[Marxism] John Pilger on Bush vs Kerry

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Mar 4 17:33:45 MST 2004

New Statesman, Monday 8th March 2004
Bush or Kerry? No difference

The man who, after Super Tuesday, is all but certain to become the 
Democrats' candidate for president is as dedicated as any Republican to the 
American empire.
By John Pilger

A myth equal to the fable of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction is gaining 
strength on both sides of the Atlantic. It is that John Kerry offers a 
world-view different from that of George W Bush. Watch this big lie grow as 
Kerry is crowned the Democratic candidate and the "anyone but Bush" 
movement becomes a liberal cause celebre.

While the rise to power of the Bush gang, the neoconservatives, belatedly 
preoccupied the American media, the message of their equivalents in the 
Democratic Party has been of little interest. Yet the similarities are 
compelling. Shortly before Bush's "election" in 2000, the Project for the 
New American Century, the neoconservative pressure group, published an 
ideological blueprint for "maintaining global US pre-eminence, precluding 
the rise of a great power rival, and shaping the international security 
order in line with American principles and interests". Every one of its 
recommendations for aggression and conquest was adopted by the administration.

One year later, the Progressive Policy Institute, an arm of the Democratic 
Leadership Council, published a 19-page manifesto for the "New Democrats", 
who include all the principal Democratic Party candidates, and especially 
John Kerry. This called for "the bold exercise of American power" at the 
heart of "a new Democratic strategy, grounded in the party's tradition of 
muscular internationalism". Such a strategy would "keep Americans safer 
than the Republicans' go-it-alone policy, which has alienated our natural 
allies and overstretched our resources. We aim to rebuild the moral 
foundation of US global leadership . . ."

What is the difference from the vainglorious claptrap of Bush? Apart from 
euphemisms, there is none. All the Democratic presidential candidates 
supported the invasion of Iraq, bar one: Howard Dean. Kerry not only voted 
for the invasion, but expressed his disappointment that it had not gone 
according to plan. He told Rolling Stone magazine: "Did I expect George 
Bush to fuck it up as badly as he did? I don't think anybody did." Neither 
Kerry nor any of the other candidates has called for an end to the bloody 
and illegal occupation; on the contrary, all of them have demanded more 
troops for Iraq. Kerry has called for another "40,000 active service 
troops". He has supported Bush's continuing bloody assault on Afghanistan, 
and the administration's plans to "return Latin America to American 
leadership" by subverting democracy in Venezuela.

Above all, he has not in any way challenged the notion of American military 
supremacy throughout the world that has pushed the number of US bases to 
more than 750. Nor has he alluded to the Pentagon's coup d'etat in 
Washington and its stated goal of "full spectrum dominance". As for Bush's 
"pre-emptive" policy of attacking other countries, that's fine, too. Even 
the most liberal of the Democratic bunch, Howard Dean, said he was prepared 
to use "our brave and remarkable armed forces" against any "imminent 
threat". That's how Bush himself put it.

What the New Democrats object to is the Bush gang's outspokenness - its 
crude honesty, if you like - in stating its plans openly, and not from 
behind the usual veil or in the usual specious code of imperial liberalism 
and its "moral authority". New Democrats of Kerry's sort are all for the 
American empire; understandably, they would prefer that those words 
remained unsaid. "Progressive internationalism" is far more acceptable.

Just as the plans of the Bush gang were written by the neoconservatives, so 
John Kerry in his campaign book, A Call to Service, lifts almost word for 
word the New Democrats' warmongering manifesto. "The time has come," he 
writes, "to revive a bold vision of progressive internationalism" along 
with a "tradition" that honours "the tough-minded strategy of international 
engagement and leadership forged by Wilson and Roosevelt . . . and 
championed by Truman and Kennedy in the cold war". Almost identical 
thoughts appear on page three of the New Democrats' manifesto:

As Democrats, we are proud of our party's tradition of tough-minded 
internationalism and strong record in defending America. Presidents Woodrow 
Wilson, Franklin D Roosevelt and Harry Truman led the United States to 
victory in two world wars . . . [Truman's policies] eventually triumphed in 
the cold war. President Kennedy epitomised America's commitment to "the 
survival and success of liberty".

Mark the historical lies in that statement: the "victory" of the US with 
its brief intervention in the First World War; the airbrushing of the 
decisive role of the Soviet Union in the Second World War; the American 
elite's non-existent "triumph" over internally triggered events that 
brought down the Soviet Union; and John F Kennedy's famous devotion to 
"liberty" that oversaw the deaths of some three million people in Indo-China.

"Perhaps the most repulsive section of [his] book," writes Mark Hand, 
editor of Press Action, the American media monitoring group, "is where 
Kerry discusses the Vietnam war and the anti-war movement." Self-promoted 
as a war hero, Kerry briefly joined the protest movement on his return from 
Vietnam. In this twin capacity, he writes: "I say to both conservative and 
liberal misinterpretations of that war that it's time to get over it and 
recognise it as an exception, not as a ruling example of the US military 
engagements of the 20th century."

"In this one passage," writes Hand, "Kerry seeks to justify the millions of 
people slaughtered by the US military and its surrogates during the 20th 
century [and] suggests that concern about US war crimes in Vietnam is no 
longer necessary . . . Kerry and his colleagues in the 'progressive 
internationalist' movement are as gung-ho as their counterparts in the 
White House . . . Come November, who will get your vote? Coke or Pepsi?"

full: http://www.newstatesman.co.uk/nscoverstory.htm

Louis Proyect
Marxism list: www.marxmail.org 

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