Trials Without Crimes Or Evidence: Judge Rules Osama Bin Laden Death Photos Should Stay Secret

Trials Without Crimes Or Evidence – by Paul Craig Roberts

April 25, 2012

Andy Worthington is a superb reporter who has specialized in providing the facts of the US government’s illegal abuse of “detainees,” against whom no evidence exists. (Source) In an effort to create evidence, the US government has illegally resorted to torture. Torture produces false confessions, plea bargains, and false testimony against others in order to escape further torture.

For these reasons, in Anglo-American law self-incrimination secured through torture has been impermissible evidence for centuries. So also has been secret evidence withheld from the accused and his attorney. Secret evidence cannot be confronted. Secret evidence is distrusted as made-up in order to convict the innocent. The evidence is secret because it cannot stand the light of day.

The US government relies on secret evidence in its cases against alleged terrorists, claiming that national security would be threatened if the evidence were revealed. This is abject nonsense. It is an absurd claim that presenting evidence against a terrorist jeopardizes the national security of the United States.

To the contrary, not presenting evidence jeopardizes the security of each and every one of us. Once the government can convict defendants on the basis of secret evidence, even the concept of a fair trial will disappear. Fair trials are already history, but the concept lingers.

Secret evidence murders the concept of a fair trial. It murders justice and the rule of law. Secret evidence means anyone can be convicted of anything. As in Kafka’s The Trial,
people will cease to know the crimes for which they are being tried and convicted.

This extraordinary development in Anglo-American law, a development demanded by the unaccountable Bush/Obama Regime, has not resulted in impeachment proceedings; nor has it caused an uproar from Congress, the federal courts, the presstitute media, law schools, constitutional scholars, and bar associations.

Having bought the government’s 9/11 conspiracy theory, Americans just want someone to pay. They don’t care who as long as someone pays. To accommodate this desire, the government has produced some “high value detainees” with Arab or Muslim names.
But instead of bringing these alleged malefactors to trial and presenting evidence against them, the government has kept them in torture dungeons for years trying to create through the application of pain and psychological breakdown guilt by self-incrimination in order to create a case against them.

The government has been unsuccessful and has nothing that it can bring to a real court. So the Bush/Obama Regime created and recreated “military tribunals” to lend “national security” credence to the absolute need that non-existent evidence be kept secret.

Andy Worthington in his numerous reports does a good job in providing the history of the detainees and their treatment. He deserves our commendation and support. But what I want to do is to ask some questions, not of Worthington, but about the idea that the US is under terrorist threat.

By this September, 9/11 will be eleven years ago. Yet despite the War on Terror, the loss of Americans’ privacy and civil liberties, an expenditure of trillions of dollars on numerous wars, violations of US and international laws against torture, and so forth, no one has been held accountable. Neither the perpetrators nor those whom the perpetrators outwitted, assuming that they are different people, have been held accountable. Going on 11 years and no trials of villains or chastisement of negligent public officials. This is remarkable.

The government’s account of 9/11 implies massive failure of all US security and intelligence agencies along with those of our NATO puppets and Israel’s Mossad. The government’s official line also implies the failure of the National Security Council, NORAD and the US Air Force, Air Traffic Control, Airport Security four times in one hour on the same morning. It implies the failure of the President, the Vice President, the National Security Adviser, the Secretary of Defense.

Many on the left and also libertarians find this apparent failure of the centralized and oppressive government so hopeful that they cling to the official “government failure” explanation of 9/11. However, such massive failure is simply unbelievable. How in the world could the US have survived the cold war with the Soviets if the US government were so totally incompetent?

If we attribute superhero powers to the 19 alleged hijackers, powers in excess of V’s in V for Vendetta or James Bond’s or Captain Marvel’s, and assume that these young terrorists, primarily Saudi Arabians, outwitted Dick Cheney, Condi Rice, The Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Tony Blair, along with the CIA, FBI, MI5 and MI6, Mossad, etc., one would have expected for the President, Congress, and the media to call for heads to roll. No more humiliating affront has ever been suffered by a major power than the US suffered on 9/11. Yet, absolutely no one, not even some lowly traffic controller, was scapegoated and held accountable for what is considered to be the most extraordinarily successful terrorist attack in human history, an attack so successful that it implies total negligence across the totality of the US government and that of all its allies.

This just doesn’t smell right. Total failure and no accountability. The most expensively funded security apparatus the world has ever known defeated by a handful of Saudi Arabians. How can anyone in the CIA, FBI, NSA, NORAD, and National Security Council hold up their heads? What a disgraced bunch of jerks and incompetents.

What do we need them for?

Consider the alleged hijackers. Despite allegedly being caught off guard by the 9/11 attacks, the FBI was soon able to identify the 19 hijackers despite the fact that apparently none of the alleged hijackers’ names are on the passenger lists of the airliners that they allegedly hijacked.

How did 19 passengers get on airplanes in the US without being on the passenger lists?

I do not personally know if the alleged hijackers were on the four airliners. Moreover, defenders of the official 9/11 story claim that the passenger lists released to the public were “victims lists,” not passenger lists, because the names of the hijackers were withheld and only released some four years later after 9/11 researchers had had years in which to confuse victims lists with passenger lists. This seems an odd explanation. Why encourage public misinformation for years by withholding the passenger lists and issuing victims lists in their place? It cannot have been to keep the hijackers’ names a secret as the FBI released a list of the hijackers several days after 9/11. Even more puzzling, if the hijackers’ names were on the airline passenger lists, why did it take the FBI several days to confirm the names and numbers of hijackers?

