"Forget how we got there - How do we get out of Iraq?" What is meant by this question is: How do we get to keep the oil and the bases; stop the hemorrhaging of our money; and bring the troops home now?The Trillion-Dollar Question
For many months people have been trying to write about what happened in the run-up to the Invasion of Iraq. In article after article many have tried to lay out the facts, the lies, the deceptions and the consequences; but this has apparently fallen on deaf ears. Americans are nothing if not slick, hip, and cynical all in one punch. And these really cool Americans of indistinguishable shapes and of all sizes have now decided that the only question that really matters is:"Forget how we got there - How do we get out of Iraq?"
What is meant by this question is: How do we get to keep the oil and the bases; stop the hemorrhaging of our money; and bring the troops home now? The unmentioned question being: How do we avoid the legal and social consequences of all the brutality and the unprovoked aggression?
The short answer to both questions is: We can't, and we won't.
In a nutshell, we want to 'move on' without paying for anything that we've done - because that's the politically expedient thing to do at this juncture. But what we did was not something that can be overlooked or forgotten, especially given our track record in world affairs. For those interested in the facts of our global past: John Pilger, 'Breaking the Silence' .
Another major part of the problem is our relationship with the media. 'Media' once provided an independent public voice, that in part involved journalistic principles that no longer exist. The logos are still there: ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, PBS, and the list goes on. But make no mistake these are no longer 'news organizations.' They are now informal disinformation cells that spin and twist what little they do mention of current events - while they work to bury the truth.
After Vietnam and a corporate review of the reporting on that war, the major interests affected decided to simply buy out their critics. That's what happened to journalism. In that conflict between the powerful and the media at that time, truth was the major casualty, and freedom has died a little more each day since.
What has also died, since we failed to pay attention to this change, was the critically thoughtful and independent view - that view which is so necessary to any life in an open society. These bits of history are now only sub-sets within the same huge corporate empires whose tentacles lie behind every major economic interest in the world today.
It stands to reason then, that these wholly owned subsidiaries will never report on what is really happening: as it is they themselves, their friends, and their lackeys, who are the real terrorists on this planet today. Nor is it in their best interest to have the truth leak out, in any form, much less be published or broadcast by their own affiliates.
What About the Real Questions?
Those 'Questions' have no answers that we care to hear. It has been common knowledge for centuries that no nation can have both guns and butter simultaneously, yet as we persist with our fantasies of Empire, many seem to think we have a free pass to ignore reality and do whatever we want. Wars cost money - and two wars are more costly than one. Where will the funds for everything come from?
Bush decided to just take from the future and from everything else that he's supposed to be charged with faithfully providing for, according to the Constitution. Since he's consumed the role of Congress he's no longer content to just suggest laws, now he makes them. Next he may decide to just eliminate the courts because they just waste his time and get in the way of HOMELAND Security, our police-state in waiting.
These bizarre events are happening in large part because we do not have a free and independent media. That's also part of why and how we have allowed the Congress to become so totally unnecessary. When elected officials are no longer interested in exposing corruption because they themselves are the beneficiaries, then the cry for open and honest government goes unheeded.
Why do we still feel the need to maintain this fiction -- that Congress serves some function for the people of the United States -- because now even the idea is a total sham.
John Kerry is a perfect example of what's wrong with the whole system. He vegetated in Congress for 35 years at our expense, and he has failed repeatedly. Now Kerry is using the length of his failures as a politician to justify his electability to the office of President. How crass is that.
The Failures of the System
The average US citizen pays a great deal in taxes. Most mega-corporations and the very wealthy pay little or none, and many actually get refunds. The 'playing field' of taxes is so uneven, it is practically speaking now at a 45-degree angle. If the Bushwhackers get their way it will soon be completely vertical, with no chance of upward mobility for those at the bottom.
Beyond that, the 'needs of Globalism' have been added to the entirety of the working world. A major part of why Americans cannot compete with the rest of the planet for jobs is the everyday costs of healthcare and all of its attendant problems. We've paid our taxes but we still have no universal health care.
