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Mark Dankof's America



Before the Opening Kickoff:

A Paleo-Con's Final Thoughts on Bush and the American Quest for Empire.

by Mark Dankof


Just before the launching of the American military attack on Saddam Hussein, Mark Dankof of News and Views reflects on the coming tragedy in Iraq and tragedies yet to come in the Bush/Cheney quest for empire.



        In these last hours of foreboding before an anticipated American preemptive attack on Iraq, paleo-conservatives and libertarians on the Right not on board with the Bush/Cheney quest for Empire in the Middle East continue to ask questions sure to haunt the Administration and its cheerleaders in the dark days ahead.


        Former U. S. Senator George Mitchell of Maine, hardly a conservative, was nonetheless asking the correct questions this morning on the CBS early morning news. Assuming an early American military victory, what is the Administration's vision for a post-war occupation policy, and at what cost? Will Mr. Bush address these questions in his prime time television pitch to the American people? Don't bet on it.

        The Administration is hardly drawing attention to the estimate of its own Congressional Budget Office (CBO) that a "short" war against Iraq, followed by a five (5) year occupation to rebuild Iraq's economic and political infrastructure, will cost a cool $272 billion. Unlike Desert Storm with its larger international coalition of support, the lack of multilateral enthusiasm for Bush II over Baghdad will subtract Saudi Arabian, German, and Japanese financial contributions for the war effort and post-war reconstruction. Translation: We are truly in this alone, with the longer term implications for the American taxpayer and the survivability of the dollar vis a vis the euro as the world's foreign reserve currency yet to be determined.

        Senator Mitchell rightly points out the difficulties inherent as well for the United States in facilitating a peaceful and orderly political transition in post-Saddam Iraq, with the problematic borders of modern Iraq drawn up by Great Britain in World War I. These borders do not correspond to the tribal realities within the recently created modern State of Iraq. Does Mr. Bush have any idea of what to do to facilitate positive relationships between Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds in any attempt at the development of a stable political system in the post-war period? Or will the initially "victorious" American military machine find itself with a no-exit strategy in a chaotic post-Saddam era scenario, mediating perpetual tribal conflict with perpetual loss of life, dollars, and years with no end in sight? Is it really Afghanistan Redux with exponentially increased geographic territory and population figures to be factored into the Iraqi equation? We need evidence of where Bush and Company come down on these issues--and we need it now.

        American paleo-conservatives and the libertarian Right continue to voice other concerns about the Bush neo-conservative team and their quest to replace Republic with Empire. What really is the role played by American and British oil and natural gas consortiums in driving the rationale for war, both for reserves and for proposed pipelines? As a corollary, what is the role of the Sharon/Likud Israeli Right in influencing United States military intervention in the Middle East? And what are the implications for world instability as the Bush doctrine of preemptive attack replaces the time tested doctrine of deterrence? Will it invite preemptive military attacks by our enemies abroad? What are the chances that our interventionist policy in Iraq will invite a multiplication of terrorist acts, possibly with Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs), within the continental United States? And what will the final casualty figures be for Iraqi civilians, Mr. Bush's stated desire to avoid them notwithstanding?

        And as if these foreign policy questions and corresponding silence by Bush and Company are not concern enough for paleos and libertarians, one additional burgeoning catastrophe must be referenced--the totally unconstitutional direction being taken by the American National Security State domestically in the curbing of civil liberties and the corresponding curtailment of 1st and 4th Amendment rights for American citizens. No less an establishment news organ than ABC News has recently examined the implications of the original USA Patriot Act, soon to be followed by Patriot Act II, known as the Domestic Security Enhancement Act (DSEA). [http://abcnews.go.com/sections/us/DailyNews/conservatives_patriot030312.html]

        Are we really ready for warrantless searches of American homes and businesses for a period of up to 90 days without consultation with a Federal Judge? New and draconian measures for facilitating ease of Federal electronic surveillance of all telephone and e-mail communications? Incarcerations of American citizens for indeterminate periods of time without the filing of formal charges, or the opportunity for the accused to contact family members or legal counsel? Quo vadis?

        Paleo-conservatives and libertarians believe they have the answer to this age old Latin question: that George W. Bush's Nebuchadnezzar-like drive for Babylonian Empire and corresponding destruction of American Constitutional guarantees at home will destroy the final vestiges of the Old American Republic as previously known and loved. Whether it can be recovered and repristinated is only for the tides of history to tell.

        And one final question for the President and the Corporate News Media after his speech this evening: In whom does the Constitution invest authority in where the decision to embark on a foreign war is concerned? Hint: check Article 1, Section 8.


(Mark Dankof (med1chd2@concentric.net) is a correspondent and staff writer with Global News Net and an occasional correspondent with the orthodox Lutheran weekly, Christian News.  A graduate of Valparaiso University and Chicago's Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, he has pursued post-graduate theological study in recent years at Philadelphia's Westminster Theological Seminary. Formerly the 36th District Chairman of the Republican Party in King County/Seattle, and later an elected delegate to Texas State Republican Conventions in 1994 and 1996, he entered the United States Senate race in Delaware in 2000 as the nominated candidate of the Constitution Party against Democratic candidate Thomas Carper and incumbent William Roth.  His writings are frequently reposted in the Iranian Times, Sam Ghandchi's Iranscope, San Francisco and Palestine Indy Media, the London Morning Paper, Nile Media, and Table Talk, the official publication of the Lutheran Ministerium and Synod--USA.)

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