American Empire: A Glass House Built By Stone Throwers


It is the mother’s milk of imperialism.

Whether it is in the service of “civilizing” barbarians, converting “heathens,” or, in its most recent incarnation, extending the reach of “democracy,” the bottom line of imperialism has always been the bottom line.

The bottom line of the infamous “White Man’s Burden” borne by the once-ubiquitous British Empire was merely the heavy weight—the pure tonnage—of the incredible wealth the colonials dutifully carried back home.

When the United States picked up “the Burden” after World War II, it became the world’s self-appointed champion of freedom, unreflective “protector” of inalienable rights and self-serving dictator of democracy’s terms and conditions. But it faced a problem—what is the rationale for empire in a post-colonial world?

The problem was solved ideologically and, truth be told, cinematically. “International Communism” emerged as if from central casting, like a 1950s B-movie invader from a godless Red Planet. Fighting it created the greatest source of publicly-funded largess in human history, often cycling tax dollars through client states that, in turn, spent the “aid money” at the All-American Arsenal of Democracy shopping center.

How ironic it was, however, that a nation born of revolution so quickly and easily became the counter-revolutionary stalwart against self-determination. Even as European empires fell, American power often came to the aid of the old regime’s remnants, propping up reactionaries and arming dubious freedom fighters. While the epic battle against Red totalitarianism gave America’s growing empire some ideological cover, it was the existential fear of releasing a global thermonuclear Leviathan that kept the Red, White and Blue façade intact.

Now, the Soviet Union is a distant memory. Nuclear holocaust doesn’t quite loom over the planet with the same inevitability. And a persistent thaw is releasing the dirty secrets of hypocrisy previously locked away by the frozen logic of the Cold War.

Perhaps that is why America’s national security establishment works so hard to preserve the Leviathan, now rebranded as the catch-all acronym of evil incarnate—the WMD.

Chemical, biological and nuclear weapons comprise the three-headed beast of the 21st Century’s Leviathan. Somehow, bunker-busting bombs, costly cruise missiles, indiscriminate cluster bombs and life-altering land mines—along with an inventive array of massively destructive ordinance made, used and sold by the United States—don’t seem to qualify as “weapons of mass destruction.”

This is, of course, in spite of Iraq.

An obvious “case in point,” it suffered massive destruction by a shocking onslaught of said weapons. In fact, Iraq’s significant toll of civilian causalities will continue to mount decades after the war because of America’s widespread use of depleted uranium—a chemically toxic, radiological weapon that was first used in the 1991 Gulf War and then used again in the 2003 invasion.

But don’t call that a WMD. Like Agent Orange before it, America’s “leadership” hides behind the veil of collateral consequences to obfuscate the mass destruction caused by both of those weapons. One defoliated. The other disabled armor. Any mass destruction was purely coincidental. But any hypocrisy you detect is completely understandable.

Take, for example, Secretary of State John Kerry’s “pre-targeting” statement on Syria.

Without blushing, he referred to the “indiscriminate slaughter of civilians” as a “moral obscenity.” In an eerie echo of Dick Cheney, he expressed no doubt about claims the Syrian regime used chemical weapons against its own people. Apparently, Assad crossed the much-discussed “red line” in the sand drawn by President Obama. A deadly serious Secretary Kerry intoned with baritone forcefulness, “…there must be accountability for those who would use the world’s most heinous weapons against the world’s most vulnerable people.”

Yet, there is little accountability built into America’s barely-secret drone war against suspected militants in numerous countries. The heinous Hellfire missiles they launch “indiscriminately” kill civilians at an obscenely higher rate than piloted bombing missions. But those are not “technically” WMDs. Drones also purposely double back and kill “vulnerable” first responders after the initial attack. But those deaths are purely “conventional.”

Even though death by conventional weapons versus non-conventional weapons seems more and more like a distinction without a difference, the sad fact is that American hypocrisy runs deep on the issue of non-conventional warfare.

Ironically, that story leads back to Iraq.

