PAT LaMARCHE

Tyrants have no friends

Posted July 05, 2011, at 7:01 p.m.

Astrologically speaking, the United States of America is a Cancer. Well, come on, you didn’t need me to tell you that; you just celebrated her birthday on Monday. And if you couldn’t figure out the country’s sign, visualize Nancy Reagan, I’m sure she knows. Remember May 16, 1988, when Time Magazine printed a book review of former White House Chief of Staff Donald Regan’s just-released memoir which — among other things — exposed the first lady’s use of astrology to decide the president’s schedule.

While I can’t be sure, it seems more than likely that Mrs. Reagan would’ve been a little curious about the future of the nation her hubby was running. Using the country’s birthday makes as much sense as any of the other information she gave astrologers to govern Ronald’s actions in the affairs of state.

Oh sure, some folks were horrified to learn that — again according to the Time Magazine article — Mrs. Reagan was allowing “a friend from San Francisco” sway in “determining when the President of the U.S. would — or would not — hold press conferences, deliver speeches, journey abroad.”

Still, the actions of one of the 20th century’s most popular presidents suggest that perhaps we should be evaluating our nation according to its astrological sign.

We could ask Pamela Anderson what she thinks. She’s a Cancer too, although perhaps not the first person you think of when you conjure lady liberty. According to astrologers, Cancers can be brooding and self-absorbed, so the similarity seems to fit.

Perhaps I should choose a political figure. Julius Caesar was a Cancer. And, depending on which historians you read, a colonial tyrant. In fact, Caesar’s invasion into the region of Europe known today as France — the Gallic War — was ruthless imperialism.

In his book the “Chronicle of the Roman Republic,” Philip Matyszak makes the comparison very plain explaining that the Gallic War was “a work of propaganda. It masks the war’s horrendous cost in human life and suffering (one historian describes it as the greatest human and social disaster until the settlement of the Americas.) It also hides the fact that the war was fought for Caesar’s enrichment and glory.”

See the similarities. The American cancer hasn’t stopped since that initial decimation of the American continent. After enslaving Africans, we moved on to slaughtering Filipinos, South East Asians and now Middle Eastern civilians — countless millions in total.

Can you name one of our modern day wars that hasn’t been fought for our enrichment and glory? And when I say our, I mean the powerful war-mongering multinational corporations benefiting from our battles. They profit from the big fights going on in Afghanistan and Iraq and they profit from the drone bombings of small nations as we “police” the world.

The tyranny of perpetual war has taken root.

I think every elder statesman in the long history of the United States was quoted at one of this long weekend’s birthday festivals. But I’d like to dust off the words of one of our finest generals, presidents and patriots — a man who knew the path to ruin was paved with unending wars and the gross profits these wars provide to weapons manufactures.

Dwight Eisenhower cautioned the nation, “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes.”

Last week, the U.S. used drones to bomb Somalia. Imagine being an unarmed civilian and watching an unmanned machine blow up your community. Who profits from exploding ordinance on the other side of the globe? The company who makes the ordinance and will sell the replacements to the taxpayers of the United States, most of whom — I’m betting — didn’t know we bombed Somalia in the first place.

It’s wise to note the end of Julius Caesar’s life. That tyrant was eliminated by those he thought were enemies and friends. Because in the end tyrants have no friends.

Pat LaMarche of Yarmouth is the author of “Left Out In America: The State of Homelessness in the United States.” She may be reached at PatLaMarche@ hotmail.com.

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