Trump Spokesperson Commemorates Invading Iraq by Claiming U.S. Doesn't Dictate to Other Countries; State Dept. Defends Invasion that Trump Campaigned Against

Trump campaigned on his alleged opposition to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Now his State Department is defending it.

Exactly 15 years after the U.S. invaded Iraq, White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders on Tuesday, in response to a question about President Trump calling President Putin of Russia "We don't get to dictate how other countries operate." 

That prompted a back and forth at the beginning of the State Department briefing, which I followed up on toward the end of the Q and A there: 

HUSSEINI: Earlier in your discussion with Matt [Lee of the AP] about the U.S. doesn’t dictate to other countries. It’s the 15th anniversary of the Iraq war, and of course, the --

MS NAUERT: I don’t think that I said – I don’t think that I said to Matt that we don’t dictate to other countries.

HUSSEINI: It might have been him. I wasn’t sure.

MS NAUERT: I think Matt said that.

HUSSEINI: Sometimes it's hard to tell.

LEE: I was quoting the --

MS NAUERT: Yeah, yeah, he --

LEE: -- the White House spokeswoman.


HUSSEINI: Should the U.S. apologize for regime change operations from meddling in elections in multiple countries through many means over the years?

MS NAUERT: That is a big question. You’re asking me about the entire history of the United States -- should we apologize? That’s the question?

QUESTION: Well, let’s start with the Iraq War.

MS NAUERT: Should we apologize for our government all around the world?


MS NAUERT: I think that the United States Government does far more good --

HUSSEINI: Are you asking me to clarify?

MS NAUERT: -- than we ever do bad. And certain people in the United States and in other countries have a look or have the perspective that America does more harm than good. I’m the kind of American that looks at it from the other way around. We do far more good.

HUSSEINI: Most Americans are opposed to the Iraq War. Should the U.S. Government apologize for things that were put out by that podium, people who are in this administration who fabricated information to start the Iraq War?

MS NAUERT: Look --

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

MS NAUERT: -- I get what you’re getting at. You want to be snarky and take a look back.

HUSSEINI: No, I don’t want to be snarky. I want to get real.

MS NAUERT: No, hold on, and take a look – okay, and take a look back --

HUSSEINI: I want to get real.

MS NAUERT: -- at the past 15 years. And Iraq is certainly a country that has been through a lot.


MS NAUERT: I’ve been to Iraq; many of you have been to Iraq in covering what has taken place there, okay.

HUSSEINI: I’m being anything but snarky.

MS NAUERT: Let me finish, okay. They’ve faced a lot of challenges. Right now the most significant challenge there is ISIS, and the United States remains there at the invitation of the Iraqi Government to fight and take on ISIS. I want to commend the Iraqi Government for something – that is, for the past 15 years, that they have had a history of free and fair elections over 15 years. That is remarkable given where they were under the regime of Saddam Hussein. I recall having met Iraqis at that time – and this dates back to 2004, 2005 – and certainly everyone that I had talked to, an Iraqi citizen had had a family member that was killed in some sort of horrific fashion or disappeared and was never heard from again. I mean, that is something that as an American, when you start talking to citizens, and that is their experience, that is something that’s very difficult for the average American to understand, because that is simply the way of life there.

The United States has a strong relationship with the Government of Iraq. I’m going to look forward from this podium in this room. We have a good relationship with the Government of Iraq; I’m not going to look back at this point, okay?

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

HUSSEINI: So no responsibility for --

MS NAUERT: Go right ahead.

HUSSEINI: -- the bloodshed of --

MS NAUERT: Go right ahead.

QUESTION: A follow-up question --

HUSSEINI: -- or anything else?

Full video at State Department website at about 32:15. 

