E Pluribus Bellum: Why the War-Loving Democrats Are No Better Than Republicans
I am not a big fan of internet memes, but a few days before the U.S. elections I came across one on my social media feed that was brilliant. The post juxtaposed two identical images of a fighter plane dropping bombs, with one image captioned “Republicans” and the one next to it captioned “Democrats.”
The only distinction between the two: the latter plane had an LGBTQ rainbow flag on its rudder, while a Black Lives Matter logo in the style of the black and white “Parental Advisory” label and the words “Yes she can” were emblazoned across the side of the fuselage.
Little did I know then that this exquisite critique of U.S. foreign policy would be verified so soon by the Biden Administration’s opening salvo in what promises to be a deliciously bloodthirsty presidency: on February 26, just over a month after being sworn in, the Democratic President authorized military airstrikes in Eastern Syria against what the media calls “Iran-backed militias”, killing upwards of 17 people.
To those who are surprised and feel betrayed: don’t. This was highly foreseeable: Joe Biden, a person who finishes off most of his speeches with his signature “God protect our troops”, has made no secret about what America is about in general and his presidency will be like in particular: driving the country’s war machine at full throttle.
Democrats and Republicans: same same, but different
This latest round of American warfare in foreign lands under a new administration that is no less hawkish than the previous reigning clique with Donald Trump at the helm begs the following question: Democrats are better than Republicans how exactly?
Al Jazeera English (whose once relatively independent and critical news reporting is increasingly parroting the American narrative and thus reflecting the presence of the 10,000+ U.S. troops stationed on Qatar’s tiny territory) in its initial versions of the developing story spun this most recent outburst of bipartisan anti-Iranian continuity as “a clear effort to draw a distinction with Biden’s predecessor.”
Remember: under Trump’s authorization, two top Iranian figures were assassinated in the space of a single year: the Islamic Republic’s second-most powerful person, General Qassem Soleimani on January 3, 2020 and Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a senior official in Iran’s nuclear program, on November 27, 2020).
Now ask yourselves this, dear readers: is dropping seven 500-lb precision bombs on seven targets killing at least 17 low-profile actors in one of the messiest theaters of war morally any better than killing two high-profile ones? Where exactly is the distinction between both?
As the day progressed and the developing story came to its close, Al Jazeera changed the pro-American tone of it’s reporting, quoting Seyyed Mohammad Marandi, a distinguished professor at the University of Tehran who gave a candid answer to exactly that question: “Biden is the same garbage as Trump.”
During CNN’s Inauguration Day coverage, “A New Day in America” was subtitled across the screen when I tuned in. Was it really a “new day” or rather a case of “same old, same old” with sprinkles of “same same but different?”
Biden is right: America is back…with a vengeance. It took his diversified cabinet just over a month in office to start dropping bombs on foreign countries again.
And the American public, which independent journalist Rania Khalek in a social media post from the day of the Biden-authorized bombings rightfully accused of playing “stenographer for empire”, has dutifully been acting that part since Trump lost to Biden with its incessant fanboying of the Democratic establishment and its sheepishly buying into Biden’s America-is-back rhetoric.
Yes, America is back: from the exceptional and extrovert evil under Trump to the traditional and normalized evil we are used to from American administrations, Republican and Democrat alike, as I myself posted on social media a week before the U.S. airstrikes in Syria.
And with Lloyd Austin, who was a board member of weapons manufacturer Raytheon before joining the Biden administration, as Secretary of Defense (a position that should be renamed Secretary of War) and who according to leftist journalist Jackson Hinkle still owns $ 500,000 to 1,7 million in Raytheon stocks (if anything like this had happened in the Global South, Western intelligentsia would have cried “Corruption!” in a friggin’ heartbeat), should we really be surprised that it is raining U.S.-American rockets in the Middle East again?
Not to mention that a mere three weeks into his presidency, Biden had already approved $ 285m worth of Raytheon weapons deals, according to Hinkle. Even before approving student loan debt cancellation and rent forgiveness in a country battling the economic fallout of a pandemic that has claimed more American lives than is the entire population of Miami.
Again: Democrats are better than Republicans how exactly?
They’re not. Democrats are just better at spinning evil as benevolence, making us believe slightly lesser evil is the absence of evil and then patting themselves on the back for selling the status quo as progress. Neoliberalism and militarism as the bipartisan ideology of a de facto one party state masquerading as a democracy since its inception: that is the U.S. as the majority of the world knows and loathes it.
Diversity Democrat-style: when black people become part of the empire
A month in office and already so much blood on their hands: a special well-deserved shout out should go to the black imperialists and moral vertebrae-lacking minions of the military and prison industrial complexes, General “Raytheon” Austin and Kamala “Top Cop” Harris, who during her pre-VEEP career as California prosecutor and district attorney proudly used that catchy autonym to describe her pursuance of harsh sentencing for minor offenses.
These two individuals are cut from the same immoral cloth as their geriatric white overlord Joe Biden who until recently kept touting his involvement in the 1994 Crime Bill which ultimately exacerbated mass incarceration and with it the structural racism of disproportionately putting Black lives behind bars.
A friendly reminder: said Crime Bill was not passed under a Republican administration, but — lo and behold — under a Democratic one, presided by Bill Clinton who like Trump was also impeached, albeit once and not for inciting an insurrection, but for engaging in an extramarital sexual relationship with an at that time 22-year-old White House intern and lying about it.
