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Engelhardt writes: "Few seem to notice any disjuncture between the enemy-ridden, threatening, and deeply dangerous world we have been preparing ourselves for (and fighting in) this last decade-plus and the world as it actually is."

The North Korean flag. (photo: unknown)
The North Korean flag. (photo: unknown)

The Enemy-Industrial Complex

By Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch

15 April 13


How to Turn a World Lacking in Enemies into the Most Threatening Place in the Universe.

he communist enemy, with the "world's fourth largest military," has been trundling missiles around and threatening the United States with nuclear obliteration. Guam, Hawaii, Washington: all, it claims, are targetable. The coverage in the media has been hair-raising. The U.S. is rushing an untested missile defense system to Guam, deploying missile-interceptor ships off the South Korean coast, sending "nuclear capable" B-2 Stealth bombers thousands of miles on mock bombing runs, pressuring China, and conducting large-scale war games with its South Korean ally.

Only one small problem: there is as yet little evidence that the enemy with a few nuclear weapons facing off (rhetorically at least) against an American arsenal of 4,650 of them has the ability to miniaturize and mount even one on a missile, no less deliver it accurately, nor does it have a missile capable of reaching Hawaii or Washington, and I wouldn't count on Guam either.

It also happens to be a desperate country, one possibly without enough fuel to fly a modern air force, whose people, on average, are inches shorter than their southern neighbors thanks to decades of intermittent famine and malnutrition, and who are ruled by a bizarre three-generational family cult. If that other communist, Karl Marx, hadn't once famously written that history repeats itself "first as tragedy, then as farce," we would have had to invent the phrase for this very moment.

In the previous century, there were two devastating global wars, which left significant parts of the planet in ruins. There was also a "cold war" between two superpowers locked in a system of mutual assured destruction (aptly acronymed as MAD) whose nuclear arsenals were capable of destroying the planet many times over. Had you woken up any morning in the years between December 7, 1941, and December 26, 1991, and been told that the leading international candidate for America's Public Enemy Number One was Kim Jong-un's ramshackle, comic-opera regime in North Korea, you might have gotten down on your hands and knees and sent thanks to pagan gods.

The same would be true for the other candidates for that number one position since September 11, 2001: the original al-Qaeda (largely decimated), al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula located in poverty-stricken areas of poverty-stricken Yemen, the Taliban in poverty-stricken Afghanistan, unnamed jihadis scattered across poverty-stricken areas of North Africa, or Iran, another rickety regional power run by not particularly adept theocrats.

All these years, we've been launching wars and pursuing a "global war on terror." We've poured money into national security as if there were no tomorrow. From our police to our borders, we've up-armored everywhere. We constantly hear about "threats" to us and to the "homeland." And yet, when you knock on the door marked "Enemy," there's seldom anyone home.

Few in this country have found this striking. Few seem to notice any disjuncture between the enemy-ridden, threatening, and deeply dangerous world we have been preparing ourselves for (and fighting in) this last decade-plus and the world as it actually is, even those who lived through significant parts of the last anxiety-producing, bloody century.

You know that feeling when you wake up and realize you've had the same recurrent nightmare yet again? Sometimes, there's an equivalent in waking life, and here's mine: every now and then, as I read about the next move in the spreading war on terror, the next drone assassination, the next ratcheting up of the surveillance game, the next expansion of the secrecy that envelops our government, the next set of expensive actions taken to guard us -- all of this justified by the enormous threats and dangers that we face -- I think to myself: Where's the enemy? And then I wonder: Just what kind of a dream is this that we're dreaming?

A Door Marked "Enemy" and No One Home

Let's admit it: enemies can have their uses. And let's admit as well that it's in the interest of some in our country that we be seen as surrounded by constant and imminent dangers on an enemy-filled planet. Let's also admit that the world is and always will be a dangerous place in all sorts of ways.