Pence Claims about Saddam's WMDs and Terrorist Ties in Speech Backing Iraq Invasion

For Saddam Hussein has been America’s warring foe for more than a decade. In 1991, we ceased hostility.  We ended the battle, but Madam Speaker his war took no rest and it shows no mercy, and if in some horrible, yet possible day Saddam and the metastasizing network of terrorists he harbors and protects bring to America another world trade center, another Pentagon, another Oklahoma City, or Khobar Towers. When and not if, but when Saddam creates and uses nuclear weapons what will we tell the American people then?

Questions at State Dept: U.S. as Israeli-Palestinian Mediator and Honduran AP Drug Story

Today I started asking questions at the State Department. [Full text and video at 29:50]: 

QUESTION: But how can you maintain both things at the same time, that you have a special relationship with Israel and you want to be the mediator between Israel and the Palestinians, to have --

MS NAUERT: Well, we’ve covered this numerous times before. This administration looks back at the many – numerous decades of inability to bring peace to the Middle East. So the administration is determined that it wants to look at things perhaps a little differently. And that may confound some people --


MS NAUERT: Let me finish. And that may confound some people, and that’s fine. But the administration is still saying that we are willing to sit down and have peace talks, and both sides are going to have to give a little, and that’s something that they’ve not – we’ve not backed away from in terms of our standpoint.

QUESTION: I’m not saying that you’re unique in this respect.


QUESTION: Multiple administrations have said we have a special relationship with Israel and we’re going to be the mediator, and it hasn’t worked out well. So aren’t you actually sort of doing the same thing that past administrations have?

MS NAUERT: No, I think the administration is handling this – handling this differently. And there are a lot of examples that I could think of that --

QUESTION: Can I ask about Honduras?


QUESTION: Thank you.

MS NAUERT: I’m not sure I’m going to have anything for you on Honduras today, but you can --

QUESTION: Well, perhaps --

MS NAUERT: -- take a stab at it.

QUESTION: Thank you, for next time. On January 27th, the AP published a report based on Honduran Government documents describing the involvement of a new national police chief in assisting a drug cartel leader in transporting, quote, “nearly a ton of cocaine.” Subsequently, the Honduran police have formally requested a criminal investigation, quote, “preparatory to a complaint,” not into the police chief, but into the AP reporters who broke the story. It seems a clear attempt to retaliate and intimidate a U.S. media outlet. Is the State Department doing anything on this, especially considering that the revelations are about the police chief Jose David Aguilar Moran’s involvement and that the U.S. Government provides assistance to the Honduran police?

MS NAUERT: I will certainly have to take a look into that. I was not aware of that story. I’ll check with our experts in Honduras and at our Western Hemisphere Bureau as well. Okay, thank you.

Putting the PRO in Protest

[Unpublished piece from 2008]

"I like to believe that people in the long run are going to do more to promote peace than our governments. Indeed, I think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of the way and let them have it."
-- Dwight Eisenhower

People are used to being against Bush, to protesting against Bush. It's been easy for some the last several years -- whatever Bush is for, we're against it.

That will no longer do.

We need to be for things and to change the world to achieve those things.

It's alot easier to just say everything is wrong. It's harder to say, this is what needs to happen -- or atleast, this is how we can figure out what needs to happen.

Some are noting that Obama's policies are highly flawed. Others don't want to seem to be undermining a new president promising fundamental change. Both groups can work and can PROtest if that protest is FOR something. No need to be defined as being against Obama, nor to be passively waiting for him to do the right thing.

Part of the crux is defining the "us" in this equation. The "us" needs to be global. Progressives in the U.S. need to have more in common with an Afghan child or an African child than with Dick Cheney.

The anti-war movement was at its height on Feb. 15, 2003 when a global day of protest saw millions on the streets of London, Madrid, New York, Barcelona, Rome, Johannesburg, Tel Aviv, Tokyo, Hong Kong and hundreds of other cities. The establishment in the voice of the New York Times called the anti-war movement the "second super power."

That has seemingly died.

Or has it?

Certainly, it should not.

