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(DV) Petersen: Darkness Over Empire







Darkness Over Empire
by Kim Petersen
November 14, 2005

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Why is it that the US military's use of napalm in Fallujah is a surprise? It does symbolize whopping moral hypocrisy in that the US government insisted the casus belli for invading Iraq was that country’s asserted possession of weapons of mass destruction; so what does the US military do? It uses the self-same weapons on Iraqi civilians: napalm is a banned chemical weapon.  

But hypocrisy drenched in evil is not new to US politicos, nor was it new to history’s miscreants. Adolf Hitler in his Mein Kampf wrote: “… the world will be governed by the law of natural distribution of power, and then those nations will be victorious who are of more brutal will and are not the nations who have practiced self-denial.” The US embodies this pre-Straussian philosophy close to its breast. It is for the world to see, as the US regime continues to pressure Iran and northern Korea over their alleged nuclear intentions while defying nuclear treaties, upgrading their own nuclear arsenal, and ignoring the possession of nuclear weapons by US client states such as Israel. 

Why should the use of napalm surprise anyone when the US authorities approve the use of indiscriminate weapons such as cluster bombs? Why should the use of napalm surprise when it uses depleted uranium-laced weapons that are strongly linked to the ill health of US troops (rendering them to the status of cannon fodder)? Heavy bombing and a wholesale disregard for Iraqi civilians (over 100,000 of which have been slaughtered), undeniably adduces a callous insouciance for human life. 

Cynicism aside, the great surprise is that an aggression which represents what the Nuremberg Tribunal deemed “the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole,” affirmed as illegal by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, can continue unhindered. The party guilty of the “supreme international crime” carries on its occupations and egregiously manipulates and imposes its will on the international body politic to further its econo-imperialist aims: absolving Israel of condemnation for its ethnic cleansing and genocide, and targeting the victims of US-Israeli imperialism -- Iran, Syria, and the colonialistically labeled “insurgents” [1] of Iraq. 

The whole illegal enterprise of the aggression of Iraq has been arrantly exposed. The Downing Street memos indicate prima facie: “the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy” prior to the invasion of Iraq. [2] But as the mathematician Bertrand Russell once lamented, “There is no nonsense so errant that it cannot be made the creed of the vast majority by adequate governmental action.”  

Meanwhile, the US runs its own gulag archipelago around the world, where individuals deemed by the US state to be its enemies are deprived of human rights, detained indefinitely, and subject to torture. The horrors of torture cannot adequately conveyed by the word itself. How can a word capture the emotionally charged imagery and excruciating pain of electrical shocks delivered to one’s genitals? Of ensanguined brooms shoved deep into one’s rectum. Of being forced to stand upright, naked, and shivering for hours on end while deprived of sleep?  

The administration of President George Bush is reeling from a few pitfalls that it has encountered but its agenda to entrench a Pax Americana proceeds apace. [3] That the Bush regime lies to attain its malicious ends is unsurprising. As authentic journalist I.F. Stone stated, “Among all the things I'm going to tell you today about being a journalist, all you have to remember is two words: governments lie.” Today, Stone might add: “And the media regurgitates government lies as the truth.”  

Since progressives are so aware of the importance of language (as George Orwell and others have elucidated at length) and so aware of the consent manufactured by the corporate media, one wonders at the willingness of progressives to label the corporate media as the mainstream media and to relegate themselves to a mere alternative media. [4] The corporate media has thoroughly prostituted itself to profit. It has no rightful place in either the alternative or mainstream. In fact, some would argue that the corporate media through its dissemination of disinformation and propaganda is guilty of crimes against humanity. [5] 

The war criminals continue to set their sights on self-designated enemies. The increasingly irrelevant UN abets the empire in spreading the “scourge of war” to small countries. The Ethic Cleansing Machine known as Israel continues to destroy Palestinians. Syria and Iran find themselves in the crosshairs of imperialists -- inundated by the aggressive propaganda of the US state that has long ago forfeited claim to any pretense of credibility. Progressive movements in South America are demonized. 

Toward a Wider Middle East War 

Whether or not Syria is assisting or lax toward the resistance in Iraq provides no justification for a US attack against Syria. Since the US invasion of Iraq was illegal, therefore, by any semblance of morality and logic, the US has no legitimate right to occupy that country. It is the Zionist entity and the US that stand to gain from manufacturing a world consensus against Syria and Iran. It is they who stood to gain from the 10 November Amman bombings. 

