Charles Shaw: Full Spectrum Accountability
Full Spectrum Accountability
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
By Charles Shaw
Through the systematic re-writing of our history, most Americans have come, somewhat irrationally, to view the Bush Administration and his Neoconservative cabal as the root of all evil, solely responsible for the misguided Empire which we now wield with fanatical intransigence. This view has permitted American Liberals to extend this animosity outward to encompass anyone who calls themselves a Conservative or Republican as hateful, warmongering “Red” necks, reinforcing the so-called Red/Blue dichotomy that has been foisted on us in the last five years or so. In this one-sided view, Democrats and Liberals are exonerated from any culpability in the prevailing culture of war and militarism that has taken over the nation and its policy making in the 60 years since the end of World War II.
The truth is somewhat different. Beginning with FDR—whom in recent years we have learned permitted the bombing of Pearl Harbor as a pretext for a previously isolationist America to enter the war—the Democratic Party has been behind most of our military interventions in the post-WWII era. Korea, Vietnam, Haiti, Somalia, and the Balkans all occurred under the watch of a Democratic President, and these conflicts cost us the lives of more than 110,000 American soldiers and millions of people in those nations. Under the auspices of bipartisan “defense” policy, the Democrats backed covert CIA interventions in Iran (1953), Guatemala (1954), Lebanon, Panama, and the Congo (1958), Tibet (1959), Laos (1961, 1970-71), Cuba (1961), and Indonesia (1965). Democrats have given 60 years of unwavering military aid to Israel, created “Plan Columbia” and the “Carter Doctrine”, maintained sanctions against Iraq during the 1990s which led to an estimated two million deaths of mostly women and children, and since 2001 have given the Bush Administration every dollar and acquiescence they have demanded for our present conflicts in the Middle East and Central Asia.
For their part, the Republicans have been responsible for orchestrating interventions in Central and South America during the 1970s and 80s, which included the assassination of Chilean President Salvador Allende and the illegal covert wars in Nicaragua and El Salvador, our covert support of Bin Laden and the Mujahadeen during the Soviet war in Afghanistan, and both wars against Iraq. The Bush Administration may be the most overt, corrupt, and dastardly proponents of American domination, but their policies are simply the continuation of those begun by Nixon and carried on by Reagan and Bush Sr.
The responsibility of not just the American “anti-war movement” but indeed the entire American Electorate is to recognize that American war policy is a bipartisan enterprise. What is even more paramount to understand is that both parties are controlled by far greater powers than they, who do not subscribe to partisan division. The central banking powers, the defense and petrochemical industries, and “policy groups” like the Council on Foreign Relations, have far more influence over America’s path as a nation than both political parties and the Electorate put together. The investments and profits of the corporate sector take clear priority over the needs of the American people. To ensure their primacy they have bought off our elected leaders by contributing in roughly equal shares to Democrat and Republican campaigns, and flooded our government with their own policy makers.
Neoconservative strategists have lauded the plan for what they refer to as “Full Spectrum Dominance”—complete geostrategic control of land, air, water, and space to retain “American primacy”. For Americans to escape this runaway train to ruin, we must engage in “Full Spectrum Accountability” and hold accountable all those guilty of crafting our war policies and fostering a culture of war and militarism. Regardless of political (or apolitical) affiliation, we must hold all our elected officials and their corporate benefactors accountable. We must hold the bureaucrats, the lobbyists, the pundits, and the policy wonks accountable. We must hold the media accountable. And we must hold the bankers, oil producers, and weapons makers accountable. In short, we must recognize that by only choosing to focus on the reprehensible acts of the Bush Administration, we are failing to address, and thereby undermine, the foundation on which the American Empire is built.
We can begin by studying history which will show that political divisions are, although having some legitimacy on a microcosmic scale, generally false constructs created by the ruling elite—a tiny but unfathomably wealthy and powerful Oligarchy who does not care about or engage in these divisions themselves—to keep the population perpetually divided and fighting each other. It’s called “Divide and Rule”, a system employed by the British Empire by which local cultural or tribal differences within the Colonies were exploited to foment civil unrest and enmity in order to justify continued British intervention and administration, and to prevent a collective indigenous uprising. American elites have perfected this system in the post-WWII era, and of late have turned these efforts on the domestic population.
The so-called Red/Blue divide is rendered moot when we realize that both suffer equal political and economic exploitation to serve the interests of the ruling class. Regardless of what area of the country you live in, or whether you go to church, or drink wine, or watch NASCAR, or do yoga, if you are a working person, not only are you probably exhausted, but half your tax dollars go directly to the Pentagon. The only sector of the population that doesn’t pay their fair share in either taxes or lives lost in war are the corporations and the wealthy. It is only a "fear of the other", reinforced by these economic and political elites, that causes one “side” to latch onto a superficial belief system which shuns the other “side.” So long as Americans continue to reinforce these manufactured divisions there is little hope of any real change in our culture, or of ending this policy of perpetual war. We need to recognize our basic cultural commonalities, and not obsess about our idiosyncratic cultural differences. If we really looked at it honestly, we’d see we have less in common with the ruling elite claiming affiliation with “our side” of the political spectrum than we do with those regular Americans on the “other side.” Working from both “sides” in a grassroots political movement, we would have the elites boxed in the middle, with nowhere to turn.
Ronald Reagan was once quoted as saying about American/Soviet Cold War animosity, "If suddenly there was a threat to this world from some other species from another planet outside in the universe…we'd forget all the little local differences that we have between our countries.” In the end we saw the humanity of the Russian people and the Wall came down. If we are capable of seeing those in the “Evil Empire” as human beings, can’t we see each other the same way?