“Unlike their pretend rulers, most Americans are not venal and devoid of moral certainty and intellectual clarity.”
Over the twenty years of the long war – the war to bring Jeffersonian “democracy” to the various tribes of the Near East, to quote the geniuses that ran it – I’ve written about it from numerous perspectives. From visiting and interviewing the dreadfully wounded at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, remembering the 7,000 dead, re-examining the events of 9-11, and last year the unconscionable desertion of American citizens and Afghans working for the US inside Kabul, part of the high cost of defeat.
It breaks my heart as an American that we could so shallowly and stupidly stumble into yet another foreign disaster – framed as it was by the lessons of Korea and Viet Nam. Once again, we spent the blood of our best and trillions of dollars of our treasure on adventures where we had only a vague idea of what success might look like.
Worse, America was again unwilling to fight and win outright, unambiguously, and without apology. As always, those actually doing the fighting were awe-inspiring. Those riding desks in Washington seemed only concerned about the process.
It was officially called the “War on Terror.” Yet, the very ideology that brought that terror to our land could not be named publicly and was effectively excused from any role in terrorism by the ruling class and its media cronies.
The long war and 9-11 was, and is, a story about the hubris of empire. It is a tale of arrogant, small-minded leaders and military brass consumed with political power and the privilege of rank – forfeiting their solemn duty to serve the Constitution and protect the nation, secured by the sacrifice of so many who went before this time in the nation’s history. Belatedly, after twenty years, it turns out that the military’s top brass, leaders inside the government, and Congress were knowingly lying to the public about “progress” in Afghanistan. There was never a plan to end the war, only to elongate it without end.
Even though the ruling elite in Washington has failed the nation, there are no apologies. While defense contractors look for new adventures, officialdom moves on as though nothing has happened. Regrettably, they are more powerful now, not less.
But, if the war on terror was a colossal failure overseas, as it patently was, it was a rip-roaring success at home, as I wrote about last year.
Start and end with the USA Patriot Act. The long war in the Near East has become a never-ending war on the homeland.
The “temporary act” will never die. It was slammed through Congress and signed into law by October 26, 2001, while the World Trade Center was still smoldering. It was a cobbled-together muddle looking for a reason to exist in the first place – now, it is a real danger to the Republic.
The Patriot Act and the subsequent re-authorizations by weak-kneed politicians in Congress opened the door to dragnet spying on US citizens and intruding on the liberty of the law-abiding – with little discernible effect on those who do wish us harm.
Under the National Security Agency (NSA), the government has erected a meta-data surveillance monster run by an intelligence “industry” of 17 or so agencies that gobble up well north of $85 billion a year (but who knows?). Yet, they can’t find their you-know-what with both hands regarding what America’s enemies are plotting or doing internationally or domestically.
That’s not a rash judgment, just an accurate one.
What major international event has the “intel community” called correctly from the Bay of Pigs forward, including the overnight implosion of Afghanistan? They’ve pretty much missed it all (here).
And domestically, along with the dysfunctional Department of Homeland Security and the corrupt, enfeebled FBI, the country has had countless terrorist incidents on US soil. These agencies knew about the individuals involved in every single one – Fort Hood, Boston, Orlando, San Bernadino – it’s a long list. But it didn’t matter; they dropped the ball time and again. And when they weren’t failing to connect the dots, they were botching or deliberately manipulating domestic investigations regularly.
Yet the leaders are always failing upward.
What the intel community has perfected is collecting every American’s personal information down to phone calls, websites visited, credit cards, financials – you name it. Every single detail is stored in the National Security Agency’s (NSA) recently built, $1.5 billion, 1 million square foot complex in Utah (here). (Unsurprisingly, Facebook is building a new facility near the NSA complex; others will follow. The money and data spun off are too detailed and vast to pass up.)
The NSA Data Center can process 100,000 trillion calculations per second if that makes you feel better. Yet they claim that this detailed mass data collection is a benign and harmless collection of personal data. That begs the obvious question – then why do it? Of course, they are going to use it.
NSA’s Utah Data Center and the Domestic Surveillance Directorate have a snappy tagline that they hope will prepare the unwitting into silence: “If You Have Nothing to Hide, You Have Nothing to Fear.”
You can’t make this up.
Imagine – our government using the language of every tin-horn dictator and murdering monster in history. It mocks a free people. It taunts the constitutional order. It demotes self-governing citizens to subjects. Behave yourself. We can see you!
(Source: Utah Data Center information)
While American citizens had been busy living – working hard, raising kids, and keeping the nation running – the country has been hijacked by the “idiot class.” Sold down the river with “stupid” policies, as former President Donald Trump famously said.
He identified the obvious – and they buried him alive for it.
It’s tough for ordinary citizens to get their heads around all this because, unlike their pretend rulers, they are not venal and devoid of moral certainty and intellectual clarity.
This is the terrible cost of the Long War. American heroes have died. Trillions have been squandered – and much of it stolen, no doubt – and Americans are left with a bloated, corrupt government that hasn’t learned any lessons and seems intent on doubling down on stupid.
What’s left for the citizens to do to get Washington’s attention? They’re not even taking our calls anymore. Is it time to dust off the Martin Luther King playbook and fill the streets with tens of millions of citizens in peaceful protest?
Or has even that time passed?