07 March 2006

I don't want to go to hell

America is an Empire, and I would guess that everybody outside of the US knows it.

During World War II they stayed out of the conflict until the last minute and made a mint selling armaments to the rest of us. I don't blame anyone - we were all rushing to kill each other over here and wanted or needed the resources; delivered through war torn waters. It just seems that necessity is the mother of inflation and the price was, apparently, hiked up considerably. If the US wears any sort of crown, the rest of us gave it. Mea culpa, so don't go saying I am throwing stones at anyone, I'm just stating how it is.

If anyone feels attacked by that statement, you are wrong. I am in no way comparing the US in general to say, the President's Granddaddy (George Snr's poppa) who had his business halted by the US Government, for perpetually selling to Hitler even after America had chosen a side. After American men were out there fighting against the Germans, granddaddy Bush just went right on arming the people who were shooting his countrymen. Apparently.

From the little I can find on the subject there was no jail sentence, no punishment for treason and not a penny of his rather handsome profits was impounded. He even allegedly managed to sell his shares in one company after the war as for some bizarre reason it was never closed. Still, according to this two year old news article, that's likely where the Bush family fortune came from. Arranging for Brits and Americans, Australians and Jews and all the others to die, for a profit. Even the company holdings and the railway and slave camp that provided it's workforce (Auschwitz) escaped being bombed, altogether.

Lets not even start on the nuclear arms race and where all the scientists came from, picked up as war trophies from the opposition. Again, mea culpa. Britain's hands are no cleaner, just smaller.

So, where are we? That's just background. The US came out of the 1930s depression and made an amazing financial recovery and that's really all I meant to say.

Since then, however, as the world police, as the defenders/upholders/enforcers of democracy, the US has stationed its army all over the world. Permanent bases everywhere. Here in Britain, as an ally, we have not just your soldiers but also your nuclear missiles. I guess, as we are living it, there are two ways to absorb the phrase 'occupying force'. We are lapdogs, we pretty much send our own soldiers wherever America wants extras. Who is worse, the man that leads or the man that follows?

Nobody says, out loud 'This or that country now belongs to the US'. They might say that this or that country belongs to democracy, but that would be US democracy with US forces there to ensure it. Oh. Sorry. I meant 'to keep the peace' (or to 'cement a friendship', depending on which country we are on about.) Preparation for political or military insurgence is labelled 'promoting regime change'.

See? You got all aeriated, when all I said was that Superpower = Empire. Its funny, those that proudly declare their country to be a superpower on the world stage, don't seem to like the word Empire or the concept that the two are the same thing. Undertones of tyranny in the name, I guess.

The next bit condemns me and nobody else, in case you are still here and still angry.

I've been looking around at all the stuff on the web about 9-11 having been more of an inside job than first seemed. Feelings for and against Mr Bush and his Government certainly seem to be stronger and more obviously polarised, than those about any other prior American Government. Previous Presidents, it seems, came across those that were 'for' them and those that were 'against'. This one seems to be coming across those that worship him, and those that condemn him an antichrist. A rather wider swing between the two ends of the spectrum wouldn't you say?

For the first time the loudest voices are not declaring him to be either a good man or a bad man, but rather either an angel of light sent and directed by God, or the son of the devil posing as an angel of light, aka the Antichrist.

So I'm sitting there coming to my own conclusion (which is a hard thing to avoid) and I'm beginning to think this guy is a chip off the old block with no loyalties except to money and power. I'm beginning to think that 'Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour' (even if thy neighbour is a Samaritan, or a lying, murderous little man himself) certainly seems to be a pertinent consideration given the WMDs that never were and all the other little fibs that keep cropping up. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife/ass/home/oil reserves, either.

Then I'm looking at the sale of the US ports to a Dubai company, which certainly seems to be a dangerous move motivated by profits rather than moral principles or the safety of the American people, and by this time I can feel myself building up a spirit of condemnation against the US Government, .....

and then I find this:
By comparison with the French, the British are pretty laid-back about who buys the national assets. “The UK authorities waived through the acquisition of P&O ports by the Dubai-based DP World,” Grenfell says, “and yet in America the bid faces mounting political opposition.
I mean, WHAT?

Thank the Lord God Almighty that in America at least, if you take time to look, you stand a chance of seeing whats going on. Apparently thats not so likely if you live here. Or maybe this is a lesson for me about specks and beams, that I should be looking to what I could change or effect in my own corner of the world and not so much at news where I can sit back and feel like an innocent (if slightly smug) spectator.

This has to stop. Love of money has to stop being the driving force, on an individual, national and worldwide basis. Covetousness has to stop causing us to feel ill will and resentment to those with more of what we want. Greed has to stop. Its a loop. The question is, will we all, Muslim, Christian, atheist et al, actually get round a table and agree to stop, before we have nearly wiped each other out completely?

