Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Bipartisan Brotherhood of Plunder (Updated)

"Remove justice, and what are kingdoms but gangs of criminals on a vast scale? What are criminal gangs but petty kingdoms?

A gang is a group of men under the command of a leader, bound by a compact of association, in which the plunder is divided according to an agreed convention. If this villainy wins so many recruits from the ranks of the demoralized that it acquires territory, establishes a base, captures cities and subdues peoples, it then openly arrogates to itself the title of `kingdom,' which is conferred on it in the eyes of the world, not by the renouncing of aggression but by the attainment of impunity.

For it was a witty and a truthful rejoinder which was given by a captured pirate to Alexander the Great. The king asked the fellow, `What is your idea, in infesting the sea?' And the pirate answered, with uninhibited insolence, `The same is yours, in infesting the earth! But because I do it with a tiny craft, I'm called a pirate; because you have a mighty navy, you're called an emperor."

St. Augustine, The City of God, book IV, chapter 4.

One obvious difference between a common criminal gang, and the specialized version of a criminal gang called a "government," is this: Common gangs don't expect their victims to be abjectly grateful to be on the receiving end of criminal violence, and even to pay for the privilege of being plundered.

The more vicious variety of gangs called "government" not only expect such gratitude and tribute, they demand it. Indeed, they will literally kill to have it, sacrificing not only the lives of its victims, but of as many of its enforcers as may be necessary.

For five years, Washington has waged a war of aggression against Iraq in an undisguised effort to steal that country's energy resources and territory (the latter to be used as a staging base for additional imperial ventures in the region). Between the first and second Iraq wars, Washington led a multinational embargo of that country that annihilated hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians and immiserated millions more. For several decades leading up to the 1991 Gulf War, Washington materially supported Saddam -- who was brought to power with U.S. assistance -- in his wars of aggression, both foreign and domestic.

And yet after all of this, with Washington losing its war in Iraq (as justice demands that it does), the political class that dominates our country has the temerity to rebuke Iraq for refusing to pay the costs of recovering from the damage "our" government has inflicted on it.

This is illustrated by a proposal favored by the Democrat-controlled Senate to "force the Iraqi government to spend its own surplus in oil revenues to rebuild the country, sparing U.S. dollars," in the words of an AP account.

According to Senator Carl Levin, the Michigan Democrat who heads that body's Armed Services Committee, the only way to end the war and occupation is "to put continuous and increasing pressure on the Iraqis to settle their political differences, [and] to pay for their own reconstruction with their oil windfalls...."

As a long-time member of the parasite class, Levin has an uncanny instinct for finding exploitable wealth, and before listening to General Petraeus's pointless testimony on April 8 the senator pointed out that Iraq has $30 billion in "surplus funds" deposited in U.S. banks.

Speaking from across the exceptionally narrow divide separating the two branches of our Ruling Party, Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine seconded Levin's suggestion: "Isn't it time for the Iraqis to start bearing more of [the war's] expenses, particularly in light of the windfall in revenues due to the high price of oil?"

Imagine, for a second, that you are an Iraqi whose country had been tyrannized for decades by one of Washington's most loathsome subcontractors, brutalized by a ten-year U.S.-led embargo, pummeled by three U.S.-arranged wars (the Iran-Iraq war and the two U.S.-led direct assaults), and rendered a complete shambles by a five-year occupation and escalating inter-communal war.

How would you, were you that Iraqi, react if you became aware that smug, comfortable, well-fed members of the U.S. Senate who most likely are profiting personally from this war had rebuked you for failing to pay your "share" of the costs for inflicting such misery and horror on your country, your community, your family?

Were I that Iraqi, I would be irresistibly tempted to tell such people that they could go inseminate themselves.

Washington is well on its way to losing the war in Iraq, and, once again, justice demands that outcome. We are constantly told -- even by His Holiness, Barack Obama -- that all Americans want the war to "succeed." This isn't true: Most Americans want the war to end, and have come to understand that it should never have been started in the first place.

At some point, many Americans are going to understand, and even be brave enough to say, that our government must lose that war, lest it be emboldened to carry out similar criminal ventures in the future. Indeed, marching out of Iraq now just as fast as we can is the only course of action that would prevent the disaster described by William Lind (and foreseen by many of us at the outset of the entire enterprise): The loss of an entire army in the Persian Gulf region.