Still, in American terms, the bloodlettings, the devastations of this new century and the last years of the previous one have been remarkably minimal or distant; some of the worst, as in the multi-country war over the Congo with its more than five million dead have passed us by entirely; some, even when we launched them, have essentially been imperial frontier conflicts, as in Iraq and Afghanistan, or interventions of little cost (to us) as in Libya, or frontier patrolling operations as in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Northern Africa. (It was no mistake that, when Washington launched its special operations raid on Abbottabad, Pakistan, to get Osama bin Laden, it was given the code name "Geronimo" and the message from the SEAL team recording his death was "Geronimo-E KIA" or "enemy killed in action.")

And let's admit as well that, in the wake of those wars and operations, Americans now have more enemies, more angry, embittered people who would like to do us harm than on September 10, 2001. Let's accept that somewhere out there are people who, as George W. Bush once liked to say, "hate us" and what we stand for. (I leave just what we actually stand for to you, for the moment.)

So let's consider those enemies briefly. Is there a major state, for instance, that falls into this category, like any of the great warring imperial European powers from the sixteenth century on, or Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan in World War II, or the Soviet Union of the Cold War era? Of course not.

There was admittedly a period when, in order to pump up what we faced in the world, analogies to World War II and the Cold War were rife. There was, for instance, George W. Bush's famed rhetorical construct, the Axis of Evil (Iraq, Iran, and North Korea), patterned by his speechwriter on the German-Italian-Japanese "axis" of World War II. It was, of course, a joke construct, if reality was your yardstick. Iraq and Iran were then enemies. (Only in the wake of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq have they become friends and allies.) And North Korea had nothing whatsoever to do with either of them. Similarly, the American occupation of Iraq was once regularly compared to the U.S. occupations of Germany and Japan, just as Saddam Hussein had long been presented as a modern Hitler.

In addition, al-Qaeda-style Islamists were regularly referred to as Islamofascists, while certain military and neocon types with a desire to turn the war on terror into a successor to the Cold War took to calling it "the long war," or even "World War IV." But all of this was so wildly out of whack that it simply faded away.

As for who's behind that door marked "Enemy," if you opened it, what would you find? As a start, scattered hundreds or, as the years have gone by, thousands of jihadis, mostly in the poorest backlands of the planet and with little ability to do anything to the United States. Next, there were a few minority insurgencies, including the Taliban and allied forces in Afghanistan and separate Sunni and Shia ones in Iraq. There also have been tiny numbers of wannabe Islamic terrorists in the U.S. (once you take away the string of FBI sting operations that have regularly turned hopeless slackers and lost teenagers into the most dangerous of fantasy Muslim plotters). And then, of course, there are those two relatively hapless regional powers, Iran and North Korea, whose bark far exceeds their potential bite.

The Wizard of Oz on 9/11

The U.S., in other words, is probably in less danger from external enemies than at any moment in the last century. There is no other imperial power on the planet capable of, or desirous of, taking on American power directly, including China. It's true that, on September 11, 2001, 19 hijackers with box cutters produced a remarkable, apocalyptic, and devastating TV show in which almost 3,000 people died. When those giant towers in downtown New York collapsed, it certainly had the look of nuclear disaster (and in those first days, the media was filled was nuclear-style references), but it wasn't actually an apocalyptic event.

The enemy was still nearly nonexistent. The act cost bin Laden only an estimated $400,000-$500,000, though it would lead to a series of trillion-dollar wars. It was a nightmarish event that had a malign Wizard of Oz quality to it: a tiny man producing giant effects. It in no way endangered the state. In fact, it would actually strengthen many of its powers. It put a hit on the economy, but a passing one. It was a spectacular and spectacularly gruesome act of terror by a small, murderous organization then capable of mounting a major operation somewhere on Earth only once every couple of years. It was meant to spread fear, but nothing more.

