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Two bills in the United States Senate, that would have set some limits on the American military presence in Iraq, went down to defeat, this week. By now, it should be clear that the Democratic Party is little different from the Republican Party. The only clear line of demarcation is Democratic spinelessness. But that doesn't really get to the heart of the matter. And the heart of the matter is a shared allegiance to imperialism.

Imperialism is a form of privilege. It says that one nation can dictate to another. In its more benign representation, imperialism claims that the one nation has an obligation to act as a mother or father to other nations. These other nations are relegated to the status of children. This is the mentality of imperialism.

The so-called debate in the U.S. Senate was totally dominated by the imperial mindset. The liberal side of the aisle was just as imperialist as the rightwing, Republican side. Both embraced the idea that the United States has a special mission in the world. The only thing separating the two positions was, What to do to fulfill that mission. It never seemed to occur to the opposing sides that the mission was, itself, in doubt. And that is the problem.

How does the United States believe it has the right to even step foot in Iraq? Iraqis don't think so. They do not believe themselves to be children, needing the care of an American parent. Neither do the people of Afghanistan, or any other place on the globe where the U.S. military has placed its boots. If the question is: Why do they hate us, the answer is: because you do not treat us as human beings.

We are speaking, here, of the imperialist mind, which is fundamental to American politics and thought. There is a basic assumption that the U.S . has special rights, which it reserves to itself, but considers it the most rank effrontery for any other nation to act in the same way – that is, to stand up for their own dignity. When other nation's leaders question the imperial assumption, by word or deed, they are deemed insane by American public opinion.

It is the imperialist mind that is insane. The debate in the U.S. Senate was consumed by this particular American insanity. Black Americans are familiar with the syndrome. We have witnessed debates between our sworn enemies and our purported friends – debates that are rooted in a shared belief in white American privilege. All of the discourse about the Black condition was about what white folks could do for us, or against us. But we were not given the dignity of having our own minds. This is maddening, and makes people go to war. And, as long as the imperial mentality reigns in the U.S., it will provoke people to make war against it. For Radio BC, I'm Glen Ford.

You can visit the Radio BC page to listen to any of our audio commentaries voiced by BC Co-Publisher and Executive Editor, Glen Ford. We publish the text of the radio commentary each week along with the audio program.


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June 29, 2006
Issue 189

is published every Thursday.

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