The longer U.S. troops remain in Iraq, the likelier it is that they will be caught up in the war with Iran for which our rulers transparently lust -- and that war, as Lind points out, would mean that the U.S. force in Iraq would be cut off from re-supply and facing either a humiliating disorganized retreat or some time as involuntary recipients of Iranian hospitality.

The only rational alternative is to withdraw now, as quickly as possible. But at the Petraeus hearings, nobody in the World's Greatest Deliberative Body was willing to countenance that course of action, and the Grand and Glorious Decider has ruled that the troops will remain in Iraq for the foreseeable future.

The war took their children, now Washington wants to give them the bill: "Ungrateful" Iraqis, such as these fathers burying their murdered children, should help pay the costs of the war our government has inflicted on them.

During his face-time at the Petraeus hearing, Obama (cue trumpets, hosannas, and gasps of awe-struck reverence), the putative anti-war candidate for president, made a point of saying that although our "resources" are "finite," and the war in Iraq is an enormous strategic blunder, " no one is calling for a precipitous withdrawal."

My first reaction to that statement is to ask, "Why the hell not?"

On further reflection, however, I'm constrained to point out that Obama's assertion is entirely false -- unless, of course, removing our troops after five years of pointless brutality would be "precipitous" action, and the Republican Congressman representing Victoria, Texas who urges immediate withdrawal is named "No One" rather than "Ron Paul."

How many more "resources" -- that's collectivist corporate-speak for human lives, both American and Iraqi -- should be devoured by that war in order to spare the self-image of our political class? That's the only reason -- apart from the imperial designs beyond Iraq referred to above -- to keep American troops in Iraq. With the noble exception of Ron Paul (and perhaps a few others), nobody in either wing of the Imperial Party wants to see our government defeated in Iraq, and they're willing to keep wasting irreplaceable human lives simply to avoid that embarrassment.

Justice demands that the war -- which was rooted in deliberate lies, and has blossomed into an epochal atrocity -- be brought to an end, and that those responsible for it be tried for their crimes against the Constitution. But rather than renouncing the aggression against Iraq -- and repenting for it -- the criminal gang that rules us will continue to plunder that country, and our own economy, as it seeks to attain impunity.

There's nothing new or particularly unusual about this, of course. This is how the criminal syndicates called "governments" operate, at least until they are conquered by even more ruthless gangs, or collapse under the burden of their own accumulated stupidity and corruption.

Update: Bush says U.S. won't vacate Iraq until after war with Iran

In his speech earlier today (April 10), Bush oh-so-casually informed both U.S. servicemen deployed (or to be deployed) to Iraq, and the Iraqis themselves, that the occupation will not end until after Iraq, a country with a Shi'ite majority population and a Shi'ite-dominated government, takes part in another war with Iran:

"[W]hile this war is difficult, it is not endless. And we expect that as conditions on the ground continue to improve, they will permit us to continue the policy of return on success.

The day will come when Iraq is a capable partner of the United States. The day will come when Iraq's a stable democracy that helps fight our common enemies and promote our common interests in the Middle East.

And when that day arrives, you'll come home with pride in your success and the gratitude of your whole nation."

Of course, this new metric of "success" means that the homecoming won't happen until many years from now, if ever.

Earlier in the speech, Bush referred to Iraq as "the convergence point for two of the greatest threats to America in this new century: al-Qaida and Iran."

As everybody whose synapses have not been Hannitized can recognize, al-Qaeda did not have a foothold in Iraq until after the U.S. occupied that long-suffering country. It's difficult to believe that the Iraqis are suffused with gratitude to Washington for inflicting al-Qaeda on them. And despite the fact that Iran does aid its surrogates in the Iraqi insurgency, it is not widely seen as a threat in Iraq: Witness the fact that Iranian figurehead Ahmadenijad can strut around openly during his visits to Baghdad, while Bush has to make brief, furtive, unannounced visits to the country he supposedly liberated.

The line about Iraq being required to "fight our common enemies" isn't just a piece of throwaway motivational rhetoric: The Bush Regime has escalated its war propaganda against Tehran.

So the only way out of the disastrous Iraq war, according to the adults who script Bush's puerile sound bites, is to ignite a regional conflagration that -- as noted above -- will most likely result in the entire destruction of our military force deployed in the area.

And all of this is being done by way of presidential decree. The Regime insists that Bush, having taken us into two undeclared wars in the near East, can start a third with Iran at any time he considers suitable.

On sale now!

Dum spiro, pugno!


MOT said...

