The Rogue Tyrants
Belong The Spoils
By Jason Miller
08 May, 2006
Were America's ruling elites
forced to become conscienceless criminals so they could fend off the
scimitar-bearing Islamic hordes itching to rape, behead, and eviscerate
the entire freedom-loving American population?
Or is it that these avaricious,
bellicose de facto rulers of America have treated humanity with contempt
for years and are simply targeting their latest scapegoat?
Perhaps the answer lies in
Adam Smith’s quote, cited by Noam Chomsky in his latest book:
“the vile maxim of
the masters of mankind: …All for ourselves, and nothing for other
With the arsenal of weapons
of mass destruction at its disposal and the economic influence it wields,
the US government subjugates mankind through intimidation, extortion,
and military domination. Despite myriad signs of its empire declining,
America's ruling class easily qualifies as the “masters of mankind”.
Noam Chomsky recently penned
Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy, a book
in which he provided a powerfully-constructed and heavily documented
argument that the United States is a failed state, like many of the
nations it has declared to be threats to itself and its allies.
As Chomsky suggested, the
Bush Regime and its multiple components (including corporate interests,
many of America’s wealthy, certain radical segments of the Christian
population, AIPAC and its supporters, and those amongst the middle and
working class still beguiled by the corporate media) have been quick
to label other nations as failed states to achieve their imperialist
Iraq was a failed state and
a threat to the United States. Hence the invasion and occupation. Haiti
was a failed state and its people were suffering. Enter United States
intervention and subsequent Haitian misery.
According to Chomsky, there
are three essential components to a failed state:
1. their inability or unwillingness
to protect their citizens from violence and perhaps even destruction.
2. their tendency to regard
themselves as beyond the reach of domestic or international law, and
hence free to carry out aggression and violence.
3. And if they have democratic
forms, they suffer from a serious “democratic deficit” that
deprives their formal democratic institutions of real substance.
Examples abound to support
Chomsky’s assertion that the United States is indeed as much of
a failed state as those it is so quick to criticize, subvert, and in
some cases, invade.
America began to decline
seriously under Reagan, continued its precipitous drop under Bush I
and Clinton, and has reached disturbing lows under Bush II. Whether
Republican or Democrat, successive United States governments degenerated
into an entity which is betraying a majority of its people and is a
significant threat to the continued existence of the human species:
a failed state.
Human Beings are Expendable in our Quest for Money and Power
Under Bush II, the United
States launched an invasion against a sovereign nation which posed no
threat to the United States or its allies. US-driven UN economic sanctions
had neutered Hussein militarily while resulting in the deaths of hundreds
of thousands of Iraqi civilians.
It is now common knowledge
that significant evidence exists that the Bush Regime took America to
war based on what it knew to be false information. To date, at least
250,000 Iraqis and 2,400 Americans have died as a result of the lies
of a failed state.
How many more Americans will
die as a result of the hatred and furor ignited by US foreign policy,
particularly in the Middle East? What will be the extent of the backlash
for the US invasion of Iraq and its ongoing support of Israel’s
genocidal acts against the Palestinians?
take on the obscene hypocrisy of American foreign policy:
“There is a straightforward
single standard: Their terror against us and our clients is the ultimate
evil, while our terror against them does not exist—or, if it does,
it is entirely appropriate.”
It is well-documented that
the United States has slaughtered millions of innocent civilians (3
million in Vietnam alone) in wars of imperial conquest waged under the
guise of “protecting” the American people from grossly overstated
threats like Communism. America’s elite rulers are so intent on
their short-term power and money grab that they fail to realize (or
more likely do not care) that they are putting many of their own people
in grave danger by severely abusing the rest of humanity.
Want more evidence that the
US government lacks the desire or capacity to protect the American people?
Contemplate the refusal to
acknowledge the reality of global warming or to participate in the Kyoto
Treaty, the perpetuation and expansion of its nuclear arsenal, tax cuts
for the wealthy, deep cuts in social programs coupled with increased
military spending at an insane clip, the creation of $27,000 worth of
debt for each American, increased privatization, and further deregulation
of corporations. In the United States, policies and laws hostile to
the environment, consumers, the working class, and minorities have become
the status quo.
Sadly, Katrina and New Orleans
provide a glimpse of the future for the majority of Americans if current
social and political trends continue. Such is life in a failed state
for the those who do not rest comfortably atop the pyramid of wealth
A strong argument exists
that global warming is causing increasingly severe hurricanes, like
Katrina. Meanwhile, America’s elites decided they had better uses
for taxpayer money than to strengthen the levees or stop the erosion
of the wetlands which buffered New Orleans from severe hurricanes. This
despite eerily prescient warnings of a Katrina-like disaster in a 2001
article in National Geographic.
