What is American democracy today, but a dried, empty chrysalis after the butterfly has departed? At bottom, democracy is just a means to an end and that end, according to Thomas Jefferson in the American Declaration of Independence, is “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
Here’s some more honest reporters that I think we can trust. See what you think.
Tom Engelhardt created and runs the Tomdispatch.com website, a project of The Nation Institute where he is a Fellow. He is the author of a highly praised history of American triumphalism in the Cold War, The End of Victory Culture, and of a novel, The Last Days of Publishing, as well as a collection of his Tomdispatch interviews, Mission Unaccomplished. Each spring he is a Teaching Fellow at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley.
Tomdispatch.com is the sideline that ate his life. Before that he worked as an editor at Pacific News Service in the early 1970s, and, these last three decades, as an editor in book publishing. For 15 years, he was Senior Editor at Pantheon Books where he edited and published award-winning works ranging from Art Spiegelman’s Maus and John Dower’s War Without Mercy to Eduardo Galeano’s Memory of Fire trilogy. He is now Consulting Editor at Metropolitan Books, as well as co-founder and co-editor of Metropolitan’s The American Empire Project. Many of the authors whose books he has edited and published over the years now write for Tomdispatch.com. He is married to Nancy J. Garrity, a therapist, and has two children, Maggie and Will.
Petroleum was discovered on the Arabian peninsula by the California Arabian Standard Oil Company in early 1938 and the Mideast plot thickened considerably. The 1938 strike turned out to be the first in what were to become the richest oil fields in the world. Oil meant money, both for oil companies and for Ibn Saud, the warlord who had proclaimed himself king of Arabia just six years earlier.
It is that Saudi windfall that has permitted us to see just how abject is the Western World’s slavish reverence for money. The Saudi regime, clearly the most retrograde in the Muslim world, has carte blanche in any Western capital, thanks exclusively to its gargantuan economic presence. Their egregious domestic human rights abuses are the least of it. What is more serious is how they sponsor Islamic terrorism so universally and so blatantly with every Western government looking bovinely the other way while giving top priority to their “defense” contracts. Continue reading “With All Due Respect–2/2”
There was a time—though nobody’s quite sure of when that was—when the culture clash between Christians and Muslims might have been avoided through mutually respectful conversations and compromises. But that time has passed and no amount of talking now will yield a quick solution. The issues are too encysted, the offenses too damaging, the retributions too exaggerated, the players too polarized. That said, something has to be done at least to try to begin some sort of détente with the Muslim world. The only alternative—an upward spiraling permanent war—would be infinitely worse.
Could some concessions to the Muslims, starting with an acknowledgment of and apology for the high-handed treatment the Christian West has always dispensed to them, serve to improve relations, if only marginally? President Obama’s 2009 speech in Cairo looked like a tentative step in that direction but was soon buried under the pressure of military expediency. Continue reading “With All Due Respect—1/2”