Confessions of a Condor: Anniversary Month

By Mark J. Plawecki

Last month’s annual Michigan Judicial Conference has shaken Condor from his (seemingly 500) Days of Summer doldrums. Approximately that many legal scholars sans their black robes gathered in a rebirthing of JFK’s Jefferson. In other words, there was, despite the absences of Kenny and Sullivan, the finest collection of minds assembled at the Amway Grand since Van Andel and DeVos devised, or didn’t, the Ponzi scheme alone. The conference concluded (providentially, Judge Warren might say) 223 years to the day after the epochal ending of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, now home to renowned federal law expert Michael Vick. In this brave new world of fiscal austerity, we jurists pledged our lives and sacred honor to ensure our fortunes won’t be taken, at least without a domestic donnybrook.

But enough boasting of those who independently declare to protect the Constitution and lesser documents. Next September 11 will be 10th anniversary of the al-Qaeda attacks on U.S. soil, and if this year’s commemorative events were indicators, it is safe to say 9/11 is our new Unequaled Day of Remembrance, to make sure We the People don’t forget why we dispossessed 4.5 million non-al-Qaeda Iraqis from their homes, caused the death of hundreds of thousands in this same nation, and are now, despite our best intelligence estimates of “50 to 100” al-Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan, not only not leaving that country anytime soon, but, in the words of Comic of Defense Robby Gates, “not ever leaving at all.” And there are those who keep fretting about not bequeathing anything for future generations . . .

There are several more anniversary dates which, had you been paying attention only to corporatized media, you may not have been made aware:

September 4 — the 15 year anniversary of the rape and near killing of a 12 year old Japanese girl on Okinawa, by two U.S. marines and one sailor. This incident, because the three perpetrators made it back to their base, and our Status of Forces Agreement with Japan allows us to keep suspects out of Japanese police control, led to the largest anti-American demonstrations in Okinawa’s history. Isolated incident? Between 1998 and 2004, 1706 reported U.S. servicemen crimes or accidents resulted in no disciplinary measures. A grand total of one led to a court-martial.

Today, 38 U.S. bases still control nearly 20 percent of Okinawa’s land. Eighty-five percent of this island’s natives oppose U.S. presence there, 65 years after the end of World War II but, well, see the above Gates remark.

September 16 — The 25th, or Silver Year, since the U.S. Commerce Department declared America, for the first time since 1914, a debtor nation. Twenty five stellar seasons of adding debt has brought us now, at last, to the brink of bankruptcy. It has also handed us a real unemployment rate not seen since before Pearl Harbor.

September 18 — Two years since the infamous meeting where Hammerin’ Hank Paulsen and Ben “Bugsy” Bernanke browbeat Washington’s top elected officials into believing that imminent collapse awaited us should they not immediately bailout the big banks who caused the panic in the first place. All Americans can take pride in knowing that the taxpayer bailout has returned these banks to enormous profitability, and any complaints about them not loaning money to the rest of us is really just sour grapes.

September 30 — The 60th annual marker of the Official Beginning of the National Security State. The old Republic was quietly retired this date by President Truman’s signing of NSC - 68, the classified blueprint for winning the Cold War. Unfortunately, once we won, no one bothered to write a new blueprint. Two decades later, our military continues growing as a lymphoma throughout the body politic, and anyone who doubts its power as The Decider need only check Gossip-in-Chief Bob Woodward’s latest quotefest — Washington Post excerpts will do (Obama: Generals, I said provide me three Afghan options. Generals: Sir, we thought we’d spare you the trouble, since this is the one you’re going to choose).

America can no longer afford its empire. However, until more of its citizenry become aware that they reside in one (the notion is still taboo in corporate media), it will continue to defend its interests, defined as anything on Planet Earth (not to mention space), against any threat — real, perceived, or invented. Analytical documentation of this view arrived in 2010 in a trio of splendid books: Garry Wills’ Bomb Power; Washington Rules by Andrew Bacevich; and Chalmers Johnson’s Dismantling the Empire.

Johnson, the author of the Blowback Trilogy (the first of which warned us of a 9/11- type attack), calls for abolishment of the disastrous CIA. Bacevich, former Army colonel now teaching at Boston University, defines the sacred trinity of U.S. foreign policy as “global military presence, global power projection, and global interventionism.” The incomparable Wills, who traces our empire to the birth of the Atomic Bomb, has been predictably ignored by “mainstream” colleagues, as he was last year by Obama when, invited to the White House, he advised The Prez to deescalate the Afghan madness.

The Establishment’s disregarding its preeminent intellectuals’ warnings gives ample reason to check out one or more of this timely tome trifecta. Another is provided by the simple yet startling fact that time is rapidly running out.

Mark J. Plawecki is a District Court Judge in Dearborn Heights. This September 16 also marked the 22-year wedding anniversary of the author and Ms. Julie — The Empire’s Elementary School Teacher Extraordinaire.


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