We can now build an even greater movement, with millions on those streets as well as millions of others -- including more Muslim countries. Tools of the internet, media like Democracy Now, The Real News, and Al Jazeera can be utilized in such an effort and then the corporate media will be forced to acknowledge that global force. 

Unlike Bush, Obama must listen to such a movement. The lines of communication and coordination must be built on a global scale from the grassroots. Indeed, whenever they have been, progressive forces in the U.S. have been at their strongest. The other high point of progressive action in the last ten years -- other than the Feb. 15 protests -- was the WTO protests in Seattle in 1999. Those too were global in nature. People and organizations -- including environmentalists and labor unions -- on the streets of Seattle in effect made common cause with the representatives of poorer countries against the governments of richer countries and their corporate allies.

It would be tragic if the global stage is dominated by governments of dubious legitimacy and hierarchical corporate elites as they meet and determine the world's future. Meetings that do take place of non-governmental organizations, which gain little attention in the public consciousness -- even the World Social Forums -- are no substitute for visible global PROtests.

And let us learn from Bush. It is wrong to simply be against whatever he says. Bush says that he wants democracy in the Arab world. I've always been for authentic democracy in the Arab world. But Bush claims he wants democracy in the Mideast as he occupies the Iraq, backs the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and the despotic rule of the Saudi government. While many in the anti-war movement have been attacking Bush for being unilateral, have they not also been unilateral by not building the needed global structures, by not reaching out to the rest of the world which agrees with so many of their stated goals?

Failure to do this now will be a historic tragedy. It will either be a great failure or a tacit admission that people living in the West are not interested in reaching out to the rest of the world. That their economic and national privilege is too enticing. Indeed, this may well help to reach into the "internal third world" -- so that poor people in the United States meaningfully participating in political action. That too is threatening to largely middle class movements.

An immediate test of this is at the United for Peace and Justice meeting this weekend: Will it plan to have a protest on the anniversary of the start of the invasion of Iraq, looking backward, being ANTI. Or will it have a PROtest on Feb 15 -- sooner, global, looking forward being for a new world?

There are oppressive forces to be sure, but there are substantial opportunities. If WE decide to take them -- together. The bigger that WE, the better.

Sam Husseini founded the web page on Feb. 15, 2003.

Rumi: This place is a dream....

[Over the last few years, I've tremendously enjoyed listening to Rumi poetry, especially recited by Duncan Mackintosh and Coleman Barks. Here's one by Mackintosh that I've transcribed (based on this), below. I hope to write about my interpretations of them over time, but for now, I felt it would be good to simply start posting them.] 

This place is a dream.
Only a sleeper considers it real.

Then death comes like dawn,
and you wake up laughing
at what you thought was your grief.

But there's a difference with this dream.
Everything cruel and unconscious
done in the illusion of the present world,
all that does not fade away at the death-awakening.

It stays,
and it must be interpreted.

The Potential Miracle of Dreaded Thanksgiving Political Discussion

Many seem to dread political discussion over the Thanksgiving Day table. What to do about you relative who voted for Trump (or Clinton)?

A bit of courage can turn it all around.

Solution is The duopoly is dividing you and your family. The grassroots left and right want meaningful change and actually agree on some issues.

They keep getting sold out by establishment figures posing as agents of meaningful change like Trump and Obama.

Both sides should acknowledge problems with each major party and candidates and what disagreements they have with them. Do you both want perpetual war? Do you want the government to back Wall Street? That what both Trump and Obama get you.

In the next election, instead of cancelling out each other, you can team up and both vote for the independent candidates of your choice. Syphoning votes in pairs from the establishment parties.

Start now.

You can talk it out so you’re not motivated by nothing better than Trump (or Clinton) hatred. Freedom from hatred. That would be truly something to be thankful for.