With the myopic idealization of the anti-progressive Kamala Harris by the liberal establishment and the more naive and uncritical elements of Black Lives Matter for the sole “accomplishment” of having been chosen by a white man for the position of running mate primarily for being a black woman, the same mistake made with regards to Barack Obama is being repeated: equating the historic benchmark of shattering a glass ceiling with a perceived moral “goodness” of the person and of his or her policies.
Inundated with premature praise to a point where the Nobel Committee for the first time in its history awarded the Peace Prize to a person before he even had the chance to do anything to deserve it (Obama had been in power for less than eight months) and lauding his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples”, the first black President of the United States would ultimately not only show the world that his early presidential speeches given on the steps of the Capitol or at Cairo University — despite their refinement and intellect — contained nothing but empty rhetoric and false promises, but that he would go down in history as one of the most anti-immigrant and Islamophobic presidents in recent history.
Joanne Lin, Senior Legislative Counsel of the civil rights organization ACLU, wrote in February 2014: “President Obama has earned the title ‘Deporter-in-Chief.’ While Republicans decry the President for failing to enforce immigration laws, this administration is about to hit the two million deportations mark — a record for an American president.”
With regards to the first black President’s drone war specifically and exclusively targeting the Muslim-majority countries of Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan and Afghanistan: The British daily Independent in an online article from January 19, 2017 titled “Map shows where President Barack Obama dropped his 20,000 bombs” wrote: “Democrat Mr Obama leaves the White House having authorized ten times more drone strikes than George W Bush and having been at war for longer than any President in US history.”
Once again I ask the same question: Democrats are better than Republicans how exactly? From the sound of these two quotes they are not only not better than them, but even worse than them.
Diversity and progress from a Democratic standpoint simply mean that a black person can rise to the highest echelon of power on a platform of hope and change just so he can drop more drone bombs on innocent civilians in foreign countries and deport more people from the homeland than the white person before him. Apart from the positive milestone of passing the Affordable Care Act, that is the sum total of Obama‘s abysmal presidential legacy.
Liberal America conveniently forgets the diversity of the Bush Administration
When Democrats put up the smokescreen of ethnic diversity and inclusion to hide their all-American addiction to warfare which is at the dark heart of the global superpower’s blood-for-resources racket, they conveniently forget that they do not hold the monopoly on minority representation in political office: to those of you who still remember Republican President George W Bush’s first cabinet, they will know that Secretary of State Colin Powell was black, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice was a black woman and Labor Secretary Elaine Chao was a Taiwanese-American woman.
During Bush’s second term, an Afghan-American Muslim even served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations: Zalmay Khalilzad, who in 2018 was appointed by President Trump as U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, has to this day been kept on by his Democratic successor Biden.
When Bush’s first cabinet was introduced I remember feeling surprised and thinking to myself ‘Man these people are evil, but that sure is hell is one diverse cabinet.” So why are we buying into this whole Democratic fanfare of diversity as a novel phenomenon in American politics pushed solely by Democrats?
Because for one, we have been led to believe that diversity is something that can only be achieved by liberals which is something the self-aggrandizing Democrats also sincerely believe themselves. And the other reason: we think that due to the struggle of belonging to a marginalized group, be it BIPOC, LGBTQ or women, all members of a marginalized community are inherently liberal (which liberals equate with morally good).
This arrogant, paternalistic, racist and elitist world view fails to recognize that members of ethnic minorities can be privileged, conservative and downright bigoted too: the current UK government is the best example for that.
Joe Biden‘s inherent anti-Black racism coupled with the Democrats’ masturbatory narcissism was already on full display while he was on the campaign trail: speaking on the popular African-American radio show “The Breakfast Club”, he told the host, Charlamagne tha God: “’If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.”
Telling a black person that black people who would rather vote for a white racist Republican than a white racist Democrat are not black is not only shockingly racist, but coming from a 78-year-old who stumbles through most of his speeches, it sounds like “Sleepy Joe“ might actually suffer from dementia and might therefore be no fitter to be President of the most powerful country in the world than his geriatric predecessor Donald Trump.
Out of many, war
Whether it’s the military-industrial or prison-industrial complex or any other American special interest: Democrats should finally acknowledge to themselves that they are in no way better than their Republican counterpart. Even though the recent election has once again revealed how divided the U.S. is, this time even numerically with a 50 — 50 split in the Senate, this tie hides the commonality these two opposing parties share when it comes to inequality-inducing neoliberalism in general and militarism and the the war machine in particular.
You don’t have to be a “commie” (an American insult worse than “Muslim”) to understand that the U.S. is not a democracy, but a textbook corporatocracy: a political system entirely controlled by corporations or corporate interests.
And you don’t have to be a leftist “radical” to advocate that the traditional motto of the U.S., E pluribus unum, which is Latin for “Out of many, one” and appears on the Great Seal of a country that has more than 500 military bases scattered across all continents except Antarctica (source: MSN.com) and has initiated more imperialist wars than any other nation in modern history, should be changed into E pluribus bellum: out of many, war.
Because diversity in war, that’s what bipartisan establishment America is all about. And without any radical change, be it from the progressive left or even from the isolationist right, the status quo politics of relentless militarism and violent foreign interventionism will keep being repeated with every new administration, be it Democrat or Republican, in perpetuity.
This article was first published on the British online news platform The Muslim Vibe.