When the towers came down and you could suddenly see to the horizon, it was still, in historical terms, remarkably enemy-less. And yet 9/11 was experienced here as a Pearl Harbor moment -- a sneak attack by a terrifying enemy meant to disable the country. The next day, newspaper headlines were filled with variations on "A Pearl Harbor of the Twenty-First Century." If it was a repeat of December 7, 1941, however, it lacked an imperial Japan or any other state to declare war on, although one of the weakest partial states on the planet, the Taliban's Afghanistan, would end up filling the bill adequately enough for Americans.

To put this in perspective, consider two obvious major dangers in U.S. life: suicide by gun and death by car. In 2010, more than 19,000 Americans killed themselves using guns. (In the same year, there were "only" 11,000 homicides nationwide.) In 2011, 32,000 Americans died in traffic accidents (the lowest figure in 60 years, though it was again on the rise in the first six months of 2012). In other words, Americans accept without blinking the equivalent yearly of more than six 9/11s in suicides-by-gun and more than 10 when it comes to vehicular deaths. Similarly, had the underwear bomber, to take one post-9/11 example of terrorism, succeeded in downing Flight 253 and murdering its 290 passengers, it would have been a horrific act of terror; but he and his compatriots would have had to bring down 65 planes to reach the annual level of weaponized suicides and more than 110 planes for vehicular deaths.

And yet no one has declared war on either the car or the gun (or the companies that make them or the people who sell them). No one has built a massive, nearly trillion-dollar car-and-gun-security-complex to deal with them. In the case of guns, quite the opposite is true, as the post-Newtown debate over gun control has made all too clear. On both scores, Americans have decided to live with perfectly real dangers and the staggering carnage that accompanies them, constraining them on occasion or sometimes not at all.

Despite the carnage of 9/11, terrorism has been a small-scale American danger in the years since, worse than shark attacks, but not much else. Like a wizard, however, what Osama bin Laden and his suicide bombers did that day was create an instant sense of an enemy so big, so powerful, that Americans found "war" a reasonable response; big enough for those who wanted an international police action against al-Qaeda to be laughed out of the room; big enough to launch an invasion of revenge against Iraq, a country unrelated to al-Qaeda; big enough, in fact, to essentially declare war on the world. It took next to no time for top administration officials to begin talking about targeting 60 countries, and as journalist Ron Suskind has reported, within six days of the attack, the CIA had topped that figure, presenting President Bush with a "Worldwide Attack Matrix," a plan that targeted terrorists in 80 countries.

What's remarkable is how little the disjuncture between the scope and scale of the global war that was almost instantly launched and the actual enemy at hand was ever noted here. You could certainly make a reasonable argument that, in these years, Washington has largely fought no one -- and lost. Everywhere it went, it created enemies who had, previously, hardly existed and the process is ongoing. Had you been able to time-travel back to the Cold War era to inform Americans that, in the future, our major enemies would be in Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, Mali, Libya, and so on, they would surely have thought you mad (or lucky indeed).

Creating an Enemy-Industrial Complex

Without an enemy of commensurate size and threat, so much that was done in Washington in these years might have been unattainable. The vast national security building and spending spree -- stretching from the Virginia suburbs of Washington, where the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency erected its new $1.8 billion headquarters, to Bluffdale, Utah, where the National Security Agency is still constructing a $2 billion, one-million-square-foot data center for storing the world's intercepted communications -- would have been unlikely.

Without the fear of an enemy capable of doing anything, money at ever escalating levels would never have poured into homeland security, or the Pentagon, or a growing complex of crony corporations associated with our weaponized safety. The exponential growth of the national security complex, as well as of the powers of the executive branch when it comes to national security matters, would have far been less likely.

Without 9/11 and the perpetual "wartime" that followed, along with the heavily promoted threat of terrorists ready to strike and potentially capable of wielding biological, chemical, or even nuclear weapons, we would have no Department of Homeland Security nor the lucrative mini-homeland-security complex that surrounds it; the 17-outfit U.S. Intelligence Community with its massive $75 billion official budget would have been far less impressive; our endless drone wars and the "drone lobby" that goes with them might never have developed; and the U.S. military would not have an ever growing secret military, the Joint Special Operations Command, gestating inside it -- effectively the president's private army, air force, and navy -- and already conducting largely secret operations across much of the planet.

