Tuesday, April 11, 2006

To inaugurate my blog I'm going to back up and post some old stuff I've got, sort of clear out the pipes. Some of these are a bit long, two pages or so, but in looking them over if anything they come out as (in my humble opinion) terrifyingly prescient.

Since Arianna has the Drug War back in play over on HuffingtonPost, I'll start with a piece I wrote in 2002 about the War on Terror and the War on Drugs. have a look oh intrepid reader, and share with me the marvel of how nothing has changed. Plus c'est la change, plus c'est la mem chose.

without further ado...

Okay, enough is enough, President Bush’s conflating of the Drug War and the War on Terrorism, means the Shrub has given up any pretense of working with the ‘opposition’, given up any pretense of working together to face a common threat, and instead is using this crisis to further his own, more importantly his parties, narrow agenda. Actually it is quite funny that he would be the one to introduce a connection between these two into the national debate because the connection between them is something he is least prepared to defend.

The fact is, the ‘War on Drugs’, is un-winnable, destructive to global peace and security, and extremely expensive to no purpose. That is the perspective of those who wonder at the value to society of creating an economic incentive to lawlessness. That is the perspective of those who question the usefulness of the police state and wonder at the societal value of putting millions of people in jail and the creation of a permanent class of federal employees whose livelihood depends on a steady stream of ‘wrongdoers’. Now here’s the perspective of the political class: It provides the perfect fodder for electoral dominance – It will never go away so we can continue to gain electoral strength from it year in and year out. It is so obviously ‘right’ that Mr. and Mrs. Voter can be counted on to support it. It provides a perfect cover for expanding our hegemony overseas. It provides a perfect excuse to expand police powers, to merge the police and the army, and to supply both with advance weaponry and surveillance technology. In fact it provides a good justification for research into such devices. Better still by virtue of being illegal the price of the contraband substance is guaranteed to rise to extreme heights, this in turn creates an extremely wealthy class of people who benefit directly from the very illicit-ness of the contraband good and can therefore be counted on not to organize opposition to its illegality. It creates a class of citizen whose entire livelihood depends on its continued illegality, and on its continued use and availability – the prison guards in our rapidly expanding for-profit prison system. It facilitates the removal of liberals and radicals from the rolls of voters (felons can’t vote). In fact, it’s not a half bad way of financing ventures that may not quite meet the approval of Ma and Pa voter either. It is crucial to understand the following: The more we try to stamp out drug shipments (but not drug users – we can’t be locking up all those rich coke heads, now can we George?) the more profit those who succeed in shipping drugs will make. The more profit they make, the more others will attempt to get a part of their business, and therefore the more drugs will flow. This is the endless spiral of the drug war and why it has not been and never will be ‘won’. Once this spiral begins its motion, a self-perpetuating logic keeps it in place. The entire spectrum of politically powerful individuals from the ‘drug lords’ (both overseas and in the US), to law enforcement, and prison personnel, and finally to politicians, and military planners all want the drug war never to end. Why is it that the right-wing, those removers of government from the back of the people, consistently want to spend billions of dollars de-stabilizing foreign countries fighting ‘drug’ wars when it is their children (come on George, what really went on? And why didn’t you take that test?) who are busy snorting up all the coke they can lay their hands on? You think poor kids can afford $1000 dollar a night habits?

Okay so what does that have to do with the War on Terrorism? The War on Terrorism is a made to order scheme of similarly limitless possibilities. Lets just start with the best of them: It can’t be won. What? You didn’t know that? Nope not a chance. As long as one pissed off farmer with a gun (and there’s nothing like military adventurism in a foreign country to piss off the locals), decides to shoot at a ‘peace keeper’, or five crazed fanatics can buy enough duct tape, and automatic weaponry (which by the way Uncle Sam is only too happy to sell all around the globe) to kidnap a journalist, well, guess what, you’ve got a terrorist on your hands. No this thing is only going to be over when the right wing says its over, and they aren’t going to do that for a very, very long time. Anyone who suggests it might be over is guilty of disloyalty. In fact, by dropping lots of bombs on foreign countries, and unilaterally invading or otherwise attacking anybody that makes a plausible target to the folks back home, they are extremely likely to generate enough terrorists to keep us busy for the next 30 years. Just as with the drug war there is a cycle here where both sides feed off of the other side’s actions. We attack them because they attack us, thus hurting new people who enter in on the side of the terrorists. Worse yet, by responding with ‘overwhelming force’ (which somehow doesn’t quite overwhelm), we make the terrorists seem powerful, dangerous, and important, thus attracting people to their cause. Why is it that terrorism has never ended in Israel? Because they aren’t tough enough? Aren’t mean enough? Don’t stand up for themselves? What a load of horse hockey.

