Is Blind Patriotism Part of Our Problem?
by Gordon Duff
After the 9/11 attack by 20 Islamic students, some funded by the Saudi Royal Family, an immediate wave of patriotic unity swept America. A president who managed to get into office, not thru election, but thru a lawsuit and a narrow decision in a supreme court filled with appointees from Reagan and his father rose from laughability to prominence.
Years later, we are involved in two wars, both going very badly, we are drowning in debt and the constitution is in tatters.
This is the simple truth yet many vets, though a small majority of Americans, for sure, never ask any questions about how any of this happened, how leaders we trusted turned out to be liars, cheats and thieves.
When “patriotism” turns to blind loyalty to leaders whose actions hurt America, patriotism itself part of the problem?
To be mildly honest, for a change, since media is a sewer of deception, lets get clear about government. People in government are generally not very bright. It isn’t just George Bush. Not one in a hundred of these people would survive a serious discussion about anything other than how hard they work to keep jobs that pay so much and require almost no real work at all.
Another simple truth is, we have a government that is a “runaway train” steered, currently, by powerful corporations and wealthy contributors. Is it “unpatriotic” to see this and want a stronger better country led by an honest and democratic government led by people and not money? Why do Americans feel so powerless about their government, so powerful that fewer Americans vote than go to church. Do we expect God to take care of our problems?
A few years ago, seemingly a lifetime ago, Ross Perot came on tv and began telling the truth to Americans about borrowing, taxes, spending and how broken our system was. For some reason, Perot disappeared and his movement floundered. He was right in what he said and most Americans then agreed.
ed to Perot by electing a Republican congress and a Democratic president. Combined, the leaders of two parties cut government spending, stayed out of wars, pulled our massive military forces out of Europe where they had been resting with no serious enemy for longer than any of us knew (the Soviets had faded away long before any of us knew…thank you CIA!) and totally eliminated government borrowing. There was no domestic spying, no secret terrorist enemies and few serious attacks on our country. The dollar had value it has now lost much of and our nation had respect around the world that has long since disappeared
So why would a government that seems so broken make America great and one united, as we were under Bush and the Republicans after 9/11 manage to screw up everything they touch? Is it the Republicans or government itself?
Government is a group of people who, though elected by “the people” are chosen to stand for election by political parties that have always been under the control of special interests, often very nasty ones. Americans make their voting decisions based on faces chosen by Wall Street bankers, insurance companies, a few utterly crazy billionaires (we could make list of these…..any of them could be bad guys in a James Bond movie……sans the underground monorails and minions in jump suits), the oil lobby, the lawyers and doctors unions and, last but not least, the drug companies.
One of my favorite countries to look at is France. There, absolutely everyone assumes that the government is filled with petty crooks who all drink too much, have mistresses and would sell the country out for a candy bar. Whenever you talk to anyone in France, they always know everything that the government does. They have to. They all hate their government.
What do they get from their government? Well, they work less than most. Other than people fixing or sweeping the roads, many French don’t seem to work at all, or not by American standards anyway. There is little infrastructure in France. New buildings aren’t allowed in Paris but fixing hopelessly old buildings is, in itself, a huge industry. Unions, be it dairy owners, grape growers or others often hold the country hostage. France has an immigration problem that makes our seem minor in comparison. France elected a new president on the basis on immigration reform alone, they care that much.
On the other hand, they have free health care that, on average, is a bit better than the care that 40% of Americans pay nearly a trillion dollars for and 60% of Americans can’t get at all. Doctors in France are paid about the same that a Walmart assistant manager gets. Here Doctors make 3 times the yearly wage of the President of France.
Half the people in France are on some kind of government subsidy with kids getting free education, much of the population getting housing assistance and employment guarantees that would scare any American business from ever operating in France.
France is full of both communists and Islamic terrorists but has few terrorist attacks, although pesky foreigners have burn cars in the Paris streets as though they had just lost a basketball game. I think they are learning it from our friends in East Lansing.
There is nothing perfect about France. They have few bathrooms, too may expensive Toll Roads and debt, though small by our standards. They also have nuclear weapons, a relatively large and well equipped army and a space program that works.
What they seem to lack is patriotic citizens who see it as their social and religious duty to support anything crooked politicians ask for. France has a new leader promising them a return to the greatness of Napoleon while keeping the millions of North Africans under control. Their move to the left took them nowhere and our leap to the right nearly destroyed us. What we have in common is government that acts without thinking, government that either tries to fix everyone’s lives or, as in our case, a government trying to seize the worlds oil supply while rummaging thru everyone’s lives from library borrowing records to how much butter we buy at the supermarket.
Europe has a long history of problems with patriotism. For hundreds of years, countries would line their soldiers up facing each other across fields over patriotic issues nobody really understood. How can people be patriotic about countries where they have no votes, few human rights and, in many cases, have to steal to eat? Truth is, patriotism seems to be something in our soul.
After the First World War, patriots in Germany formed the Nazi Party to fight communism, supported by wealthy Americans like John D. Rockefeller and Henry Ford. Ford and Rockefeller supported the German patriots and kept supporting them even when Germany became America’s enemy. It seems that patriotism for the rich and powerful doesn’t have the same rules it has for the poor who do the fighting.
Today, soldiers are fighting in two wars, one clearly an oil war gotten into out of lies and stupidity and the other an honest struggle against a repressive regime that trained and supported terrorists that attacked America. Patriotism ties the two wars together to many Americans, though one of them, the war in Iraq, is an insult to our freedoms and way of life. Through stupidity and using the flag of patriotism as an excuse, Americans have allowed their government to risk losing the important war in Afghanistan while focusing on the war in Iraq that has caused thousands of American dead without any clear understanding other than the fact that rich and powerful contractors with political power have stolen tens of billions from America in war profits and oil and our troops, many wounded and disabled return to no jobs and poor medical care.
Many years ago, Marine General and former Commandant of the Marine Corps, Smedley Butler said “War is a Racket”. He believed that the US sent the Marine Corps into Central America and elsewhere to put fascist governments in power that were friendly to American businesses. He said that powerful forces in America had gotten control of our government and used the military as a tool of business. What he said then, one of our greatest heroes and, perhaps, the greatest Marines, is likely true today.
Calls for patriotism have allowed business to get control of our armed forces to such an extent that most of our military is now fighting a war for oil and big contracts while our enemies are getting stronger.
We read this every day in our papers. Even our own top generals are saying this but our government still claims it is powerless to stop its own crimes.
Should we use the Butler solution? Smedley Butler said that, while American troops are fighting, all top leaders in defense industries (I would add oil) including investors would make exactly the same wage and the lowest ranking soldier in the war. It was his belief that wars would be over quickly or, in most cases, never start at all.
What did he know?
For background, read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smedley_Butler and The Marine Corps Legacy Museum listing: http://www.mclm.com/tohonor/sbutler.html