Friday, January 26, 2007

Jonathan Schwartz says Read This

And I agree.

Schwartz in Tiny

Dominion Over The World; Also, Be A Good Person

If you haven't yet, I hereby assign you to read Arthur Silber's on-going series "Dominion Over the World":

Part I: "Iraq is the Democrats' War, Too"
Part II: "Why the Stories We Tell Matter So Much"
Part III: "The Open Door to Worldwide Hegemony"
Part IV: "A 'Splendid People' Set Out for Empire"
Part V: "A Global Empire of Bases"

And if you have it to spare, God will bless you if you slip Arthur a few bucks. There are few worthier causes in the blurfosphere.

Part V, the latest installment, ends thusly:
And let me emphasize a point I have made before. If we had toppled Saddam and installed a compliant, basically well-functioning colonial government within a year or two, almost none of those who have been complaining so vehemently about Bush's "incompetence" and "mismanagement" of this immense catastrophe would have had any objection at all. It is not as if they have moral qualms about our wars of aggression and conquest -- so long as they are carried out "efficiently." The fact that Iraq had not attacked us and the additional fact that Iraq did not constitute a serious threat to our country would have been entirely forgotten. Even in the current debate, those facts are rarely mentioned. This is what I have referred to as "The Missing Moral Center."

We are guilty of war crimes on a huge scale, and of the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocent people who never harmed us. Insofar as our national debate is concerned, these overwhelmingly significant facts are unworthy of mention. The full truth is still worse: that there might be a moral objection to what we have done never occurs to most people, including most of those who criticize this administration's performance. The administration has executed the war and occupation remarkably poorly -- but that they had no right to execute it at all is the forbidden thought.

According to this worldview, we are the world's sole superpower, and we should be. We are morally entitled to dictate events around the world, and we are right to have our way. And that is the actual root of almost all the current complaints about the parlous state of Iraq: we have not successfully had our way. This failure, made before the entire world, damages our "credibility," and it lessens our influence. Such an outcome is impermissible for our governing class, and for those who support it. Moral considerations find no place in these calculations.

We have power undreamt of in world history -- but our governing elites can never have enough. Our strategy of global dominance causes untold human suffering, it severely (and probably permanently) undermines our economic well-being and causes profound economic dislocation, it increases the threats we face -- and they still can never have enough. After the Iraq catastrophe, one would think that a reassessment of this strategy would be a minimal requirement. But our elites do not agree: we must increase our military budget, and increase the size of our military -- and everyone applauds the further increase of our already immense power.

Occasionally, I have referred to the phenomenon of pathology as foreign policy. When one contemplates these facts, it is very hard to conclude that anything other than pathology is involved. Our strategy is indefensible, irrational and immensely destructive, and yet almost no one questions it. But this particular pathology is so inextricably woven into our myths about the United States and about ourselves as Americans, that we believe this is simply "the way things are," and the way things ought to be.


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