"An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy; because there is a limit beyond which no institution and no property can bear taxation." ~ John Marshall
No Cause for Celebration
Exclusive to STR
If you have been to Antiwar.com lately'and I highly recommend the site to everyone I know for its steady stream of information on the growing threat and danger of the warfare state'then you know that editor-in-chief Justin Raimondo and the site's staff of very smart and talented writers are all very much a-twitter with glee in anticipation of what they call 'Fitzmastime,' a very special kind of holiday season during which they expect U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald to issue indictments of a vast array of Bush administration officials for assorted crimes committed in the process of committing the more massive crime of lying to the American people in order to rationalize the pointless, unnecessary and unjust war in Iraq. Fitzgerald's recent success at persuading a Federal grand jury to indict Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, for lying to both Federal investigators and a grand jury in response to questions relating to the 'outing' of CIA operative Valerie Plame-Wilson is, or so the implication seems to be, an early Fitzmastime gift that holds the promise of many more to come for anyone who has been rightly outraged by the Bush administration's criminal behavior over the last few years.
If only I could join them in their joyful celebration, but I'm afraid I can't.
Don't get me wrong. I feel very strongly that the arrogant jackals responsible for so much of the pain, misery and suffering of the Mess O' Potamia fully deserve to be tarred and feathered and ridden out of Washington'nay, ridden out of the country'on a rail, at the very least. But if something like that were to actually happen, if, say, Cheney and perhaps even George W. Bush wind up hounded out of office a la Spiro Agnew and Richard Nixon, as well as all their evil henchmen, would that necessarily mean that everything would then be okay, that the corruption in Washington will have been 'rooted out' and our glorious Republic restored to its former integrity? Hardly.
Frankly, I'm not so sure that the United States of America ever was a proper Republic in the first place, at least not for very long. During its secession from the British Empire, the U.S.A. adopted Articles of Confederation that essentially amounted to a treaty between the states regarding commerce and mutual assistance in the face of an external threat, and not much more than that. The fact that the Articles could be altered only if every single one of the state legislatures agreed to the alteration pretty much assured that the national government could never gain very much power over the states and the people. Now that was a Republic, perhaps. But it had lasted for barely seven years when a convention of men called by the Confederation Congress met behind closed doors and overreached its charge to amend the Articles and instead wrote a completely new compact, the Constitution of the United States, which centralized political power in the national government far more than the Articles did, and in the Federal judiciary created the means by which the Federal government would itself be the ultimate judge of that power. It could very well be argued that the adoption of the Constitution marked the birth of the Federal tyranny that looms over this country today like a vast and dark storm cloud, randomly emitting bolts of lightning hither and yon, wreaking destruction at will.
Patrick Henry commented at the time that the new compact 'squints toward monarchy,' and I think we can safely say that he has been vindicated in this observation, as the history of this country ever since has been the history of a vastly expanding central government that conspires to place bigger and bigger obstacles in the American individual's path to progress. Its modus operandi has been more and more taxation, inflation and intrusive regulation of commerce, essentially resulting in ever more scarce private wealth and a prison population of over two million inmates. (Even communist China, which has a vastly larger population overall, has fewer people in prison than the U.S.)
As the Federal government wages war against our hard earned wealth, our property, our rights, against us here at home, always seeking to frighten and intimidate us into loyalty and allegiance to the very politicians and bureaucrats who rob us blind, it also robs, murders and tyrannizes millions around the globe, and let us remember that George W. Bush is hardly the first U.S. president to wage a foreign war under false pretenses. William McKinley, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson and Bill Clinton all proclaimed outright lies to the masses in order to justify violent aggression against foreigners, and the masses fell for it, each and every time. Wilson outfitted American merchant ships with Navy guns and staffed them with Navy personnel and then sent them into waters infested with German U-boats with orders to shoot them on sight'at a time when the U.S. was supposedly 'neutral.' Roosevelt did everything possible to goad the Japanese into attacking Pearl Harbor, even as he promised his countrymen that he was doing everything possible to keep the U.S. from becoming entangled in the foreign conflicts of the day. The mass graves of hundreds of thousands of ethnic Albanians that the Clinton administration said justified the U.S.-NATO bombing of Kosovo? About as real as the WMD in Iraq circa March 2003, which is to say that they were a complete work of fiction.
After that most infamous of presidential scandals, that which we call 'Watergate,' and in the wake of President Nixon's resignation from office in the face of certain forced removal by the Congress, his successor Gerald Ford went on national television and declared 'Our Constitution works . . . Here the people rule.' That's right, our Constitution works, said Ford, which basically implied that everyone could go back to sleep. The psychopath who had political enemies spied upon and wiretapped, and secretly ordered bombings of Cambodia that consequently paved the way for the vicious homicidal dictator Pol Pot's climb to power in that peasant country, had been sent packing to his just desserts . . . in California, of course. Go back to your nap, America, there's no need to stay awake anymore. Everything's just peachy.
