August 30, 2010

To Bob on Empire

The following was prompted by a comment on my essay, 'Reactions to American Extremism'; by a guy named Bob. 

Bob wrote, 'I just can't stand the message that America is to blame for all the faults that go around the world that is just not true we are the greatest nation in the WORLD, also read what she is saying, it almost seems to me that she is kinda taking sides with bin laden and she is quoting castro'.

by Diane V. McLoughlin, September 1, 2010

Bob. Hi. I hope everything is well with you. I have a toothache I can't fix. How I feel these days (beyond the immediate of the tooth and its broader implications) is this way: I see things in a particular way because I have been studying current affairs full-time now for several years; a luxury not open to most.

The spirit of the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights are embedded in my DNA. I believe these rights are the inalienable rights of every single person living on this planet. People have a right to be free - from discrimination, from fear, from want, from occupation, from oppression, from resource-hungry military-backed multinational corporations, and from remote-controlled U.S. drones dropping bombs on your village compound. That's me.

I believe most Americans feel the same way, too. But the government (or, more precisely, interests with a powerful influence on government) does not believe it. And the more I learn, the more I see that it almost never has. When it looked like the government might be led in a better direction by President John F. Kennedy, for example, he was assassinated; November 22, 1963.

His brother Robert Kennedy was bravely willing to take up the challenge to run for President, by 1968. 'Kennedy stood on a platform of racial and economic justice, non-aggression in foreign policy, decentralization of power and social improvement...He aroused rabid animosity in some quarters, with J. Edgar Hoover's Deputy Clyde Tolson reported as saying, 'I hope that someone shoots and kills the son of a bitch.'[]...It has been widely commented that Robert Kennedy's campaign for the American presidency far outstripped, in its vision of social improvement, that of President Kennedy...;'. (1)

Robert F. Kennedy was, like his brother, assassinated in cold blood; June 6, 1968.   You know what I remember about Robert Kennedy? I remember hearing that he wanted to see what life was really like for Blacks in the Deep South. What I remember is that he came back stunned that Black kids weren't getting milk. Their families could not afford milk.

Patrick Buchanan gets a lot of flack from the left, and it may well be that it's fair criticism and that I just don't know much about him. But I picked up a book of his in a Salvation Army store a few years ago, and although it could have been edited better, the message rang true in the choice facing the United States:  Republic - or Empire?

Bob, you spit out Fidel Castro's name as if he were a minion of the devil. He's a man. People have flaws. We make mistakes. But he was motivated in his younger years by the suffering of his people, to try to do something about it. He seems motivated now to stress the perils nuclear weapons pose to the people of the whole world. I see nothing but good in that.

As for my discussing the events of 9/11 and what motivated Osama bin Laden - that for one thing, we murdered over 500,000 Iraqi children during our siege of Iraq 1993-2003 - that is a discussion that is long overdue.

Empires are vicious, blood-thirsty, soulless entities, as my Mom put it to me in a chat earlier today; it doesn't matter which one, or which time in history we pick to talk about - they are all the same. Empires don't know when to stop trying to expand their centers of control, either, and that is one of the reasons they fall apart.

But another thing that empires do is lie to the people, Bob. You can't get people to occupy other countries or kill other people unless you have a damned good reason to do it - defense from imminent attack - or you lie to them because you don't have a good reason; you have evil, racist, greedy reasons. American companies such as Halliburton, now headquartered off-shore to avoid paying taxes; Kellogg, Brown and Root; Blackwater, and others - have profited beyond the dreams of Midas from the foreign adventures our government has conducted overseas.  The profit motive motivates.  Diversification of American industry  away from war is going to be key to peace.

Image, right: Donald Rumsfeld, Special
Envoy of President Ronald Reagan, and his pal,
Saddam Hussein - 1983 - Getty Images (1a)

Now, it is my view that you have been lied to your whole life, Bob.  Americans are daily inundated with lies. I view myself as a failure, because, so far at least, I have not found the right words to help. I'm only one person, I know. But who will save the people from self-destruction? I view it as self-destruction, if and when the enemies we have made for ourselves retaliate.

We have 1,000 - one-thousand - military bases and outposts; U.S. personnel is situated in 156 countries around the world.(2) That's an empire.

The take-over of the government is not complete. The people can change things. I would share that at 'War Is A', - (link: ) - you can find a list of candidates who have signed a pledge to refuse to authorize any more war funding, if they are voted in.

There is another list, here - - where you can check your current representative's voting record on war funding, too.

For anyone reading this (hello, how are you, hope all is well), the first question comes down to this: Are you prepared, as a citizen of whatever country you reside in, to countenance the possibility that those in power are abusing that power? If you are not prepared to even consider that as a possibility, then time may either be short - or it is already too late.


(1)  Wikipedia, Robert F. Kennedy; ;

(1a) 'Shaking Hands With Saddam Hussein; The U.S. Tilts Towards Iraq:  1980 - 1984'; National Security Archive Briefing Book No. 82; Edited by Joyce Battle; February 25, 2003; ;

(2)  'The Worldwide Network of Military Bases; The Global Deployment of U.S. Military Personnel'; by Professor Jules Dufour; Global Research; July 1, 2007; ;

Main website:
(back, 'To Bob, on Empire' posted at main website.)


  1. My father fought in ww11.He was born in Poland-he knew war torn.But one thing he said is this country is a good country.It may not be perfect,but he said we should thank our lucky stars to be born here.I agree with him.

  2. Hi Janine, thank you for your comments. My father also fought in WWII. What I would say is that if there was a magic wand, I personally would find it a highly enlightening and lively conversation if we could get all of us into one room to debate the issue: Is the U.S. a force for good or not? You, me and our dads. Because what I would say, is that just because a society is comfortable for us at home, does not mean that we are doing right by others elsewhere. I think this distinction is not considered often enough by Americans. In fact, we are as comfortable as we are because of our business practices elsewhere that are backed by the might of the U.S. military.