Rendering FEMA impotent,
robbing National Guard resources to conquer Iraq, abandoning thousands
of poor Blacks to suffer and die, patrolling the streets with heavily
armed Blackwater mercenaries, and suspending federal wage protections
during reconstruction are clear indications of a state which has failed
a majority its people miserably.
There is little room for
doubt that the Bush Regime places itself above both domestic and international
law. A few illustrations include:
1. wiretapping of US citizens without seeking FISA court approval (the
FISA court has granted approval to virtually every request it has considered)
2. passing and renewing the
Orwellian Patriot Act which seriously violates four of the ten amendments
in the Bill of Rights
3. the invasion and occupation
of Iraq, a sovereign nation which had not attacked the United States
and had posed no imminent threat
4. suspending habeas corpus
and posse comitatus
5. defying the Geneva Conventions
by arbitrarily arresting, detaining and torturing at least 14,000 alleged
6. significant expansion
of Executive powers by adding signing statements (which direct the Executive
branch to implement laws as the president sees fit rather than as Congress
intended) to over 750 laws.
In Failed States, Chomsky
provided many examples of America’s elites’ actions that
demonstrate their disregard for domestic and international law, tracing
the roots and progression of such behavior back to World War II.
A Hideous Despot Lurks Behind the Facade of Lady Liberty
The most disturbing aspect
of Chomsky’s treatise defining the United States as a failed state
is his exploration of its “democratic deficit”.
In stark contrast to our
forefathers' blueprint for a constitutional republic in which the Constitution
exists to limit government power, the people elect their leaders, and
an independent judiciary exists to review the Constitutionality of government
actions, America has devolved into a nation governed by the elite for
the elite. The Constitution has been reduced to “just a goddamned
piece of paper.”
The reactionary statists
who have a thin grip on political power are dedicated warriors. With
consistency and passion that approach caricature, their policies serve
the substantial people—in fact, an unusually narrow sector of
them—and disregard or harm the underlying population and future
generations. They are also seeking to use their current opportunities
to institutionalize these arrangements, so that it will be no small
task to reconstruct a more humane and democratic society.
US corporations contribute
greatly to the American democratic deficit. Possessing rights exceeding
those of human beings and bearing limited accountability, powerful corporations
enable wealthy shareholders and executives to place profits ahead of
people and the environment to a sociopathic extent. Corporate moral
compasses are consistently drawn off course by the powerful pull of
Deregulation leading to decreased
environmental and consumer protections , a stagnant minimum wage, skyrocketing
pay for executives relative to workers, diminished benefits for the
working class, and a significant decline in the power of labor unions
are but a few results of corporate power in the United States. Political
manipulation through unbridled lobbying combined with a revolving door
between corporate suites and government offices ensure that corporate
interests supersede those of the poor and working class.
has interests which are closely aligned with those of the “substantial
people”, as Chomsky called America’s elites in Failed States.
Chomsky observed that in Nazi Germany, Goebbels used mainstream media’s
“American advertising methods” to “sell National Socialism”.
And it worked.
History is repeating itself
as mainstream print and broadcast media work tirelessly to sell America’s
“unsubstantial people” on grossly immoral and illegal government
policies detrimental to their well-being, such as concentrating the
wealth and power in the hands of a few and fighting for global hegemony.
And it is working.
media has two powerful weapons at its disposal, both of which are deeply
embedded in the psyche of many Americans.
As Chomsky pointed out in
his book, the media wins the hearts and minds of many Americans by reminding
them of their “nobility of purpose” in bringing “the
Spirit of Civilization” to other peoples and nations, even if
it means killing millions in the process.
Americans have also demonstrated
a repeated vulnerability to the media manipulating them with fear. Throughout
history, America’s elite have contrived or grossly exaggerated
foes such as Native Americans, Blacks, Communists, Hispanic narco-terrorists,
illegal immigrants, terrorists, and street criminals. Manufactured irrational
fear has led to compliance, subjugation, and the creation of a host
of industries benefiting the “substantial people”. Long
live the military and prison industrial complexes!
One of Chomsky’s most
startling and often over-looked observations about America is the chasm
between political will and the popular will.
Consider that in 1984, Reagan
won with 30% of the popular vote. Of those polled, 4% said they voted
for Reagan because “he’s a real conservative”. This
equates to 1% of voters stating they were endorsing conservatism with
their vote. America’s media proclaimed the election “a powerful
mandate for conservatism”. Polls showed that in 1984 over 80%
of Americans supported increases in social spending and a majority favored
cuts in military spending over decreased spending on healthcare. Obviously
the Reagan and his administration chose to curry the favor of 20% of
the population when they implemented policy.
