EARTH MEANDERS: This Memorial Day: Should We Arrest Cheney and Bush, Impeach Obama?

Democratic consumption is an irredeemable political/economic system that has proven itself unable to justly and equitably allow all global citizens to live in peace, abundance and sustainability.
By Dr. Glen Barry, EcoInternet
Earth Meanders come from Earth's Newsdesk
War and climate criminals will be brought to justiceIt has been awhile since I have written how U.S. militarism to prop up an unsustainable way of life is destroying both Earth and freedom. As Obama induced “hopenosis” starts wearing off, it is clear that on several key issues — war, civil liberties and climate change — we are getting “Bush Lite” policies from President Obama that differ little from his criminal predecessor. Military commissions to try those illegally held for years will occur after all, and some may be held forever without charges. We continue to be spied upon. Obama is escalating the unwinnable war in Afghanistan, and drawing out the criminal occupation of Iraq. Meanwhile the real Earth and society crushing crises of climate change and global ecosystem collapse remain woefully unaddressed. Heil Bush! Heil Obama!
After nearly a decade of criminal rule, America continues under new management to careen forward, wounded and flailing in vain attempts to return to a state of excessive democratic consumption. On the economy, the President has borrowed (stolen?) trillions from our children to rescue a dying industrial and speculative capitalistic shell game built upon usury, greed and unsustainability. And we are getting an inadequate climate change policy that cherry picks token measures to be seen as acting while coddling coal and tar sands which we know must end to survive. America's might makes right, damn the truth and consequences, mind set is destroying civilized society and our one shared Earth.


