American Students and PNAC Demands
A lot of comment has been generated about a recent poll that suggests that a significant number of students are completely ignorant of or even hostile to basic First Amendment rights. If you are not already familiar with the story, hit this link to a short article at Doug Ireland's excellent blog.
You can read a more detailed article and download a PDF copy of the entire report HERE.
In a nutshell, the report, based on a survey of 100,000 US students, found that a third of them felt the First Amendment, goes "too far". Nearly half felt the government had a right to approve news stories before they are published.
This, of course, has caused distress among forward thinking adults. Comments often reflect dismay and even despair for a generation of 'Hitler Youth' being turned out by American schools.
I understand and can see the possibilities of the worst scenario but I believe this news may not be as new or as darkly ominous as it may seem.
These sort of surveys have been done before and similar results have been achieved. If such a survey been administered at my school at age 15 or younger, I and many of my contemporaries would have expressed similar ideas, based on a grossly overstated respect for uniforms and government authority.
Many of our ideas came from movies and stories about WWII and even 50's monster movies where the soldiers, G-Men , and the police stood against unknown enemies. and always protected the public good. Heck, if the local police got taken over by the aliens, you knew you were in serious trouble. Youth can be trusting that way.
The kids of the late fifties and early sixties, who had the same confusions about patriotism and the importance of civil liberties, later became some of the stalwarts of the Youth and Anti-war movements. of the sixties and early seventies.
I am not discounting the misgivings people have about these results but I am trying to put it into a perspective other than the purely political.
Given the non-stop wash of broadcast and cable propaganda bombarding the American public and given that youth is particularly tuned to the media, it is not surprising that American youth and adults have so little regard for the "liberty" they believe their enemies want to take from them.
We are getting into the real nuts and bolts reasons why an informed public is necessary for a democracy to function as a democracy. It is a learning process and every generation has to learn it again. Just as each preceding generation must learn and help pass on to the next.
My generation has failed the next. We learned our own lessons regarding the American right to express your beliefs, in opposition to the predominant culture, the police, and the state, in our resistance to Vietnam and conscription. Then we went to sleep or devoted ourselves to more renumerative pursuits such as becoming Republican functionaries.
One of the most radicalizing factors of the Vietnam era was the draft. It became impossible to ignore the real world as it relentlessly pursued you in the form of the Selective Service Board.
Middle class post grad students lived in terror of dropping low enough in their GPA to expose themselves to the draft. Working class kids mostly waited until they were abducted. by the hawk faced women that ran the local draft board with their hard eyes and angry, form typing fingers.
It is easier to maintain the fantasy belief that all is OK in America, that it will turn out alright if we just buckle down and hold the course. If we just believe in George and the version of God he claims to champion.
That is, until the real blood and money price of it all starts really coming home. Get ready boys and girls, ladies and gentlemen, the price is coming home and the price is going to be high. The pay off, just rhetoric in the face of real cost.
Below is a link to a letter, a wish list, if you will, sent to the American Congress by PNAC, Project for a New American Century. A Corporate/Neocon power bloc whose past officers read like a who's who of the present government.
"Dick Cheney, Vice President of the United States, former CEO of Halliburton; Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense; Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretary of Defense; Elliot Abrams, National Security Council; John Bolton, Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security; I. Lewis Libby, Cheney's top National Security assistant". To name a few.
Enormously wealthy, powerful, and connected in Government, PNAC got everything it wanted from the wish list it presented Congress in 2,000. This time, in a letter presented a week ago, PNAC is telling congress it is time to enact the draft again if they, meaning the PNAC, are to achieve their immediate and long term policy goals.
Here is a short quote from the PNAC letter to the Congress. The word draft is never used but the meaning is very clear.
"So we write to ask you and your colleagues in the legislative branch to take the steps necessary to increase substantially the size of the active duty Army and Marine Corps. While estimates vary about just how large an increase is required, and Congress will make its own determination as to size and structure, it is our judgment that we should aim for an increase in the active duty Army and Marine Corps, together, of at least 25,000 troops each year over the next several years.
Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution places the power and the duty to raise and support the military forces of the United States in the hands of the Congress. That is why we, the undersigned, a bipartisan group with diverse policy views, have come together to call upon you to act. You will be serving your country well if you insist on providing the military manpower we need to meet America's obligations, and to help ensure success in carrying out our foreign policy objectives in a dangerous, but also hopeful, world."
Read the entire PNAC letter here PNAC wants the congress to produce and pass a bill to start the draft. PNAC doesn't want the president to introduce the legislation, they want Congress to do it, to share the blame.
I expect a number of conscripts will be in Iraq for New Years eve , next year. To beef up the military enough to hold present positions and be able to invade another middle eastern country, (long term policy goals) many, many boots will have to be filled. The Army and Marines are playing catch up right now. The stop loss program can not extend the fighting ability of men for ever.
When conscription does begin, I will not be surprised if the enlistment is extended to more than the two years expected during Vietnam. Two year conscripts will rotate out too fast to be effective. Requiring drafting ever greater numbers, upping the political risk.
While I share the concerns of many, regarding the beliefs of our younger citizens, I believe the next two years may provide the reality cure for many of those students as they and their friends become fodder for the slaughter.
There are too many questions that Americans are not asking themselves. An uncle of mine, a farmer, oft said that, "you can talk to a mule until you are red in the face. Sometimes you gott'a hit it in the head to get its attention".
In this case, it is history and the New Imerial America that shall be smacking the mule on the head, hard and often. Perhaps its attention will be gotten, in the time to come.