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
It 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.