“America is the only country that went
from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between.”
-- Oscar Wilde
are we over there in Iraq?”
“To protect our freedoms.”
“How are the Iraqis threatening our freedoms?”
“They attacked us on 9/11.”
“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 brainwashed 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.
Violent Extremists Abound
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
Your Mind is our Vessel
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 entity.
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
Inalienable Rights of Select Citizens of the American Empire
1. We have the right to preemptively 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 render our unconvicted prisoners to
other countries which will torture them.
5. We have the right to continue glorifying and justifying the
land theft and genocide we committed against Native Americans.
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 WMDs, as evidenced by our annihilation of over
100,000 Japanese civilians.
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
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
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
19. We have the right to malign, threaten, intimidate, or kill
those within the Empire who have the audacity to question or oppose our
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 debt.
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 Palestinians.
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
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 Malady
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.
Jason Miller 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
or comments on his blog,