Democrats and Republicans are two faces of the same imperial American war machine, hell-bent to destroy Earth for one last fix of economic growth. Happiness and meaning is always having more stuff, damn the consequences for the Earth and poor. President Bush is a known war criminal that a truly just, law-abiding, democratic system would bring to justice. Torture, rigged elections, unprovoked illegal and imperial wars, spying on law-abiding citizens — President or not, these are illegal behaviors. As are the current weak (and orders of magnitude insufficient) climate bill, subsidizing coal and its mountaintop removal mining, and continuing a state of unjustified perma-war when a great nation and its peoples are going bankrupt — both financially and morally.
Charge War and Climate Criminals Starting with Cheney, Bush and Further Down the Chain of Command
On this Memorial Day, consider the following. Ex-president Bush (thank Gaia), high ranking associates and some soldiers have substantively violated the 1996 U.S. War Crimes Act (penalties which can include death), the international Third Geneva Convention of 1949, and the 1987 UN Torture Convention. For almost a decade, climate science was willfully ignored placing our shared survival at imminent risk. Why are the war and climate criminals not being charged and their actions undone?
And responsibility for the state of affairs is diffuse and wide-ranging. The Uniform Code of Military Justice makes clear soldiers have an obligation and a duty to only obey lawful orders and indeed have an obligation to disobey unlawful orders. These include Presidential orders that do not comply with the Code, the constitution and international law. Further, it was established by the U.S. at the WW II Nuremberg war trials that “following orders” is not justification for war crimes. There is no moving forward until we acknowledge that, in fact, many American politicians and soldiers are war criminals — including Bush and Cheney — and must be tried for their crimes.
Apparently there are two sets of laws in America, one for the rich ruling elite and their well-armed minions, and the other for working, thinking men and women. Torture is against the law and immoral. Unprovoked war is against the law and immoral. Spying on your citizens is against the law and immoral. A state of perma-war against terrorism, which is a tactic and not an enemy, rather than taking coordinated international actions to police terrorism is just plain dumb and ineffective. Rather than fully reversing course and investigating and charging those that broke laws, Obama appears bent upon de facto pardoning and even continuing some of these egregious policies. Thus withers what remains of American ideals.
Obama's Free Ride Is Over: End the Wars, Sufficiently Address Climate Change
It is treacherous and unforgivable that President Obama does not fully support a truth and reconciliation commission. It is up to President Obama to end Bush's holy wars, embrace a foreign policy based upon human rights and ecological sustainability, and make peace not war, in order that we can address the real threats to our security which include unsustainable industrial capitalism and collapsing global ecosystems. There are other choices for governance than a two party system where both find truth anathema, and seek to grow the economy until its ecological foundation crumbles and falls.
It is sadly becoming clear that this Presidency will continue militaristic foreign policy and inadequate token climate policies. The new President has shown his true color, as apologist for the ruling elite's war-mongering, growth machine — intent upon liquidating ecosystems for endless wealth for the rich and a few token jobs for the rest. The ruling elite and fossil fuel oligarchy find the new management to be perfectly fine, as long as U.S policies of raping the Earth for growth at the point of a gun are maintained.
Like many, I am beginning to question Obama's hopenosis — the hypnotic rhetoric of change and hope. Either he is committed to undoing Bush's military fascism and Earth destruction, or he is not. You can't half make war or half address climate change. Either your policies are sufficient to bring peace and sustainability, or they are not. Either you uphold American ideals and rule in a law-abiding manner, or you don't.
If you do not and willingly lead America and the world to ruin, you have in effect abdicated, and lost the legitimacy to rule, including being the only lawful user of political violence. Obama should not yet be impeached, but he had best start living up to his rhetoric and lead strongly on issues of imperial perma-war, civil rights and ecological sustainability; which do not respond well to half-measures and compromise.
Time to Regain Moral Compass, Lead on International Law and Environmental Conventions
It is not the American government's job to keep us safe at the expense of global self-evident truths of freedom, liberty, justice and ecological sustainability. Some 3,000 people died tragically on 9/11. This is the same number of children that die DAILY from preventable dirty water, a problem that could be fixed globally with one-time $25 billion expenditure. Their lives are no less valuable than stockbrokers. America played right into the terrorist's hands with a disproportional, non-nuanced militaristic response which placed our economy and commitment to social and ecological issues at stake.
So what to do now? Wage war endlessly, killing hundreds of thousands in retribution, without setting up legitimate long-term international institutions to stop terrorism and the exploitation and military adventurism which are its causes? It is time to gain some perspective and move on to climate change, water scarcity, extreme poverty, ocean and land ecosystem collapse, sustainable jobs and the myriad of other emerging and merging ecological and social crisis that truly threaten all of our very beings. Earth is dying and America is still immersed in vengeance for past U.S. foreign policy blowback.
Virtually the only chance to address these looming global ecological and social crises is to sue for peace, negotiate global military demobilization (as was the norm before the World Wars), dismantle the military industrial growth complex, and divert these resources towards energy conservation, efficiency, renewable energy, and equitable sustainable development. It is unfathomable that billions live on under $2/day while good portions of the rest are obese and remain dissatisfied with their material lot in life. There can be no lasting peace or ecological sustainability until there is more just and equitable sharing of Earth's bounty.
It is better that America lives up to its ideals of liberty and freedom — the only thing that truly does make America exceptional — and have a slightly higher chance of a terrorist act occurring, than become a barricaded nation of affluence for awhile longer on a crumbling Planet. It is not our wasteful standard of living that makes America great, it is the belief that all men and women are created equal and free. Should that be jettisoned to protect ourselves from vicious, lunatic religious thugs? The way forward is commitment to international laws, universal disarmament and a sustainable Earth for all her creatures and peoples.
It will be difficult if not impossible to bring an over-populated and inequitable consumption plagued world into a state of long-term global ecological sustainability. There can be no lasting security unless America sheds its militarism and once again engages in global measures to establish sufficient international law and environmental protections. It is not military power or excessive lifestyles that make America exceptional, it is our flawed yet dogged advancement of the ideals of freedom, liberty and justice; without which there is nothing special in the American dream.
Don't you dare tell me I don't love my country. I am a true blooded, liberty loving American (including the sometimes ugly part) through and through. I just love being — the Earth and all her creatures and peoples — more. We are all one human family and these false national, tribal divisions are relicts of a bygone era. Enlightened global citizens know we are all one human family on a fragile, collapsing Earth habitat. We will fully commit to peace, freedom and sustainability, including a possible Earth uprising if all else fails; or we will all share a horrific ride together, at each other's throat, towards global self-immolation. Clearly America and world's political economy is failing both Earth and freedom.