The United States is the
only industrialized nation with no universal health care system. 46
million Americans are uninsured and the WHO recently rated the US healthcare
system as number 37 in the world. Chomsky cited numerous opinion polls,
including those conducted by NBC-Wall Street Journal and the Pew Research
Center. Each poll reflected that over 60% of Americans wanted a universal
health care system. Yet the privatized system is too great a benefit
to the “substantial people”. It is politically “untouchable”.
A nation as wealthy as the United States that does not provide basic
healthcare to all of its people is a failed state.
Deceitful manipulation of
public opinion for political gain is a specialty of US government elites.
As Congress was cutting $20 billion from the Medicaid program, Tom Delay
led the charge (made possible by corporate media) to give Terri Schiavo
the “chance we all deserve”. Where is the duplicity, you
ask? Terri Schiavo was a Medicaid patient.
How Can We the People Reclaim the United States?
What measures would restore
the American government to its Constitutional mandates to “provide
for the general welfare” and to “provide for the common
defense”, return the US to being a law-abiding member of the world
community, and eradicate the “democratic deficit”?
In Failed State, Chomsky
1. accept the jurisdiction
of the International Criminal Court and the World Court.
2. Sign and carry forward
the Kyoto protocols
3. let the UN take the lead
in international crises
4. rely on diplomatic and
economic measures rather than military ones in confronting terror
5. keep to the traditional
interpretation for the UN Charter
6. give up the Security Council
veto and have a “decent respect for the opinion of mankind”,
as the Declaration of Independence advises, even if power centers disagree
7. cut back sharply on military
spending and sharply increase social spending
Beyond Chomsky’s suggestions, here are some avenues the poor,
working and middle class can pursue to put their state back on a path
toward success for them:
1. massive, sustained boycotts of major corporations which engage in
egregiously criminal behavior, in the US or abroad.
2. massive and sustained boycotts of the mainstream media
3. America’s youth refusing to enlist in the military so long
as the United States continues to use its military for purposes other
4. significant numbers of existing military personnel refusing to fight
wars of aggression by following the example of Kevin Benderman and filing
for conscientious objector status
5. the formation of a viable third political party (i.e. Populists,
Socialists, or Labor) which represents the “unsubstantials”
to counter the Democrats and Republicans (both mere vehicles for the
wealthy and elite to maintain power)
6. increased unionization and enhanced cooperation amongst existing
7. massive numbers of Americans declining to engage in over-consumption
8. American consumers limiting their debt to necessities and expenses
for their businesses if they are proprietors
9. wide-spread support of NGO’s that support human rights and
provide poverty relief
10. individual Americans making a conscious effort to educate themselves
and to think critically
11. sweeping efforts to teach America’s youth true American history
and to use their critical thinking skills to question their failed state
12. wide-ranging grass roots efforts to maintain the alternative media
on the Internet, Internet communities and the integrity of the Internet
by limiting control by major corporations
13. individuals engaging in civil disobedience when it is sensible and
Noam Chomsky, one of the
preeminent scholars and moral philosophers of our time, has been largely
ignored by the mainstream media, presumably because of his vehement
dissent against US foreign and domestic policy.
Recently, he has also been
demonized by a number of his fellow dissenters, scholars, and members
of the reality-based community. Some criticize him for his unwillingness
to validate the assertion that 9/11 was perpetrated by the US government.
Others call him a Zionist who is soft on Israel. Some even believe that
Chomsky is actually one the “substantial people” and uses
his brilliant dissent to advocate non-violent change as a means of taming
potentially violent revolutionaries. Still others label him a hypocrite
because of the measure of wealth he has derived from over the course
of his career.
Regardless of what one believes
about Chomsky or his motives, Failed States is a brilliant dissection
of the increasingly inhumane and authoritarian political structure of
the United States. Chomsky advances a highly convincing argument that
America is indeed a failed state whose de facto ruling elite are engaged
in The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy. Like him or not,
Chomsky’s latest work exposes America’s ruling for the world
to see them as the ruthless narcissists they truly are.
is a 39 year old sociopolitical essayist with a degree in liberal arts
and an extensive self-education (derived from an insatiable appetite
for reading). He is a member of Amnesty International and an avid supporter
of Oxfam International and Human Rights Watch. He welcomes responses
or comments on his blog, Thomas Paine's Corner, at http://civillibertarian.blogspot.com/.