Friday, February 23, 2007

Rational Paranoia

Despite my overall optimism about the eventual futility of trying to impose a totalitarian state upon us, it's clear that that for whatever reasons (and I frankly abstain from speculation, as I simply do not care what their alleged reasoning might be) it is becoming prudent to consider taking individual and collective actions to forestall such tragic foolishness.

Call Me Paranoid. Pentagon Creating Red State Officer Corps: "When I get really paranoid, and I look at how the Pentagon enabled Bush to deceive and defraud the US into the Iraq war, when I see how the military is happily helping Bush and company destroy constitutional freedoms, like right to a trial, habeus corpus and privacy... I wonder what advantage there might be to have an army intentionally recruited from the most conservative states. It's not healthy. It counters the American way of diversity. When I'm really paranoid, I think that, like the book, Can't Happen Here, an army of handpicked conservatives from conservative territories would be much easier to manage, much easier to command to get to do things that you and I might find intolerable.

I add to this the recent change in the law eroding Posse Comitatus restrictions in the US and it adds up to some more evidence that the US could be tottering on the brink of totalitarianism. These are just pieces, parts of a big puzzle. But I think it's important to talk about these. I wonder if the German people talked about the ominous developments that happened in Germany before it metamorphosized into a thing of horror. "

Clearly, not enough. And clearly, there are those who think that a general miasma of fear, coupled with intense religious indoctrination can duplicate the remarkably desperate conditions that made Hitler's rise to power possible. But let us also consider what happened to Hitler, militarily, when he tried to invade and control the Soviet Union - a swath of territory of the same approximate size as the United States and Canada.

Consider also that Hitler's war machine hit Russia at the peak of it's capability, with overwhelming individual superiority, superior weapons, superior tactics, against a demoralized and decapitated military and a population that had no love for their government.

It should have been a "cakewalk." And it was. Until they reached Stalingrad - possibly the most comprehensive "fuck you" delivered in military history.

Our military has been sharply reduced in effectiveness, and clearly it's leaders betray no great competence or grasp of either military or social realities. This may well be due to a general exodus of liberal and nonpolitical officers and enlisted personnel - accelerated by purges of officers resistant to the Bush White House line.

The first to be pushed to the door was Gen. John Abizaid, the top U.S. commander in the Middle East who suddenly announced that he was accelerating his retirement which would take effect in March. Abizaid, who speaks fluent Arabic, was criticized by some in Washington for being too concerned about Arab sensibilities.

Getting the bum’s rush with Abizaid will be Gen. George Casey, the top commander in Iraq who had called the idea of a troop escalation unnecessary and possibly counterproductive. The New York Times reported that Casey would be replaced in February or March, several months ahead of schedule.

Fred Reed, writing at, predicts that this increasingly delusional officer corps will interact with enlisted personnel who are in full and bloody contact with an unforgiving and futile reality to produce open rebellions.

Above all, they are realists. If the new radio doesn’t work, or Baghdad turns out to be a tactically irresolvable nightmare, the enlisted guys feel very little urge to pretend otherwise. This is why officers do not like reporters to be alone with the troops. And they seriously don’t.

The standard response of the officer corps is that the troops cannot see the Big Picture. (Unless of course the enlisteds say what the officers want to hear, in which case their experience on the ground lends irresistible authority). But the Big Picture rests on the Little Picture. If a soldier sees slow disaster where he is, and hears the same thing from guys he meets from everywhere else in the country, his conclusions will not be without weight. Sooner or later, on his third tour with a pregnant wife at home and seven friends killed by bombs, he will say, in the crude but expressive language of soldiers, “f___ this shit.”

By contrast, officers can’t conclude anything but the positive. There are several reasons. Career officers, first, are politicians. You don’t get promoted by saying that the higher-ups are otherworldly incompetents. An officer’s loyalty is to his career, and to the officer corps, not to the country or to his troops. If this sounds harsh, note how seldom an active-duty officer will criticize policy, yet when he retires he may suddenly discover that said policy resulted in unnecessary deaths among the troops. Oh? Then why didn’t he say so when it would have saved lives?

There is a curious moral cowardice among officers. They will fly dangerous missions over Baghdad, but they won’t say that things aren’t going well. They don’t go against their herd.

Further, and I want to say this carefully, officers often are not quite adults. They can be (and usually are) smart, competent, dedicated, and physically brave, and some are exceedingly hard men. But there is a simple-mindedness about them, an aversion to the handmaidens of introspection, a certain boyishness as in kids playing soldier. A lot of make-believe goes into an officer’s world. Enlisted men, grown up, see things as they are. Officers are issued a world by the command and then live in it.

Of course, that's why God issues sidearms to Sargents - to ensure that when reality fails to impress a butterbar, he may be promoted to Hero, First Class (posthumously.) The author continues, with this trenchant and accurate observation:

Officers remind me of armed Moonies. There is the same earnestness, the same deliberate optimism-by-policy. Things are going well because doctrine says they are. An officer is as ideologically upbeat as Reader’s Digest, and as unreflective. This is the why they don’t learn, why the US is again flailing about, trying to fight hornets with elephant guns. “Yessir, can do, sir.” Well, sometimes, and sometimes not. It is not arrogance, more like a belief in gravitation.
The date for the article is given as Oct. 2, 2006. We wonder aloud why this and many other clues are not being added up by the average American. Karen Kwiatkowski of Military Week provides a chilling insight in her essay, Dead Man Walking.

