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Michael B. Laskoff Headshot

America Occupies Itself

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With the conspicuous exception of the Marshall Plan. America has basically used the past 65 years to forgo love and make war. Depending on your political bent, you either consider this he highest form of
hypocrisy or necessity. No matter where you fall on the political spectrum, however, we can all agree that we excel at declaring war against everything from countries to unauthorized plant life (drugs) and
amorphous concepts (terrorism).

As a self admitted progressive liberal, I find Bellus Americana a little disheartening; but as an adult with ADHD, I have also learned that it is better to build on strength than try to overcome weakness. And that's why I've come to believe that nothing makes more sense than an immediate invasion of ourselves.

Inspiration for this idea can be found in today's New York Times. In a letter to the editor, one writer advocates that, "Most important is building a functional... economy with permanent jobs in place of the temporary positions provided by the present donor driven development projects." Of course, Ahmed Rashid was speaking not a out the horrific lack of jobs in America but about our war in Afghanistan. Nevertheless, America's unemployed would feel better knowing that the same concerns were being debated at home. A democratically elected Congress can't seem to manage this, but they might do better in the more comfortable guise of an occupation authority.

Of course the Executive Branch has a role to play as well; it can support the development of democratic institutions as we have in Iraq. Obama could use his powers of persuasion to convince our legislators to look beyond their individual sectarian (corporate) interests and act in the country's best interest. And if that doesn't work, he can always call Xe (Blackwater) to apply extra legal 'persuasion' as neessary.

And the beauty of this plan is that it's justifiable. As Obama said when accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, "There will be times when nations -- acting individually and in concert -- will find the use of
force not only necessary but morally justifiable." Well, we've got nuclear, biological and chemical weapons cabability, not to mention a recent history of leaders who profess to believe in the rapture. Tell me that's not a threatening combination, or simpy ask the rest of the world -- e.g., Russia, China, India or Brazil -- what they think.)

Self-occuption will be hard on Americans. The problem, unfortunately will be less the loss of liberty and more the need to engage in rationale debate about things like health care, banking reform, jobs, deficits, the economy and other things that scare us. So self-occupation is hardly ideal, but at least it leverages our strengths.