Empire

MaxSpeak points to this Tom Hayden piece, It’s Empire Versus Democracy, on conservative calls for conquest of the Middle East and other regions.

The Wall Street Journal gave the secret away in an October 2001 editorial declaring that September 11 created a unique political opportunity to advance the whole Republican-conservative platform. Worse, the real conservative agenda is to create an American empire, not simply rout out the al-Qaida organization. No sooner had the September 11 attacks occurred than the Wall Street Journal’s editorial writer, Max Boot, published “The Case for American Empire” in the conservative organ, the Weekly Standard. Boot endorsed a return to nineteenth century British imperialism, this time under American hegemony. “Afghanistan and other troubled lands today cry out for the sort of enlightened foreign administration once provided by self-confident Englishmen in jodhpurs and pith helmets” (see NYT, Mar. 31, 2002). The orchestrated call for empire was “out of the closet,” according to conservative columnist Charles Krautheimer, and was echoed in the works of historians Paul Kennedy and Robert D. Kaplan (who found nice things to say about Emperor Tiberius, namely that he used force to “preserve a peace that was favorable to Rome”).

And later …

Mujahideen, including Osama Bin Laden, were not “evil” when the U.S. government supplied them with weapons and funding in the 1980s, because then the Islamic fundamentalists were battling true “evil” in the form of the Soviet Union. But the label of evil has its uses. It serves to shut off rational debate, for example. It stimulates public fear. It justifies the killing of people whose annihilation might be problematic if they were classified as simply desperate. Fighting evil is good politics.