Whew! Life is imitating art. President Bush stars as Sgt. Bob Barnes, the
maniacal soldier in Oliver Stone's Platoon, who proclaims that he "is
reality". Vice President Cheney is Dr. Phibes as portrayed by Vincent
Price in the movie classic, The Abominable Doctor Phibes. You want torture?
Talk to Dr. Phibes. Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld brings to life Colonel Walt
Kurtz, the rogue US Army soldier from Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now.
American society is modeled on Starship Troopers' militarized society at
war with the insects from another galaxy. A great scene in Troopers is a
segment which shows children stamping out bugs with glee as the narrator says, "Support
the war effort. Do your part to kill the bug!"
to the USA
Is anyone really surprised that the USA now openly advocates torture, spying
on its own citizens, or equates dissent with aiding and abetting the "brutal
killers" as Bush describes them. Um, should US homegrown serial killers be
designated enemy combatants? Who could argue with a clear conscience that the
US didn't have 9-11 coming. Civilians are innocent, the American
fundamentalists say. Oh me, oh my, the victimized USA and so much innocence
lost on that day. That sentimental dream went out the window long ago with the
Allied bombing of Dresden in WWII and the fire-bombing and subsequent use of
nuclear weapons against Japan. Add Rwanda and Darfur to that and, right at
home, add decades of US government's approved racial segregation, plus the US government's
response to Katrina and, for that matter, 9-11. Useless commissions, staged
congressional hearings, a senseless sense of congress, a presidential press
conference. All by formula, of course.
What's the point? Nothing changes.
The USA is no victim or innocent bystander in the world's machinations. Each
and every US citizen is responsible for the actions of his Leaders --such as
they are. If the American people want a militarized state, then so be it. Have
some brass and go for it. If they want to torture, then they should have the
guts to stick a knife in the throat of a living human being and watch'em gurgle
and die. The NO TORTURE amendment of John McCain is a joke. The US government
is a government by and for loopholes. It'll go on as long as the USA exists.
Why limit the game to waterboarding or electric shock? Use the Spanish Inquisition
era Mouse Trap. Put a bunch of mice into an open metal container and then
secure it on the abdomen of the evildoer/dissenter. Slowly apply heat to the
metal. Mice burrow when they can't run. Use your imagination. The "Land of
the Free and the Home of the Brave." What nonsense. Special operators are
brave, some journalists and citizens are brave, fire fighters and first
responders are brave, but most Americans are from the Land of the Cowardly.
The overthrown regimes, the assassinations, the support for murderous regimes,
silencing dissidents, eliminating politicians and sanctioning the torture and
murder of civilians the world over is the standard mode of operations. The
leaders of the USA work hard to ensure that they are not charged with war
crimes or plain old violation of US law --such as it is. And the American
people tolerate it. At the pace the USA is pissing off the rest of the world,
expect more 9-11s.
We have to, in all seriousness, thank Bush and his crew for speaking bluntly
about what has been known for so long by so few, but never really exposed. Yes,
Americans, your leaders authorize torture, domestic spying, and are adept at
creating threats that lead to wars. After all, it's good for business and
anyway, how would "you," White Collar Proletariat, know what it takes
to keep the gas pumps in operation or what threats are out there. Since most
Americans are, as President Nixon once said, "children" they'll do
what they are told.
And the president's toys are the US military. There are 18,000 warriors,
those Americans killed, maimed and mentally demolished in the ongoing Iraq War.
And for what? The Shia and Kurds have their day in the historic election in
Iraq that puts orthodox Islam in charge and creates a Kurdish state. Good for
them. Now the USA cries foul over the election as if it has any democratic
authority to do so. Protecting and defending the Constitution of the United
States is the military's gig. Yet the high flying generals seem to want to
protect individual players rather than the country.
the Speed Limit Becomes Terrorism
For a time, US citizens were spared the ruthlessness of the USA's actions
abroad primarily because the government and its corporate partners could
control the images, the stories, the facts from reaching Americans. Recognizing
they've lost that ability, the USAPATRIOT Act is a sort of government-corporate
last ditch effort to retain control over information flows. Now the security
police can whip up a file on you containing credit ratings, health records,
spending patterns, reading preferences, travel destinations and even sexual
preferences. All you have to do is ask a hypothetical question like this, Is
there any other way to change the US government-corporate system other than by overthrowing
it? Perhaps one day an innovative lawyer will argue that elements of the US
government, and its contractors, are engaging in terrorist activity contrary to
the USAPATRIOT Act. Now wouldn't that be interesting.
Every state in the union has its own version of the USAPATRIOT Act and has
empowered their own state and local law enforcement departments with "the
tools to fight the terror." The day is not far off when speeding will be a
terrorist act because it endangers other drivers, pedestrians, and national
security, the latter due to the crime of excess fuel usage that could've been
used in the war on those insect-like evildoers.
"Forget about it", as Donnie Brasco from the movie of the same
name would say. The New York Times or Washington Post report on the NSA/Pentagon's
extensive domestic spy network is shocking? And Congress? With its
unwillingness to perform its oversight function, departments like Defense,
Homeland Security,and Justice are too big to be controlled, too powerful to be
stopped from the routine violations of the US Constitution/Bill of Rights.
Think about it: the US Congress has become a nuisance to the presidency and its
bureaucracy, and the judicial system. That is a fact. So just forget about it!
The first and most important countermeasure is to get off your lazy behind
and become a responsible US citizen. Instead of being fed the news, hunt it
down yourself. Start with foreign newspaper websites, other country's news
agencies and get used to the images of death and destruction. The CIA Factbook
is also an excellent tool. They pull no punches on the weaknesses of each
country including the USA.
