Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose…

At least, that’s what part of me thinks — no matter who will win the democratic nomination, no matter who will win the presidential elections this November — fat chance that anything will change. As much as I detest and despise the current president, as much as I’m convinced that both he and Cheney should be impeached for unconstitutional and criminal activities, I nevertheless almost feel sorry for Bush Jr. He gets blamed for policies and tactics the US government has pursued since who really knows for how long; he didn’t come up with anything new or unheard-of — he just wasn’t clever enough to conceal the ruthless scheming for money and power that’s going on all the time.

Or is Naomi Klein’s article in the Guardian from 10 December, 2005 more to the point, claiming that in the case of admission of torture for example “[P]ast administrations kept their “black ops” secret; the crimes were sanctioned but they were committed in the shadows, officially denied and condemned.” Bush, however, departed “from clandestine etiquette” and instead made torture “pseudo-legal”. While torture has been practiced by US governments for decades, what is new is “the openness about it”, Klein writes. It seems naive to imagine that with a new president illegal torture, government-sanctioned injustice, and human rights violations will simply disappear.

Another reason for my skepticism is the SUPER military-industrial complex we’re dealing with today. When Eisenhauer (a Republican…) warned that “[I]n the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.” (full text), he couldn’t have foreseen the proportions of post-9/11 war profiteering that line the pockets of defense contractors. “Windfalls of War“, a list of the profits of contractors working in Iraq and Afghanistan between 2002 and 2004, makes for interesting reading. Again, I find it hard to believe that even the most honest, truthful, and ethical president (an oxymoron maybe?…) should be able to change the situation.

The other part of me would love to be swept up by the Obama enthusiasm; be inspired by the fact that he’s been endorsed by, Joan Baez, Caroline Kennedy, her uncle, and even by a Prairie Home Companion from Lake Wobegon — Garrison Keillor. Wouldn’t it be great if change could be an option.


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