For all of this to happen, there had to be an enemy-industrial complex as well, a network of crucial figures and institutions ready to pump up the threat we faced and convince Americans that we were in a world so dangerous that rights, liberty, and privacy were small things to sacrifice for American safety. In short, any number of interests from Bush administration figures eager to "sweep it all up" and do whatever they wanted in the world to weapons makers, lobbyists, surveillance outfits, think tanks, military intellectuals, assorted pundits... well, the whole national and homeland security racket and its various hangers-on had an interest in beefing up the enemy. For them, it was important in the post-9/11 era that threats would never again lack a capital "T" or a hefty dollar sign.

And don't forget a media that was ready to pound the drums of war and emphasize what dangerous enemies lurked in our world with remarkably few second thoughts. Post-9/11, major media outlets were generally prepared to take the enemy-industrial complex's word for it and play every new terrorist incident as if it were potentially the end of the world. Increasingly as the years went on, jobs, livelihoods, an expanding world of "security" depended on the continuance of all this, depended, in short, on the injection of regular doses of fear into the body politic.

That was the "favor" Osama bin Laden did for Washington's national security apparatus and the Bush administration on that fateful September morning. He engraved an argument in the American brain that would live on indelibly for years, possibly decades, calling for eternal vigilance at any cost and on a previously unknown scale. As the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), that neocon think-tank-cum-shadow-government, so fatefully put it in "Rebuilding America's Defenses" a year before the 9/11 attacks: "Further, the process of transformation [of the military], even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event -- like a new Pearl Harbor."

So when the new Pearl Harbor arrived out of the blue, with many PNAC members (from Vice President Dick Cheney on down) already in office, they naturally saw their chance. They created an al-Qaeda on steroids and launched their "global war" to establish a Pax Americana, in the Middle East and then perhaps globally. They were aware that they lacked opponents of the stature of those of the previous century and, in their documents, they made it clear that they were planning to ensure no future great-power-style enemy or bloc of enemy-like nations would arise. Ever.

For this, they needed an American public anxious, frightened, and ready to pay. It was, in other words, in their interest to manipulate us. And if that were all there were to it, our world would be a grim, but simple enough place. As it happens, it's not. Ruling elites, no matter what power they have, don't work that way. Before they manipulate us, they almost invariably manipulate themselves.

I was convinced of this years ago by a friend who had spent a lot of time reading early Cold War documents from the National Security Council -- from, that is, a small group of powerful governmental figures writing to and for each other in the utmost secrecy. As he told me then and wrote in Washington's China, the smart book he did on the early U.S. response to the establishment of the People's Republic of China, what struck him in the documents was the crudely anti-communist language those men used in private with each other. It was the sort of anti-communism you might otherwise have assumed Washington's ruling elite would only have wielded to manipulate ordinary Americans with fears of Communist subversion, the "enemy within," and Soviet plans to take over the world. (In fact, they and others like them would use just such language to inject fear into the body politic in those early Cold War years, that era of McCarthyism.)

They were indeed manipulative men, but before they influenced other Americans they assumedly underwent something like a process of collective auto-hypnotism in which they convinced one another of the dangers they needed the American people to believe in. There is evidence that a similar process took place in the aftermath of 9/11. From the flustered look on George W. Bush's face as his plane took him not toward but away from Washington on September 11, 2001, to the image of Dick Cheney, in those early months, being chauffeured around Washington in an armored motorcade with a "gas mask and a biochemical survival suit" in the backseat, you could sense that the enemy loomed large and omnipresent for them. They were, that is, genuinely scared, even if they were also ready to make use of that fear for their own ends.

