3, 2006, Volume 13 Nr. 42, Issue 210
IS NOT AN OPTION
To the Rogue
Tyrants Belong the Spoils
Were America's ruling elites forced to
become conscienceless criminals so they could fend off the
scimitar-bearing Islamic hordes itching to rape, behead, and
eviscerate the entire freedom-loving American population?
Or is it that these avaricious, bellicose de facto rulers of
America have treated humanity with contempt for years and are
simply targeting their latest scapegoat?
Perhaps the answer lies in Adam Smith's quote, cited by Noam
Chomsky in his latest book:
"the vile maxim of the masters of mankind: ...All
for ourselves, and nothing for other people."
With the arsenal of weapons of mass destruction at its disposal
and the economic influence it wields, the US government subjugates
mankind through intimidation, extortion, and military domination.
Despite myriad signs of its empire declining, America's
ruling class easily qualifies as the "masters of
Noam Chomsky recently penned Failed
States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy,
a book in which he provided a powerfully-constructed and heavily
documented argument that the United States is a failed state, like
many of the nations it has declared to be threats to itself and
As Chomsky suggested, the Bush Regime and its multiple components
(including corporate interests, many of America's wealthy, certain
radical segments of the Christian population, AIPAC and its
supporters, and those amongst the middle and working class still
beguiled by the corporate media) have been quick to label other
nations as failed states to achieve their imperialist goals.
Iraq was a failed state and a threat to the United States. Hence
the invasion and occupation. Haiti was a failed state and its
people were suffering. Enter United States intervention and
subsequent Haitian misery.
According to Chomsky, there are three essential components to a
1. their inability or unwillingness to protect their
citizens from violence and perhaps even destruction.
2. their tendency to regard themselves as beyond the
reach of domestic or international law, and hence free to carry
out aggression and violence.
3. And if they have democratic forms, they suffer from
a serious "democratic deficit" that deprives their
formal democratic institutions of real substance.
Examples abound to support Chomsky's assertion that the United
States is indeed as much of a failed state as those it is so quick
to criticize, subvert, and in some cases, invade.
America began to decline seriously under Reagan, continued its
precipitous drop under Bush I and Clinton, and has reached
disturbing lows under Bush II. Whether Republican or Democrat,
successive United States governments degenerated into an entity
which is betraying a majority of its people and is a significant
threat to the continued existence of the human species: a failed
Human Beings are Expendable in
our Quest for Money and Power
Under Bush II, the
United States launched an invasion against a sovereign nation
which posed no threat to the United States or its allies.
US-driven UN economic sanctions had neutered Hussein militarily
while resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi
It is now common knowledge that significant evidence exists that
the Bush Regime took America to war based on what it knew to be
false information. To date, at least 250,000 Iraqis and 2,400
Americans have died as a result of the lies of a failed state.
How many more Americans will die as a result of the hatred and
furor ignited by US foreign policy, particularly in the Middle
East? What will be the extent of the backlash for the US invasion
of Iraq and its ongoing support of Israel's genocidal acts against
Consider Chomsky's take on the obscene hypocrisy of American
"There is a straightforward single standard:
Their terror against us and our clients is the ultimate evil,
while our terror against them does not exist-or, if it does, it is
It is well-documented that the United States has slaughtered
millions of innocent civilians (3 million in Vietnam alone) in
wars of imperial conquest waged under the guise of
"protecting" the American people from grossly overstated
threats like Communism. America's elite rulers are so intent on
their short-term power and money grab that they fail to realize
(or more likely do not care) that they are putting many of their
own people in grave danger by severely abusing the rest of
Want more evidence that the US government lacks the desire or
capacity to protect the American people?
Contemplate the refusal to acknowledge the reality of global
warming or to participate in the Kyoto Treaty, the perpetuation
and expansion of its nuclear arsenal, tax cuts for the wealthy,
deep cuts in social programs coupled with increased military
spending at an insane clip, the creation of $27,000 worth of debt
for each American, increased privatization, and further
deregulation of corporations. In the United States, policies and
laws hostile to the environment, consumers, the working class, and
minorities have become the status quo.
Sadly, Katrina and New Orleans provide a glimpse of the future for
the majority of Americans if current social and political trends
continue. Such is life in a failed state for the those who do not
rest comfortably atop the pyramid of wealth and power.