With a governmental healthcare program in place, 99% of all those costs would be eliminated from the cost of doing business, because if the government had been doing its job, then neither companies nor individuals would be responsible for their health care costs. That's part of what taxes on all of us are were meant for, and that single fact would give the American worker a much better shot at competing for any job in the world-wide economy.
What has prevented this 'innovation' from happening is the near total fascination these thieves have with privatizing everything that was government before they ascended to their thrones. The record of this government with regard to health care prices, drug costs, and medical insurance is a shameless crime against every person in this nation who actually works for a living. With all of that 'off-the-backs' of the working people, employers could not claim that as a reason for going offshore.
If the unions hadn't sold-out their constituents and become as corrupt as the businesses they are supposed to oppose, for the sake of their members then possibly decent wages would not have been allowed to disappear in favor of the offshore sweat-shops around the world. The only criteria for business today seems to be the obscene amounts of compensation given to top managers. There is no interest at all in paying anyone else a living wage. That equals a zero sum future for millions upon millions of Americans - and none of this needed to happen if we had had even a shell of federal governmental protection.
If companies had to pay a premium for taking their businesses out of this country and if they had to face a stiff tariff on whatever they sold here, because their products were not made in the USA - then going offshore might not appear to be such a great windfall for the mighty.
That measure could go a long way toward leveling the playing field. After all these are companies who built their businesses here with American workers, with tax breaks, and often with local cooperation: How can they not owe 'anything' to the people who built those enterprises, or to the nation that made their very existence possible?
So what this is about, is forcing businesses to pay the true costs of going offshore. If that were done, few if any jobs would leave this country. The Bush solution for unemployment in the United States is to open the floodgates at the borders, admit illegals in the millions, to go with the 10 to 12 million already here, and then to give their middle finger to those Americans who still cannot find work.
The entire infrastructure of the USA is in tatters - but the government is opposed to putting people to work on federal projects - because all of this must be done by corrupt corporations thorough private no-bid contracts which can then be doled out as political favors. So our roads and bridges crumble, our schools become broken and leaky shadows of their former selves, and our water and power systems fall apart.
There is no mystery as to how the nation can get back on its feet. Yet no one running for office is talking about any of this -- at least not substantially. The questions don't get asked, the solutions are not considered, but huge money is still being spent -- in the trillions -- for a lot of crap that the world would definitely be better off without.
Wars against anyone-who-might-someday-pose-a-threat to the corporate powers that be: that's nothing that we need to be sending our sons and daughters, husbands and wives to fight and die for. One new case that has gone unaddressed is the revelation that Pakistan supplied not only technology, but blueprints for nuclear weapons as well. Under the terms of the Bush Doctrine we should have sent in Tomahawk missiles and Stealth aircraft to bomb Pakistan back to the Stone Age, but so far, Mr. Belligerence has had nothing to say.
On the home front, no elected official has yet challenged this cabal of private interests, the no-bid contracts, or the international criminal intrigues. Until these crimes become the topic of political discussions nothing will change.
To answer the original trillion-dollar question, we must first get real. Then we must get serious about these people and their crimes against us all. They should be removed from office without pay and Jailed (under the terms of the war-on-terror which they wrote), and then brought to a very public trial for their failures to defend the Constitution, the people of this nation, and the laws of this land.
Iraq can be handed over to the Arab League, who could oversee the formation of a new government for Iraq. That new government could then take stock and send us the bill for all that we've laid waste to in that land in the false name of liberation. Afghanistan is taking care of itself by reverting to the warlord culture that was there before us. We need to withdraw our troops and terminate the contracts that these wars were fought for, and then maybe we might begin to have a country that can get along with the rest of the world -- instead of continually trying to destroy this planet and all who depend upon it for survival.
Ultimately, there is no answer to the trillion-dollar question, any more than anyone can recall the bullet once fired from the barrel of a gun. We allowed these creatures to do what they did in our names, and as difficult as this might seem, it is still up to us to rectify what we can of what we have done already. But failing that -- we must stop all further contrived aggressions before they begin anew, or we truly will be looking at oblivion.