Bush or Kerry? No difference
By John Pilger
The man who, after Super Tuesday, is all but certain to become the Democrats candidate for president is as dedicated as any Republican to the American empire.
A myth equal to the fable of Iraqs weapons of mass destruction is gaining strength on both sides of the Atlantic. It is that John Kerry offers a world-view different from that of George W. Bush. Watch this big lie grow as Kerry is crowned the Democratic candidate and the anyone but Bush movement becomes a liberal cause celebre.
While the rise to power of the Bush gang, the neoconservatives, belatedly preoccupied the American media, the message of their equivalents in the Democratic Party has been of little interest. Yet the similarities are compelling. Shortly before Bushs election in 2000, the Project for the New American Century, the neoconservative pressure group, published an ideological blueprint for maintaining global U.S. pre-eminence, precluding the rise of a great power rival, and shaping the international security order in line with American principles and interests. Every one of its recommendations for aggression and conquest was adopted by the administration.
One year later, the Progressive Policy Institute, an arm of the Democratic Leadership Council, published a 19-page manifesto for the New Democrats, who include all the principal Democratic Party candidates, and especially John Kerry. This called for the bold exercise of American power at the heart of a new Democratic strategy, grounded in the partys tradition of muscular internationalism. Such a strategy would keep Americans safer than the Republicans go-it-alone policy, which has alienated our natural allies and overstretched our resources. We aim to rebuild the moral foundation of U.S. global leadership
What is the difference from the vainglorious claptrap of Bush? Apart from euphemisms, there is none. All the Democratic presidential candidates supported the invasion of Iraq, bar one: Howard Dean. Kerry not only voted for the invasion, but expressed his disappointment that it had not gone according to plan. He told Rolling Stone magazine: Did I expect George Bush to fuck it up as badly as he did? I dont think anybody did. Neither Kerry nor any of the other candidates has called for an end to the bloody and illegal occupation; on the contrary, all of them have demanded more troops for Iraq. Kerry has called for another 40,000 active service troops. He has supported Bushs continuing bloody assault on Afghanistan, and the administrations plans to return Latin America to American leadership by subverting democracy in Venezuela.
Above all, he has not in any way challenged the notion of American military supremacy throughout the world that has pushed the number of U.S. bases to more than 750. Nor has he alluded to the Pentagons coup detat in Washington and its stated goal of full spectrum dominance. As for Bushs pre-emptive policy of attacking other countries, thats fine, too. Even the most liberal of the Democratic bunch, Howard Dean, said he was prepared to use our brave and remarkable armed forces against any imminent threat. Thats how Bush himself put it.
What the New Democrats object to is the Bush gangs outspokennessits crude honesty, if you likein stating its plans openly, and not from behind the usual veil or in the usual specious code of imperial liberalism and its moral authority. New Democrats of Kerrys sort are all for the American empire; understandably, they would prefer that those words remained unsaid. Progressive internationalism is far more acceptable.
Just as the plans of the Bush gang were written by the neoconservatives, so John Kerry in his campaign book, A Call to Service, lifts almost word for word the New Democrats warmongering manifesto. The time has come, he writes, to revive a bold vision of progressive internationalism along with a tradition that honors the tough-minded strategy of international engagement and leadership forged by Wilson and Roosevelt and championed by Truman and Kennedy in the cold war. Almost identical thoughts appear on page three of the New Democrats manifesto:
As Democrats, we are proud of our partys tradition of tough-minded internationalism and strong record in defending America. Presidents Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman led the United States to victory in two world wars [Trumans policies] eventually triumphed in the cold war. President Kennedy epitomized Americas commitment to the survival and success of liberty.
Mark the historical lies in that statement: the victory of the U.S. with its brief intervention in the First World War; the airbrushing of the decisive role of the Soviet Union in the Second World War; the American elites non-existent triumph over internally triggered events that brought down the Soviet Union; and John F. Kennedys famous devotion to liberty that oversaw the deaths of some three million people in Indo-China.
Perhaps the most repulsive section of [his] book, writes Mark Hand, editor of Press Action, the American media-monitoring group, is where Kerry discusses the Vietnam War and the antiwar movement. Self-promoted as a war hero, Kerry briefly joined the protest movement on his return from Vietnam. In this twin capacity, he writes: I say to both conservative and liberal misinterpretations of that war that its time to get over it and recognize it as an exception, not as a ruling example of the U.S. military engagements of the 20th century.
In this one passage, writes Hand, Kerry seeks to justify the millions of people slaughtered by the U.S. military and its surrogates during the 20th century [and] suggests that concern about U.S. war crimes in Vietnam is no longer necessary . Kerry and his colleagues in the progressive internationalist movement are as gung-ho as their counterparts in the White House . Come November, who will get your vote? Coke or Pepsi?
New Statesman (UK), March 8, 2004