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Living in an 'imperialist' nation which believes in responding to enemies with 'overwhelming force'

by A.V. Krebs
The Agribusiness Examiner (http://www.ea1.com/CARP)

(Friday, Dec. 13, 2002 -- CropChoice guest commentary) --

"It is organized violence on the top which creates individual violence at the bottom." --- Emma Goldman

One should not be surprised that our President-Select and his war council are adopting a strategy that will "respond with overwhelming force," including "all options," to the use of biological, chemical, radiological or nuclear weapons on the nation, its troops or its allies if we are threatened by designated enemies of our own choosing.

In addition, the Washington Post has reported "a classified version of the strategy goes even further: It breaks with 50 years of U.S. counter proliferation efforts by authorizing preemptive strikes on states and terrorist groups that are close to acquiring weapons of mass destruction or the long-range missiles capable of delivering them."

Clearly, to annihilate our "enemies" rather than to curtail, end and/or destroy their ability to cause violence has become over the last century the hallmark of our technological and industrialized obsessed society. Examples of such self pride-driven behavior abound.

The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, for example, was not only simply the "logical progression" of the Casablanca declaration of "unconditional surrender" issued by the Allies in the early stages of World War II, but it was also to demonstrate our ability to develop and use a weapon of mass destruction.

Likewise, the folly of Vietnam was, in the immortal analysis by the great journalist and political pariah I.F. Stone, the inability of the "mighty" U.S. to accept the fact that a lot of men, women and children who believed in their own cause, running around in black pajamas in remote jungles and using what we considered primitive weapons and strategies, could defeat the most formidable military power on earth.

It is not that much of a stretch to see how this deification of technological solutions has also manifested itself in agriculture --- substituting capital for efficiency and technology for labor. Because of it we have witnessed over the last century the near total destruction of family farm agriculture.

From selling farmers the idea that they needed ever-newer chemical poisons to "annihilate" pests, rather than to simply control their voraciousness, to urging them to invest in ever new and expensive cost-inefficient machinery, from irradiating food in place of the carefully monitoring and inspection of its production for diseases and bacteria to the producting of raw materials by replacing agriculture's "excess human resources" in the field to the laboratories of genetic engineers we have seen the growing, harvesting and production of our food being rapidly transmogrified from an agri-culture into an agri-business --- almost solely to the benefit of the corporate state.

Ironically, it was from what at the time were considered "weapons of mass destruction" that many of these so-called 20th century agricultural technological innovations had their genesis.

At the same time the "merchants of greed," these man handlers of democracy, have been seeking to fundamentally change the nature of the American character they have also sought to firmly establish the U.S. as an imperialist power in the world, namely by arbitrarily assuming they know what is right for the rest of the world, where and when "nation building" is to take place, and how to transform the rest of the rest of the world into simply a raw materials provider for a fast-fading capitalist economy that increasingly begins to resemble a house of cards.

Although he was addressing the U.S. involvement in World War I, A. C. Townley, the founder of the Northern Plains populist Non Partisan League in the early 20th century had it right when he charged that "it is absolute insanity for us to lead ourselves or anybody else to believe that this nation can succeed in war when hundreds of thousands of parasites, the gamblers in the necessities of life, use the war only for the purpose of exacting exorbitant profits. We are working, not to beat the enemy, but to make more multi-millionaires."

This imperialist mentality by the U.S. is certainly not some new secret policy being hatched in the dark recesses of the West Wing. It was in Dovas, Switzerland in 1999 that Henry A. Kissinger, the former Secretary of State, declared: "The U.S. today has the reach and the power of an imperial state, yet domestic perceptions have not caught up with that reality. Such lack of understanding is not healthy, but leads to isolationism."

Obviously from observing the actions of recent administrations, the extent to which our country is preparing to go to protect its power as an "imperial state" includes preemptive action against threats to U.S. security.

Against this insane background it has been Jimmy Carter, for all his faults as the 39th President of the United States, who has emerged as not only our nation's most respected statesman in the eyes of the world , but also as a much needed voice of national conscience. In his acceptance speech on Tuesday, upon receiving the richly deserved Nobel Peace Prize, Carter rightfully noted:

"For powerful countries to adopt a principle of preventive war may well set an example that can have catastrophic consequences," Citing the United States' status as the world's sole superpower, he said Americans traditionally have "not assumed that super strength guarantees super wisdom." He added that, "imperfect as it may be," the United Nations is "the best avenue for the maintenance of peace."

"In order for us human beings to commit ourselves personally to the inhumanity of war, we find it necessary first to dehumanize our opponents, which is in itself a violation of the beliefs of all religions, . . . Once we characterize our adversaries as beyond the scope of God's mercy and grace, their lives lose all value."

And in words that ring as true for forms of organized perpetrated economic violence as they do for weapons of war Carter, a former peanut farmer, said this false justification applied not only to terrorists, but also to armed forces that use high-tech weapons. "From a great distance, we launch bombs or missiles with almost total impunity, and never want to know the number or identity of the victims."