When I see innocent children caught in the crossfire and laid low for being in the way of freedom-dealing Yanks I have to put myself in their parents shoes and can damn well see where they want to kill as many as they can. Any right minded American who has a shred of decency in them would never sign up to inflict this misery on anyone and I don't care what excuses are used whether its because you're "poor... unemployed, uneducated... whatever!" Patriotism is a slimy excuse used time and time again to whitewash the tombs of their conscience.

MOT said...

BTW... The Schoolhouse Rocks styled video clip is spot on!

Anonymous said...

What is the hope? What are the answers?

Anonymous said...

Did you not see Ron Paul's questioning of Petreus and Crocker on C-Span? He lets them have it straight up and between the eyes.

Anonymous said...


what ron paul should have asked him was, "without a declaration of war from congress, would you allow forces under your command to be used in actions against iran, or would you allow the transfer of forces under your command that you know will be used to attack iran?"

bottom line: there is no end to this thing until god steps in. and the good news there is that He is in control. doesn't look that way, and we are asking why He is taking so long...but in in the end , it'll all work out.


Anonymous said...

Brilliant essay. Knocks the socks off the WaPo crap that won Pulitzer Prizes.

Chilling to see the thug-like furtiveness on the faces of Betrayus and Crocker, as Ron Paul asks them whether they can bomb Iran without Congressional authorization. They both answer like Mafia capos on the witness stand ... "I don't know nothin', nobody tells me anything." Paul witheringly points out that they obviously don't know the Constitution, which they took an oath to honor.

After five years in Iraq (and more to come), an honest assessment is that our culture is a degraded one of cynical, brutal, psychopathic murderers. The rubber-stamp Congress unconsciously parodies the former Supreme Soviet. Too bad the Soviets didn't retain Red and White factions of the Communist party, to trot out as a faux-choice democratic debate like the U.S. Congress.

Anonymous said...

Great news; the Fourth Amendment has been reinstated! From the WaPo:


Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey told senators yesterday that a 2001 Justice Department memo insisting that Fourth Amendment safeguards against unreasonable searches did not cover military activities within the United States is "not in force."

Under sharp questioning from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) at an Appropriations Committee hearing, Mukasey said that the "Fourth Amendment applies across the board, regardless of whether we're in wartime or in peacetime," even though the memo by the department's Office of Legal Counsel had concluded otherwise.


"Ha ha, I didn't say that any other amendments still apply," Mukasey snickered after the hearing.

Sorry, I made that up. But it's not really a joke.

Anonymous said...

The patience of all other nations is ticking. Particularly those of the China. China has large oil interests in Iran and will never forget - should we choose to invade. In the typical asian fashion, she cordially bides her time, waiting until her middle class is strong enough to afford the goods she makes whereupon she will cut her ties to our worthless dollar and as we sink utilize her ever sophisticated military to drive a death blow into the heart of Uncle Sams Empire. Thus the world will no longer be covered red white and blue. A hypothetical scenario - yes but a highly probable one at that.

slim pickens rodeo said...

The slavemasters need war to make sweeping social changes so get used to war. Bomber McCain seems to like war as none of his offspring will be going.

Anonymous said...

yes but war requires money and currently the 100 year wars bomber mccain wants to fight are being funded by nations that have vital interests in countries that we want to blow to smithereens. I have had had experience doing business with the chinese. They are extremely shrewd, extremely patient and will wait a long time before exacting retribution. If crossed they ultimately will drive the govt of this country right to its knees.

Anonymous said...

Spare a thought for one of the pitiful victims of this site's pointed tirades:


Alberto R. Gonzales, like many others recently unemployed, has discovered how difficult it can be to find a new job. Mr. Gonzales, the former attorney general, who was forced to resign last year, has been unable to interest law firms in adding his name to their roster, Washington lawyers and his associates said in recent interviews.

He has, through friends, put out inquiries, they said, and has not found any takers. What makes Mr. Gonzales’s case extraordinary is that former attorneys general, the government’s chief lawyer, are typically highly sought.

A longtime loyalist to George W. Bush dating to their years together in Texas, Mr. Gonzales was once widely viewed as a strong candidate to be the first Hispanic-American nominated one day to the Supreme Court. A graduate of Harvard Law School, he carried an impressive personal story as the child of poor Mexican immigrants.

Despite those credentials, he left office last August with a frayed reputation over his role in the dismissal of several federal prosecutors and the truthfulness of his testimony about a secret eavesdropping program. He has had no full-time job since his resignation, and his principal income has come from giving a handful of talks at colleges and before private business groups.


