Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Elizabeth Warren for Imperial Senate

This week I was not terribly surprised to learn that Elizabeth Warren, one of the darlings of the progressive left, has capitulated to the needs of Empire in her race for the US Senate. At the bottom of the National Security / Foreign Policy page of her campaign website it reads:

Iran is a significant threat to the United States and our allies. Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons, it is an active state sponsor of terrorism, and its leaders have consistently challenged Israel’s right to exist. Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons is unacceptable because a nuclear Iran would be a threat to the United States, our allies, the region, and the world. The United States must take the necessary steps to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. I support strong sanctions against Iran and believe that the United States must also continue to take a leadership role in pushing other countries to implement strong sanctions as well. Iran must not have an escape hatch.

Never mind that the consensus of the top US military and intelligence agencies is that Iran is not pursuing nuclear weapons: United States Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said on Face the Nation: "[Is Iran] trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No." Voice of America wrote yesterday: "Secretary Clinton says the U.S. intelligence community believes Iran has not yet decided to produce a nuclear weapon." The New York Times of February 24 reports:

Recent assessments by American spy agencies are broadly consistent with a 2007 intelligence finding that concluded that Iran had abandoned its nuclear weapons program years earlier, according to current and former American officials. The officials said that assessment was largely reaffirmed in a 2010 National Intelligence Estimate, and that it remains the consensus view of America’s 16 intelligence agencies.

Thus the questions arise: how can a champion of economic justice in the United States be so blatantly out of touch with reality when it comes to foreign policy? How can someone who fights against the big financial conglomerates support the big military/industrial conglomerates? Is there any integrity left in our political system? And finally, have we as a nation become so dependent on Empire that we really don't care about what our government does in our name as long as we have food on our table?

It is obvious that Warren is an extremely intelligent and knowledgeable person and for this reason we need to come to terms with the fact that her decision to go against the consensus on this issue is politically calculated. Warren and her advisors must believe they need to be hawkish on foreign policy in order to win the election. But to be hawkish doesn't mean to be foolish. When you blatantly go against the military and intelligence consensus of your own party's Administration because you believe that that would make you more electable you simply look foolish and opportunistic.

Since an image is worth a thousand words here is a map in response to Warren's preposterous claim that "Iran is a significant threat to the United States" and its allies which shows Iran almost completely encircled by US military bases:

Which begs the question: who is threatening whom Ms. Warren?

I am sure Warren and her handlers must have done their research, polling and focus groups, but does she really believe that people who support her on economic justice will feel energized by her belligerent imperial rhetoric against Iran? Or, as I postulated above, does she really think that we, the American people, are passively going to accept the faustian deal that in order to maintain our lifestyle we must subjugate the rest of the world?

I guess I have more questions than answers, but does Warren believe that the Occupy movement cannot or does not want to make the connection between militarism overseas and repression of first amendment rights at home? And on this topic, I'd like to take a moment to point out something that doesn't seem to get much airplay, at least so far. As a matter of fact, this really deserves its own diary (and I hope someone will pick it up before I do so) but I will put it here for the time being since I believe it is connected to the increased militarization of our national discourse.

Last night I learned of the Trespass Bill (H.R. 347), which was voted by the House of Representatives almost unanimously (388-to-3) and which gives the government the power to bring charges against Americans engaged in political protest under the guise of protecting government officials. There is almost complete silence in the US media about this bill which has passed both chambers of Congress, but RT reports:

United States Representative Justin Amash (MI-03) was one of only three lawmakers to vote against the act when it appeared in the House late Monday. Explaining his take on the act through his official Facebook account on Tuesday, Rep. Amash writes, “The bill expands current law to make it a crime to enter or remain in an area where an official is visiting even if the person does not know it's illegal to be in that area and has no reason to suspect it's illegal.

Some government officials may need extraordinary protection to ensure their safety. But criminalizing legitimate First Amendment activity — even if that activity is annoying to those government officials — violates our rights,” adds the representative.

Is this the country that we and Warren want to live in? Have we reached the point where our politicians believe that we are so selfish and greedy that as long as we have a job and money to shop we will relinquish all our responsibilities to a government that subjugates any country that does not fall in line with its interests or any American who happens to disagree with its policies?

The bright side is that the USSR has already fallen over the assumption that all that people want is a full belly and a roof over their head. And for this reason, I simply find it crude and narrow minded for a would be politician such as Warren to run on a platform that relies on the cognitive dissonance that we can be fair to each other as we bully everyone else in the world. As Occupy continues to show, love, compassion, empathy and solidarity - not just here but everywhere - are the ways of the future if the world is to have a future at all.

And so I will conclude this diary with the Occupy Wall St. video aptly titled The Revolution Is Love: