Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Big Shots With Big Titles -- Who Steal Food From Hungry Babies

I was reading an interesting article in The Nation called "Mandarins, Guns and Money," by Mark Mazower, in which he reviewed some recent books about Walt Rostow and other people from the think tanks at the top universities in this country, and how they have been involved in providing the theoretical justification for such atrocities as the war on Vietnam.

Of course we know Henry Kissinger, that big shot, such a smart guy with lots of titles, was a big supporter if not instigator of the coup in Chile, the murder of its elected president Allende, the torture and murder of thousands, thousands more driven into exile, the petrie dish for the policy of governments kidnapping, torturing and murdering civilians in secret, the "deseparecidos" of South America, the "extraordinary rendition" of the middle east. Same thing.

And the big shot, really smart guy Boalt professor John Yoo who was so overwhelmed when summmoned by the white house that he wrote an eloquent rationalization providing academic support and cover for the right-wing's claims that of course Bush can be a dictator if he wants, of course the citizens have no rights, of course the constitution is just "advisory" and not binding, and the Geneva Convention is of no importance, of course Bush is free to kidnap, torture, and murder anyone he wants, of course Bush can hold people without charges or counsel or rights of any kind, then send them to other dictators to be buried in underground prisons waiting execution for having done nothing at all. Of course, of course he can, the esteemed professor Yoo sang to those in power, basking in his 15 minutes.

We hear a lot recently about the Milton Friedman school of economics, some call it the Chicago Boys. But Chile heard about this decades ago when their economy was taken over by Kissinger's thugs, all social services eliminated, people starved into submission, workers' rights crushed.

Milton Friedman's economic "theories" have also been applied in Iraq to let the U.S. steal all that country's assets and pretend it isn't theft. It's an agreement. Like a free trade agreement. Except because they had no government (because we killed them all) we had to "appoint" an American to be the pretend government of Iraq, and he signed all the agreements on behalf of the people of Iraq then snuck out of the country in secret. He pretended he was the leader of Iraq. Which goes along well with the pretend roses strewn in his path as he fled the country.

It occurs to me that all these big shots with their big ideas, their four-dollar words, amount to nothing much at all. Because when we look at recent history, or at least recent decades, mostly what we see is the U.S. bullying the rest of the world, taking control of other countries' resources, stealing, lying, cheating, staging coups in any country where the government pledges to help its own people, setting up boycotts and barricades and flyovers in any country that defies the wishes of the U.S. And while this is going on, a few people inside the U.S., maybe the top 5% -- most of the politicians in D.C. and the Boys on Wall Street -- have stolen much of the wealth from the entire world. While poverty grows, suffering and misery grow as a direct result of their actions.

Babies do not have food, and now they don't have drinking water either. Isn't that a pretty good sign that the people running things -- the wealthiest people in the U.S. -- are doing terrible things to the world? When babies can't even have a drink of water when they're thirsty, but Wall Street criminals spend a million dollars for their useless children's birthday parties? When are we going to do what is right and necessary, which is to appoint special prosecutors, grab their assets, indict, and throw these people in prison. The politicians they bribed can be their cell-mates.

And indict every person responsible in any way for the international war crime of the U.S. war on Iraq, a war of aggression, and the torture, kidnapping, and murder that went along with it.

These people at the top wear thousand dollar suits and fly private jets because they have stolen food from the mouth of hungry suffering babies. The politicians and the Wall Street Boys work hand in hand to make themselves richer and the rest of us poorer. They hire the best and the brightest -- often academics, but sometimes industry leaders -- to come up with rationalizations and justifications for the crimes they have committed. It's the Friedman school. Or someone else's school. We're bringing civilization to the natives. No, we're making the world flat, or bringing everyone else into the 21st century, we're "rescuing" people, we're spreading knowledge. Or maybe we're bringing them to Christ. Are we "sharing" our knowledge? Is it manifest destiny?

It's all nonsense. Whatever theories, whatever big-shots are hired and PR firms retained, it always comes down to the same thing: a few people have stolen way more than their fair share, way more than they could ever spend or use, and they use that wealth for the purpose of getting more wealth. Like crack addicts, there is never enough. We're probably only beginning to pay attention now because these same people are beginning to do to us, the American public, what they've been doing to the rest of the world all along.

It's just this simple: if we are not going to enforce the criminal laws against the rich and powerful, then we have a failed state.

They say a good prosecutor can indict a ham sandwich. Prosecutor, meet the Boys on Wall Street and the politicians they have bribed: ham on rye with mustard. Now indict them.

No comments:

Post a Comment