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[casi] Rushing Off to Babylon

Mumia article...


[Col. Writ. 11/3/02] Copyright 2002 Mumia Abu-Jamal

    For empires, wars are easy things.  They are convergences of wealth

and power; demonstrations to those who would dare think about

striking an imperial symbol, or challenging an imperial interest.

    The bombing of Hiroshima was not so much as to back down the

Imperial Japanese military, as to "send a message" to the hated

Soviets.  So what if roughly 100,000 people died?  They were, as the

saying goes, "collateral damage."

    Babylon’s contemporary incarnation, the present Iraqi nation-state,

is being foisted on the American public as but the latest American

imperial demonstration project.  Think of it as 'Gulf War II', a

project to prove to the entire world that the Americans have grown

out of that dreaded ‘Vietnam Syndrome’.

    It is also designed to "send a message" to two constituencies; the

neighboring Arab regimes, and the Euro-Japanese powers: “This is


    Behind all the rap about democracy, human rights, and yes, 'weapons

of mass destruction', is the fierce imperial greed to own the lake of

dinosaur’s blood that gurgles under deserts of Iraq.

    Americans (with the possible exception of Black and white

southerners) live in the ever-present.  Now, where history is

what was on last night’s newscast.  Few countries of the modern era

are so openly ahistorical.  But, a few generations ago, when a War

was fought, and it dared to be called, ‘The War to End all Wars’

(Yep. Can you believe it?),  the beaten, humiliated Germans were

subjected to harsh terms of their defeat in WW I. Something called

the Treaty of Versailles was imposed upon Germany, largely at the

instigation of the embittered French. At the time, around 1919,

Britain’s Prime Minister, Lloyd George, called the terms and

reparations so harsh upon Germany that, "[W]e shall have to fight

another war all over again in 25 years at three times the cost."

    The hated conditions of the Versailles Treaty gave a young man named

Hitler all of the public anger and energy he could use to launch

another nastier, far more brutish World War.

    The point is that nations, like individuals, don’t take humiliation

very well. And unlike the 'happy go lucky' Americans, other countries

and other cultures have long memories.

    Iraq’s dismemberment, invasion, and yes, 'regime change' may have

repercussions of which we (in the West) can barely conceive of.

    The Bin Laden brand of vendetta has its roots in the colonial, and

indeed, the pre-colonial era, maybe even the 14th century.

    The very attack itself is now seen by many as "Blowback," from the

U.S. CIA adventures against the Soviet regime in Kabul back in the


    When Empires go to war, it is a kind of power-play, with power and

wealth ever the objects of play (Remember the saying, ‘War is the

Sport of Kings’?).   But the unforgiving law of unintended

consequences is always lurking, lying in wait, in the dark, like

the Snake in the proverbial Garden of Eden.

    With the banks, and military industrial complex fairly drooling for

this shoot’em up for oil, the American Empire may be in for a really

rough ride.

    No empire has ever yet, correctly perceived its own falling.

    Hitler dreamed of a 1,000 year reich.  It barely broke ten.

    The British used to sing that the sun will never set on

the Empire. It has set now.

    This new American Empire, barely 50 years old, is mighty indeed.

But so was Rome.  So were the Ottomans.  So was the T'ang Dynasty.

    They are all dust.

    One wonders if they saw the fatal errors that they made, when they

made them?

Copyright 2002 Mumia Abu-Jamal



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