With Trump in China, Henry Rosemont's Moral Reflections

God I so hate it when this happens. I want to get in touch with an expert, someone whose voice and wisdom is so needed, and find they've died. I remember it happening with China scholar Robert Weil and Kurdish expert Vera Beaudin Saeedpour in years past. 

Today I was -- later than I should have -- trying to get hold of Henry Rosemont, a great scholar of Chinese philosophy and author of Chinese Mirror: Moral Reflections on Political Economy and Society among other books only to find out he died in July from this fine obituary

I think Noam Chomsky originally pointed me in his direction. I never met him, but had several fascinating talks by phone and emailed back and forth at times, putting him on several news releases.

I also enjoyed seeing several of his talks online. Here's one he gave in 2012, titled "Individual Freedom and Human Rights vs Social Justice: A Confucian Meditation", which begins: "Some of what I say this evening will worry liberals greatly. Some of the things I will say will annoy conservatives even more greatly. So that suggests that either I'm totally bipolar -- or Confucius is -- or that it might be helpful for you to try to bracket those kinds of labels and try hard to listen to what I'm going to say on its own terms about the Confucian persuasion." Here's that talk:

Perhaps my favorite quote of his of the dozen or so times I had him on Institute for Public Accuracy news releases over the last 20 years was this one:

“I first went to live in China in 1982. I thought they should build hostels and welcome foreigners to visit inexpensively, in keeping with the egalitarianism the government supposedly championed. Instead, they built five star hotels. Partly it was a matter of the capital needed from Western companies like Holiday Inn but partly they bought into a certain Western economic model.

“While the Cultural Revolution was successful in many respects — it stopped the famines, provided enough clothing — the leadership over the last two decades pursued a plan of growth that virtually no one thought they could achieve, quadrupling the economy. But this came at enormous human and environmental cost. Inequality is stark and worsening in China, life in the countryside is very bleak, especially for women; only in China do more women than men commit suicide, almost 60 percent of the world’s total.

“Many hawks would make China out to be a grave military threat to the U.S., but consider, for example, some very simple facts: The U.S. has 12 aircraft carriers, China has none; the United States has over 700 military bases and other installations outside its borders, while China has none; 250,000 U.S. military are stationed overseas — not counting the mercenaries — but again, China has none. China has 100-400 nuclear weapons, the U.S. has 10,000. The Chinese have much better grounds for fearing the United States than the other way around.”

My latest real interaction with him was after I wrote the posting "'Democracy Now' Gets Nuclear Ban Vote Totally Wrong" late last year. He saw it and responded:

Excellent letter, Sam; thanks for doing it. I'm quite disappointed in Amy Goodman; what has happened?
Have a good weekend,

I thanked him for his note, wrote that I wanted to get him on a news release soon. I emailed him again in April with no response and -- especially since he was just about the age of my father who died in January -- had an occasional worried thought in the back of my mind, until today.

How "Both Sides" Forge U.S. Supremacy: The Nationalistic Hypocrisies of "Violence" and "Free Speech"

Many have focused on President Donald Trump's statements on Charlottesville condemning the "violence" from "both sides". Which is understandable, since the killing of Heather Heyer and overwhelming violence came from white supremacists. But virtually no one has scrutinized the first half of his remarks: Trump criticizing the "violence" of others.

How is it that Trump is designated to be in a position of judging the perpetrators of violence? The U.S. government is regularly bombing a number of countries. Just last week, Trump threatened North Korea with nuclear destruction in unusually blunt language -- "fire and fury" rather than the typical Obama administration veiled nuclear attack code lingo "all options are on the table". 

On Monday, the same day Trump read a scripted condemnation of white supremacist violence, reported that in Syria: "Marwa, Mariam and Ahmad Mazen died with their mother and 19 other civilians in a likely Coalition strike at Raqqa." 

You'd be hard pressed to find a "news" story about them. That's the concern with the effects of "violence" when it emanates from the U.S. government. 

