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Commentary Last Updated: Mar 13th, 2008 - 00:02:55

The day real change comes to America
By Ben Tanosborn
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Mar 13, 2008, 00:59

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For all the changes being anticipated, promised or prophesized by the political windmills of those who aspire to take the White House reins . . . it appears that there will be few in number, slight in scope and domestic in nature. It�s all a symbolic gesture; nothing but cheap oratory coming from that gift of gab common to preachers and politicians, a gift which they exercise with total abandon, often magnified by a self-serving corporate press during our quadrennial political encounters -- when we are faked into believing that people have a political voice, that democracy is in good hands in our republic.

Change, at least in America, has become solely a self-reminder of how much we may dislike ourselves in many of the things we do, or permit to have done, to others on the planet, or even to ourselves. But change -- honest-to-goodness change -- is something we can rest assured will not take place . . . not with Sen. Obama, not with Sen. Clinton; not even if either received an unprecedented and miraculous 70 percent of the popular vote -- an unquestionable mandate to effect change. Change as a major transformation of our government, or of our civil society, or the way we do things, just won�t take place.

Why? Because change is anathema to Americans knowing the repercussions that such change might bring to the empire. And with a dismantled or crumbling empire, they feel any economic advantage, true or perceived, will be gone for them, something that for most is self-punitive and unimaginable.

So change will not come to America . . . certainly not because of the 2008 elections.

Only change in America�s enduring presence in Iraq, in the Middle East, or in the rest of the world can be considered real change. And for that to happen, it will first require that Americans acknowledge the fact that we have been, are, and continue to be an empire, the rule of order, the power which continuously determines the fate of other individuals, groups and nations around the world. Instead we insist in giving this unpleasant subject the silent treatment . . . and deny being an empire as forcefully as Peter denied Christ.

Some of us came to accept the fact of empire long ago . . . often with tears of anger and a profound sense of futility and utter despair. But most Americans, to this day, remain true to their disguised selfish core, the false reality that they prefer to believe in: that we have �bad guys� all around us, and must defend �what we have� (or aim to steal) at all costs; for, after all, someone needs to be in charge in this unpredictable world; and such being the case, those in charge might as well be us, the god-fearing nation with both values and a destiny to fulfill: the Benevolent Empire of the United States of America.

Why . . . even our leaders don�t try to keep it a secret from us! Robert Gates, our soft-spoken and mild-mannered secretary of war (secretary of defense is the politically-correct appellation) has recently told us in a round-about way that the world is our oyster, and that �they� (those who populate the Middle East) might as well get used to us; that for now, and for the foreseeable future, they must endure us, our presence.

Our empire, not that much different from other empires of the past . . . is being run from perhaps fewer than 900 global outposts -- what we call military bases -- about 80 percent of them acknowledged by the Pentagon �to exist� and the other 20 percent existing �in secrecy� only for the eyes of our masters at the Pentagon, the appropriate White House residents for the quadrennium and just a handful of select legislators who�ve reached the high ranks of Washington�s career-Capitolians . . . and who may be considered �trustworthy� to the power elite.

As for Iraq, our presence there is as real, and will continue to be so, as the petroleum reserves of that nation that our empire feels obliged to control for generations to come. Any talk, or even attempts at discussion, outside of that realm is irrelevant absurdity, pure hogwash. Iraq has ceased to be for months an issue of political controversy or major concern. The issue of having so many �boots� in Iraq is proving to be only a transitional fading one. With good reason . . . all but 30,000-40,000 troops will be out of that country within the next two to three years. And those who remain there won�t be seen as having an �occupational presence� in the country, confined to a life of expatriate luxury in six or eight mega bases from where they can keep regional peace, and ascertain that the oil free-flows not just in Iraq but anywhere in the greater region, from the Persian Gulf to the Caspian Sea and beyond.

In less than two years all mega bases will be constructed and equipped, making way for American faces (military, mercenary and civilian contractors) to disappear; at least from the major population centers in Iraq. In a way we could say that outward change will have been effected without affecting the control of resources, or the empire�s aims.

As for true change, it will not come for Americans until they decide that present level of political evolutionary change, and mutation, will never provide a healthy democracy or a nation at peace with the international community. One would think we have reached that stage already: where the power relationship between elite (that of military-industrial complex) and Americans� mass participation in civil society appears frightfully out of balance, totally distorted. If so, it might not be change that is needed but a brand new system of government or, at the very least, a complete overhaul of the system we now so proudly hail.

� 2008 Ben Tanosborn

Ben Tanosborn, columnist, poet and writer, resides in Vancouver, Washington (USA), where he is principal of a business consulting firm. Contact him at

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