Most sentient beings have long recognized that murdering civilians in foreign countries — especially through the cowardly methods of “secret war” — is entirely counterproductive … if your actual aim is to enhance America’s national security by reducing violent extremism and hatred for the United States, that is. However, if your aim is to perpetuate and expand a militarist empire and the bloated, brutal, corrupt, war-profiteering system that supports it, why then, secret war and civilian slaughter are perfectly logical and remarkably effective methods.
And that is why our highly intelligent and cool, pragmatic president is now vastly expanding the use of secret war, subversion, sabotage and murder into even more countries around the world, and giving America’s secret, unaccountable death squads and covert operators even more power to carry out their lawless operations. As one Pentagon mandarin gushed, Obama is allowing “things that the previous administration did not.”
That quote comes from a remarkably candid story in the Washington Post on Obama’s “surge” in America’s secret war on the world, which now encompasses no fewer than 75 countries.
(By the way, the Post is often a very good source of information about the operations and machinations of the militarist empire — not because its editors are seeking to expose the empire’s crimes and atrocities, but because they approve of them. And thus they will often write about them, in detail, in the most straightforward manner: “Hey, look at the cool stuff our boys are doing now!”)”
2. “Israel’s Greatest Loss: Its Moral Imagination
If a people who so recently experienced such unspeakable inhumanities cannot understand the injustice and suffering its territorial ambitions are inflicting, what hope is there for the rest of us?
When I managed to get over the shock of that exchange, it struck me that the invocation of the Hitler era was actually a frighteningly apt and searing analogy, although not the one my friend intended. A million and a half civilians have been forced to live in an open-air prison in inhuman conditions for over three years now, but unlike the Hitler years, they are not Jews but Palestinians. Their jailers, incredibly, are survivors of the Holocaust, or their descendants.
This obscenity is a consequence of a deliberate and carefully calculated Israeli policy aimed at de-developing Gaza by destroying not only its economy but its physical and social infrastructure while sealing it hermitically from the outside world.
Who would have believed that an Israeli government and its Jewish citizens would seek to demonize and shut down Israeli human rights organizations for their lack of “patriotism,” and dismiss fellow Jews who criticized the assault on the Gaza Flotilla as “Arabs,” pregnant with all the hateful connotations that word has acquired in Israel, not unlike Germans who branded fellow citizens who spoke up for Jews as “Juden”? The German White Rose activists, mostly students from the University of Munich, who dared to condemn the German persecution of the Jews (well before the concentration camp exterminations began) were also considered “traitors” by their fellow Germans, who did not mourn the beheading of these activists by the Gestapo. ”
“We have after all for the first time, that I ever perhaps in any democratic country, we have a president who has announced that he feels he has the right to use special operations operatives against anyone abroad, that he thinks is associated with terrorism,” says Ellsberg. “Now as I look at Assange’s case, they’re worried that he will reveal current threats. I would have to say puts his well-being, his physical life, in some danger now. And I say that with anguish. I think it’s astonishing that an American president should have put out that policy and he’s not getting these resistance from it, from Congress, the press, the courts or anything. It’s an amazing development that I think Assange would do well to keep his whereabouts unknown.”
4. Of course not:
True to form, the establishment always tries to frame any criticism of our national security status quo as unrealistic and coming from those who don’t believe in having any defense at all. This is preposterous. There’s a world of difference between actually defending the nation and trying to defend the entire world, our current policy and never-ending predicament. But it is true that we do have a disproportionate view of the actual terrorist threat versus what we sacrifice, or as Giraldi notes “The Tea Partiers should instead understand that terrorists will only tear down the United States if we Americans help them to do so. Irrational fear of a small group of men hiding in a cave in Asia is what drives larger government, the infringement of civil liberties, and more taxes and regulation.”
Giraldi spells out what’s at stake: “So how can the Tea Party turn things around? It can only do so by realizing that the first thing that must be done to fix the government in Washington is for the United States to end its wars overseas and dramatically scale back on its international commitments. There is no good reason for Washington to serve as the world’s policeman and many good reasons why it should cease and desist from doing so.”
For all their conservative rhetoric, today’s establishment Republicans are no more willing to question the efficiency and cost of our national security state than liberals are to question the social welfare state.”
But since 1973 and the suspension of the military draft, anyone marching off to battle does so by choice. Should we continue excusing the troops who force our rulers’ whims on the rest of the world?
Sometimes these volunteers are sincere – but that doesn’t mean they’re either bright or right. Rather, they’re tragically foolish “patriots” who swallow politicians’ pabulum about liberating other people by forcing American democracy on them. Pete Patriot for all his jingoism has never cracked a copy of the Constitution, so he doesn’t realize it prohibits the Feds from building an empire, even if they euphemize the construction as “liberation” or “regime change.” But Pete also seems ignorant of the Golden Rule, nor does he ask himself whether he’d appreciate Iraqis or Afghanis imposing their governmental philosophy here – especially if the price for his new set of political masters is an executed father, a raped sister, and a shattered mother with whom he scavenges food since Iraqi forces bombed their home while installing said masters.
