Politicking in the Mos Eisley Cantina
Our economic and political mess became more clear once I realized that most of the important political deals take place in the Mos Eisley Cantina. You know the scene from the first “Star Wars” movie in 1977: a dark, smoky bar located somewhere in a twilight zone: a liminal and lawless hideout where the ethically reprehensible is the norm.
We know our elected officials don’t do their political work up in the daylight of our world, because none of the big ticket laws they pass have anything to do with what the majority of our citizens want. There are differences between the two political parties, but they’re differences of degree, not kind. How can it be that the people we elected to serve us routinely sell us out to the highest bidders?
The majority of US citizens are against our illegal invasions of Iraq, Afghanistan, and our bombing of Libya to remove Qaddafi, the brutal dictator we have coddled for decades. And a majority of our citizens would also be against our other four military operations – in Yemen, Pakistan, the Horn of Africa and Columbia – if they knew about them. Most of us were not fooled when President Obama said he unilaterally authorized bombing Libya because his heart bled for the half million citizens Qaddafi will probably kill – though for the past week, it seems we’ve stopped caring. If our hearts really bled that easily for the slaughter of innocents, why didn’t we invade countries that had no oil? And if we think the death of a half million innocents is repugnant enough to demand preventative action, what about President Clinton’s sanctions against Iraq, which caused the deaths of half a million Iraqi children? When asked on US television if she [Madeline Albright, US secretary of state] thought that the death of 500,000 Iraqi children from sanctions in Iraq was a price worth paying, Albright replied: “This is a very hard choice, but we think the price is worth it.” (See here.)
The majority of our citizens want our soldiers brought home now. As John Kerry said to our House Foreign Relations Committee in 1970 about the ongoing Vietnam War: “How do you ask someone to be the last person to die for a mistake?” Today’s answer seems to be that members of Congress do it without much genuine emotion, because wars – whether right or wrong – are immensely profitable for some of the corporations whose lobbyists woo our representatives in dark places. And few if any of their children are going to be in those wars.