The Great American Oligarchy
By Stephen Fleischman
09/03/06 "Counterpunch" -- --
I never thought I'd ever hear the
United States of America called an "oligarchy". But now I have.
My dictionary says an oligarchy is a form of government where
most or all political power effectively rests with a small
segment of the society. As Wikipedia, the popular online
encyclopedia, puts it, "Oligarchies are often controlled by a
few powerful families whose children are raised and mentored to
be heirs of the power of the oligarchy, often at some sort of
expense to those governed." Does that sound like the
administration of George W. Bush?
For all my life, ever since grade school, I've been taught that
the United States of American is a paragon of democracy. We have
popular elections on every level-local, state and Federal. We
have two houses of Congress, a President and a Supreme Court, a
system of checks and balances, a Constitution second to none,
and a Bill of Rights, the pride of our forefathers. Most
Americans see our country as Ronald Reagan did-the shining city
on the hill-beacon to the world.
But here we are, today, when, according to the most recent
CNN/USA Today poll, six of ten Americans see the Iraq war as a
huge mistake and want our troops out of there, yet they are
incapable of making that happen. Why? It's simple. It's the
oligarchy that's keeping them there-that tight little group
around Bush in the White House and Rumsfeld in the Pentagon, who
run things for corporate feeders. You know who they are,
Halliburton, Bechtel, and Lockheed Martin, to name a few of the
no-bid war profiteers. They can make 18 billion dollars,
allocated for the reconstruction of Iraq, disappear in the blink
of an eye. That is really slight of hand.
The war in Iraq is the best example of an oligarchy at
work-produced and managed to make money and to secure the
remaining reserves of oil in the world. As they say, the world's
oil has "peaked". It's all down hill from here, so we better
grab it before somebody else does. To do this, we're got to keep
a perpetual war spinning in the best oil-producing areas, the
Middle East and the Caspian region. (We'd do it in Venezuela if
we could.) With Iraq as a pivotal base, the oligarchy is
planning to stay there into the foreseeable future. Any talk
about drawing down troops is just that, talk-a tease offered for
the 2006 mid-term elections. Using Iraq as a military base also
explains the moves on former Soviet states, Kazakhstan,
Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and others in the Russian orbit-targets
of the giant oil conglomerates.
Oligarchies operate in secret. They spawn conspiracy theories.
The 9/11 World Trade Towers collapse, for example. That garnered
more than a million references in Google. Enough conspiracy
theories for everyone. But the event caused a number of
reputable construction engineers to raise their eyebrows. They
saw it as a controlled demolition, as did Dr. Steven E. Jones,
Physicist and Archaeometrist of Brigham Young University, who
has done a major investigation on his own. He asks, why was this
possibility not investigated by the 9/11 Commission and other
governmental investigating agencies at the time? Not much help
from the mainstream media, either. They accepted the Commission
finding that it was an al-Qaeda attack. That's been the
conventional wisdom ever since.
Everything is up for questioning. Does the media have the
Chutpah to investigate any of them? No way. The Israel Lobby? No
way. Untouchable. Look what happened when somebody tried to
touch it. Two esteemed academicians, Professor John
J.Mearsheimer of the Political Science Department of the
University of Chicago and Stephen M. Walt, Professor of
International Affairs at the Kennedy School of Government at
Harvard did a study and wrote a report on the Israel Lobby for
the London Review of Books giving their views on the influence
of Israel and the Israel Lobby in Washington on US foreign
policy. Of course, the establishment, media and otherwise, came
down on them like a ton of bricks. Alan Dershowitz, Professor at
Harvard Law School and proponent of torture, reflects the kind
of hysteria that was generated "it is fair to ask why these
distinguished academics chose to publish a paper that does not
meet their usual scholarly standards, especially given the
obvious risk that it would be featured, as it has been, on
neo-Nazi and extremist websites, and even those of terrorist
organisations, and that it would be used by overt anti-semites
to 'validate' their claims of a worldwide Jewish conspiracy"
All Mearsheimer and Walt were trying to do was bring a few facts
to public attention and open the subject for discussion.
The oligarchy knows how to lock down.
Spike Lee's documentary, When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in
Four Acts reveals, with heartbreaking accuracy, the devastation
that hurricane Katrina caused to a truly shining city, New
Orleans, and the Gulf Coast, one year ago. What's equally
devastating is the fact that our care-less Federal government,
the oligarchy, overwhelmed in its own bureaucracy, allowed it to
flounder for a year doing little to heal a part of its own body
and help its own people.
We used to say, if we can land a man on the moon, why can't we
end poverty; or why can't we solve the race problem in America?
Now, we say, why can't we heal a severely injured and
traumatized part of our nation, the Gulf Coast? How about a
Marshall Plan for the Gulf Coast. We did it in Europe after
World War II. In a very few years, we saved a continent, in many
areas little more than a pile of broken bricks. We saved it from
despair, and some say, from Communism. We restored a thriving
Capitalism. It takes a thriving democracy to do that. No job for
an oligarchy. Sorry, Gulf Coast.
So, what we see is more of the same. But remember. What goes
around comes around.
Stephen Fleischman, television writer-director-producer,
spent thirty years in Network News at CBS and ABC, starting in
1953. In 1959, he participated in the formation of the renowned
Murrow-Friendly "CBS Reports" series. In 1983, Fleischman won
the prestigious Columbia University-Dupont Television Journalism
Award. In 2004, he wrote his memoir. See: www.ARedintheHouse.com,
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