Gosh, maybe Alberto should ring up his colleague at Berkeley Law, John Yoo.

In the meantime, why not turn his practiced hand to comedy? How about a graphic novel, "101 Ways to Torch the Constitution"? Man, that burning parchment sure makes for some tasty weiners and marshmellows! Go for it, Alberto! Tu eres Da Hombre! LOL!

John Polomny said...

What is really frightening about William Lind's order of battle is how will the people in the US react to the complete destruction of their army complete with video of US POWs being marched through Tehran? Will they finally rise up against this government or will they agree to a full mobilization ala WW2 to go teach those "ragheads" a lesson. Heres hoping for the best.

Anonymous said...

This Nationalism in the form of U.S v. China is the false dichotomy that many interest groups want, from war mongers to nativists to mercantilists to protectionists and so on... But in reality there is no reason for Chinese and Americans to war when one understands the social benefits of free exchange, the division of labor, comparative advantage and property rights. Freedom works.
Governments tend to be anti-these things and therefore antisocial.

Lemuel Gulliver said...

Another brillint essay.

If this country attacks Iran, it would be the most disastrously insane act this country has undertaken in 232 years, and would precipitate an immediate global economic catastrophe which the world might never be able to drag itself out of. Why? In one word: Insurance. (Not what you expected, eh?) Iran would not have to close the Straits of Hormuz. All it would have to do is sink one or two multi-billion dollar oil tankers by “accident” in the course of hostilities, and Lloyd’s of London and Swiss Re would refuse to pay out on these losses due to acts of war. Immediately, no tanker owner would risk sailing into or out of the Persian Gulf. The only oil to come out of the Middle East would be the trickle that Saudi Arabia can pump overland to its terminal on the Red Sea. The supply of 40% of the world’s oil would immediately stop moving. It would not resume until Iran had capitulated and ceased any acts of resistance. The only way I see this happening is if the USA used nuclear weapons, as Mr. Cheney has suggested recently. The cost in Iranian lives would be horrific. As a proud people, they might never give in, even if 50 million of them were dead. Oil would skyrocket to $300-$500 a barrel and all the world’s economies would begin to collapse within a couple of weeks. The United States would be forever viewed with horror and revulsion by every sane human left alive on the planet, not to mention the reaction to clouds of nuclear fallout that would drift over India or Pakistan or Russia or China, all of whom are themselves nuclear powers.

Mr. Grigg, did you ever read the essay I recommended to you: Major General Smedley Butler's classic, "War is a Racket?"

Martin Luther King Jr. was killed because he had started to preach against the Vietnam War. As long as he was just raising mayhem between black and white, the powers let him be, but as soon as he showed signs of threatening their war profits, that was it - he had to be eliminated.

What shall we do with them? Personally, I like the guillotine. The French have a certain flair for these things. I shall learn to knit, and sit before the infernal machine knitting red berets as the heads fall, "kerchunk - thud!" "kerchunk - klop!" "Kerchunk - splat!" into the wicker basket.

The best part, I imagine, will be watching the faces of those awaiting their turn.

Lemuel Gulliver.

Anonymous said...


I totally agree with your conclusion that the US government is composed of nothing but a criminal gang of liars, thieves and murderers. But, there is nothing new here. It has been that way since the dictator Lincoln came to power.

The old South, to it's eternal credit, valiantly tried to prevent the rise of a centralized government that it knew could only end in absolute and unchecked power. As Robert E. Lee said; "The consolidation of the states into one vast republic (if only it still was a republic!), sure to be aggressive abroad and despotic at home, will be the certain precursor of that ruin which has overwhelmed all those that have preceded it (Rome for example?). I grieve for posterity, for American principles and American liberty." He was truly a prophet wasn't he? Welcome to the United States of Empire.

It is now the year 2008. I'm more than a little surprised that our totally corrupt, greedy, brutal and downright satanic central government has been able to last this long. I, too, grieve for myself and my fellow Americans, American principles and American liberty.

May God forgive us.

Lemuel Gulliver said...

And of course, tomorrow is April 15th. The day on which we all spill our economic blood, with gratitude to the leeches who attach themselves like ball and chain to our legs, and don't let go till they are engorged with our life-essence.

Lemuel Gulliver.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:05 PM,

"If crossed they (The Chinese oligarchs) ultimately will drive the government of this country right to its knees."

Hmmm, drive the American Power Elites' government to its knees?

Are you just trying to tease us?