Those who still doubt that President Obama is a clone of his predecessor should talk to Bert Sacks, a 68-year-old American from Seattle. The long, sordid saga of Bert Sacks not only shows that Obama is nothing more than Bush’s third term, it also shows the utter despicability and hypocrisy that pervades the U.S. Empire.
The saga of Bert Sacks goes back to the 11 years of cruel and brutal sanctions that the U.S. Empire enforced against the Iraqi people for some 11 years. Longtime supporters of The Future of Freedom Foundation know that we have written countless articles on the immorality of the sanctions and their horrific consequences. For a good overview of the sanctions, click on this compilation of articles.
For a more in depth study of the Iraq sanctions, purchase and read Joy Gordon’s insightful book Invisible War: The United States and the Iraq Sanctions. But be prepared for a real-life horror story, one in which the U.S. Empire knowingly, intentionally, and deliberately sacrificed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children in the attempt to effect regime change in Iraq. Even though the effort was unsuccessful (until the Bush administration used the 9/11 attacks to invade Iraq and achieve the regime change), the sacrifice of the Iraqi children was still considered worth the effort. The official federal position was expressed in U.S. Ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright’s infamous statement to “Sixty Minutes,” when she stated that the deaths of half-a-million Iraqi children had indeed been “worth it,” a position that not surprisingly contributed to the boiling cauldron of anger and hatred against the United States among people in the Middle East prior to the 9/11 attacks.
The mindset behind the sanctions exposes the lie that ultimately went into the alternative, secondary rationale for invading and occupying Iraq. After the Bush administration failed to find the infamous WMDs that it had used to scare the American people into supporting its invasion of Iraq, you’ll recall that U.S. officials took the position that they had also invaded Iraq out of love and concern for the Iraqi people, by bringing them freedom and democracy.
But that alternative, secondary rationale for the invasion and subsequent long-term occupation could never be reconciled with the 11 years of callous indifference to the killing of the Iraqi children. The truth is that the alternative, secondary rationale was as big a lie as the WMD rationale. The U.S. Empire has never, ever given a hoot for the Iraqi people. It’s always been about regime change, and no price has ever been too high to pay in terms of death, destruction, and suffering among the Iraqi people to achieve that goal.
Enter Bert Sacks. He’s an American who was genuinely concerned about the plight of the Iraqi people. He decided to violate the sanctions by taking medicines to Iraqi hospitals.
Did U.S. officials praise Sacks for his compassion for the Iraqi people? Not exactly. Instead, they fined him $10,000 for spending money in Iraq, for such things as a hotel room, or a taxi, or a meal in a restaurant. That’s how U.S. embargoes, including the five-decade-long embargo against Cuba, operate. They don’t prohibit Americans from traveling to a certain country. Instead, they simply punish Americans for spending their money in non-approved countries. (It’s called infringing on the freedom of the American people to spread freedom abroad.)
To his everlasting credit, Sacks has fought the feds every step of the way, to the everlasting enmity of Empire officials. By his real-life actions, Sacks is essentially doing what Julian Assange and WikiLeaks are doing — revealing the lies, hypocrisy, and wrongful actions of the Empire. In the eyes of Empire officials, that is a super no-no, one that necessitates punishment. After all, if they don’t punish Sachs, there is a possibility that other American citizens will do the same thing that he did.
In the eyes of the Empire, Sacks should have been the good little citizen, the one that public schools attempt to produce. He should have deferred to authority. He should have rallied to the support of his government. He should have trusted that his government was doing the right thing. If Iraqi children had to be sacrificed, then so be it. That’s a decision for the Empire, not the citizenry. The job of the citizenry is to simply continue producing the wealth that sustains the Empire and to defer to the expertise and judgment of the Empire in foreign affairs.
Clinton and Bush were unable to collect their $10,000 fine from Sacks before they left office. No problem. Their clone — the man who still proudly stands for “hope and change” as the 2012 presidential elections get going — has taken up their cudgel. According to this article in yesterday’s Seattle Times, the Obama administration is suing to collect the ten grand from Sacks plus late-payment penalties.
Like Julian Assange, Bert Sacks is a hero for our time. Placing conscience and independent thinking above blind loyalty to the Empire and having the courage to take on the Empire, Sacks has demonstrated what being a citizen is supposed to be all about.