If you are religious, then every time you kill a man or sanction or condone his death, even the death of an enemy, then you are party to taking away his life, his time, to removing any God given chance he had of coming to see things your way, or at least reaching a compromise and peace. I'm not saying that killing is never necessary, but it should be mourned, not celebrated.

Killing is playing God, and everyone who claims to follow God yet takes away from a man what God alone has given him without any sense of remorse or of having no other choice; he belies the title he claims, he takes God's name in vain.

I guess that means we're all on the road to hell, huh?

Off to rummage down the back of my airing cupboard now, going to go rooting around for sackcloth and ashes.



She Weevil said...

Here, have some of mine - I've thrown in a hair shirt for good measure.

Writer Mom said...

Whew. That was good for me. I expect like smacking on aftershave...stingy, painful, and then sweet release.
For a second, I was putting on my Native American costume, and heading for the nearest port to dump your pricey tea (and they would have let me in, too, damn lax security)...but then I realized that impulse is a conditioned response. Like ExPat said earlier...I can knock my country, but nobody else is supposed to.
What the hell. It's all true.
Doesn't surprise me one bit that current leaders got rich off somebody else's misery. It's the way to the top. Stuffing a boot heel into some poor shmuck's starving face.

So you've hit the nail on the head, exactly. It's all about greed. Everyone can be bought. No one has principles any more. Nobody resists wearing a Vera Wang to the Oscars, for instance, but how proud Hollywood is to be making movies in New Orleans! Britney Spears just took the kiddies shopping, what fun! Things of that nature.

YOU won't be going to hell, but a lot of other people will. There will be a collective chorus of "Oops!" just before the sound of mass sizzling.

Cheryl said...

I am educated by your gut response.

Wasn't there a story of Japs V Americans in battle, dug in at either end of a field; a stand off. The Japs started throwing insults at the US President, which made the US boys incredulous, until they twigged, and started hurling insults about the Jap leaders instead. This made the Japanese troops so angry that they charged carelessly across the field and the US won the battle without moving an inch.

An open mind is a wonderful thing.

I see this quote a lot these days:

"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." - Theodore Roosevelt.

Considering that Tony Blair, for whatever reason, seems to agree with everything that Bush requests, I count myself temporarily amongst the 'we'.

Hope thats OK.

And when it comes to living with the effects of other peoples greed, thats a world wide phenomenon and not restricted to one leader or one nation, I think.


bart said...

thanks for this long and convoluted post cheryl... it's along the lines of so much bothering me at the moment...

the bottom line is that economics seem to override human worth and personal ethics at any given moment, with all the attendant results...

one of the most interesting pieces of history i've come across is that the weimar republic in germany (after the humiliating defeat of world war one and the versailles treaty) was able to rebuild it's arms industry in the fledgling soviet union because of the the disarmament provisions presented in the versailles treaty...

in many ways, both the soviet union and the united states rearmed the german state, to their own detriment and letting economic motives negate any sense of realism...

i genuinely despair at moments about the ways that capitalism and personal/corporate greed destroy any sense of safety for the ordinary, hard working family man/woman, trying to make ends meet...

hope this helps, i'm a bit cynical at the moment but hell, i have my moments as well ;-)

Writer Mom said...

Hugs back. If the enemy trench lobbed insults about Bush, I'd say, "Pfffft. Tell me something I don't know." If they said something about you, I'd charge.

fineartist said...

Three words...Iran Contra scandle.
Bush Sr had a hand in that mess too.

Again too heavy for me to respond to properly...as I turn into a pumpkin at 10:30 pm, but keep shooting it straight Cheryl, we all need to hear it and think about it. hugs and stuff, Lori

Love She weevil's hair shirt...

Scouser said...

Hi, interesting post from another Brit's point of view. I can't find fault with any of it and would even point you at The Carlyle Group who seem to have their fingers in many, many pies. There are some very interesting articles on that page which even go some way to backing up your post. BTW I'm here from Michele's

zilla said...

"If the enemy trench lobbed insults about Bush, I'd say, 'Pfffft. Tell me something I don't know.' If they said something about you, I'd charge."

That about sums it up for me, too.

Kim said...

what the hell is a hair shirt? I'm always out of the loop with you euros.

Excellent post Cheryl, I'm all disturbed now.

MoxieGrrrl said...

Trust me, there's a whole lotta Americans that know we're living in an empire. So many Americans have this idealized image of our country in their heads - freedom for all citizens, equal rights, equal opportunities, the government doing what's best for its citizens, and they don't see (or want to see) just how wrong they are.

shorty said...

Thank you for this insightful post. I am from Indiana, aka BUSH country. It was obvious to me and many others way before 2000 that Bush's presidency would be all about the money, and so far he hasn't proved us wrong. But there are so many people who just seem to WANT to believe that he is doing "God's Work." It makes me sad, and I am not afraid to admit that Canada has been looking mighty tempting lately. How's that for patriotic? My only hope now is that things will get bad enough that enough people will open their eyes and choose a real leader, not someone with a lot of cash and connections.