Ha’aretz reported, “Israelis … at the Radisson SAS were evacuated before the bombing by Jordanian security forces, apparently due to a specific security alert.” [6] 

The LA Times interviewed Amos N. Guiora, a former senior Israeli counter-terrorism official who boasted, either oblivious to the implication of his words or so thoroughly fascist as to no longer care: It means there was excellent intelligence that this thing was going to happen. The Times writers were adroit enough to ask why the Jordanians working at the hotel were not evacuated. [7] It was, after all, supposedly Jordanian security that informed the Israelis but apparently not their own citizens nor the head of Palestinian military intelligence Maj. Gen. Bashir Nafeh and officials of a Chinese Defense delegation who were killed. [8] 

Who was to blame? Ha’aretz quoted an anonymous police official: The attacks carry the trademark of Al-Qaida. It was no wonder then that the phantom bane of the US occupation forces in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, would be blamed; later, a woman identified as al-Zarqawi’s sister Sajida al-Rishawi would be captured and confess. 

The Amman bombings have prodded the dictator king Abdullah to mobilize Jordan, “a key ally of both the United States and Israel [as noted by Ha’aretz]” to more openly back the US War on Terrorism.  

Faced with a relentless Iraqi resistance, neighboring Jordan seems to provide US occupation forces in Iraq a politically dependable withdrawal option as their control outside Baghdad’s Green Zone evanesces. 

A covetous, overextended empire begins to unravel. Despite the occupier’s stated good intentions, Iraqis are not interested in having US-style democracy and freedom lethally imposed on them. 

Preserving the Monroe Doctrine

But it is palpably obvious that the US regime is not about spreading freedom (except the freedom to be killed, impoverished, and be ruled by a US-appointed quisling regime). Neither is the US regime about spreading democracy. It supports various dictatorial regimes in the world and overthrows democracies that do not conform to US dictates. Haiti is a most recent example, where the popular President Jean Bertrand Aristide was deposed by the US and its minions and forcibly banished to Africa. 

The “elite” capitalist ruling class has decreed that the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela must be overturned. Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez spearheads a surging progressive movement in Latin America. Backed by the people and helped by rising petroleum profits, Chávez confronts the US state that has backed a CIA coup plot against him [9] and funded a constitutional challenge to his rule. Chávez has, until now, withstood the hegemonic ambitions against Venezuela and its people through their democratic support. 

The progressive agendas of Aristide and Chávez undermine the profiteering motivation of US capitalists. In 1971, CIA-backed rightists deposed the Chilean government, executed the elected president Salvador Allende, and began a reign of terror. With typical Machiavellianism, Henry Kissinger quipped disdainfully of Chilean democratic aspirations: "I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist because of the irresponsibility of its own people." 

The Bolivarian Revolution led by Chávez poses the threat of a good example. If the standard-of-living rises for the populace of Venezuela, it stands as a fillip to the Bolivarianization of all Latin America. This imperils the Monroe doctrine, which declares the western hemisphere to be the domain of the United States. 

With this in mind, during the 2002 elections in Bolivia US Ambassador Manuel Rocha issued a thinly veiled warning not to elect the socialist candidate Evo Morales: “As a representative of the United States, I want to remind the Bolivian electorate that if you elect those who want Bolivia to become a major cocaine exporter again, this will endanger the future of U.S. assistance to Bolivia.” Morales fell just short of victory in 2002, but after a ruinous and highly unpopular flirtation with neoliberalism, much to US government chagrin, Morales is poised to perhaps become the first indigenous president in Bolivia. 

But the neoliberal war is not only external; it is being foisted domestically as well. Thus in the US, the plutocrats cut taxes for themselves, give crumbs to the proletariat, mortgage the next generation’s future and use their bodies to fight wars for their further enrichment -- dropkicking the people of the developing world into deeper immiseration. 

This is the outcome of the corruption and malignancy, the vile and the bile of capitalism and its outward manifestation of imperialism. It is a system that worships cupidity and nourishes conceit, racism, and hatred. It militates against co-operation and pits human against human. People are tainted by its fetid malfeasance and robbed of their moral core, establishing ego and selfishness as the hallmarks of capitalism. 

But indifference to the suffering of fellow humans exacts a price from us all. The thirteenth century Italian philosopher Dante Alighieri reproved bystanders: “The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.”

It is a darkness that pervades the nethermost bowels of the human soul -- a darkness that feeds on indifference. 