Alas, Pete pondered none of this when he agreed to do unto Iraqis what he would never want them to do unto him. But what about his parents? Where were his grandparents, aunt, uncles? And his teachers, particularly those who quoted Scripture to him on Sundays? Why didn’t the older, wiser people who say they love him – and who will grieve agonizingly, mercilessly, unendingly if he becomes yet another casualty – warn him away from such utter wickedness? Why didn’t they caution him that yes, recruiters promise all sorts of benefits and adventure, particularly in these hard times, but those who fall for this cynical pitch pay emotionally and often physically for the rest of their lives? Assuming they survive, that is.
More usually, though, it’s Steve Selfish who populates boot camp. Steve’s very frank about why he’s joining up: the bennies. He wants to see the world on our dime. Or he craves free tuition for college.
But being all that you can be doesn’t justify murder. Cops would have arrested Steve had he strolled out of his corporate office one day and shot up the mall for a little excitement. Yet when a politician hands him a gun and points him at Koreans, Vietnamese, Iraqis or Afghanis, those same crimes turn Steve into a hero. Invading another man’s home and killing him is murder; why isn’t it when we invade another man’s country and kill him? Are we that intellectually and morally stupid?
Steve doesn’t see it this way, of course. And if we overlook his enthusiasm for exploits at the cost of others’ lives, he’s a fine fellow. He thinks so, too, though he’d die before admitting it. Steve has a strong, commendable code: heroes perform certain feats, such as protecting the weak, but they never brag about it, or lie, or complain, and they pull their own weight. He genuinely and earnestly tries to live up to this.
Odd, then, that he never sees the contradiction between his ideals and his profession. One reason may be Americans’ prevalent but often subtle idolatry of all things martial – or all American things martial. Folks who cringe at pictures of goose-stepping Nazis or battalions of Chinese communists go all gushy when it comes to American platoons. Many of Steve’s relatives “served” in the military; his parents are proud of their valiant son and encouraged his own “service.”
You, too, can raise a killer-cum-cannon-fodder for politicians and their corporate cronies. Begin by proving your own unthinking loyalty to America’s regime and its minions: insist that it’s our country, right or wrong. Venerate those minions as they posture and prate for the cameras; refuse to hold them to the same standards you demand of the grocer or the guy who fixes your dishwasher. When Uncle George invites you to his speech on Veteran’s Day, take little Stevie and Pete and sit in the front row; bonus points for dabbing your eyes. After the atrocities George saw – and perpetrated – overseas, he of all people should despise the military for its vicious cruelty, corruption and deceit. But hey, your boys love his stories, and George is what your teachers used to call “living history,” right? Besides, spreading the Pentagon’s propaganda to the next generation is the classic definition of “patriotism.” Shop at stores that discount merchandise for military families even though you don’t qualify. Donate to “charities” like the USO. Denounce books such as Dalton Trumbo’s Johnny Got His Gun as un-American; buy Stevie and Pete biographies of William Sherman, Teddy Roosevelt, Douglas MacArthur. Thank your pastor for praying for our President and troops; include both President and troops but never their victims in your grace before meals. Support schools and teachers who portray domestic soldiers, a.k.a., cops, as kindly and benevolent, eager to help lost children, everybody’s friend.”
7. What an amazingly evil man – but then, he’s no different from anyone else in Congress:
“Schumer: It Makes Sense To Strangle Gaza”
John McCain has a new article in The New Republic — which is exactly where it should be — calling for regime change in Iran. The whole article contains one paragraph after the next of the favorite pastime of America’s political and media class: self-righteously condemning other nations for what we ourselves do (at least) as much. Of all McCain’s paragraphs, this is probably my favorite (h/t sandbun):
Is it any wonder that this is the same regime that spends its people’s precious resources not on roads, or schools, or hospitals, or jobs that benefit all Iranians — but on funding violent groups of foreign extremists who murder the innocent?
As the American war in Afghanistan enters its ninth full year and our occupation of Iraq its seventh, and as we continue to find all new ways to kill innocent civilians in various countries around the world, and as we continue to transfer billions of dollars every year to Israel and the Egyptian dictatorship — all while thinking about how to slash Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and thus erode the weak safety net even further, while confronting collapsing domestic infrastructure, rampant unemployment, and massive teacher lay-offs and even grade elimination for American children — is there any other country you can think of, besides Iran, which “spends its people’s precious resources not on roads, or schools, or hospitals, or jobs that benefit all [citizens]” but rather on wars and support for foreign groups which kill “the innocent”? And over the last decade, what was the position of John McCain and his party on whether the “people’s precious resources” should be spent (a) on “roads, or schools, or hospitals, or jobs that benefit all” (see here) or (b) wars that kill the innocent?”
10. “GOP Lawmaker With BP Stock Has Role in Spill Probe”