Notes From the Margins…

Rise of the Swamp People

  • December 10, 2011
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Even by the Republican party’s dismal standards, the current crop of presidential candidates have to be about the most ignorant  collection of  flag-waving, corporate-worshipping, clueless morons that have ever competed for  the Oval office.

This is the party that unleashed  a swathe of wars and global mayhem over the last decade that has benefited no one except the companies that profited from it;  that ‘took the gloves off’ and dragged their country through the moral sewers by introducing torture techniques borrowed from the Inquisition playbook when it was not ‘rendering’ people to have the soles of their feet whacked by the Syrians or the Egyptians.

During last month’s debate on national security, they  terrified the American population with an endless array of security threats, which vied with each other in their dumbness.   For Michelle Bachmann, it was al-Shabaab in Somalia.    For Rick Perry, Hezbollah and Hamas have already infiltrated the US-Mexico border (in your dreams).   For  Newt Gingrich – the hypocrite moralist who sounds like a skin disease, it was  electro-magnetic pulses, WMD and cyber-war.  Herman Cain did not seem to know that China has nuclear weapons.

Only Ron Paul made the modest suggestion that the US might have to scale down its military commitments abroad – not a suggestion that is likely to get him into the White House, especially since, according to ABC News ‘every question came from a person associated with conservative think tanks American Enterprise Institute and Heritage Foundation, including from former Bush administration official Paul Wolfowitz and former Chief of Staff to Vice President Dick Cheney David Addington’.

Fancy that. But that’s how things work in the National Security state.  And the Republican party is irrevocably hooked on militarism and fantasies of Manifest Destiny and Full Spectrum Dominance,  and national security threats course through its corporate veins.

So it just can’t wait to fire off another batch of missiles at another bunch of dark-skinned foreigners, even when the US can’t even win the wars it started and their country is trillions of dollars in debt and unable to provide for the welfare of millions of its own citizens.

But these guys can’t stop.   Because there is evil out there and it’s America’s moral duty to show leadership and  go out there and fight it.  So now we have  Rick Perry advocating a new Monroe Doctrine,  and declaring that the US is at war with Iraq when he really means Iran.  And Mitt Romney  is also calling for the use of the ‘military option’ in Iran.

Gingrich is also running with the  same theme of ‘regime replacement’ in Iran while promising to run ‘covert operations’ in Iran and Syria, as if that hadn’t already started, and make the knuckledragging John Bolton Secretary of State.

And all of the candidates are frantically doffing the cap to Israel – an obligatory rite of passage in US elections, it now seems.   So Gingrich tells us that the Palestinians are an ‘invented people’ with no right to a homeland.  Perry declares that the Palestinians can’t have a state with a capital in East Jerusalem.   For Michelle Bachmann, Obama has ‘de-legitimised’ Israel.

Don’t get me wrong.   I don’t see the Democratic Party as a progressive or anti-militarist alternative in American politics – far from it.  I didn’t feel the earth move when Obama got elected and nothing that the Peace Laureate  has done since has done anything to change that view.

But the quality of these candidates suggests that America  is in worse shape than it thinks. Rick Perry declared that ‘Communist China is destined to the ash heap of history because they are not a country of virtues‘.

If this lot have anything to do with it, the United States is likely to reach that ash heap much sooner.

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About Me

I’m a writer, campaigner and journalist.  My latest book is The Savage Frontier: The Pyrenees in History and the Imagination (New Press/Hurst, 2018).  The Infernal Machine is where I write on politics, history, cinema and other things that interest me.

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