Kim Petersen, Co-Editor of Dissident Voice, lives in the traditional Mi'kmaq homeland colonially designated Nova Scotia, Canada. He can be reached at:


[1] Even the courageous monitor of power centers Robert Fisk has written in a language that approximates that of the power centers. "What Does Democracy Really Mean In The Middle East? Whatever The West Decides," The Independent (UK), 20 August 2005. Fisk wrote, "I have been driving the dingy, dangerous, oven-like streets of Baghdad all week, ever more infested with insurgents and their informers, the American troops driving terrified over the traffic islands, turning their guns on all of us if we approach within 50 meters." I am taken aback by the vermin-like reference to Iraqi resistance fighters in the phrase "infested with insurgents." In addition, the word “occupation” or variant doesn’t pop up once in the article.  

[2] Downing Street Documents.

[3] “Building America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century,” Project for the New American Century, September of 2000. The White Paper which lays out the neoconservatives’ hegemonic ambitions to achieve global dominance. 

[4] “Internet study shows Canadians are heavy users,” CBC News, 2 November 2005. A recent study revealed heavy internet use among Canadians -- averaging 13.5 hours online a week. This impacted television viewing (3.7 hours less per week than non-users) and activities: more time spent surfing for information than engaging in entertainment (6.1 hours versus 3.3 hours weekly). A significant 65 per cent of internet users reported accessing news sites at least once a week.  

[5] “Disinformation: A Crime Against Humanity and a Crime Against Peace,” Press Action, 17 February 2005. Following four days of presentation at the July 2004 Halifax International Symposium on Media and Disinformation, the participants unanimously declared disinformation to be a crime against humanity and a crime against peace. 

[6] Ashraf Khalil, Ranya Kadri and Josh Meyer, “Suicide Attacks Kill at Least 57 at 3 Hotels in Jordan's Capital,” LA Times, 10 November 2005. 

[7] Yoav Stern and Zohar Blumenkrantz, “Scores dead in three Amman hotel bombings; Israelis evacuated before attack,” Ha’aretz, 10 November 2005. 

[8] Henk Ruyssenaars, “Why the Amman Bombings? Who Profits from all the Killings?Foreign Press Foundation, 11 November 2005.

[9] “
Bush Administration Behind Failed Military Coup in Venezuela,” Project Censored, 2004. The US-instigated April coup attempt was predicted by Narco News on 20 February 2002. See Kim Alphandary, “Venezuela Faces U.S. Coup Plot: Washington Seeks End to World’s Truest Democracy.” 

Other Recent Articles by Kim Petersen

* Anti-Israel?
* Syria in the Imperialist Crosshairs 

* The Struggle to Restore the Dignity of Labor
* Gizen: Perverted Principle in Japan
* The Need to Speak Out: Canada’s Governor Generalship
* Antithetical Heroism
* Progressives and the Imperialist Line
* Whose Salmon?

* American Violence in Iraq: Necrophilia or Savagery? Part Five
* American Violence in Iraq: Necrophilia or Savagery? Part Four
* American Violence in Iraq: Necrophilia or Savagery? Part Three
* American Violence in Iraq: Necrophilia or Savagery? Part Two
* American Violence in Iraq: Necrophilia or Savagery? Part One
* Darwinian Survival of the Fittest Meets Wal-Mart and Hiroshima
* Making Sense of Terrorism
* The Message from the London Bombings
* Face to Face with the Absurd
* The Counterrevolution: Capitalism’s Ugly Head in China
* Damage Control Over the Downing Street Memo
* Rivaling Pax Americana
* Angels of Death
* Hating the Bible
* Canada’s Oil Invasion
* Eating Profit: Frustrations of the Salmon-Farming Industry
* Hypocrisy Abounding
* Fueling Imperialism: It’s the Crude, Dude
* Progressivism and Free Speech for All
* Objectivity in Independent Media, Part 4
* Objectivity in Independent Media, Part 3
* Objectivity in Independent Media, Part 2
* Objectivity in Independent Media, Part One
* The Never Again Mantra
* The Rationale of Suicide Bombing
* Gauging the Worth of US Troops in Neocon Eyes
* A Sporting Revolution: The Parecon Hockey League
* A Stain Upon the Sea: Profit Over Wild Salmon
* Zionist Propaganda in Progressive Wool
* Securing Canadian Political Obeisance: Halifax Greets Bush
* The Footprint of an Out-of-Control Behemoth Leaving a Trail of Bodies in its Wake

* Progressive Efflux
* Bamboozling Morality
* A Pretext for War
* Chomsky and the Hopelessness of Lesser Evilism