Or consider the issue of Saddam Hussein's supposed weapons of mass destruction, that excuse for the invasion of Iraq. Critics of the invasion are generally quick to point out how that bogus issue was used by the top officials of the Bush administration to gain public support for a course that they had already chosen. After all, Cheney and his men cherry-picked the evidence to make their case, even formed their own secret intel outfit to give them what they needed, and ignored facts at hand that brought their version of events into question. They publicly claimed in an orchestrated way that Saddam had active nuclear and WMD programs. They spoke in the most open ways of potential mushroom clouds from (nonexistent) Iraqi nuclear weapons rising over American cities, or of those same cities being sprayed with (nonexistent) chemical or biological weapons from (nonexistent) Iraqi drones. They certainly had to know that some of this information was useful but bogus. Still, they had clearly also convinced themselves that, on taking Iraq, they would indeed find some Iraqi WMD to justify their claims.

In his soon-to-be-published book, Dirty Wars, Jeremy Scahill cites the conservative journalist Rowan Scarborough on Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's growing post-invasion irritation over the search for Iraqi WMD sites. "Each morning," wrote Scarborough, "the crisis action team had to report that another location was a bust. Rumsfeld grew angrier and angrier. One officer quoted him as saying, 'They must be there!' At one briefing, he picked up the briefing slides and tossed them back at the briefers."

In other words, those top officials hustling us into their global war and their long-desired invasion of Iraq had also hustled themselves into the same world with a similar set of fears. This may seem odd, but given the workings of the human mind, its ability to comfortably hold potentially contradictory thoughts most of the time without disturbing itself greatly, it's not.

A similar phenomenon undoubtedly took place in the larger national security establishment where self-interest combined easily enough with fear. After all, in the post-9/11 era, they were promising us one thing: something close to 100% "safety" when it came to one small danger in our world -- terrorism. The fear that the next underwear bomber might get through surely had the American public -- but also the American security state -- in its grips. After all, who loses the most if another shoe bomber strikes, another ambassador goes down, another 9/11 actually happens? Whose job, whose world, will be at stake then?

They may indeed be a crew of Machiavellis, but they are also acolytes in the cult of terror and global war. They live in the Cathedral of the Enemy. They were the first believers and they will undoubtedly be the last ones as well. They are invested in the importance of the enemy. It's their religion. They are, after all, the enemy-industrial complex and if we are in their grip, so are they.

The comic strip character Pogo once famously declared: "We have met the enemy and he is us." How true. We just don't know it yet. your social media marketing partner


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+25 # indian weaver 2013-04-15 14:15
You are more likely to die from your furniture in America than a terrorist. Considering the fantasy enemy Taliban / Terrorist vs the USA / Obama / our government, who scares you more and is a greater threat to you? Similar in some ways to the Pogo quote above, remember that "the enemy of my enemy is my friend". That means ... what to you? I know what it means to me. I know who is the real threat and the real enemy. Think about it.
-44 # Rain17 2013-04-15 15:20
I want to be clear. Are you defending the Taliban? Are you defending a movement that stones women, forces men to grow beards, wants a theocracy, prevents women from going to school, and wants to keep Afghanistan in the stone age? I want to be clear before I write anything else and respond to you.
-37 # Rain17 2013-04-15 15:27
I'm sorry, but 11 September was a big deal to the 3000 Americans who lost their lives. It showed that even the mainland US was vulnerable to terrorism. If the earlier World Trade Center Bombing wasn't a warning, the Oklahoma City Bombing certain was.

I agree that the war on Iraq was a bad idea and that the result is that Iran was strengthened. However, I disagree with you when it comes to Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden made it clear through his actions that he wanted to harm US and western interests. His organization, Al Qaeda, was responsiblef for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, conducted attacks against the US Embassies in Kenya and Tazania, was involved in the USS Cole bombing, the 11 September attacks, and other foiled plans. They want to harm the United States.