But the threats and use of violence are not new, nor is the hypocrisy. As he was ordering the ongoing bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999, President Bill Clinton took time out of his schedule to address the shooting at Columbine High School: “We must do more to reach out to our children and teach them to express their anger and to resolve their conflicts with words, not weapons.” 

Such outbreaks of domestic political violence are used not as openings for introspection about longstanding violence in U.S. society, but for rallying cries to uphold alleged virtues of the nation. The recent attacks are "repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans" Trump claims.

Since we live "under law and under the Constitution...responding to hate with love, division with unity, and violence with an unwavering resolve for justice. No matter the color of our skin, we all live under the same laws, we all salute the same great flag, and we are all made by the same almighty God."

The words Trump uttered seemed to echo Saint Augustine. Charles Avila in Ownership: Early Christian Teaching, outlines Augustine's beliefs: "The Creator, who alone is Absolute Owner, did not make us human beings so many 'islands,' without any relation to each other, but one human family, 'made from one mud' and sustained 'on one earth.'...We enjoy the same natural conditions: 'born under one law, living by one light, breathing one air and dying one death.'"

Thus, what seemingly originated as a universal theological admonition -- to attack the notion of private property no less -- has been perverted into a narrow nationalist one with universalist trappings. It simultaneously seems to condemn violence while actually facilitating it.

Nor is this new, either. during the presidency of Bill Clinton, he ordered up an "Initiative on Race". It's largely forgotten because its primary goal wasn't actually improving relations between different ethnic groups. Its goal was noted in its title: "One America in the 21st Century”. Not “Finally Overcoming Racism.” Not “Towards an America of Equality.”

National cohesion is the driving concern here. How can we make these differing ethnicities get along well enough to ensure that this stays one nation is a question elites must ask themselves. See my piece at the time: "'One America' -- To what Ends?"

There's a tightrope being walked here. There's a functionality to the "debate" between "both sides". The system requires a great deal of tension to keep people in their partisan boxes. The main thing that each political faction has going for it is the hatred towards the other. 

But there's the threat that it could reach a threshold that tears at national unity, which is why you get Terry McAuliffe and other political figures making Trump-like brazen contradictory statements, pleading for unity one minute and denouncing white supremacists as being repugnant to American values the next, wholly unworthy of engagement. 

The Democratic Party has to offer people something more than Russia-bashing, and that something seems to be opposition to a war that the party of Jefferson was on the losing side of.

Many were aghast at Trump's remarks about Washington and Jefferson: "So this week, it is Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson is coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?"

If we do honest history, it doesn't stop. That's the point. It condemns most of the political class. And would do so to most of current political class. But that's not a conclusion many in the political class are interested in. A line can certainly be drawn from Washington to Lee, as Confederates frequently argued.

As historian Gerald Horne has argued, the U.S. Revolutionary War was largely a war to ensure the continuation of slavery. Part of the "genius" of the U.S. was the "unification" of many non-black and non-native people as "white", including southern and eastern Europeans and some Arabs. So you have a large immigration pool to forge the nation.

Nor of course is slavery the only crime. It's perhaps focused on to at least some extent in our current political discourse because it's the main aspect of the imperial project that created, rather than destroyed, a major domestic constituency that was a victim of it. Native Americans are not a major domestic constituency because, unlike black folks in the U.S., their ancestors were not chained and brought to U.S. shores as slaves, but were driven out, killed en mass or made to die or be confined and marginalized. 

And that project predated the formal creation of the United States. Kent A. MacDougall notes in "Empire—American as Apple Pie" in Monthly Review that "George Washington called the nascent nation 'a rising empire.' John Adams said it was 'destined' to overspread all North America. And Thomas Jefferson viewed it as 'the nest from which all America, North and South, is to be peopled.'"

