last decade.
But when it comes to funding job-creation projects that include the development of clean alternative energy, providing tuition grants for college students, or finding humane solutions for the growing number of families who are homeless (as some examples) - such programs are dismissed as budget busters by many of the corporate media pundits and the Ayn Rand acolytes in DC.
The question of endless spending for endless wars also demonstrates what many voters have in common: wanting an end to military intervention. As journalist James Risen put it, think of the post-9/11 war boomlet as the largest robbery in history.
The last thing the industrial oligarchs want is for Americans to be unified on common issues and for voters to unite against policies that enhance wealth for the few. The two parties serve as a strategy to divide Americans and to keep them occupied with sensationalist and superficial emotional issues that create distractions from a government that is abusing its power to govern on behalf of the people.
After ISIS, then what? There is always the creation of a new enemy to keep the oligarchs infinitely rich and infinitely powerful at the cost of destroying not only our economy, but also our fundamental principles, our constitutional rights, and our reputation of being a humane society.
Beginning with the Bush administration, the symbolic connotation of the Statue of Liberty has been reduced to a begging old woman in the darkest of nights. Her message of light, liberty and sanctuary has been replaced with something unspeakably sinister, ugly, violent, and perverted—something akin to a dystopian world symbolized by Orwell’s 1984 image: “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever.”
“Before the war on terror,” wrote James Risen in his new book, PAY ANY PRICE, in the chapter, “The War on Decency,” “the U.S. military had a well-earned reputation for the humane treatment of prisoners of war. During the postwar years, the United States was a driving force behind the 1949 Geneva Conventions, codifying the rights of prisoners in armed conflict…Bush’s decision to abandon the Geneva Conventions changed everything.”
Indeed, fast-forward from WW II to Bush-Cheney’s direct condoning of the torture of detainees at secret torture cells where Iraqis were and probably still are being maimed and tortured to death at Abu Ghraib. How many innocent victims of the US invasions were swept up with a wide net throughout the regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan and incarcerated in secret CIA torture cells or Guantanamo Bay and then redefined as “enemy combatants” so that the U.S. government could deprive them of their POW rights and the right to habeas corpus, the benchmark of a civil society? As Risen points out, however, the vile practices of torture approved by the CIA are a clear violation of ethical codes under military justice.
When George W. Bush declared that the “United States would never be the same again,” he meant it. The September 9/11 attack was used to establish a permanent war society. You cannot protect constitutional rights and respect principles of decency in a war society. It is a contradiction of terms. In a war society - the government is controlled by the military, CIA and the oligarchy.
One way we can restore a robust democracy is by activism, organization and education at the local level. Neither party is beholden to the voters. So the voters must create change starting at the grassroots.
Neither Congress nor the president will save democracy and put an end to ceaseless wars and the surveillance state; only citizen advocates can.
Jacqueline Marcus lives is the editor of ForPoetry.com and EnvironmentalPress.com. She is the author of Close to the Shore by Michigan State University Press. Her E-book, Man Cannot Live on Oil, Alone: Time to end our dependency on oil before it ends us, is available at Kindle Books. She taught philosophy at Cuesta College. Her essay, The Beauty of Sadness: An Essential Human Emotion Exiled in a War Society appeared at the North American Review blog.