What I don't agree with is that there are some liberals and progressives who naively believe that, if the US were to systematically dismantle its national security apparatus and military, the bad guys would stop attacking. I think that that is just honestly naive and woefully idealistic.

There are extremists out there, including militia groups, sovereign citizen groups, militias, and Islamic terrorists, who want to harm US interests and kill Americans. Just because there haven't been as many Americans killed from terrorism as opposed to other causes doesn't mean that the threat doesn't exist.

Continued in next post. . . .
+9 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-04-15 21:42
This "person" Uncle Sam looked in the mirror while shaving and said, "think I see the enemy."
+25 # David Allen 2013-04-15 23:19
Yes, there are extremists out there, but do we need 45,000 nuclear warheads and a trillion dollar military budget to deal with them? NOOOOOOO!
+13 # engelbach 2013-04-16 15:14
Al Qaeda was a criminal organization, not a nation, with limited resources and personnel. They could have been hunted in a police action.

9/11 did not justify the launching of two wars against sovereign nations that had done us no harm, and the subsequent militarization of the entire national discourse.
+6 # truthbug 2013-04-16 23:32
It appears that you haven't yet understood that bin Laden's project was successful only because the US willingly sacrificed blood, treasure, and reputation in its obsessive-compu lsive, nonsensical, so-called "war on terror." Wake up and look at the devastating self inflicted blow the US has accomplished. We are a nation of utter fools.
+3 # Rain17 2013-04-15 15:35
Continued from last post. . .

As for North Korea I'm skeptical of them as a threat. I say that because they can barely feed their country; and, while they do have a decent sized military, without the support of China, I don't see them as a threat to the extent others do. China already has publicly started to distance itself from North Korea. Should China ever stop supporting North Korea--and that day may come sooner because, eventually, Beijing may decide that the cost outweighs the benefits of having Pyongyang as a buffer state--the Kim family may lose control of the country and may experience their version of the "Arab Spring".

I honestly don't think North Korea would actually be dumb enough to invade South Korea. I say this because, if they were to do that, Chinese and Russian support would evaporate. And the US military would then be able to neutralize the North Korean military pretty quickly. In that situation North Korea would be making a very dumb mistake.

I suspect that North Korea will eventually collapse from its internal pressures. Eventually the Kim family is going to lose control of the country over successive generations because I suspect that there are other factions who want to take control of the country. Secondly I don't see China supporting them forever. Should China eventually cut off financial and military support, North Korea will be in a very vulnerable position.
+22 # Even 2013-04-16 01:08
Not 3000 Americans, 3000 people, it was the World Trade Center anf hundreds of the dead wee not Americans.
+15 # David Allen 2013-04-15 23:16
Today we have the spectacle of the National Rifle Association doing their damnedest to convince us that gun control and modification of the second amendment is the most dangerous thing in the world. That we need Thompson Submachine guns to protect us from our neighbor and the "gummint." UTTER STUPIDITY!
+17 # neohip 2013-04-15 15:01
Many of us do know it and that number is growing.
+16 # Walter J Smith 2013-04-15 18:55
Geez, Tom: "Only one small problem: there is as yet little evidence that the enemy with a few nuclear weapons facing off (rhetorically at least) against an American arsenal of 4,650 of them has the ability to miniaturize and mount even one on a missile, no less deliver it accurately, nor does it have a missile capable of reaching Hawaii or Washington, and I wouldn't count on Guam either."

What does reality have to do with any of it?
+39 # Walter J Smith 2013-04-15 19:16
While our "enemies" were laughing themselves silly over our declaration of war on the axis of evil, we transformed ourselves into the axels of grease.

And the greasier the politician, the deeper we go into this transformation, Indeed, the grease is so greasy already that one has difficulty seeing how the leaders of our erstwhile self-lobotomize d elite can find anything at all for all the grease they coat themselves in.