Just several months later, after Congress wisely declined President Ford's request to flush another $722 million of taxpayers' money down the toilet that Vietnam had become, and after South Vietnam subsequently fell to the communist North, as if to show everyone that the world still had the U.S. military-industrial complex to kick it around a lot more'Vietnam or no Vietnam'and true to his predecessor's apparent hatred of all things Cambodian, Ford ordered yet another U.S. attack on Cambodia, this time in response to their detaining the American merchant ship Mayaguez on suspicion that it was conducting clandestine surveillance. Even as the Mayaguez crew was being released by the Cambodians unharmed, Ford ordered the U.S. Marines to invade Kho Tang Island, where the merchant seamen were erroneously thought to be held. After a very heated battle between the Marines and the Khmer Rouge, 41 U.S. Marines died and 50 others were wounded 'liberating' the Mayaguez 's crew of 39 Americans'after they had already been set free by their captors.
Our Constitution works, indeed.
So even though the Bush-Cheney ship of state appears to be descending into the murky depths of the vast ocean of history, to the very bottom where there is only the muck and the slime, I can't say that I'm exactly dancing for joy. The fact is that the fascism in our midst began many years before Bush and company arrived on the scene, and if the patterns of history are any indication, it will continue to grow, morphing into an ever more pernicious form of tyranny in the years to come. Who knows what mutation it will take on next? Perhaps President Hillary Rodham Clinton will not only send in the additional 80,000 U.S. troops she believes is needed by the U.S. Army into Iraq, she will also send troops into an endless cycle of 'humanitarian' wars in Africa as well. No doubt there are still some warlords in Somalia just itchin' for a fight!
So it may be comforting for some to believe in the fairy tale that there are a few watchful 'bulldogs' like Patrick Fitzgerald out there working tirelessly to clean the trash out of the political system, ensuring that the beltway bigwigs all mind their Ps and Qs, but alas, it is just a fairy tale, after all. Fitzgerald has in recent years made quite a splash here in Chicago with his successful indictments of high ranking officials in Mayor Richard Daley's administration on various corruption charges relating to the city's mercantilist trucks-for-hire scheme, but nobody in this city believes for a second that Chicago's politicians have somehow been intimidated into walking the straight and narrow. If anything, Fitzgerald has merely reminded them that they need to do a much better job of covering their tracks in the future.
And what of Fitzgerald's crusade in Washington? Former Secretary of State Colin Powell's chief of staff, retired Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, has recently taken to the lecture circuit to decry the takeover of the neoconservative 'cabal' in the nation's capital, but Col. Wilkerson has apparently drunk so much of the brainwashing Kool-Aid throughout his years as a government bureaucrat that he is comically ignorant of the fact that the very idea, the very concept of government itself is that it is supposed to be a cabal, a cabal that is legally empowered to plunder, bully and murder at home and throughout the whole world. (Need he also be reminded that his former boss was more than willing to help spread the lies and propaganda???)
If the neoconservatives do ultimately self-destruct as a result of Fitzgerald's prosecutions, what other group of ideological zealots is waiting in the wings, salivating at the opportunity to get their hands on the levers of the vast machinery of state power so that it may be used to forcibly and violently reshape this country and the rest of the world into whatever perverse form they think it should take? What tyrant-in-waiting is anxiously preparing him(or her)self to fill the vacuum that Cheney and Bush will ultimately leave behind? With such huge new tools of tyranny as the PATRIOT Act and the Department of Homeland Security put into place by the Congress and Team Bush, I shudder to think of what the next administration could do with them.
None of this is meant as a slight against the good folks at Antiwar.com, who provide all of us with the invaluable service of keeping us well informed of the ongoing evolution of the mass murdering U.S. warfare state. It's just that to put any faith in government bureaucrats to police other government bureaucrats is farcical. In the long run, Fitzgerald and his deputies are only distracting people from the bigger picture of the inherently criminal and destructive nature of the state in all its activities by giving them the false impression that government somehow punishes its own deviant behavior through some legalistic mechanism or other. Government is itself a weapon of mass destruction, that's it's whole reason for being, and it will finally cease being the weapon of mass destruction that it is only when it completely and totally destroys itself, which can only happen by a combination of the consequences of its own misguided fiscal recklessness and a critical mass of Americans being educated in the benefits of individual freedom, as opposed to slavish welfare dependency on some central government authority. I suspect that the former will happen first, subsequently rendering the latter an utmost necessity for the sake of preserving what little will be left of human civilization.
I may actually allow myself a good chuckle and a drink of eggnog around Fitzmastime, as it's always entertaining to see arrogant, dissembling career bureaucrats get the same dose of Federal persecution that so many ordinary and innocent Americans suffer every day. Perhaps the bickering and in-fighting between the various managers of the U.S. Federal Megastate will mean that they'll spend that much less time bullying others, though I'm not exactly holding my breath considering that even as I write this, the Bush regime appears to be laying the political foundation for an attack on Syria with the help of its pals and buddies in the United Nations, who had proven themselves such useful tools in the run-up to the war in Iraq.
When the Fitzmastime season passes, as it eventually will, there still won't be very much to celebrate . . . at least not until Leviathan draws its last ghastly breath.