By Jason Miller
10 April, 2006
America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence
without civilization in between.
“Why are we over there in Iraq?”
“To protect our freedoms.”
“How are the Iraqis
threatening our freedoms?”
“They attacked us on
“If that is true, why
are so many Americans against the war?”
“I don’t know,
but I think Cindy Sheehan and all the other war protestors should be
rounded up and shot.”
I was involved in this exchange
with a co-worker about two months ago. I was utterly perplexed at how
this individual managed the obvious cognitive dissonance created by
thinking that we are fighting to protect our “freedoms”
while simultaneously holding the notion that non-violent dissidents
“should be rounded up and shot”.
In retrospect, why was I
so surprised? As a vehement critic of the United States government’s
foreign and domestic policies, I have received numerous death threats
from “patriotic” loyalists to the American Empire over the
last year. Recently, a severely brain-washed US resident who maintains
a site called American Jihad issued a “Farwa” (his spelling)
against the editors of Counterpunch, Dissident Voice, and Uruknet and
against dissident writers Mike Whitney and Kurt Nimmo. Many of my essays
have appeared on Dissident Voice and Uruknet, so I suppose I am a target
of the “Farwa” too.
While many death threats
issued by American hate-mongers may be hollow, the nations of the Middle
East do not have the market cornered on fanatical ideologues who commit
acts of terror. Timothy McVeigh, Eric Rudolph, Michael Griffin, Paul
Hill, Ted Kaczynski, Baruch Goldstein, David Lane, Donald DeFreeze,
Clayton Waagner and Earl Krugel are but a few of America’s home-grown
violent extremists. America, and often components of its government,
have a history of assassinating dissidents who become too powerful as
they pursue equality and human rights. Fred Hampton, Malcolm X, RFK,
MLK, and Paul Wellstone each met a premature demise which ended their
efforts to introduce real social justice into the Empire.
Your Mind is our
Actually, I suspect many
of the ardent supporters of the American Empire truly believe that they
are preserving and spreading noble principles like freedom, democracy,
equality, and human rights. There is no shortage of propaganda to convince
them of this “fact”. Delusions and illusions “generously”
provided by the corporate-controlled mainstream media afford Empire
loyalists with the opportunity to avoid the burden of independent thinking.
Sound-bites, canards, propaganda, stereo-types, and white-washed versions
of the truth supply their programmed minds with a virtually endless
loop of rationalizations to justify their approbation of a morally reprehensible
People who continue to nurse
at the bosom of Lady Liberty, the noble symbol of an imaginary land
which has never existed, rail against those who seek peace, social and
economic justice, and human rights. In their perverse worldview, health
care, safety, ample nourishment, and adequate shelter are reserved for
a select segment of the population in the Empire’s homeland. Those
of us who believe in a more just and equitable world are indeed a threat
to the oppressive capitalist imperialism of the United States. To perpetuate
the Empire’s military dominance and parasitic exploitation of
humanity, our attempts to awaken and rally the masses must be stopped
by any means necessary.
Often accusing proponents
of a more just and humane world of seeking “entitlements”
for the poor and oppressed, the foot soldiers of the Empire are actually
struggling with virtually every fiber of their being to preserve what
they believe to be their own entitlements. Since the concept of “might
making right” reinforces their belief that their “special
rights” supersede the Bill of Rights and the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights, it is time to identify and enumerate these exclusive
Inalienable Rights of Select
Citizens of the American Empire
1. We have the right to pre-emptively
attack the nation or region of our choice simply based on our belief
that they may be a threat to the Empire. No evidence necessary.
2. We have established and
will maintain the right to murder an unlimited number of innocent civilians
so long as our military machine does the killing and we label the victims
as “collateral damage”.
3. We have the right to label
whomever we choose as “terrorists” or “enemy combatants”
and to hold them indefinitely without a trial.
4. We are exempt from the
Geneva Conventions and have the right to commit acts of torture or to
rendition our unconvicted prisoners to other countries which will torture
5. We have the right to continue
glorifying and justifying the land theft and genocide we committed against
6. We have the right to continue
to claiming we are the “leader of the free world” when slavery
was a legal institution in our nation until the Civil War, women were
not able to vote until the Twentieth Century, institutionalized segregation
existed until the 1960’s, and we deny 5% of our population (Gays
and Lesbians) equal rights and protection under the Constitution.
7. We have the right to sell
ourselves as a “democracy” despite the fact that we are
a constitutional republic, and despite the fact that corporate interests,
lobbyists, wealthy campaign donors, and Israel shape most of our foreign
and domestic policy.
8. We have the right to bill
ourselves as a “bastion of human rights” (and thus justify
our imperial interventions) despite the fact that we have the highest
prison population in the world, we have a government which tortures
on a wide scale, and we are one of the few “developed” nations
which metes out the death penalty.
9. We have the right to hoard
the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction in the history
of humankind while prohibiting other nations from possessing such weapons.
We also are the only nation with the right to employ WMD’s on
a wide scale, as evidenced by our annihilation of over 100,000 Japanese
10. We have the right to
plunder 25% of the world’s resources to provide for a scant 5%
of the world’s population, while blustering that if the rest of
the world embraced laissez-faire capitalism, they could reap the same
bountiful harvest. (Forget the mathematical impossibilities involved.
