Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Tribalization of America; Potential for Military Coup; a Quisling Commission

by Bernie Quigley, for The Free Market News Network, 12/21/06

I have a reasonable solution to the war in the Middle East that I think could satisfy George’s Bush’s need for more soldiers. A military draft. As the U.S., Israel and the Saudis line up with the Sunnis against Iraqi and Iranian Shiites with the Russians maybe, it looks like this religious war could go on for a long while. It looks like it could get to be a great big war now.

My solution is that we should establish a draft but only draft people of those religious persuasions which are warring; they and their billion dollar lobbyists who want this war. This one, although I can’t really figure it out, seems to be about Christians, Jews and Muslims, so we could draft people with only those religious persuasions. I’m a Buddhist and have no particular interest in what these warring parties do.

I don’t think it will happen, because there is still a spark of life force within the American people. But Bush’s war is now John McCain’s war. Bush, that issues-addled President, has shown his complete contempt for James A. Baker, his father’s fixer, and the Council of Elders conclusion that his attempts at manly warfare are a duck-footed failure. Instead Bush is taking the McCain path of filling failure with more carnage and sending more troops, without any new overriding strategy or objective. Gates will get the same passive aggressive treatment John Danforth got – like Gates, another of Daddy-o’s competent and capable colleagues who was quickly driven out of his UN post and humiliated by Karl Rove, Boy George’s fixer. As said, this President has issues. McCain, a fighter pilot with only tactical military experience, is probably less capable of strategic thinking than Tommy Franks. It is the same path to failure which we took in Vietnam, but now the stakes are much higher.

This is not Vietnam. Today, in the climate after 9/11, we Americans honor our soldiers and the truth is we did not in Vietnam. Most of the military commanders at the helm today served in Vietnam. They don’t like the way they were treated then by Congress, by the war Presidents, by Robert McNamara, Secretary of Defense in that period, who wrote years later that throughout he hadn’t a clue, and by the American people. There is still blood on their hands. Among the best and brightest at the military command today there are vows by these honorable warriors never to let that happen again. Now it is happening again, and Bush is treating the volunteer army and Marine Corps like peasants swooped up by the handful by Peter the Great, endlessly away from their families and loved ones and off to fight the Suleiman. But there is potential now and it is entirely possible that Bush today faces a revolt by military commanders.

It would be in fact, an American coup d’etat.

Technically, we are approaching that phase of political devolution. Coup d’etat occurs in tribal or underdeveloped countries or emerging democracies when elected political institutions fail. In the last six years we have seen the failure of Congress in voting for a war resolution it knew to be a deception and even more so we have seen a complete failure of the press at the highest ranks. The press accommodated, appeased and enabled war fever and absolutely egged on the Dungeon & Dragons warriors in the Oval Office. We have seen the failure of the Supreme Court in propping up an illegal election. And most important, we have seen the failure of the American people who let this all come to pass without a squeak. The Judiciary, the Legislative, the Executive, the Press, the People: In the last six years we have experienced a catastrophic failure of American self-government. The only other major institution left in this country with its honor intact is the military.

We can no longer call ourselves an Enlightenment country; we are no longer a country based on reason; a country governed by laws and not gentry. We have become a country governed and territorialized by tribes. When Anne Applebaum of The Washington Post writes it will usually be about either Russia or Israel; the concerns of her tribe. When John McCain toadies and grovels before the Christian Right which calls him a coward, he is bowing to tribalism. We have black tribes, gay tribes and Hispanic tribes now, as Bill Richardson runs for President next year exclusively to be the “Hispanic candidate.” But none of these are real tribes; they are just odd, ethnic and ad hoc groupings of political factions and lobby groups, including the religious parties. Some of their agents are unquestionably quislings; agents of foreign countries – in the Senate, in the press, at State and perhaps even in the Administration (and perhaps even George W. Bush). A Quisling Commission to determine the extent of the influence of foreign countries on American destiny, starting with Saudi Arabia and Israel, should be the first order of business of the new Congress.

I prefer people like Russ Feingold; the American Senator from Wisconsin. If you learn something about Russ Feingold it will also teach you something about Wisconsin. And if you are from there you might say, “Hello, Wisconsin!” as they shout at the end of “That Seventies Show” with native pride and the self-confidence and independence of mind and spirit. It comes naturally with a sense of place. It is that native self confidence which led Senator Feingold to be among the very few who stood up in the Senate in opposition to the infamous Iraq vote.

That’s what Jefferson intended.

The new tribalism is an end product of Hamilton’s view of federalism; a view that creates one large stew with centralized power, fortified by corporation capital and influenced by lobbyists. Jefferson feared this. He wanted us to be a country of representative regions; a country of individuals like Russ Feingold who reflected the culture and even the natural history of their regions. With a sense of place people become closer to the earth, to nature and each other. Without it they become prisoners of ideas and abstractions and dupes to the lobbyists of those abstractions.

There is a classic argument in favor of the draft, brought forth today by New York’s Charlie Rangel, that this war would never have taken place if a draft was in place. I disagree. This war would never have taken place if people understood themselves to be related to a region as Jefferson intended, rather than to an economic or cultural abstraction. It would compartmentalize tribalism for one thing and give people something substantive to hold on to. Make them citizens of a place rather than an economic zone.

And if regions uninterested in the religious warfare of tribes other than their own were not interested, they would have the Constitutional right not to attend. As Jefferson intended.


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