Sunday, June 22, 2008

Once Upon A Time

I haven't posted much recently, because of school, work and laziness. I just want to comment about some Arthur Silber articles that I've been reading. Recently, he's been belittling the efforts to stop the Telecom amnesty bill from going through. This is namely because, in the end, it won't make difference because FISA itself is a system that is designed to allow surveillance to be conducted with just a rubber stamp court anyway and the U.S. government and its connected vested interests are more than able to prevent any meaningful punishment to those involved in the domestic spying. Now I can see his point that this is fruitless exercise ultimately because it is not at all reasonable to assume that the guilty will be punished. Their money, and more importantly, connections to the political power structure make them immune to any consequences of their actions, other than perhaps comparatively ridiculous "scandals" regarding extramarital affairs or homosexuality. What I would contend, though, is that his focus for what should really be focus of activism should be, against war with Iran, isn't much better.

The consequences of a war with Iran would be disastrous, but I don't see how action against it would in reality be more than quixotic, even with the best results. What peace movement in America has ever ended war? The Vietnam protest movement didn't do it, that war churned on year after year, even after opposition had already become overwhelming. American involvement did not end until the situation was totally untenable. The great myth of Vietnam, that "Antiwar Unrest Ended the War", is utter fiction, the end of that war was do to different factors entirely. The myth has been perpetuated by many but most importantly, "conservatives" (advocates of America's unilateral intervention in every conflict in American "Interests") and those in military as a Dolchsto├člegende because they have much to gain if Vietnam was only lost due to lack of support on the home front. Their discredited ideas would gain currency once again and further wars could be waged. So even if a large scale movement against a war with Iran could be setup, would even matter? As much as I'd like to think it would make a difference, I seriously doubt it, in part because of essays Mr. Silber has written and what I've seen just in the past year and a half of Congressional behavior. In all likelihood, if it even took off as a major movement, it would merely be co-opted by some scheming opportunist for their own political gain.

Now as much as I wish this wasn't true, I've been reading and learning about foreign policy more and more lately, I haven't seen contrary evidence. Even the collapsed Soviet Union gave rise to a kleptocracy and now a dictatorship. While advocating for abolition of the oppressive and criminal state of the U.S. is all well and good, I'm not holding my breath for that miracle. In the end, a slightly less abusive government is all that can be realistically be hoped for, most unfortunately.

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