Friday, August 29, 2008

Tongue of Flame: A Speech Presaging Endless War

Written by Chris Floyd
Thursday, 28 August 2008

As we noted here yesterday, Arthur Silber has written a powerful and profound series of articles on the Joe Biden VP nomination, and its deeper implications. He has now followed these up with a piece on Biden's disturbing -- not to say blood-curdling -- acceptance speech on Wednesday night. You should read Silber's latest piece in full, but I wanted to add a few comments of my own.

Joe Biden's acceptance speech was indeed a remarkable performance -- bellicose and delusional and deceitful by turns. If you closed your eyes, there were moments when you would have thought that you were back in the Cow Palace in 1964, listening to Barry Goldwater belching fire and threatening doom for all those who challenge America's uniquely exceptional special unquestionable morally superior dominance of the world.

Arthur Silber points us to some of the money shots in Biden's speech. And the porn allusion is entirely appropriate in this case. The speech, like the whole evening -- which was given over to the glorification of war and the triumphant militarization of American society -- was a lurid example of the pornography of power.

For example, listen to Goldwat -- oops, Biden -- thundering at the evil Rooskies:

Ladies and gentlemen, in recent years and in recent days, we've once again seen the consequences of the neglect -- of this neglect, with Russia challenging the very freedom of a new democratic country of Georgia. Barack and I will end that neglect. We will hold Russia accountable for its actions, and we will help the people of Georgia rebuild.

What will he and Barack do to hold the Russians "accountable"? And accountable for what? For acting precisely as the bipartisan foreign policy establishment of the United States has acted for decades: using military power to achieve political ends and "project dominance" to protect "national interests" as defined by the ruling clique? And in this case -- unlike, oh, say, the Americans in Iraq or Somalia or Panama or Lebanon or Vietnam, etc. -- the Russians were provoked into action when their soldiers (lawfully stationed in South Ossetia with UN sanction, just like the American troops at the enormous Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo) were assaulted and killed, along with numerous innocent civilians, in a sneak attack by Georgian forces armed and trained by Washington.

What would an American administration have done in such a case? It would have laid waste to Tbilisi, as was done in Baghdad, Fallujah, Belgrade. It would have occupied Georgia; it would have sent soldiers barging into houses to drag out the menfolk and terrorize the women and children; it would have constructed enormous prisons to hold tens of thousands of Georgians captive, without charges, for months and years on end; it would bring in secret agents of unnameable agencies and private contractors to conduct "strenuous interrogations;" it would drop 500-pound bombs on residential areas if some guy at a computer console in a hole in Nebraska operating a drone camera spotted a Georgian man carrying a weapon or even -- heaven forbid! -- firing a weapon at the people who invaded and occupied his country, destroyed his home and killed his kinsmen.

In other words, the reaction of any American administration to such a provocation (or as in the case of Iraq, Somalia, Lebanon, Panama, Vietnam, etc., to no provocation whatsoever) would make Russia's action in Georgia look like a game of beach volleyball. Yet big bad Joe Biden -- and his commander-in-chief, Barry Goldwa--sorry, Barack Obama -- are going to hold Russia "accountable" (in some conveniently unspecified way) for not acting as brutally as any American administration would have done in the same situation.

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