Monday, January 4, 2010

Roberto Rodriguez: Decade of Fraud, Fear, Hate and Permanent War

Column of the Americas

January 4, 2010 (Special Length Column)
The Decade of Fraud, Fear, Hate and Permanent War
by Roberto Rodriguez

It has been said that the march of history, particularly in the realm

of human rights, is always forward. Embedded within this concept is

the idea that despite tragedies and war, the human condition always

progresses. Unquestionably, whoever created the expression did so long

before our just completed decade.

The decade began with arguably the first fraudulent presidential

election in the history of the United States. Rather than a clear and

decisive victory for Bush-Cheney, it was a Reagan-Bush hand-picked

Supreme Court that intervened to give us two candidates who had

received less votes than their opponents in a hotly disputed election.

Upon being sworn into office, these two grabbed the reigns of power

and began to govern as though the U.S. electorate had granted them a

unanimous mandate. From there it went straight downhill.

Bush-Cheney pompously began to govern where Reagan-Bush had left off;

all power to the corporate sector and all power to the

military-industrial complex. Not that Clinton had been a moral beacon

or a champion of the poor, but Bush-Cheney ensured that every aspect

of government came to be placed at the service of the corporate


Then came 9-11. And what could have been a moment that could have

united all of humanity, the Bush-Cheney administration turned it into

an opportunity to divide the world up into good vs. evil and to

consolidate the power of the United States on a global scale. 9-11

virtually became a war marketing opportunity. It also ushered in the

birth of “The Homeland.”

9-11 became a clarion call for a fanatical crusade against

Arabs/Muslims and a call for a permanent worldwide war: God Bless

America. With it also came a moral demand for the speeding up of Big

Brother Society with nonsensical mantras such as: “The U.S.

Constitution is not a suicide pact” and “the Geneva Conventions are

now ‘quaint’ and obsolete.” God had bequeathed to the United States

its own special set of laws that Americans could obey or disobey at

the discretion of their God-inspired leader. That’s why the

Bush-Cheney administration worked feverishly to ensure that Americans

[soldiers and/or mercenaries] were not subject to the International

Criminal Court of Justice.

It became a license to kill without accountability and a rationale for

dehumanization: Where had we heard that before? New arguments were

contrived that not all human beings were entitled to life or to the

full protection of the law, especially if we were at war. Thus, the

notion of permanent worldwide war was conceived. And thus, the

Bush-Cheney administration abrogated unto themselves the rogue notion

that in carrying out this war, the U.S. now had permission to ignore,

interpret as it saw fit, or create new laws, permanently.

In war, no trials are necessary. The only rationale necessary is that

a legitimate target has been targeted. Whether it is actually hit is

irrelevant and dead civilians are but collateral damage. In this

scenario, drone technology became the weapon of choice with no

fingerprints and no accountability.

Enter hate. The climate was created that those that were to be

receiving our bombs were different than us. Brown people became the

enemy… with turbans. Brown people became the enemy in Afghanistan and

then at home. And it didn’t matter what kind of brown people. They

became both the enemy and the convenient scapegoat. Enter the era of

Lou Dobbs and Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Enter the era of closed borders and

closed minds. As long as the enemy is “not us” – the loss of rights

became acceptable. And to facilitate this era, it became necessary to

stoke fear, periodically. Enter color codes. Or was it simply a return

to America’s old-fashioned color codes? Enter a cheerleading media and

the end of its governmental watchdog function. All Americans were

subjected to loss of privacy and freedoms, but by then, it was already

too late.

Then came the Iraq War.

No weapons of mass destruction were ever found, but the [true] reasons

for war – and the laws governing war – became irrelevant. The stage

had already been set; Iraq was simply the latest enemy and their

leader the embodiment of evil. And the mainstream media again stepped

forward or jumped: “How can we help?”

Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have lost their lives; many more

hundreds of thousands have been maimed while millions have been

displaced and through all this, Americans yawn. Less than 5,000

Americans dead and only 30,000 Americans wounded has not been quite

enough to bother the American conscience.

Even when the Democrats took back control of Congress in 2006,

impeachment for prosecuting a clearly illegal war became “off the

table” and ending the war was also declared out of the question.

When Barack Obama became President Barack Obama, everything was to

change. But “Supporting the troops” became the circular and continuing

argument for continuing the Iraq war. And the change we could believe

in and Yes We Can began to rhyme with Afghani-stan… the sequel. And


That was the lost decade. That is how America lost its mythical

conscience. And the decade ended with explosives in the underwear of a

Nigerian man; a jarring reminder that our permanent war is here to

stay. And now, Yemen also rhymes with Yes We Can? Now too, we also

know that Big Brother is also never going to go away. It really wasn’t

government; it was the people who gave this decade away.

© 2010 Column of the Americas

Rodriguez can be reached at

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Censored News is published by censored journalist Brenda Norrell. A journalist for 27 years, Brenda lived on the Navajo Nation for 18 years, writing for Navajo Times, AP, USA Today, Lakota Times and other American Indian publications. After being censored and then terminated by Indian Country Today in 2006, she began the Censored Blog to document the most censored issues. She currently serves as human rights editor for the U.N. OBSERVER & International Report at the Hague and contributor to Sri Lanka Guardian, Narco News and CounterPunch. She was cohost of the 5-month Longest Walk Talk Radio across America, with Earthcycles Producer Govinda Dalton in 2008:
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