To imagine freedom from our current foreign policy imbroglio, we step into dangerous territory. It is estimated that 60 million American voters have a financial stake in the military-industrial complex, not counting those who invest in the many American companies that rely on militarism abroad and at home to provide shareholder dividends. As we contemplate a draft, we forget that we really and truly don't need one. Undereducated and underemployed young people may complain, but they don't really count. Increasingly, college students are willing to take any paying job, including one offered in the name of “service' and patriotism. Their parents and grandparents will accept the draft as well, in the name of that societal restructure that Eisenhower warned against, and has now become the norm.

Thus, the dead man walking is not just our increasingly confused and cartoonish Mr. Bush. We see dead men walking in the discredited Republican party, once valued for both fiscal restraint and political seriousness. We find them in the United States Army, and in nearly every office of the E-ring of the Pentagon. We see dead men walking as we watch the young men and women who have been sent to the Middle East to spread “democracy' at the point of the gun, to occupy in a land that will never accept our occupation, and doesn't need it. Finally, here at home, many Americans who otherwise would stand up and act to reject their government instead cower. Because for all of our understanding of the farce, and our recognition of the cure -- leaving Iraq immediately -- too many Americans live paycheck to paycheck, burdened by personal and national debt -- to the tune of $440,000 for every American household. At least 60 million of us truly believe we need that Department of Defense paycheck, that military contract, that service-sector job that sucks greedily at the military-industrial teat.

Thus, Americans of all parties seem to be nastily cheering George W. Bush as he marches into the valley of the shadow of death, fearing no evil and intending even more murder, more destruction, more breaking of banks and breaking of hearts. Better him than us, we mutter. But we are all dead men walking.

My conclusion is still one of guarded optimism, in part because I do not believe that our military-industrial complex is composed entirely of stupid people. At some point, the gravy train has to end, the smart people take what they have and what they know to get a new train rolling. So very much of that "shock and awe" technology apples to space and energy applications - which are an astonishing opportunity sector - and yet lose none of their inherent defense applications.

This can happen quickly and dramatically - if sixty million Americans realize the power of the retirement portfolio. And that is simply one potential check. Another is even more obvious; that whatever provisions Bush has made to impose his will on the American people by force, that imposition will require the obedience of a cohesive force that is willing to fire on American Citizens. I think that it's not all that likely that there will be such a cohesive response. But in the unlikely event there is an attempt by this administration to suppress increasing public unrest and opposition to his impeachable lunacies, there is this.

The Second Amendment.


by Peter J. Mancus, Attorney at Law

12. What is the point of all this? People who will not communicate with like-minded, concerned citizens, those who will not use the First Amendment because they are afraid government monitors their communications and they will be tagged as being a troublesome maverick, to me, do not act prudently.

13. If you ever bought a hunting license, bought reloading equipment or any firearm related product mail order or on a credit card; if you ever wrote a check to a place that sells such equipment; if you received a gun magazine at home; if you ever wrote a politician about a gun or right issue; if you ever wrote a letter to an editor on a related issue; if you ever wrote anything on the Internet; if you ever sent anything via email; or if you ever wore a T-shirt that carried a pro-right message, you have already broken "radio silence". In that sense, you are no longer "incommunicado". Your idea of being discreet so that government cannot detect you, therefore, is to me, at best, non-persuasive.

14. Instead, I submit it is best to adopt SAC's approach: develop the capability to inflict an unacceptable retaliatory blow, flaunt it, show it off, demonstrate it without actually firing anything off. I also think it is best to adopt the Corps' approach: think deeply about developing new tactics and test them. To do that, however, people who fancy themselves to be freedom fighters--leaders or followers or both--have to communicate with one another. Without communication, if you believe in a poor tactic, until you know better, you will try to implement that poor tactic. If you have a great tactic, but will not share it, if and when you die of old age, disease, in a car wreck or are killed by a criminal or a SWAT team, your good idea dies with you.

Mancus's overriding point is that the essence of a civilian militia composed of armed citizens of EVERY state, region, color, and political persuasion is that it is a credible deterrent to those who - like many supporters of George Bush - seem quite willing to participate in a domestic Kristalnacht. The clear intent of the 2nd Amendment is to empower armed citizens to band together in "well regulated militias." The meaning of "well-regulated" was, at the time of the writing - trained, drilled and prepared to use their weapons in both individual and collective self-defense. It did NOT mean "under patent of authority" or some-such. The framers saw such "authorities" as being as potentially dangerous as outlaws and pirates.

An armed society is, I suggest, a courteous society. Like many of my fellow bloggers, I decry the lack of civility and contempt for the rights of the individual that has been displayed both by our government and by the "nattering nabobs" of the Chickenhawk Right.

I believe it's time for those who do not romanticize the gun as a magic penis nonetheless take up the rationalizations of the Armed Right, for those rationalizations and justifications - for that is all the NRA is reduced to - are nonetheless absolutely correct.

Consider, if you will, the potential of a force drawn from the Red States being dispatched to suppress "insurrection" in a Blue State such as California, where "insurrection" might be defined as, say, a Governor taking steps to ensure the security of that state without reliance on National Guard troops who can be redeployed at the whim of the President.

Now let us consider the fact that California is about the size of Iraq, even more urbanized and replete with weapons sources for materials capable of being transformed into weapons and held by those who understand the meaning of the words "I Swear to Uphold the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, Foreign and Domestic."

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That was a breath of fresh air.

Take a look at "Ron Paul" on YouTube and Google

I think you might like him. And we need all the support we can get to send a clear message to congress of where we stand in this country.


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