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16 Responses

  1. Rob Wheeler says:

    Thanks for sharing your concerns and fears Glen. I am not quite as pessimistic as you, perhaps in part because I know that there are millions of people that would like things to be done differently and are taking their own actions and steps to make a significant difference. Still I recognize that we have a long way to go.
    Here is what I think is needed. We need to develop and invite everyone to participate in a campaign to make as rapid a transition to full sustainability as possible. Because I live in the US, and it has as big an impact on the planet as anywhere else, I am working on developing a Campaign for a Sustainable America, based in part on the development and implementation of a National Strategy for Sustainability.
    Once such an effort is well underway, and if we continue to insist nothing but full sustainability will do, it will become obvious to most people as to the changes that are needed and bit by bit the changes will be made. Already sustainability is much more popularly addressed in the media, business community, government agencies, education and popular culture than ever before – so this is promising.
    The US is participating in the Marrakech Process on Sustainable Production and Consumption. Many schools are already incorporating Education for Sustainable Development in the curriculum. Let's call for Extended Producer Responsibility for all goods and services produced and ESD to be integrated throughout the curriculum in all schools throughout America. Let's insist on full cost accounting; all externalities to be included in the price of goods and services; and toxics to be rapidly phased out of use as they are essentially poisons and we are all being poisoned every day of our lives.
    And by the way any plan and strategy that attempts to create full sustainability will have to deal adequately with our global problems and challenges, address and prevent militarism, ensure all peoples basic human rights and needs can and will be met, reform the structure and operations of our global economy, etc.
    Anyone that would like to stand with me and help to organize a Campaign for a Sustainable America can write to me, Rob Wheeler, at robineagle @ worldcitizen.org and robwheeler22 @ gmail.com or call 1-717-264-5036.
    Thanks again,
    Rob Wheeler

  2. Tom Friedel says:

    Hi, I am Tom Friedel, and maintain two sites about conservation: BirdPhotos.com and Cracids.org. It is hard to see a green future with overpopulation and human nature, but one can only keep hope and keep working. I believe change has to come from hard working and dedicated individuals like Glen Barry and Rob Wheeler. The idea behind my site, BirdPhotos.com, is to inspire people with the beauty of nature and create these individuals. Like Dorothy Stang, the American Nun who was over the 1000th person killed protesting the destruction of the Amazon rain forest. Her death prompted the Brazilian government to protect a large section of rain forest, and the about-to-be-released HBO movie “They Killed Dorothy Stang ” will hopefully bring this to the forefront again, and maybe the killer will finally see justice.
    Regarding Obama, he did protect quite a bit of wilderness recently, and has a lot on his plate.

  3. Matthew says:

    Its good to see that this blog is starting to touch and integrate the intellectual wider context, those interested in contributing by forwarding the letters of objection have a chance of thinking about their position in the system. In regards to change over in the US you guys will have to make it, but it seems that many scepticall commentaries (amongst which left South American leaders) were right, its not the person that leads in the US that creates the change, but its the inevitability of the cultural system that seems unable to change its bad traits and therefore its inevitable that all forget the good traits.
    By the way never forget that the US has a bad case of amnesia when it comes to its past which goes back 500 years when the native history was repressed and localized understanding of nature was crushed for the sake of rationalizing the boundaries of where others were allowed to live. And like that writer on economics already said:'the first time poles were placed and wire was drawn to seperate the land and establish exclussion claims was the foundation of suffering'.

  4. Nina Narvestad says:

    Thank you Dr. Glen Berry, it was inspiring and nice to read your comment on the current situation, I couldnt agree wit you more. I also have faith in President Obama, but also feel he is too much following his predecessor, and it doesn`t seem as though he dares go against his fellows in the white house or the public opinion to the rich in America. in the Israel-Palestina case i have noticed that Barack Obama is giving a lot more money then Bush to support the Israeli occupation of Palestine. There is noone protecting the Palestinians, they dont have a nice flag to wawe as the israeli have, and Israel can go to war against them without anyone stopping them, with America and the worlds blessings. a conflict always have 2 sides, but the fact that there are areas that belong to Palestinians and that historians call Israel an occupying state, that noone can deny.
    World peace and justice to the ones who is struggling against imperialism. we are with you.
    From Nina, Norway

