Featured at Off-Guardian
“Get out of here, you lowlife scum!”
-Sen. John McCain to anti-war protesters, January 29, 2015
by Joe Giambrone
One unexpected revelation, that John McCain’s death has shown us, is that we completely misjudged some notable players on the national stage. Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and even Audrey Denney in Northern California have praised the serial warmonger as some kind of national treasure. Real progressives, on the ground, expect those people to fight against John McCain’s imperial agenda of mass murder for mass profits.
What do these representatives stand for in reality? When did imperial wars of aggression become the norm and beyond criticism? What alternatives do we now have in America to this Nazi-styled, industrial-scale barbarism and an ongoing domestic propaganda victory, which Goebbels would have been proud of concocting? Belligerence is now heroism.
(So did Joseph Stalin, Audrey.)
The right-wing knew for years that McCain was on his way out, and they planned their massive PR offensive, which still unfolds all around us. It’s a sickening nationalism with a fake martyr who isn’t supposed to be criticized.
For fifty years, John McCain was elevated by the right-wing because of his victim status. Being a captured prisoner of war made him a solid, reliable commodity. His “patriotism” was beyond question. This allowed McCain, or “McNasty” as he was known to his military peers, to rise through the ranks and become one of the most malignant politicians of our lives, selling war after war, supporting any and all blood-drenched tyrants, terrorists, or Nazis who would do business with America. McCain’s agenda was the problem, the main problem in the world today. Millions of innocent civilians perished in part due to John McCain’s tireless efforts to launch more US wars of aggression, both overt and covert.
John McCain and Lindsey Graham with the head of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, Abdelhakim Beladj, who has both Al Qaeda and ISIS links.
Your Empire at Work
Empires persist because of several principles which aren’t taught in American K-12 schools. No public school, to my knowledge, dares call America an empire at all, despite it keeping military bases and active soldiers in the overwhelming majority of foreign lands on this planet. It is an invisible empire then, and the less the general public knows about it the easier it is to manage. Good guys and bad guys are assigned on the fly, minor bit parts to sell the latest news cycle, nothing more. Often the good guys pop up later as bad guys or vice-versa.
Osama bin Laden in 1993 — “Good” Guy?
One principle that is obvious and common to every empire since Rome is “bread and circuses.” The domestic population is kept at a slightly elevated standard of living — that’s the bread — but distracted with entertainment as much as possible, a devil’s bargain. Your morals for a wide-screen TV, now shut up and watch it. The people therefore have something to lose, and they aren’t educated enough about current global situations to mount any kind of organized challenge to the powers that be. That’s the game.
Opportunity cost is the phenomenon that prompts an empire to promote distraction and entertainment. If the people spend their lives watching football, television, or video games, or just fighting with each other over race and religion, then they are not learning about flash points across the globe. The average citizen cannot do both. Few Americans today could locate Syria on a blank map, despite it being the target of US belligerence since at least 2011.
A second principle of running an empire is to outsource your dirty work to your vassals, your “friends.” This is about creating a false perception of ethics and morals. Your foreign henchmen serve as proxies to enforce your will on the periphery. You ship them high-tech arms, intelligence, money if need be, in order to exercise control beyond your own borders. Thus, America is in bed with the leaders of countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, UAE, Uzbekistan, Israel, and too many “human rights” abusers to list.
The problem with political labels is that they don’t actually mean much. They cover a wide range of people, views, and agendas.
In the context of this article, we see “Progressive” voices supporting an agenda of widespread atrocities against foreign lands which they would never — in a million years — condone against people at home. There’s a rift, a dichotomy, a split-personality disorder of sorts. What we do to them versus what we do to us, that’s the distinction. The domestic population is slightly elevated, more important, deserving of some human rights vs. their enemies around the world, who are fair game.
So, what can we expect from the most “Progressive” Democratic Party options alive today? They have endorsed McCain without qualifying in any way the immoral criminality of his lifelong agenda of war and more war. No recollection of his Beach Boys parody, “Bomb bomb Iran.” Certainly no talk of his meeting with Al Qaeda and other Jihadist elements in both Libya and Syria! His selling Jihad as “freedom” on US television. Nothing about his supporting the ranting, raving neo-Nazis in Ukraine, nor the violent illegal coup there, which McCain was a part of.
Jihadist kidnappers meet with US senator McCain, exposed in Lebanese newspaper The Daily Star.
Bernie Sanders voted to bomb Serbia in 1999 and to invade Afghanistan in 2001. It was well known that the Taliban had offered to turn over Osama bin Laden to a legitimate international court if evidence was produced to implicate him in the 9/11 attacks. Instead of pursuing this diplomatic solution, it was instead the start of an endless war that continues to this day, the longest war in America’s history. Sanders cast a vote in favor of the attack and against a peaceful diplomatic solution, against justice.
Bernie Sanders also supported:
“Israeli onslaughts against the Gaza Strip, most recently the savage bombardment of July-August 2014 which killed nearly 2,000 Palestinians, including more than 500 children. At an August 2014 town hall meeting, Sanders notoriously demanded that audience members “shut up” when they questioned his support for Israel’s criminal actions.”
Further, Bernie Sanders was right on John McCain’s side in backing the 2014 fascist coup in Ukraine. “The entire world has got to stand up to Putin,” he argued, ignoring that US/EU support to a completely undemocratic seizure of power in Ukraine prompted the Russian response. So who was the real aggressor?
Are these new “Progressive” kids on the block more of the same? Did we get fooled again? With the country lurching toward a Robber Baron kakistocracy, these alternatives may seem like rays of sunshine. Perhaps they are, but the devil is in the details.
How many more wars, “Progressives?” How many?
Joe Giambrone is an author and filmmaker.