Tuesday, March 01, 2005

mammon - a rant in two parts

Past Peak notes the following horrible tragedy, via San Francisco Bay View newspaper:

Mushrooming depleted uranium (DU) scandal blamed
“The long-term effects have revealed that DU (uranium oxide) is a virtual death sentence,” stated Berklau. “Marion Fulk, a nuclear physical chemist, who retired from the Lawrence Livermore Nuclear Weapons Lab, and was also involved with the Manhattan Project, interprets the new and rapid malignancies in the soldiers (from the 2003 Iraq War) as ‘spectacular … and a matter of concern!’”

I try to be a fun loving pessimist, but this fresh hell will be blowing around the world and affecting humanity for thousands of years. Depleted uranium dust, when ingested, causes cancer. If you don’t believe me, try a nip.

If you think this is overstated then please get out of your goddamn bubble and educate yourself. The pattern of industrial nations, when trying to convince us that toxic sludge is good for us, is to lie, slander and cover up - in no particular order.

Eventually when the corpses pile up to a certain level, an epiphany happens – “Hey lead is actually bad for us!” and the corporations and their enablers in government move onto the next big thing. Or they fix the problem by phasing in “tough” new requirements over a period greater than ten years. Yeah, sure we’ll cut back on mercury – how about in 2018? Making laws is hungry work, let’s go get some sushi.

How exactly can our government and media be oblivious to the human costs of such activities? Is Michael Jackson still the King of Pop?

I think we got a clue recently, if only indirectly. George Bush just went to Europe, where he fantastically blurted:

"This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous. Having said that, all options are on the table," Bush said.

In Europe, they aren’t having any of it.

Why Europe Ignores Bush
Machiavelli's advice to political leaders was that it's more important to be feared than to be loved. That's no help for President Bush on his European tour; in spite of the warm words he's exchanging with European leaders, the reality is that the Bush administration is neither loved nor feared in growing sectors of the international community — increasingly, it is simply being ignored.

Potemkin World… or the President in the Zone
So yes, last week European leaders stepped inside the presidential bubble, smiled, supped, shook hands, and said the right things to signal amity-restored; but they also understood that the very presence of the President in Europe and his visible unpopularity outside that bubble were indications of just how humbled the American "hyperpower" had been. And then they went their own ways.

The United States is being treated like a damaged node in the global network, and other nations are routing cash and international law around us.

Are they not afraid of our fearsome military, so awe inspiring that we are willing to sacrifice the long term health of all our troops as we sit astride the Earth, colossus?

No, the jig is up. Because our fucking military is useless. We can’t attack anyone who is part of the global economy without shooting ourselves in the foot. (Not that foot we already shot, the other one.) France, Venezuela, China, or North Korea – all safe. Maybe if I were Syria I would be real worried, and I doubt Iran’s nuclear reactor containment facilities are long for this earth. It comes down to money.

Everyone in the world knows how precarious the United States economic footing is. China, with typical acumen, is presently using our dollars to buy up global commodities. King Faisal’s lesson has been absorbed by guerrillas and prime ministers the world over. Hey tanky tank – got oil?

Poison Americans with mercury, fluoride, lead, dioxins, or poison Iraqis and troops with depleted uranium? That’s fine, it doesn’t mess up the status quo, it in fact perpetuates the status quo. If we start to run low on consumers, we can open that Mexican tap. The money flows.

Declare war on China? Turns out to be a no go. Tough luck Wolfowitz. The money stops.

That leaves one little problem. Our fearless leader may not be aware of the limits on his power. And he worships a right handed god. Bush, neo-yahwehist.


At 4:09 AM, March 01, 2005, Blogger Big Gav said...

Nice rant.

I hate those damn Abrams tanks - one of the most annoying of our incompetant leadership's many atrocious decisions is their utterly inexplicable (without invoking the gods of corruption and stupidity) purchase of a bunch of these useless items.

Oil hungry, unsuited to deserts, and too heavy to move using any ship possessed by the Australian navy - what the hell are we going to do with them ?

I think we can be sure we won't be fighting any tank wars on our own shores and that these things would be useless even if we did.

One more bit of tribute to the empire...

At 1:32 PM, March 01, 2005, Blogger JMS said...

Thanks for the comments. It is very hard for me to be sanguine about the degraded environment I live in, and I have family over in Iraq soaking up radioactive dust as we speak.

As far as the Abrams go - their achilles heel is oil. If we had been fighting a real war, not a toy war in Iraq, those supply lines would have been shredded, and the tanks would have been sitting around with big, dumb expressions on their grill.

But as I ranted, I don't think we'll be fighting any real wars soon.


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