A strong argument exists that global warming is causing
increasingly severe hurricanes, like Katrina. Meanwhile, America's
elites decided they had better uses for taxpayer money than to
strengthen the levees or stop the erosion of the wetlands which
buffered New Orleans from severe hurricanes. This despite eerily
prescient warnings of a Katrina-like disaster in a 2001 article in
Rendering FEMA impotent, robbing National Guard resources to
conquer Iraq, abandoning thousands of poor Blacks to suffer and
die, patrolling the streets with heavily armed Blackwater
mercenaries, and suspending federal wage protections during
reconstruction are clear indications of a state which has failed a
majority its people miserably.
There is little room for doubt that the Bush Regime places itself
above both domestic and international law. A few illustrations
1. wiretapping of US citizens without seeking FISA court approval
(the FISA court has granted approval to virtually every request it
2. passing and renewing the Orwellian Patriot Act which seriously
violates four of the ten amendments in the Bill of Rights
3. the invasion and occupation of Iraq, a sovereign nation which
had not attacked the United States and had posed no imminent
4. suspending habeas corpus and posse comitatus
5. defying the Geneva Conventions by arbitrarily arresting,
detaining and torturing at least 14,000 alleged "enemy
6. significant expansion of Executive powers by adding signing
statements (which direct the Executive branch to implement laws as
the president sees fit rather than as Congress intended) to over
In Failed States, Chomsky provided many examples
of America's elites' actions that demonstrate their disregard for
domestic and international law, tracing the roots and progression
of such behavior back to World War II.
A Hideous Despot Lurks Behind
the Facade of Lady Liberty
The most disturbing
aspect of Chomsky's treatise defining the United States as a
failed state is his exploration of its "democratic
In stark contrast to our forefathers' blueprint for a
constitutional republic in which the Constitution exists to limit
government power, the people elect their leaders, and an
independent judiciary exists to review the Constitutionality of
government actions, America has devolved into a nation governed by
the elite for the elite. The Constitution has been reduced to
"just a goddamned piece of paper."
Consider Chomsky's analysis:
The reactionary statists who have a thin grip on
political power are dedicated warriors. With consistency and
passion that approach caricature, their policies serve the
substantial people-in fact, an unusually narrow sector of them-and
disregard or harm the underlying population and future
generations. They are also seeking to use their current
opportunities to institutionalize these arrangements, so that it
will be no small task to reconstruct a more humane and democratic
US corporations contribute greatly to the American democratic
deficit. Possessing rights exceeding those of human beings and
bearing limited accountability, powerful corporations enable
wealthy shareholders and executives to place profits ahead of
people and the environment to a sociopathic extent. Corporate
moral compasses are consistently drawn off course by the powerful
pull of money.
Deregulation leading to decreased environmental and consumer
protections , a stagnant minimum wage, skyrocketing pay for
executives relative to workers, diminished benefits for the
working class, and a significant decline in the power of labor
unions are but a few results of corporate power in the United
States. Political manipulation through unbridled lobbying combined
with a revolving door between corporate suites and government
offices ensure that corporate interests supersede those of the
poor and working class.
Corporate-controlled media has interests which are closely aligned
with those of the "substantial people",
as Chomsky called America's elites in Failed States.
Chomsky observed that in Nazi Germany, Goebbels used mainstream
media's "American advertising methods"
to "sell National Socialism".
And it worked.
History is repeating itself as mainstream print and broadcast
media work tirelessly to sell America's "unsubstantial
people" on grossly immoral and illegal government policies
detrimental to their well-being, such as concentrating the wealth
and power in the hands of a few and fighting for global hegemony.
And it is working.
America's mainstream media has two powerful weapons at its
disposal, both of which are deeply embedded in the psyche of many
As Chomsky pointed out in his book, the media wins the hearts and
minds of many Americans by reminding them of their "nobility
of purpose" in bringing "the
Spirit of Civilization" to other peoples and
nations, even if it means killing millions in the process.
Americans have also demonstrated a repeated vulnerability to the
media manipulating them with fear. Throughout history, America's
elite have contrived or grossly exaggerated foes such as Native
Americans, Blacks, Communists, Hispanic narco-terrorists, illegal
immigrants, terrorists, and street criminals. Manufactured
irrational fear has led to compliance, subjugation, and the
creation of a host of industries benefiting the "substantial
people". Long live the military and prison
One of Chomsky's most startling and often over-looked observations
about America is the chasm between political will and the popular
Consider that in 1984, Reagan won with 30% of the popular vote. Of
those polled, 4% said they voted for Reagan because "he's
a real conservative". This equates to 1% of
voters stating they were endorsing conservatism with their vote.