One of the best data resources is the US government's own data. Want to know
how many hydrophonic devices are monitoring water conditions in the Gulf of
Mexico (lots of oil rigs there too), or sick of the Weather Channel. Go to
www.noaa.gov and do the work yourself. Your taxes paid for it. Why let some
actor feed you the weather story on TV when you can get a lot more info from
those who really know about what storm is coming your way. Want to know your
odds about getting away with murder, visit the Justice Department's website and
look for statistics on homicides cleared. You'll be surprised that the odds are
pretty good on the criminal side of the equation. Check out US military unit websites
like Camp Bondsteel, or the dynamite special operators website at Hurlburt Air
Force Base in Florida. Visit Stars and Stripes. If it's military matters that interest
you, there are plenty of bits and pieces of information that can help you paint
a picture of what the civilian policy makers are up to. The US military is
Visit trade association web sites. The US government security masters don't
want anyone to know where critical infrastructure is located. No problem. If
you want to know where all the nuclear power plants in the USA are and who owns
them, visit the Nuclear Energy Institute at www.nei.org and
click on Nuclear Data. While there, visit the whole site. It's very well done.
And what about oil and gas pipeline maps? No problem. Visit Duke Energy at www.duke-energy.com
and click on the Interactive Asset Map. Many energy companies provide asset
maps as do their trade groups. If you've got cash, you can access digital maps that
detail all the pipelines, hydroelectric plants and dams in the USA.
There are dozens of superb dataminers running websites that are invaluable
in the effort to figure out what the US government-corporate enterprise is up
to. They are the 21st century equivalent of the American Colonist's Committees
of Correspondence. There are far too many to list here but three are simply
Want to know how a member of congress is likely to vote or the stock
portfolio they have? Visit www.opensecrets.org
and look at the congressperson's campaign contributions and stock holdings.
Research yields some interesting results.
Want to know when and where US government-corporate groups are meeting
to set policy, visit www.cryptome.org and check out the Federal
Want to know if the media and the two-party system is promoting a powerful
individual as the voice of America? Take Brent Scowcroft, for example, the
American Turkish Council's Board Chair (another site to visit to figure out why
the US has so much invested in Turkey --www.americanturkishcouncil.org). He's the on the
good side of the dark side, if there is such a thing in Star Wars. As recently reported,
Scowcroft assailed the US Congress for debating the Armenian Genocide because
it's bad for business which, as it happens, is national security (meanwhile the
Turkish government is prosecuting its top novelist for alluding to the Armenian
Genocide --so much for democracy there).
Ole Brent is portrayed as such a caring fellow by the media, yet it
turns out that Mr. Nice Guy was complicit with Henry Kissinger, et al, in
providing support to the Indonesian government during the invasion and
occupation of East Timor from 1975-1999. Thanks to the National Security
Archive at www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv, the world knows that
Scowcroft is as ruthless as they come.
If you really want to know about national security, join a defense association
like the National Defense Industrial Association (www.ndia.org).
Each year they sponsor a special operations/low intensity conflict (SO/LIC)
conference, exhibition and awards dinner. Embassy officials (Intel types), DOD
officials, media members and active duty US/Foreign military and their
contractors show up to give the attendees the latest on SO/LIC matters. It's a
most excellent production by the NDIA staff who run the event. There are dozens
of presentations dealing with civil-military relations, psyops, tactics, etc.
Conference proceedings can be had right off the Net. What can't be had though
is the happy hour off-the-record (OTR) conversations in the hotel lounge or the
exhibition hall. The awards dinner features commendations read aloud for active
special operators for their "classified" activity all over the world
(well deserved, they should be recognized). The certificate presentations
sometimes tip the hat as to where the operations have taken place.
Want to know about counterinsurgency technology? Go to www.tswg.gov.
The folks at the Technical Support Working Group hate publicity and despise
those who question the US government-corporate rule of law, but they are to be
respected for fielding technologies that help save the lives of the warriors
who are being sacrificed for the delusional schemes of the governing apparatus.
TSWG folks may hate those of us who put them in the light of day, but their
work saves the lives of young American warriors and for that, well, they have
to be thanked.
There are dozens of defense related associations in the DC Metro area and
many have chapters nationwide and overseas --among them are: NDIA, Armed Forces
Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA), Association of the United
States Army (AUSA), The Navy League, Old Crows, Association of Former
Intelligence Officials (AFIO), and the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Association
(AUVA). They all perform studies and reports that are available on the Net or
for free or a small fee. Most have monthly publications that exclude politics
providing just nuts and bolts commentary on the tradecraft. The dirty little
secret about the corporate press is that they comb through the trade publications
to get their next story on US military policy or technology. They know that the
trade associations tell Congress what to think and often house former
government officials or future ones. They've got a lot of clout and insider
Just Sit IN Front of the CRT
Good, solid information is to be had frequenting pubs near the agency/issue
you are exploring. For defense/Intel purposes, pubs near military-Intel sites
are the home of raucous debate coming from greybeard warriors to those of the
present day. Respect doesn't come easy but once earned, the information flow is
grand. It's all strictly off the record and, if your partial to friendly
argument and good cheer --and sometimes heart wrenching stories --it's the
place to learn more about what you are not supposed to know of operations past
Finally, don't get emotional. "Use the dark side . . ." How
far would you go to save your own life, your residence, your job, your
children, your wife/girlfriend, husband/boyfriend? That's pretty much the
operational mentality of your leaders --such as they are.
Will Americans become responsible US citizens? Will they restructure the
US government? Will they return to the practice of public executions and
torture? Will they destroy or engage the world? Find out at a theater near you.
It's as close to reality as you'll get.
John Stanton is a Virginia based writer
specializing in political and national security matters. He is the author of "America
2004: A Power But Not Super" and co-author of "America's Nightmare:
The Presidency of George Bush II." Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.