There may be more important icons than “Wall Street”
After eight years of Bill Clinton and three of Barack Obama, the election apparatus of the Democratic Party is now, apparently with all seriousness, claiming to be on the side of the Occupy Wall Street protestors. The absurdity of this pretension is nothing but staggering. The Democratic Party, along of course with the Republicans, is Wall Street and therefore embodies virtually everything the protestors deplore. Wall Street is the primary funder of Obama and the Democrats, and virtually all key appointments in both the Clinton and Obama regimes were Wall Street to the core. Glenn Greenwald gives us a great historical summary today of the dirty and sordid history of the Obama / Democratic Party / Wall Street embrace.
The inequities of capitalism, symbolized by Wall Street, are deservedly getting a lot of attention lately but I think we may be a bit myopic if we don’t pay attention to what’s happening on a somewhat different front. There’s another chasm, potentially catastrophic, that separates the protestors from the ruling powers but this one doesn’t directly involve finance and business. This second chasm is military power and the undiminished passion for global empire. Not to be overly melodramatic, but there’s an ominously rising risk of a Real War and top administration officials seem to be welcoming it.
The comments yesterday of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta are so bellicose they could be taken almost verbatim from the lunatic Brigadier General Jack D. Ripper in the movie Doctor Strangelove. Addressing a loudly cheering audience, Panetta condemned additional military cuts as “nuts” and demanded the army rebuild its ability to go “toe to toe with another large ground force”. He actually channels Dr. Strangelove and claims cuts would be a “doomsday mechanism”. According to The Hill, he said that
‘rising powers’ (clearly China) are building up their militaries, and that means the Army must get back to training for a large-scale conventional ground war. In describing the kind of Army he wants, Panetta quoted the famous Gen. George Patton: ‘An Army … that can hold an enemy by the nose and kick them in the ass’.
This gives us a pretty good picture of what’s going on in the halls of power while protestors are outside demanding a better world. Never in history has such a small clique of elites held such vast power – certainly far less than the OWS 1% – and based on Panetta’s warlike rhetoric, it doesn’t appear they plan on sharing it with China. Coming out of a Democratic administration, can there be any doubt this is a bipartisan consensus? The madness of it all is numbing. It’s as if World Wars I and II had never happened and we can therefore have fun playing soldier games of “kick ass” against a proud nation of 1.3 billion people that just happens to have nuclear weapons. As if a ground war in China wouldn’t risk destruction of the entire planet.
Panetta, as Defense Secretary, must be taken seriously since he’s the senior military official of this administration. In the face of a potential catastrophic drive toward war, the icons of protest need to be expanded beyond just “Wall Street”.