POLITICAL POWER AS VIOLENCE April 4, 2012Posted by wmmbb in Democracy, Human Rights, US Politics.
The American democratic project conceived in the opposition to a monarch is sliding, seemingly inexorably, on the the slipway to the sea of fascism. How could this happen?
Who else will be drawn into the purple, polluted sea of violence infested with fear? Over stated? Alarmist? Failing to allow for built-in self correction?
When a lowly operative in a elaborate, brutal killing machine conditioned by the command imperative to murder walks out of his base to massacre women and children, burn their bodies, returns to base and then walks out again to another village and repeats his actions, we a blithely informed his is a deranged act. Otherwise he was a good and kind man with a wife and two children.
So something of the same analysis might be applied to the national system whose bearings have been realigned. We can expect to find that many of the same processes are at work. We are all part of systems and systems work with outcomes that often can be forecast albeit subject of variance and uncertainty. Natural and socio-political systems change for which we have some responsibility.
Chris Hedges writes, in Truthdig:
The security and surveillance state does not deal in nuance or ambiguity. Its millions of agents, intelligence gatherers, spies, clandestine operatives, analysts and armed paramilitary units live in a binary world of opposites, of good and evil, black and white, opponent and ally. There is nothing between. You are for us or against us. You are a patriot or an enemy of freedom. You either embrace the crusade to physically eradicate evildoers from the face of the Earth or you are an Islamic terrorist, a collaborator or an unwitting tool of terrorists. And now that we have created this monster it will be difficult, perhaps impossible, to free ourselves from it. Our 16 national intelligence agencies and army of private contractors feed on paranoia, rumor, rampant careerism, demonization of critical free speech and often invented narratives. They justify their existence, and their consuming of vast governmental resources, by turning even the banal and the mundane into a potential threat. And by the time they finish, the nation will be a gulag.
This is why the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which was contested by me and three other plaintiffs before Judge Katherine B. Forrest in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on Thursday, is so dangerous. This act, signed into law by President Barack Obama last Dec. 31, puts into the hands of people with no discernible understanding of legitimate dissent the power to use the military to deny due process to all deemed to be terrorists, or terrorist sympathizers, and hold them indefinitely in military detention. The deliberate obtuseness of the NDAA’s language, which defines “covered persons” as those who “substantially supported” al-Qaida, the Taliban or “associated forces,” makes all Americans, in the eyes of our expanding homeland security apparatus, potential terrorists. It does not differentiate. And the testimony of my fellow plaintiffs, who understand that the NDAA is not about them but about us, repeatedly illustrated this.
Meanwhile Noam Chomsky has some interesting observations on the Occupy Movement:
The reaction to what is essentially people meeting a public park to engage in political activity and protest has been extraordinary. The agora was the foundation of Athenian Democracy. Now a massive, militarized police formation is arraigned against it. All said and done, the power elite is not as benevolent as was thought or might have been expected in a constitutional democratic republic.
The predilection of news reporting, and from which I am equally blinded is to see events in isolation without interrelationship, interaction and process. In A Users Guide to the Crisis of Civilization: and how to save it, Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed according to the Amazon blurb argues:
This book argues that financial meltdown, dwindling oil reserves, terrorism and food shortages need to be considered as part of the same ailing system. Most accounts of our contemporary global crises such as climate change, or the threat of terrorism, focus on one area, or another, to the exclusion of others. Nafeez Ahmed argues that the unwillingness of experts to look outside their specialisations explains why there is so much disagreement and misunderstanding about particular crises. This book attempts to investigate all of these crises, not as isolated events, but as trends and processes that belong to a single global system. We are therefore not dealing with a “clash of civilizations,” as Huntington argued. Rather, we are dealing with a fundamental crisis of civilization itself. This book provides a stark warning of the consequences of failing to take a broad view of the problems facing the world.
The video, produced in 2010, is somewhat long:
- Tom Engelhardt, Date Mining You (Tom Dispatch) and reflecting on the national security state (audio)
- Glenn Greenwald, Interview with Rachel Maddow.
- Rachel Maddow, How America’s Security-Industrial Complex went Insane (AlterNet):
National security is a real imperative for our country—for any country. But the connection between that imperative and what we do about it has gone as frowsy as my hometown’s little pump station in high August. Our national security policy isn’t much related to its stated justifications anymore. To whatever extent we do argue and debate what defense and intelligence policy ought to be, that debate—our political process—doesn’t actually determine what we do. We’re not directing that policy anymore; it just follows its own course. Which means we’ve effectively lost control of a big part of who we are as a country. And we’ve broken faith with some of the best advice the founders ever gave us.
Our constitutional inheritance didn’t point us in this direction. If the colonists hadn’t rejected British militarism and the massive financial burden of maintaining the British military, America wouldn’t exist. The Constitutional Convention debated whether America should even have a standing army. The founders feared that maintaining one would drain our resources in the same way that maintaining the eighteenth-century British military had burdened the colonies. They worried that a powerful military could rival civilian government for power in our new country, and of course they worried that having a standing army around would create too much of a temptation to use it. Those worries about the inevitable incentives to war were part of what led to the division of government at the heart of our Constitution, building into the structure of our new country a deliberate peaceable bias.
But in the past generation or two, we’ve drifted off that historical course. The steering’s gone wobbly, the brakes have failed. It’s not a conspiracy, there aren’t rogue elements pushing us to subvert our national interests to instead serve theirs. It’s been more entertaining and more boneheaded than that.(David Swanson reviews Drift)
- Mike Carey, What is really going on in Afghanistan (ABC. The Drum):
While our politicians are wedded to “going the distance” and “getting the job done” our soldiers remain mute. It’s about time they took some responsibility and answered my initial question. They might be brave on the battlefield but it’s cowardly to hide behind a confidentiality clause or an official secrets act. If they know crimes have been committed by our troops or our NATO allies then they are morally bound to inform the Australian public and our political leaders. Following orders and turning a blind eye to cover-up doesn’t cut it anymore. What the hell is going on in Afghanistan?
- Alexander Higgins – The Intel Hub – Story Ignored By Corporate Media – Journalists Lawsuit Against NDAA – Feds Using NDAA To Silence Journalists Critical Of Government – 31 March 2012 (lucas2012infos.wordpress.com)
- On NDAA (healingiraq.blogspot.com)
- Deep thought – Jan 12 (energybulletin.net)
- Can the US military come disappear you? Yes! Unless you stop the NDAA (onthewilderside.com)
- Chris Hedges challenges NDAA in court (1oneday.wordpress.com)
- Contest Time! The Crisis of Civilization Remix Challenge (treehugger.com)
- “The Hunger Games” Non-Fiction ? (urbanintell.com)
- NDAA Is Washington’s Totalitarian Response To Political Dissent And Economic Collapse (disquietreservations.blogspot.com)
- In Post-NDAA Amerika, What is a Terrorist and Who Can Make You Disappear by Calling You One? (corporategreedchronicles.com)