Of course, Trump isn't raising Washington and Jefferson to broaden the critique of the crimes of white supremacy, but to try to limit it. This is somewhat similar to when Bill O'Reilly said in an interview with Trump that Putin is "a killer" -- Trump replied: "There are a lot of killers. You think our country's so innocent?" Trump thus becomes the only honest person on the national stage, but largely not for the purpose of positive change. He's using what is mostly a left wing critique to entrench the establishment, which is similar to what "neocons" have done. 

Trump's statements, understated as they were, about current U.S. government violence were roundly condemned by most of the political class. CNN's "chief national security correspondent" Jim Sciutto called them "relativistic" -- when they were they are the exact opposite. What's relativistic is condemning the actions of others while approving of similar actions by one's "own side". Of course, Trump is relativistic when he condemns the violence from "many sides" in Charlottesville. 

So we have two relativistic dead ends: Trump "vs" the rest of the establishment. One victim for the time being is people's brain cells who have to endure and try to parse through the constant machinations. 

Comments like those about U.S. violence or the history of Washington give Trump a legitimacy of sorts. The establishment media effectively keep the microphone away from anyone else who would note such defining facts, while giving reams of coverage to Trump. He effectively becomes the leading "dissident" while also being the head inquisitor. This discourse effectively immunizes the establishment from meaningful change or even dialogue. 

Contrast Trump's realistic statement with what passes for dissent on "Democracy Now", which recently reverentially interviewed Ta-Nehisi Coates of the once somewhat dignified journal The Atlantic. Coates stated: "The Civil War was the most lethal war in American history. The casualties in the Civil War amount to more than all other wars—all other American wars combined. More people died in that war than World War II, World War I, Vietnam, etc." 


Martin Luther King warned African Americans were "integrating into a burning house." Robert E. Lee said of blacks in the U.S.: "The painful discipline they are undergoing, is necessary for their instruction as a race, & I hope will prepare & lead them to better things." Many have seemingly accepted such instruction. 

A path for "acceptance" by the establishment for African Americans, immigrants and others is to kiss the ring of U.S. supremacy. 

This insular discussion of "both sides" in the U.S. context frequently renders the non-U.S. "other" even more expendable. As I wrote in 2015: "How #AllLivesMatter and #BlackLivesMatter Can Devalue Life": 

Both sides limit who they mean by “lives.” They effectively exclude the victims of the U.S.’s highest officials. When most people use #BlackLivesMatter, they seem to be saying that all black U.S. lives matter when taken unlawfully by the government. And when most people who use #AllLivesMatter use it, they seem to be saying all U.S. lives matter when taken at the hands of police authorities — not just black U.S. lives. But the formulation effectively excludes the lives of millions of people who U.S. officials have deemed expendable for reasons of state.

Coates also claimed: "What you have to understand is, Donald Trump’s very essence, his very identity, is the anti-Obama. ... I mean, there was a piece, I think, like just last week in BuzzFeed. It was talking about, you know, Trump’s foreign policy. And his basic deal is: 'Is Obama for it? Well, I’m against it.'"

This shows remarkable ignorance or deceit about the continuity of U.S. foreign policy in recent decades, which obviously extends to include Obama and Trump. This is especially the case for someone who lives outside the United States. Certainly, the branding and rhetoric is different, but it's supposed to be the job of "public intellectuals" to see beyond that, not calcify it. 

There are many ramifications of the nationalistic blinders that are dutifully imposed by so many. Take the discussion of the ACLU's role in defending the white supremacists marching. The "both sides" here are: We should care so much about bigotry and violence that we should curtail the right of gun wielding white supremacists to march wherever they want. The other side is: Our devotion to free speech is so great that we should even allow this. 

They both ring hollow to me. It is not at all clear that what is happening will root out structural racism; it has been at the level of symbols, which is where the establishment wants it to remain contained. Nor do I see a serious commitment to freedom of speech being displayed by the ACLU and others, as serious infringement of freedom of speech occur with hardly an objection. Partisan establishment apparatchiks dominate media at virtually every level, with government facilitation. Google, Facebook, Twitter and others have effectively taken over much of the town square and are increasingly skewing what speech gets heard. Such is the nature of corporate power, backed by the state, right now. 