Ever since Communism collapsed the right wing has needed an enemy – some devil to justify their obsession with weapons and warfare. The War on Terrorism is made to order – a fact that is not lost on them. No sane person can oppose it, and yet from it will proceed every single nightmare of our collective unconscious. Search and seizure rules will be removed, surveillance, wiretapping and other more advanced techniques will become routine. The prison system can be expanded and law enforcement personnel increased. Military operations of large scope can justified. Already we are seeing this ‘war’ used an excuse to invade foreign countries. In fact since every continent holds terrorists of one sort or another, justification can be found for establishing global hegemony – with our friends the Russians of course. Political opponents can be vilified, thus ensuring continued success at the ballot box. Military expenditures for every weapon system, not just ones that might help fight terrorism will increase. The fascinating thing though is that this infinite justification for every right wing wet dream will not in fact lead to intelligent thinking about what weapon system are truly useful – useful weapon systems win wars, useless ones prolong wars. Spending 40 billion on a Maginot line in space is not an error at all. True it won’t help in any way shape or form to find Osama, or prevent someone from hijacking a plane, but then, who would want that? If we did that, we might have to stand down on this war, and then where would all those advantages be? No, far more useful is to misdirect public attention onto ‘solutions’ that solve nothing, thus perpetuating the crisis and its bounty of political and military dominance for the right wing. Missile Defense stays.

Americans have been in a collective state of denial, a progressive cycle of know nothing-ness which our beloved rulers have not only encouraged, but in fact enhanced and profited from. The Reagan ‘revolution’ proved that the American public was finally so completely asleep that they could be counted on to go along with any lie, war, or crime with out a complaint. Thus they swallowed hook line and sinker the lie (which has come back even before new deficits) that the deficits of the 80’s (and the debt we still have) were Congresses – and hence the Democrats – fault . Thus they swallowed the lie that the Contra’s were loving, caring, lawful people, and that mining harbors in Nicaragua ‘never happened’. Somehow in the dreams of the American citizens selling weapons (funny how we are always selling weapons to people) to Iran who had only 4 years earlier kidnapped hundreds of US citizens, to fund an illegal war in Central America, was nothing like the constitutional crisis of a man lying about who he was sleeping with. They impeached Clinton, but blamed the whole Iran Contra Affair on a colonel. Best of all the American public believed it!

Wake up America, before its too late. Here is some reality for you: We didn’t ‘get Osama’. He got away – scot free. He is somewhere out there right now plotting the next one. We are not safer now, the military adventurism that our brilliant commander in chief launched played right in to his hands. There are geo-political fault lines of vast proportions opening up. BinLaden knew they would, and don’t worry he didn’t ‘make no mistake’, he knew America would respond militarily – that is precisely what he wanted. We are the most war-like country on the face of the earth. There was no surprise in what happened. What is surprising is how completely that strategy has fractured the geo-political landscape. How thoroughly he has shown up the interlocking web of deceits whose fundamental purpose is to keep the gasoline flowing, and how much the last 6 months have cost the arab tyrannies we have supported for the last 50 years. ‘Make no Mistake’ America, Bin Laden didn’t come from nowhere – his family and the Bush family are deeply aligned, and he knows it. He is the direct result of the military adventurism, and geo-political calculations of the last 50 years of American policies. He is the ‘Hen come home to roost’. Just like Saddam Hussien, and Manuel Noriega before him, he is ‘our boy’, and he has ‘gone native’. To think that we will solve this crisis with still more strong arm tactics, and even more alliances with tyrants (like our good friends the Pakistani’s or the Iranians perhaps?), thieves and killers is not only foolish, but it condemns our children to live in a world more violent, dangerous and ugly than anything we in this country have ever seen. Spetember 11th did not ‘change the world’, this is the way the rest of the world has lived for ages. We are not ‘innocent’ and beyond reproach – this has happened for a reason. What is that reason America? They are not ‘the evil doers’ – these simplistic slogan are designed to keep you asleep, designed to keep you from asking questions that might slow the juggernaut of the right wing takeover. Wakeup America, you are slowly but surely changing. Changing forever, and for the worse.



Blogger Dave Platter said...

Way to go Voice. As for the drug war, check out this NY Mag article which shows how unwinable it really is.

6:14 AM  

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