October 15, 2002

House of Cards

The rebels in Afghanistan, funded and armed by the U.S., believe they brought down the Soviet Union. And maybe they did. They certainly had a part in breaking the bank of the monstrous empire and causing it to crumble from within.

Now the U.S. has declared war against al Qaeda. Like a furious bull enraged by a wasp, it rages madly, destroying everything in sight while the wasp flies effortlessly around it, untouched. Can the U.S. dinosaur military rulers change their mode of operation to adapt to a threat that is unlike what they have prepared themselves for? Or will they continue in automatic mode until they destroy themselves?

Paul Krugman, in The NY Times voices his concerns with the apparent inability of the U.S. leadership to adapt effectively to the threat of al Qaeda, or more generally to the threat of the widespread hatred engendered by U.S. aspirations for world domination.

Boxing fans may remember Muhammad Ali versus George Foreman in Zaire. Foreman represented awesome power, virtually unstoppable, irresistible. Almost no one believed Ali could survive more than a few rounds against him. But Ali's consciousness was extremely refined. His sophistication in the effective channeling of force and conservation of energy was almost yogic. He was able to destroy Foreman with apparent ease. He let Foreman destroy himself.

Foreman was incapable of adapting his tactics. All he knew how to do at that time was to apply brute force. It was all he had ever had to do. It had always worked in the past because his force was overwhelmingly superior to any contender.

In the '60s and '70s the U.S. unleashed massive destructive potential on the tiny third world country of Vietnam, ultimately to no avail, and finally pulled out of the country in defeat.

Although the government is stonewalling attempts to find out what really happened on September 11, it appears that the mighty empire was brought to its knees by a handful of men with boxcutters. It made a mockery of the U.S.' "most powerful military machine in history." It couldn't even protect its own headquarters in the nation's capital with two hours warning that the hijacked airlines were coming.

Furthermore, the great capitalistic system through which the U.S. has amassed the wealth that is its power is a house of cards, reliant on a million tenuous connections and vulnerable to capricious principles like "consumer confidence." Though largely blocked from the news by Iraq war hysteria, economic trends since Bush took office are a catastrophe in slow motion. The world financial system looks frighteningly close to collapsing as shockingly and unexpectedly as the World Trade Center.

The American government today is dominated by a gang of backward looking dinosaurs engaged full-tilt in a misguided and outmoded agenda of world domination. It is an untenable program for the high-technology global village of the 21st century. It is doomed to fail. But they are incapable of changing. Any attack is seen as cause to increase the application of force.

In yesterday's New York Times, Bush reacted to the attacks in Bali by saying, "They're trying to intimidate us, and we won't be intimidated." In other words, nothing can make us alter our course. They see any kind of moderation or adaptation as weakness.

But al Qaeda may not be trying to "intimidate," but trying to elicit exactly the response they are getting from Bush. Make the bull angry. Make it increase its fury until it finally destroys itself flailing away at a target it cannot see or understand.

The American people need to come to terms with this reality and face the fact that their unelected "leaders" are not worthy of being entrusted with the fate of the nation in such perilous times. They are leading the country to disaster.

Will this be the next empire to fall?

-- By David Cogswell

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