America's media proclaimed the election "a
powerful mandate for conservatism". Polls
showed that in 1984 over 80% of Americans supported increases in
social spending and a majority favored cuts in military spending
over decreased spending on healthcare. Obviously the Reagan and
his administration chose to curry the favor of 20% of the
population when they implemented policy.
The United States is the only industrialized nation with no
universal health care system. 46 million Americans are uninsured
and the WHO recently rated the US healthcare system as number 37
in the world. Chomsky cited numerous opinion polls, including
those conducted by NBC-Wall Street Journal and the Pew Research
Center. Each poll reflected that over 60% of Americans wanted a
universal health care system. Yet the privatized system is too
great a benefit to the "substantial people".
It is politically "untouchable". A nation as wealthy as
the United States that does not provide basic healthcare to all of
its people is a failed state.
Deceitful manipulation of public opinion for political gain is a
specialty of US government elites. As Congress was cutting $20
billion from the Medicaid program, Tom Delay led the charge (made
possible by corporate media) to give Terri Schiavo the "chance
we all deserve". Where is the duplicity, you
ask? Terri Schiavo was a Medicaid patient.
How Can We the People Reclaim
the United States?
What measures would restore the American government to its
Constitutional mandates to "provide for the general
welfare" and to "provide for the common defense",
return the US to being a law-abiding member of the world
community, and eradicate the "democratic deficit"?
In Failed State, Chomsky suggested:
1. accept the jurisdiction of the International
Criminal Court and the World Court.
2. Sign and carry forward the Kyoto protocols
3. let the UN take the lead in international crises
4. rely on diplomatic and economic measures rather than military
ones in confronting terror
5. keep to the traditional interpretation for the UN Charter
6. give up the Security Council veto and have a "decent
respect for the opinion of mankind", as the Declaration of
Independence advises, even if power centers disagree
7. cut back sharply on military spending and sharply increase
Beyond Chomsky's suggestions, here
are some avenues the poor, working and middle class can pursue to
put their state back on a path toward success for them:
1. massive, sustained boycotts of major corporations which
engage in egregiously criminal behavior, in the US or abroad.
2. massive and sustained boycotts of the mainstream media
3. America's youth refusing to enlist in the military so long as the
United States continues to use its military for purposes other than
4. significant numbers of existing military personnel refusing to
fight wars of aggression by following the example of Kevin Benderman
and filing for conscientious objector status
5. the formation of a viable third political party (i.e. Populists,
Socialists, or Labor) which represents the "unsubstantials"
to counter the Democrats and Republicans (both mere vehicles for the
wealthy and elite to maintain power)
6. increased unionization and enhanced cooperation amongst existing
7. massive numbers of Americans declining to engage in
8. American consumers limiting their debt to necessities and
expenses for their businesses if they are proprietors
9. wide-spread support of NGO's that support human rights and
provide poverty relief
10. individual Americans making a conscious effort to educate
themselves and to think critically
11. sweeping efforts to teach America's youth true American history
and to use their critical thinking skills to question their failed
12. wide-ranging grass roots efforts to maintain the alternative
media on the Internet, Internet communities and the integrity of the
Internet by limiting control by major corporations
13. individuals engaging in civil disobedience when it is sensible
Noam Chomsky, one of the preeminent
scholars and moral philosophers of our time, has been largely
ignored by the mainstream media, presumably because of his vehement
dissent against US foreign and domestic policy.
Recently, he has also been demonized
by a number of his fellow dissenters, scholars, and members of the
reality-based community. Some criticize him for his unwillingness to
validate the assertion that 9/11 was perpetrated by the US
government. Others call him a Zionist who is soft on Israel. Some
even believe that Chomsky is actually one the "substantial
people" and uses his brilliant dissent to
advocate non-violent change as a means of taming potentially violent
revolutionaries. Still others label him a hypocrite because of the
measure of wealth he has derived from over the course of his career.
Regardless of what one believes about
Chomsky or his motives, Failed States is a
brilliant dissection of the increasingly inhumane and authoritarian
political structure of the United States. Chomsky advances a highly
convincing argument that America is indeed a failed state whose de
facto ruling elite are engaged in The Abuse of Power and the
Assault on Democracy. Like him or not, Chomsky's latest
work exposes America's ruling for the world to see them as the
ruthless narcissists they truly are.
Jason Miller is a 39
year old sociopolitical essayist with a degree in liberal arts and
an extensive self-education (derived from an insatiable appetite for
reading). He is a member of Amnesty International and an avid
supporter of Oxfam International and Human Rights Watch. He
welcomes responses at firstname.lastname@example.org
or comments on his blog, Thomas Paine's Corner, at