Those just get in the way of the propaganda!)
11. We have the right to
continue to empower multi-national corporations with the rights of person-hood,
limit their exposure to criminal prosecution and civil suits, and to
enable them to exploit human beings in other nations. As long as our
corporate friends are showing a profit, they can operate sweat-shops,
facilitate the murder of labor agitators, maintain monopolies, off-shore
American jobs while exploiting the foreign workers who take them, avoid
paying taxes by setting up “shell headquarters” in places
like Bermuda, destroy the environment, and continue the race to the
bottom in wages and benefits, here and abroad.
12. We have the right to
maintain and enhance a socio-economic system that places a significant
portion of the world’s wealth in the hands of about 3 million
people (approximately one percent of the US population). Tax cuts and
an end to estate taxes will ensure that the Empire’s plutocracy
perpetuates its reign. We have the right to foster a malevolent world
economic order which results in 3 billion human beings living on less
than $2 per day.
13. We have the right to
account for half of the world’s military expenditures to “provide
for the common defense” of 5% of the world’s population
while 46 million of our people have no health insurance, 13% of the
overall American population lives in poverty, over a million are homeless,
an alarmingly high percentage of Black America suffers poverty and receives
a pathetic education, and crises like New Orleans result in passive
mass murder and diasporas of “undesirables”.
14. We have the right to
send military recruiters into public schools. Our recruiters have access
to student addresses and phone numbers and we pay them to use propaganda
and financial incentives to entice our youth into sacrificing themselves
for the latest imperial crusade.
15. We have the right to
accrue as much public and personal debt as we deem “necessary”
to perpetuate the American Dream for our nation and to satiate our personal
obsessions with acquiring material possessions.
16. We have the right to impose our hollow, shallow, and violent cultural
values on a world cowed into acceptance by the raw military and economic
power of the American Empire.
17. We have the right to
spy on our citizens, eliminate habeas corpus, and contract private companies
like Blackwater to avoid the constraints of posse comitatus. It is of
no concern to us that our actions seriously conflict with the US Constitution.
18. We have the right to
produce 25% of greenhouse gasses, ignore and discount mounting evidence
of global warming, and refuse to sign the Kyoto Treaty.
19. We have the right to
malign, threaten, intimidate, or kill those within the Empire who have
the audacity to question or oppose our agenda.
20. We have the right to
maintain a corrupt Duopoly consisting of the Republican and Democratic
Parties, which consistently present American voters with candidates
whose goals are to perpetuate the Empire and the agendas of its corporate
and plutocratic leaders.
21. We have the right to
use the IMF and World Bank to impose our economic will on “developing”
nations which we “help” by burdening them with crushing
22. We have the right to
ignore and violate international law while demanding that the rest of
the world (excepting Great Britain and Israel) adhere to it stringently.
23. We have the right to
subsidize and support Israel’s ongoing ethnic cleansing of the
24. We have the right to
concentrate the power of the United States government in the hands of
the Executive Branch under the pretext that it is necessitated by the
“War on Terror”.
25. We have the right to
label those who dare to oppose our invasions or genocides as savages
or terrorists and strip them of their human rights.
There you have it. Now the
American Empire’s principal supporters and beneficiaries have
their own “Bill of Rights”. Ironically, it has more than
twice the number of rights guaranteed to all Americans under the original
Constitutional Amendments. Since the true Bill of Rights is anathema
to their cause, it is essential that the Empire loyalists’ “special
rights” outnumber the rights protected by our Constitution.
A Severe Spiritual
Certainly believing in America’s
and its supporters’ entitlement to these “special rights”
would qualify one as a sociopath (one with minimal concern for the welfare
and feelings of others) within the world community. However, in the
American Empire, those subscribing to such depraved and self-centered
“rights” receive affirmation and acceptance.
Obviously this Bill of Rights
II is my construct and does not formally exist. However, each of the
entitlements I enumerated is necessary to enable the United States to
exist in its current perverse form. If you truly support and pledge
allegiance to the American Empire, this Bill of Rights II represents
the core of your sociopolitical beliefs.
For those of you who embrace
the notion that Divine Providence bestowed these “inalienable
rights” upon you and your nation, I call upon you to search your
souls. I challenge you to do a long and fearless moral inventory. If
you do, and the maleficent elements of the United States of America
have not managed to burn your conscience out of your psyche, I predict
you will begin the journey to rejoin the brotherhood of humanity by
renouncing your support of the American Empire.
If you are so narcissistic
(or perhaps morally bereft) that you have no problem with the means
by which the American Empire sustains its unregenerate existence, at
least consider a pragmatic angle. The United States is pursuing a ruthless
course which will eventually lead to a fierce and violent backlash,
which will probably affect you. The 6.2 billion other members of the
human race are only going to accept so much abuse before they strike
back in a powerful way.
is a 39 year old sociopolitical essayist with a degree in liberal arts
and an extensive self-education. When he is not spending time with his
wife and three sons, researching, or writing, he is working as a loan
counselor. He is a member of Amnesty International and an avid supporter
of Oxfam International and Human Rights Watch. He welcomes responses
at [email protected]
or comments on his blog, Thomas Paine's Corner, at http://civillibertarian.blogspot.com