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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-11-07 09:46 AM
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Chalmers Johnson on George Washington, Ron Paul, the False Iraq-as-Korea Meme...

Hard Rain Journal 6-10-07: Chalmers Johnson on George Washington, Ron Paul, the False Iraq-as-Korea Meme, & the Fall of Roman & Soviet Empires


Marc Riley, Air America: I gotta tell you the title of your latest book is scaring the beejesus out of me. And I gotta tell you I have been here for three years now on Air America, and I have seen, in my judgment, this incremental erosion of American rights, American freedoms, and America's prestige and moral authority in the world. But when you say "the last days of the American republic," you really are scaring me.

Chalmers Johnson: OK. I intend to. I scare myself. It is not just hype to sell books. The truth of the matter is that we are very close to the edge. What this book is about is a fundamental issue in Western history; namely, that there is no more unstable combination than a country, like the United States today, that is a domestic democracy and a foreign empire. You can be one, you can be the other, you can be an imperialist power, you can be a democratic power, you can't be both. The great historical example is the Roman republic, which the founders of the United States largely emulated. It was the first great, large-scale example of democracy anywhere in the world. It succumbed to imperialism, and above all to the inescapable accompaniment of imperialism, militarism. By militarism, we mean standing armies, we mean the Military-Industrial Complex, we mean a way of life, we mean people serving for twenty years or more, all of those issues that very powerfully, very inescapably erode, as George Washington said in his famous farewell address -- "the great enemy of liberty is standing armies, and it is the particular enemy of republican liberty." What he meant by this is that it tends to erode and destroy the separation of powers -- built into our Constitution -- between the Legislative, the Judiciary and the Executive branches. co-equal branches that were intended to prevent the rise of a dictator, of a tyrant. Militarism tends to erode this by transferring power ineluctably almost irresistibly to the Executive, to the Imperial Presidency. Money flows from the States to Washington, D.C., eroding Federalism. Within Washington, D.C., power flows to the Presidency, taxes flow to the Presidency, and the power to invoke secrets flows to the Presidency. We have, today, a President who goes around saying, repeatedly, "I am the Decider." I have to say you cannot imagine a more unconstitutional remark than that. We don't have a "Decider." The theory behind our Constitution is three co-equal branches that don't necessarily agree with each other, and that the politicians' job is to reconcile them. If it can't be done, we don't get policy coming out. Policy is the result . Now this is how the Roman Republic was created too. There were two Consuls. They could each veto what the other did. Until finally at the end, after the death of Julius Caesar, there came to power, figures who decided to that the military was the most important issue in society, they dominated everything, all of the money went for them, and everything else, then these figures said, "I will champion interests rather than those of the democratic Roman republic. All I want in return is life dictatorship." That is what happened, and that was the end. Democracy did not return to Rome for well over a thousand years. Those were the Dark Ages. That is what we're toying with today, getting awfully close to it.

Riley: That serious?

Johnson: Yes, with Defense budgets that are now taking forty percent of every tax dollar. We are spending more on the military establishment than all other countries on Earth combined. Bankruptcy looms. We are increasingly dependent on the military for our economic well-being. We don't manufacture much in this country anymore. We have lost three million manufacturing jobs just since George W. Bush became President. But one of the things we certainly manufacture is weapons. We are the world's largest manufacturer of weapons and munitions. It is starting to crowd out the civilian economy. That is what we do in this country. And moreover, with the active collaboration of a Congress that seems to have totally forgotten what it is supposed to be doing there; namely, they are much more interested in getting lucrative contracts and things of that sort into their districts than they are about examining whether or not we need the world we live in.

Riley: Professor Johnson, you know, most Americans would reject the terms "imperialist" or "empire" when referring to this country. Why are they wrong?

Johnson: Well, they are wrong because what we are talking about here is an empire of military bases. They simply don't have the facts, and the press has almost totally failed them, by not providing them the information they need to play the citizen's role imagined in our society; namely, citizens that are capable of doing elementary oversight on their government. We have 770 US military bases located in over 130 countries around the world. That is by the official Pentagon count -- in the base structure report, and the annual inventory of this sort of thing. The actual number once you add in the espionage bases, the ones that are disguised because they are too embarrassing, the bases in England that are just disguised as Royal Air Force bases, things of this sort, the number could go up to 1,000. (...)

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ramapo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-11-07 10:03 AM
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1. Sorrows of Empire
I just finished Johnson's excellent book on the American Empire. He wraps everything together in one very neat and disturbing package. It is astonishing that the country that I grew up in has morphed into something completely different. Seemingly nobody has really noticed.
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