Thursday, July 2, 2015

John McCain's Fetish for War


By David Starr

John "Bombs Away!" McCain is the prototype of the gung-ho, imperial war monger. He is fetishistic about war. Whether dealing with Iran, Syria, Russia or Ukraine, McCain salivates as a sabre-rattler.

McCain wants the United States to get more involved in the Ukraine. Having rubbed elbows with its neo-fascist rulers, McCain wants weapons sent to Ukrainian forces and threatens Russia's President Vladimir Putin with imperial war. McCain also wants military intervention in Syria to support the "Free Syrian Army." And McCain isn't in the mood to have dialogue with Iran, wanting military action against it.

On these "fronts," McCain has chided U.S. President Barack Obama for not accepting McCain's "final solutions." "This is more of the same old, same old from ultra-hawk McCain," writes Justin Baragona in Politicus (4/22/2014). "Whatever POTUS decides, McCain has to make the talk show rounds and point out how wrong Obama is."

In the Daily Banter (6/03/2013), Ben Cohen makes eight points to show that McCain is "an unhinged warmonger":

"1) McCain is trying to up American involvement in the civil war raging in Syria. Apparently not bothered by the disasters of U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the raging anti-Americanism in the Middle East, McCain thinks more involvement will improve the situation. Or maybe he doesn't care about that either, and just wants more war.

2) He helped the Bush Administration build a case for war in Iraq, despite any evidence of WMDs or Saddam's links to Al-Qaeda, building a fictitious case against Saddam that led to one of the greatest strategic disasters in U.S. military history.

3) Unwilling to accept that America's role in Iraq was increasingly pointless, McCain was a huge supporter of 'the surge' in 2007.

4) McCain believes in America's divine right to occupy a country for as long as it likes in order to achieve its objectives. [He favored occupying Iraq for 100 years.]

5) McCain has long been a proponent of attacking Iran, being 'a) fabulously uninformed and b) dangerously bellicose' [quoting Joe Klein].

6) Regardless of its illegality, McCain has advocated bombing the infrastructure of enemy countries. Under Article 54 of Protocol I of the 1977 Geneva Conventions, it is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population.

7) McCain doesn't believe in torture unless the CIA does it.

8) There is good evidence to believe that John McCain's thirst for war is almost entirely down to political ambition."

McCain's service in Vietnam earned him numerous awards and citations. But the "war hero," before being captured, "spent his 22 missions bombing mostly civilian targets in North Vietnam," according to Phillip Gerardi in a Global Research article (6/01/2013). (Gerardi's article also asserts that McCain was possibly a collaborator for the North Vietnamese, getting preferential treatment for his information. Alexander Cockburn also provides details in Counterpunch, 4/19/2008.)

It is high time that U.S. citizens stop supporting imperial war. And that means not supporting John McCain and other warmongers.

David Starr writes on various issues, both national and international 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Right-Wing Libertarianism: A 19th Century-Like Disorder

(Image: Chatanooga Times Free Press - Bennett)

Less or no government and individual rights; these would be things among others that provide a general description of libertarianism.

But under the surface of these things, it's a different matter. As with other philosophies, libertarianism has its tendencies. The libertarianism that exists in the United States is of the right-wing strain. Under the surface, there is the anarchy and chaos of a depraved world contradicting a utopian vision of people pursuing their self-interests which benefits all.

RW (right-wing) libertarians sound similar to conservatives when obsessing about government. They say government is too big with its social programs, the EPA and other "boondoggles." They obsess over government interfering with business. Thus, they want deregulation.

But years of deregulation was one factor that ultimately caused the 2008 Great Recession.

RW libertarians want a "bare-bones" government, if any. But government has a public obligation to promote the general welfare; to uphold laws enacted in a legislature that benefit the public, to implement free/affordable healthcare and educational systems, to implement regulation against corporations that are more likely to be held unaccountable than otherwise. It is rather perverse to profit off of healthcare and education. But RW libertarians support this kind of profiteering.

Government also helps to protect a country's sovereignty. Federalism helped the U.S. to organize into a secure nation. It helped lead into discarding the Articles of Confederation (the latter of which allowed near-chaos and kept the newly-formed states vulnerable to potential attack by European colonial powers) and implementing the U.S. Constitution. Thus, a strong central government has had its positives. (But that's not to say that it should control everything.)

Government isn't going away anytime soon. So, we may as well put it to good use.

The perception of individuality from a RW libertarian position is rather simplistic. They say you can do anything you want, as long as it doesn't hurt other people. This doesn't take into account how humans interact with each other and how that interaction relates to the current world order. A person may, e.g., be head of a corporation that imports bananas. This person may feel fulfilled about the work he/she is doing. This individual feels satisfied. But what about the workers who are paid slave wages to pick the bananas? Here there are people whose individuality is not respected. But the head of the corporation ignores this and follows his/her own self-interest.

A negative trait, in this case selfishness, is prioritized within human nature. Strictly following one's self-interest will have negative traits prioritized over positive traits. Inevitably, this causes conflict, particularly class conflict.

Today we have a bourgeois/capitalist-dominated world order. But RW libertarians want more. They want to gut government, more deregulation and massive privatization. They want a Gilded Age on steroids and call it utopia; a utopia for the few who have the wealth to pay for it.

For RW libertarians who want to practice their warped philosophy, let them be shipped to a deserted island and let's see how long they would survive.

David Starr writes on various issues, both national and international