It isn't the century of making all the world into our enemies; we already did that, for the most part; just a few more decades of mop-up operations, because, as the brassy ones love to say because it makes them feel important, "things are still a bit fluid on the ground," and, we might add, between the ears.

So, it is the century crude oil spills into every potable water source Mother Nature so generously has provided for us to spoil.

It is the century of blackening the air with all the coal Mother Nature gave us, apparently for nothing better than destroying miners lungs and our own, while we destroy the air.

And it is the century of killing our rivers so they will help us kill the oceans and all the fishes of the seas, which Mother Nature so generously gave us for our healthy nourishment, but we cannot conserve because our conservatives are totally occupied with conserving their hollow illusions of grandiosity which they never had anywhere except in that greasy place between their ears.
+10 # ballerina 2013-04-16 01:47
walter j smith...great post
+9 # curmudgeon 2013-04-15 21:53
How many instances of 'false-flag' ops have we seen?

Enough to justify loss of rights, feed the greed of the munitions industries.

And as many of us were beginning to understand Tom's arguments and observations, another event to build the meme of fear greater.

The Boston Marathon

Bombs at ankle level at a running event - if not intentional, quite ironic
-15 # itchyvet 2013-04-15 22:38
As long as the author continues to spread the OFFICIAL LIES regarding Sept 11, anyhting else he writes must also be accepted in the same vein.
+9 # m... 2013-04-15 23:36
Thar's a LOT of money to be had from dem thar Tax Payin Americans if ya scares em enuff and gets em to hate the goverment enuff to want less goverment and more Corporashuns to run da show and CONtrack out all its functchuns to , and to sell em stuff fer fighten boogymenand such...!
All ya'll need is to buy up da news meedeeya and then use it to scare thuh bazzzezus out of em all day and all nite... and all ya need is to make guns an boms n missuls n nukes n jets n big ships and stuff like dat, then take pikchurs of it all to tell em they be safe wid em out dare doin thar thing fer freedom..!
and ya hav ta pay dem politishuns to pass more laws to pay more coporashuns to control all of da peepul so dat they can't complain too much without landin their butts in a coporashun prison bed...
DATS how ya defend America, God Bless Her..!
+9 # sdraymond 2013-04-16 00:47
I thought that Tom's treatise was excellently written and well thought out. It's not easy to step back and look at the big picture with the constant barrage of propaganda coming from Washington. We are as brainwashed as the North Koreans.

What can we as American citizens do to mitigate the harm caused by the Military/Indust rial - Enemy/Industria l complex?

Many of us thought that Obama would bring a little sanity back into the political sphere, but we were wrong. He seems to have adopted many of the policies from the neocon era, and in the cases of Afghanistan and the use of drones, expanded on them. Remember his promises about social security and GITMO?

As it would be nearly impossible to create a progressive third party that would grow large enough in our lifetimes to allow us to elect a sane governing body, we have to work within the Democratic party. I don't see Hillary breaking up this frightening complex, so who is out there that can do it and is electable nationwide...El izabeth Warren? Bernie Sanders? Any ideas.....?
+4 # Milarepa 2013-04-16 01:45
Tom, you're trying to describe the situation as is, not as it's being presented. Okay, we already know it is bad, but not hopeless. Thoughtful, meaningful action is needed. The late
Thomas Naylor of Vermont founded the Second Vermont Republic secessionist movement. There are active secession movements in several US states. A single state, like Vermont, seceding would unravel the US, causing it to implode very much like the USSR did. Americans could roll up their sleeves and do what they've proved they're good at - building a nation. Only this time it would be several new nations, smaller and unthreatening, with plenty of work for everybody!!! Then we wouldn't have to go round and round babbling ad infinitum. We could start acting.
-2 # 2013-04-16 02:37
Tom you say "Few seem to notice" I trust you mean American nationals. Because the World well knows you have been fighting 63 wars in as many years since you didn't win a war after the INDEPENCE WARS.
And you assassinated Lincoln & Kennedy for trying to pacify your Race.