  5. anthony panetta says:

    thank you Dr. Barry FOR YOUR DEVOTION TO INFORM THE WORLD. your love for earth gives me hope and direction. tony in pennsylvania

  6. Emily Dale says:

    A major problem for the U.S. is that now that our manufacturing has been transferred to other countries, the only thing left here is the military-industrial complex, thereby making war an economic necessity There is no other reason for the mass annihilation of people in other lands.

  7. Aubrey Wulfsohn says:

    Dear Glen
    It's taken you some time to realise that Obama's ecological [policy is essentailly the same as that of Bush
    Aubrey

  8. Trevor Goodger-Hill says:

    Glen Barry writes:
    “Don't you dare tell me I don't love my country. I am a true blooded, liberty- loving American . . . We are all one human family and these false national, tribal divisions are relicts of a bygone era. Enlightened global citizens know we are all one human family on a fragile, collapsing Earth habitat.”
    Wonderful, and essentially-true worthwhile sentiments, when it comes to our humanity.
    However, what we are facing are not “relics from the past.” The nation state was created as we emerged from feudalism to administer the economic requirements of capitalism. Our economic system requires the brutality of nationalism to exist.
    We will NOT rid ourselves of the nation state until we destroy capitalism with a new economic system which does not rely upon the ownership of private property, wage labour and a class system of control.
    If we don't replace the competition of capitalism with a cooperative non-hierarchical structure of society world-wide, we and all our fellow mammals are doomed to extinction.
    This thesis is easy to prove. Capitalism requires growth — constant growth and expansion — to succeed or go bankrupt. The economic logic DEMANDS we increase capital, which, if we don't stop it, will continue until the last oil, the last fish, the last forest no longer exists and there is nothing else left to exploit.
    Happily, we can change the world as fast as an idea travels.

  9. Jim Adams says:

    Glen Barry:
    If you are really looking forward, your next blog would be a clarion call
    for the impeachment of
    Barack Obama. How you could have any shred of hope that Obama will change anything is beyond me. Impeachment is the
    only way to begin to break the two-party stranglehold in Washington. You should
    call immediately for the
    formation of a new Deconstruction Party to get
    enough independents in Congress in the 2010
    off-year election to begin to grind everything but essential federal services to a halt.

  10. N. Zero says:

    My feeling is that we need a fundamental reevaluation of how we view the technological system.
    Twitphilia & Twitanoia: Controlling Technology

  11. As long as our psyche continues to be McBurgered, we lose the wisdom we need to make the sensible changes our intelligence can identify. Ask yourself this: Why have folks yet to recognize our denial of our immoral prejudice against nature in and around us, no less the readily available remedy for it?
    Why not visit http://www.ecopsych.com with an open mind?

  12. Rod Morley says:

    Being a Canadian, I am now starting to see some hope that America is now waking up from its ugly nightmare of the last nine years or so. Dr. Barry and other informed Americans are now really starting to ask the hard questions that hopefully will assist America in taking the lead again in sustainable living and becoming fully Democratic again. Bravo!

  13. Jorge says:

    Dear Glenn
    Your article is a fantastic and realistic conception of our world. Please, by this means, I want request you permission to publish a translation to spanish on my page in Facebook, entitled “En defensa de la Tierra”.

  14. The leaders of the family of humanity can do better and I trust all of us, leaders and followers alike, will choose necessary behavioral change rather than the profane maintenance of a morally disengaged and patently unsustainable socioeconomic status quo. Socioeconomic reasoning is feeble, fundamentally flawed reasoning, and suggests its inconsequentiality, because such “self-interested” reasoning is faulty; it has everything to do with what is economically expedient and socially suitable {as well as politically convenient, religiously tolerable and culturally prescribed} and nothing to do intellectual honesty, moral courage and an appreciation of the practical requirements of biophysical reality. What is often called socioeconomic reasonng is a kind of 'reasoning' that cannot lead the human community to meaningfully embrace sustainable lifestyles, to sensibly protect biodiversity and to recognize the necessity for preserving Earth and its environs.
    The leaders of the human family will continue to adamantly insist that everyone live as they do, without regard either to human limits or Earth's limitations and in evidently unsustainable ways, I suppose, and our children will learn {the hard way} from their not-so-great elders the price to be paid for unadulterated arrogance and unbridled greed of a single generation.
    The brightest and best, most powerful advocates of socioeconomic reasoning are leading the children down a “primrose path” to some sort of colossal ecologic and/or economic wreckage, I fear, the likes of which only Ozymandias has witnessed.