Longstanding claims of U.S. complicity in Iraq’s use of chemical weapons against Iran have finally been verified. Although previously dismissed as a loony conspiracy theory or the anti-patriotic musings of naïve peaceniks, the relentless journalists at Foreign Policy magazine forced a timely bit of bold truth into the black hole of historical indifference so often peddled by the bedazzled stenographers of the mainstream media. Declassified CIA documents, a key interview and some dark dots connect Reagan officials with foreknowledge and consistent support of Saddam’s use of chemical weapons during the Iran-Iraq War. The U.S. even provided satellite intelligence for a deadly chemical attack on Iranian troops in 1988.

At the time, Iraq was a surreptitious client state. And client states don’t get boxed in by troublesome red lines. Not by the nation holding the red Sharpie®.

So, while Egypt cracks down on “its own people” after a “not-coup” and Saudi Arabia continues its Taliban-like rule over “its own people” and a nuclear Israel continues to confiscate the land of another people, Syria becomes the next target in America’s ongoing struggle to remain atop the moral high ground.

To that end, the world’s leading nuclear power, with the world’s leading bioweapons facility and lingering stockpiles of chemical weapons will punish a non-client state in another undeclared war based on hard to verify charges stemming from a bloody civil conflict.

Perhaps that’s the only way to preserve the transparent walls around this American empire. Protest when others have rocks. Arm yourself and your allies with even bigger rocks. And pre-emptively or punitively launch rocks at the few glass houses in which you and your rock sellers are not welcome.

If nothing else, the need to replace launched “rocks” will generate some revenue for Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and the other merchants at the All-American Arsenal of Democracy shopping center.

Ultimately, that’s the bottom line of the American empire.

Liked it? Take a second to support Newsvandal on Patreon!

'American Empire: A Glass House Built By Stone Throwers' have 4 comments

  1. August 27, 2013 @ 3:54 pm Truth No Longer Relevant | Political Film Blog

    […] American Empire: A Glass House Built By Stone Throwers Rate this:Share:GoogleEmailFacebookRedditTwitterDiggTumblrLike this:Like Loading… […]

  2. August 27, 2013 @ 10:52 pm Parks McCants

    The world stands by as the United States steps into yet another Arab world pile of camel dung. Right you are Sir. Dollar driven, and corporate dollar delivered!

    Unfortunately Obama is but a puppet on a string, lame ducking his way to the finish line. We’ll see where it goes on Thursday.

    Thanks for your well researched and executed political commentary. You top the major league in quality political issue based journalism..

    Well done Sir!

    Parks McCants Top News, Politics/ Examiner.Com.

  3. August 29, 2013 @ 8:36 am Non Commercial

    As if we needed another reason to be sick to our stomachs, yesterday brought the sight of America’s first black president attempting to bask in the limelight of a real American hero, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. And while the public’s attention was carefully focused on the issue of race, King’s opposition to the Vietnam War and his accurate diagnosis of capitalism’s innate inequalities were drowned out by carefully modulated paeans of self-congratulation.

    One might have thought that a 50th anniversary would provide a temporary antidote to America’s short and selective memory, but one would be wrong. Thus, the moral obscenity of the U.S. destroying vast areas of Indochina’s precious forest ecosystems, contaminating millions of people, and leaving an enduring legacy of cancer and birth defects, remains ensconced in the collective illusion of American superiority. And Monsanto – the corporation that made the dioxins in Agent Orange – presses on with its latest efforts to poison the world in the name of American progress.

    Even King might have questioned his commitment to non-violence upon beholding this American nightmare.

  4. September 5, 2013 @ 8:28 am james chiarottino

    Lets take the horse blinders off of the American Congress and let them see themselves for what they really are—- without the ever-present myopia that smears their vision from the truth. The Amerikan Republik of the 20th & 21st centuries is perhaps the most destructive nation in the known history of the world. We stand on our pulpit and preach about “moral obsenities” which do not include the nuclear bombings of HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of innocent people during WWII or the immolations of HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of people with napalm and agent orange during the Vietnam conflict. What to speak of the atrocities of the Iraqi and Afghanistan conflicts and lets not forget (in the dishonorable mention catagory) Korea, Iran and Central American during the 1960s & 70s & 80s and dozens of other places around the world that we know of and not of. Lets not forget the HUNDREDS AND THOUSANDS who have been terrorized via DRONE attacks. Kerry can get on his pulpit and preach from his “high moral ground” but in truth, the U.S. is the greates terrorist nation the world has ever known.

Would you like to share your thoughts?

Your email address will not be published.