Did you not expect some Nations will retaliate now they see you so crippled and easy targets everywhere. Bomb the peoples foot races now.

9/11 proved Kim Jong Un needs no missiles to Nuke mainland US any City.
-2 # engelbach 2013-04-16 15:17
A nuclear bomb cannot be constructed in a garage and hidden in a briefcase.
+4 # Charles3000 2013-04-16 07:59
We talk about "America" but we often forget there are three of them; there is a piece of beautiful real estate called America, there are a few 100 million diverse folks, mostly good people, who are America and then there is a government called America. The jihardists are fighting this later "America" and not the American people. They attacked the "World Trade Center" and the Pentagon to send a message about US economic policy and use of military power. The message was loud and clear to all who listened.
+2 # Firefox11 2013-04-16 17:38
Yes. The rest of the world does not like the American government which wages war indiscriminatel y; however, it does support the American people to the extent that the American people live up to the ideals of their Constitution... liberty and justice for all, et al.
+9 # Kathymoi 2013-04-16 08:29
Thank you for pointing out clearly that there is an enemy industry. There is a concerted effort to create fear, to paint an image of a ferocious and dangerous enemy out there. And the purpose of this enemy industy is to justify the war industry, and at this time it is war against everyone, even American citizens inside the United States. There is nowhere safe for Americans in the world according to the enemy industry. The enemy is everywhere, even among ourselves, in our own neighborhoods. This belief is enemy is supposed to justify taking from Americans all of our liberties and privacy. It makes our lives uncomfortable and inflicts insult at us right and left. It creates wealth for the war industry, the gun industry and it multiplies power for the government. It reduces everything desirable in the lives of citizens.
+5 # Firefox11 2013-04-16 17:39
Perfectly said. Thank you. We have met the enemy and it is the "enemy industry".
+1 # Firefox11 2013-04-16 18:01
The Enemy-Industria l Complex "They may indeed be a crew of Machiavellis, but they are also acolytes in the cult of terror and global war. They live in the Cathedral of the Enemy. They were the first believers and they will undoubtedly be the last ones as well. They are invested in the importance of the enemy. It's their religion. They are, after all, the enemy-industria l complex and if we are in their grip, so are they.

The comic strip character Pogo once famously declared: "We have met the enemy and he is us." How true. We just don't know it yet." One of the few threads of sanity left: RSN, (and Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert).
+3 # da gaf 2013-04-16 13:46
people of greed will always live in fear-does not this country have a ENOUGH-numbers of rich greedy people--and with wars that are started constantly --and so many violent movies,videos and
TV programs BEING SHOWN EVERYDAY...the average person can start to think that the only reason we are here on earth is to kill each other....too much hatred, greed and revenge circulates in the peoples' mind-ego-self. what do you expect?..loving
people?...this establishment,s ociety fanatic religions are behind the poisoning the youth. too much ego=misery and more misery.
+1 # Firefox11 2013-04-16 18:07
ego-false self, which then creates falsehoods, which then create a false sense of danger around every corner which then allows false solutions to be promulgated which then pollute our environment (internal and external). solution-find the harmony (within and without).
+3 # Joe6pK 2013-04-16 23:33
Pushing for the one major incident that will get the war-monger, robber-baron, international corporations another shoot through their bought dogs they employ in our government to complete the destruction of the us treasury while laying the US open for being absorbed by the highest bidder is all that is going on here. It is the main reason why under emergency war-time presidential orders all corporations; monopolies must all be immediately disenfranchised . With the attorney general and the state department filing papers to freeze their accounts and remove all communications with our elected officials in the name of National Security before we get sold out by these parasites. The only other outcome will be a huge miscalculation about China, a war we might win, but never recover from. And that with millions dead, the Chinese could afford to lose three times our population and land mass, the 1% unbridled lust for the last dime in our treasury only guarantees our demise for their profit, as if anyone is going to live to cash that check.

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