In yesterday's "Thanksgiving" post, I made a comparison between Cambodia and the direction the US is headed in. I need to explain.
Certainly, the agonies of Cambodia, then and now, are far deeper than ours. Pol Pot's rule, for example, was tryannical compared even to Saddam Hussein's; and the aftermath is still felt in that country, as is that of our massive bombing during the Vietnam war. I intended to use Cambodia as an example of tyranny unchecked, not as a direct factual comparison to the US presently.
Here's why I'm so sad about the US, both historically and now. The geography of the nation is the world's finest. Beautiful, isolated from foreign foes, rich beyond anywhere else in natural resources and farmland and climate. It was for centuries guarded by natives who were neither numerous nor rapacious enough to ruin it, and so when the Europeans "discovered" it they found almost no opposition to their conquest and exploitation.
The most courageous and vital of Europeans settled the nation, just at a time in western history when democratic ideals were flowering; and in response they drew up their liberating documents to reflect those ideals. At that moment in history, the nation had its finest hours (tainted of course by slavery and conquest of the natives.)
It's been all downhill from there. We've engaged in endless wars and conquests. In 1812, in the 1860's, in the 1890's, in 1917, in 1941, in 1950, in 1965, in 1991, in 2003. Some of the wars have been forced upon us, but these last two--and in particular the latest invasion of Iraq--was a straightforward war of agression, in violation of the UN Charter (a document we drafted) and of international law.
We are now an occupying force in Iraq, murdering its civilians, imposing our version of government on its citizens, imprisoning thousands, devastating its cities. We are wrecking the planet with our profligate waste of resources, tearing at the environment, depleting its resources, spreading our ruinous "pop culture" across the globe, leaving the peoples of the poor nations to starve while we carry away their few riches: oil, timber, minerals, to feed our frenzy of consumption. We are led by maniacal liars, cheats and frauds, whose sole purpose is to perpetuate their power, and we re-elect them in elections that are meaningless, based on fluffy ads disseminated by power-seeking corporations.
From a country flush with energy and ideals, blessed with limitless resources, we have become a cynical, power-mad nation, corrupt and dangerous to Earth. We are the evil empire. Maybe not like Cambodia, but certainly more frightening.