The likely "collateral damage" of such "debates" will be critics of U.S. empire. Consider that as the national ACLU seemed to be backtracking from their position, the California ACLU put out a statement that read in part "First Amendment does not protect people who incite or engage in violence." Who is going to be the likely victim of this? White supremacists -- or someone who explains why Hezbollah might want to lob missiles at Israel? The line that the California ACLU seeks to draw would seemingly ironically lynch John Brown, whose actual execution was overseen by none other than Robert E. Lee in blue uniform. 

Hezbollah's Al-Manar television channel -- possibly the most anti-ISIS outlet going -- is banned in the U.S. without outcry; with barely a note. 

The very discussion about "hate groups" is perverse. The entire political culture in the U.S. lives off of hate. The pro Hillary Clinton rhetoric is "Love Trumps Hate", but Clinton, like Trump, feeds off hate. There certainly are explicitly white supremacist groups. And there can be some distinction made between them and the merely implicitly structurally racist establishment. But the Democratic and Republican Parties would implode in a minute if it were not for the hatred of the other. 

What's needed is that freedom of speech triumph and in today's world it's not clear if that is compatible with the nation state and corporate power in their current construct. In its present form and use, the internet is ceasing to be "world wide web" -- it is constricted in a myriad of ways by national boundaries and unaccountable corporate diktat that need to be questioned if not obliterated in our contemporary world. 

The taking down of Confederate monuments poses a some opportunity -- a groundswell of democratic grassroots action could happen. But the tearing down needs to be built upon. In Baltimore, faced with the prospect of activists taking down Confederate statues, city officials abruptly arranged for their overnight disappearance. Local artists put a sculpture of an African American woman atop the pedestal in their place. 

This hints at a greater solution to the immediate controversy over Confederate monuments. I recall the first time I saw, or at least comprehended, a Confederate memorial -- with Lee or some other general atop a horse, I think in New Orleans. I thought the solution would be not to remove them, but to build around them. A tree could hover above with strange fruit hanging down, for example. 

This would diminish the "beauty" that Donald Trump sees in the Confederate statues while acknowledging the history, both in its illusion as to what it pretends to depict -- and the reality of the selective erection of such statues. 

Indeed, perhaps we need more -- not fewer -- monuments to the Civil War, to all wars. If done right, they would actually be monuments for peace. Consider the nature of war, the consequences, the actual reality of mangled corpses beneath the "great men" atop their horses. 

But there are perils at every turn. When the U.S. Treasury decided to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill last year, many welcomed it. But it seemed to me to be a subtle but real step to co-opting the legacy of the Underground Railroad to one that could be used to help justify "humanitarian interventionism" -- ie, U.S. militarism with some bogus moral pretext attached. That is, the language of the U.S. Civil War could be used to "free" people around the world as the State Department sees fit, as now with Venezuela. As Simon Bolivar said: “The United States seems destined by Providence to plague America with torments in the name of freedom.”

Ironically, some denouncing Trump's "fascist" proclivities have taken refuge in the actions of corporate bosses who have resigned from the American Manufacturing Council that Trump launched earlier this year. As Noam Chomsky and others have long noted, corporate structure is totalitarian. The saviors here are part of the threat. Perhaps doubly so since the Council was a corporate-government cooperative entity. 

The pretexts and posturing run throughout public discourse in the U.S., as it's dominated by apparatchiks around Trump and around the Democratic Party. Only an ever vigilant parsing of the deceits and actions that are rooted in principles and a sense of the global commons will see us through. 

Special thanks to Berkley Bragg.  

Sam Husseini is founder of, which advocates principled left-right cooperation to break the duopoly. He's also the founder of, an art project to make apparent the one world we inhabit.