I usually try to steer way clear of self-fulfilling prophecies, and so this is a subject that I’m hesitant to add any energy to, but it’s also important to be clear about it. Here’s a quiz:
Which presidential candidate said the following, on June 20:
The American military has done its job. Look what they accomplished. They got rid of Saddam Hussein. They gave the Iraqis a chance for free and fair elections. They gave the Iraqi government the chance to begin to demonstrate that it understood its responsibilities to make the hard political decisions necessary to give the people of Iraq a better future. So the American military has succeeded. It is the Iraqi government which has failed to make the tough decisions which are important for their own people.
Here’s a clue. It was a woman, and a Democrat. As William Blum writes in the Atlantic Free Press (loads slowly, be patient):
Right, it was the woman who wants to be president because … because she wants to be president … because she thinks it would be nice to be president … no other reason, no burning cause, no heartfelt desire for basic change in American society or to make a better world … she just thinks it would be nice, even great, to be president. And keep the American Empire in business, its routine generating of horror and misery being no problem; she wouldn’t want to be known as the president that hastened the decline of the empire.
And she spoke the above words at the "Take Back America" conference; she was speaking to liberals, committed liberal Democrats. She didn’t have to cater to them with any flag-waving pro-war rhetoric; they wanted to hear anti-war rhetoric (and she of course gave them a bit of that as well out of the other side of her mouth), so we can assume that this is how she really feels, if indeed the woman feels anything.
There’s more in Blum’s article about how conservatives are seeing Hillary as their best chance to get what they want:
Now we hear from America’s venerable conservative magazine, William Buckley’s "National Review", an editorial by Bruce Bartlett, policy adviser to President Ronald Reagan; treasury official under President George H.W. Bush; a fellow at two of the leading conservative think-tanks, the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute; you get the picture. Bartlett tells his readers that it’s almost certain that the Democrats will win the White House in 2008. So what to do? Support the most conservative Democrat. He writes: "To right-wingers willing to look beneath what probably sounds to them like the same identical views of the Democratic candidates, it is pretty clear that Hillary Clinton is the most conservative."
We also hear from America’s premier magazine for the corporate wealthy, "Fortune", whose recent cover features a picture of Clinton and the headline: "Business Loves Hillary".
Most of the liberal netroots doesn’t ♥ Hillary, and I hope I haven’t ruined your day. I want to talk a bit about Empire, which Blum briefly alluded to, above. It’s a vast subject, and one that the DC establishment struggles with, especially back when Bush and the neocons were in ascendance, although this discussion hasn’t really filtered down to the average American.
But oh, how we pay for it. We can’t have decent health care in this country, but we must have our stealth aircraft, our worldwide network of bases, and a permanent standing military. Military hardware is one of the few things our industries still make well, and service in the military has become an increasingly compelling venue for young people to advance themselves. Our media promotes fear, which discourages us from seeing any other choices in how we operate on this planet. It’s really the subject for another Michael Moore movie all by itself. Most of his films touch this theme on the way to making their main point. Chalmers Johnson has probably done the most work in popularizing the subject, and Can We End the American Empire Before It Ends Us? is a good introduction to his ideas.
It’s not that America hasn’t used its might as a benevolent force in the world, it has. These last six years however, have brought out the shadow side of our country, the monumentally bad consequences when its might is misused when placed in selfish and thuggish hands.
Empire has enormous costs, both in terms of dollars, and in terms of fidelity to the original principles of this country as laid out in the Constitution. We see this everyday in our country. It’s possible that a Hillary Clinton presidency will use our might for good in the world, but it’s also unlikely that she has any intention of scaling things back. As Mel Brooks famously stated, “It’s good to be King”. This is part of the reason why conservatives are warming to her.
Update: Pentagon Planet: How the Pentagon Came to Own the Earth, Seas, and Skies will amaze you with the vastness of our Empire:
…to begin to grasp the Pentagonâ€™s global immensity, it helps to look, again, at its land holdings â€” all 120,191 square kilometers which are almost exactly the size of North Korea (120,538 square kilometers)…