October 29, 2002

The Age of Tyranny

When the Russian government issued an order to gas an audience, killing 116 hostages in the attempt to foil a hostage-taking incident, it made its priorities clear. (see story on Yahoo) Control is primary, human lives are incidental. The Putin government sent a message to the Chechen rebels that it will bring down an iron fist on any such future attempts. Some would say that will save lives in the long run. But it is also a reflection of a new age of repression. Russia overthrew the Soviet state, but how much freedom has been gained for the people is an open question. It appears that the forces of repression are trying to close the window on freedom that was opened up by a people's movement a decade ago.

George W., through Ari Fleischer, sent his own message in regard to the incident. Fleischer said, "The president abhors the loss of life, but he understands that it is the terrorists" who are responsible. The abhorrence of loss of life attributed to Bush is not backed up by anything in the man's history, but it's more than a snide joke. The message is that the Strong Men are in cahoots, at least when it comes to keeping the masses underfoot. "It's all governments against all people," John Judge once said, and that seems to be about the size of it.

The U.S. military power men like to take credit for bringing down the Soviet Union by engaging it in an arms race that broke the Soviet Union while in the U.S. it only crippled the social infrastructure and channeled a greater portion of the wealth to the big money guys who rake it in through arms contracts.

The Afghans also think they brought down the Soviet Union, downplaying the support of their war by the U.S. Neither would have brought down the Soviet Union if there hadn't been a powerful desire for freedom in the people. And as repression increases in the U.S., the same could happen to our power structure.

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