  15. I very much appreciate this holistic perspective and the principles you put forth. Would like to join forces with you in some way. I am author of The Earth Belongs to Everyone which received Radical Middle Book Award and of Land Rights and Land Value Capture online course here:
    http://www.course.earthrights.net Students now enrolled from 42 countries.

  16. Paul says:

    I haven't left a comment before, but I see that the site owner has “censorship” power, i.e., “you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear” and so I doubt that my comments would be posted anyway. Especially since I see that most postings concure with with Dr. Barry. So much for unbiases freedom of speech.
    Dr. Barry, you are a “radical” idealist. Thank God for “realists” to bring people like you down to Earth. Regrettably, your visions are so far from being realistic, they mis-lead your hopeful fans into believing that our government, or man for that matter, can actually ever do anything to achieve those visions. You suggest that we should “negotiate global military demobilization”. With whom should we negotiate? The insane leader of North Korea, the radical leader of Iran who has vowed to destroy America, or the loose canon in Venezuela? We can't even negotiate and get true non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. Do you think that by us dismantling our military industrial machine, our enemies will suddenly stop making weapons. Also, what if those that you are attempting to negotiate with will not negotiate? What then?
    Thank God that Bush and Cheney (and our Congress who approved America's actions in Iraq) saw Sadam's war-mongering agressive moves in the middle-East as a precursor to his attempt to control that entire oil producing region thus having a stranglehold on not only the U.S., but most of the industrial world. The true War Criminal was captured and appropriately punished for his acts before additional acts could achieve his goals. Thanks to Bush, Sadam didn't get the chance to become so strong that he could plunge the world into another World War. Had the world not been in the state of “global military demobilization …. as was the norm before the World Wars”, perhaps Hitler would not have been as easily able to attack somewhat defenseless countries, and eventually kill MILLIONS of innocent men, women and children, just because they were of a specific religion.
    In regards to everyone getting an “equitable share of the Earth's bounty”, what about this scenario: When I work, I work very hard. Regrettably, most workers I work with don't work as hard as I do. In order for everyone to get an “equitable” share of the bounty produced, should I work only as hard as the workers I work with, or should they work as hard as I do – or, heaven forbid, should they not get an equal share because they didn't work as hard? Also, I have seen many individuals who work very hard but are not able to produce as much as a person working less hard, but produce more because that person may work smarter or more effectively. And what about the person who doesn't want to work at all but wants his share? How do you determine the “just and equitable share of the Earth's bounty”?
    Dr. Barry, you talk a good story, but provide no answers on how to achieve the things you espouse. You suggest that we kill capitalism and start over with a new economic system – – what, pray tell, would that new economic system be??? The most successful economic system in the history of man has been capitalism. Socialism has proven to be a total failure, Totalitarianism makes the ruling elite rich and suppresses the poor and ignorant. So, what new economic system are you suggesting, or do you just want to destroy capitalism and see what takes is place so that you can denigrate it, too, and sound oh so profound. That smacks of Obama's hopenosis and “change, for change sake” attitude. I've always lived by the axiom “if it ain't broke, don't fix it – work to improve it and make it even better”.
    I feel sorry for you and all of those who hang onto every word you write. In a perfect world, your ideals would be feasable, but the world isn't perfect and neither is man, so it is better to be prepared to defend yourself from those who would take your life, liberty or freedom away from you. Next you will suggest doing away with the police, like that will stop criminals from commiting crimes.
    Stay idealistic and optomistic, but get a grip on reality.

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