Friday, July 4, 2008

We Are What We Are (And We Determine That)

"If America is an empire (and everyone says that it is), then why is gas so expensive? I’m serious. One of the principle advantages of empire is the conquest and confiscation of other people’s property. Choose almost any historical empire and you will find just that standard operating procedure. From the Hittites to the Assyrians, from the Arabs to the Turks, from the Mongols to the Mamluks, from the French to the Germans — they all worked the same way. These empires built large military forces and proceeded to conquer their neighbors. They then used the resources of the vanquished to support further conquests, and continued to do so until satisfied, stopped, or defeated. A simple formula, it has been followed by multitudes of conquerors across history.

Now back to my question. Like any empire, the United States is powerful and pretty adept at conquest. In 2003 it conquered oil-rich Iraq. Critics of the war claimed that the Bush Administration lied about WMDs in Iraq so as to get their hands on the petro-wealth of the country. Chants of “No Blood for Oil” rang across American college campuses (or at least among the faculty members anyway). So, where is the oil? Iraq currently produces about 2.5 million barrels per day (down from around 6 million before the war). Americans buy that oil from the Iraqis on the open market. If the war was all about grabbing oil, then why don’t we own it? After all, Iraq was conquered fair and square. Why doesn’t the country belong to the conquerors?"


-- Thomas F. Madden, trying to get those who may find thinking difficult to give it a try anyway, for the National Review Online

Like NewAgers (declaring everyone is full of "fear" because they, unable to face life squarely, are the cowards in our midst) what the long-standing former-conquerers of other nations have been doing is "projecting" their past onto America's present and future. And, like the charges of NewAgers, we reject their beliefs, because that's all they are - their beliefs.

We are not you - and we are not like you. We declared our freedom, on this day, from your sense (and practice) of injustice, betrayal, and lawlessness. We try to understand that you don't understand - that it is a symptom of your condition, as another people, with another history - but we, as a people born free, will not bend to your dark visions. We are Americans. And we will always live, fight, and die, for something better than what you have ever known.

TMR is sure - by our brave and open-hearted example (in the face of your cynicism) you'll figure it out eventually.