Researchers have found contradictions in the FBI’s accounts of the passenger lists with the FBI adding and subtracting names from its various lists and some names being misspelled, indicating possibly that the FBI doesn’t really know who the person is. The authenticity of the passenger lists that were finally released in 2005 is contested, and the list apparently was not presented as evidence by the FBI in the Moussaoui trial in 2006. David Ray Griffin has extensively researched the 9/11 story. In one of his books, 9/11 Ten Years Later, Griffin writes: “Although the FBI claimed that it had received flight manifests from the airlines by the morning of 9/11, the ‘manifests’ that appeared in 2005 had names that were not known to the FBI until a day or more after 9/11. These 2005 ‘manifests,’ therefore, could not have been the original manifests for the four 9/11 flights.”

The airlines themselves have not been forthcoming. We are left with the mystery of why simple and straightforward evidence, such as a list of passengers, was withheld for years and mired in secrecy and controversy.

We have the additional problem that the BBC and subsequently other news organizations established that 6 or 7 of the alleged hijackers on the FBI’s list are alive and well and have never been part of any terrorist plot.

These points are not even a beginning of the voluminous reasons that the government’s 9/11 story looks very thin.

But the American public, being throughly plugged into the Matrix, are not suspicious of the government’s thin story. Instead, they are suspicious of the facts and of those experts who are suspicious of the government’s story. Architects, engineers, scientists, first responders, pilots, and former public officials who raise objections to the official story are written off as conspiracy theorists. Why does an ignorant American public think it knows more than experts? Why do Americans believe a government that told them the intentional lie that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction despite the fact that the weapons inspectors reported to President Bush that Hussein had no such weapons? And now we see the same thing all over again with the alleged, but non-existent, Iranian nukes.

As Frantz Fanon wrote, the power of cognitive dissonance is extreme. It keeps people comfortable and safe from threatening information. Most Americans find the government’s lies preferable to the truth. They don’t want to be unplugged from the Matrix. The truth is too uncomfortable for emotionally and mentally weak Americans.

Worthington focuses on the harm being done to detainees. They have been abused for much of their lives. Their innocence or guilt cannot be established because the evidence is compromised by torture, self-incrimination, and coerced testimony against others. They stand convicted by the government’s accusation alone. These are real wrongs, and Worthington is correct to emphasize them.

In contrast, my focus is on the harm to America, on the harm to truth and truth’s power, on the harm to the rule of law and accountability to the people of the government and its agencies, on the harm to the moral fabric of the US government and to liberty in the United States.

As the adage goes, a fish rots from the head. As the government rots, so does the United States of America.

http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2012/04/25/trials-without-crimes-or-evid…

Advertisements

CISPA Passed in House

From Politico:

The House passed the controversial CISPA cybersecurity bill on Thursday, defying a White House veto threat and throwing the issue squarely into the Senate’s lap.

[…] But civil liberterians were unhappy with the outcome.

“Cybersecurity does not have to mean abdication of Americans’ online privacy. As we’ve seen repeatedly, once the government gets expansive national security authorities, there’s no going back,” ACLU legislative counsel Michelle Richardson said. “We encourage the Senate to let this horrible bill fade into obscurity.”

Read full article

A Collapsing Mythology: The Death of The 9/11 Myth And War on Terror Consensus


Saman Mohammadi
Infowars.com
April 22, 2012

“Power positions do not yield to arguments, however rationally and morally valid, but only to superior power.” – Hans J. Morgenthau.

“History is the long, difficult and confused dream of Mankind.” – Arthur Schopenhauer.

“Didn’t I tell you
not to be satisfied with the veil of this world?” – Rumi.

“For historical myths are now commonly perceived as “foundational narratives,” as stories that purport to explain the present in terms of some momentous event that occurred in the past. Stories like these are in many ways historical—though rarely, if ever, do they refer to an actual past. Rather, they refer to a virtual past, to the fact that historical communities, like religions or nations, consist in the beliefs that their members have about them—more concretely, in the stories they tell about them.” – Joseph Mali. (1).

The period of 1992 to 2012 saw the god-like propaganda power of the American empire on full display. Washington’s unbelievable power to distort reality and shape the minds of its global mental subjects was used during this period to sell an aggressive global war on innocent countries. Historians will remember this war as the most evil war in humankind’s history.


Washington, and its allies in Israel and England, conquered the global mind by waging the most sophisticated psychological war against humanity, with the focal point of the war being the 9/11 events. No future superpower will ever rival America in its psychological domination of the planet. It is the first and last empire to even be able to attempt such a grand enterprise.

But all dreams must come to an end at some point – that’s history. The question is, how many innocent people will suffer and die before the myth of 9/11 is completely done away with? Will it be ten million, or twenty? Genocidal-type figures are not out the question. Based on the logic of U.S. and Israeli war propaganda, the American empire has already wiped Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria off the map. Of course, this is an exaggeration.

But if America can kill one million people, why not ten? What’s to stop it? Washington is not governed by a moral conscience, so it literally can kill millions of people and justify its mass murder to the world as an act of liberation. Also, if Israel is allowed to ethnically cleanse Palestinians in broad daylight, then who will stop it from mass murdering other people in the future?

These actions beg the question: Are America and Israel genocidal states?

While Iran is falsely accused of wanting to “wipe Israel off the map,” by U.S. and Israeli propagandists, the U.S. and Israel are actually wiping regimes and nations off the map. Their publicly stated goal is to remake the map of the Middle East, which means reducing the territory of several big states, including Iran, and murdering millions of innocent people.

II. The Use of Mythology To Mobilize Public Support for America’s Foreign Policy

The biggest factor in whether or not America decides to go to war is the American people, which is why they had to be neutralized with the false flag September 11 events. Since the American people are peaceful, moral, and humanitarian, only the perception that they are under attack from foreigners can activate their war spirit, and that perception was provided by the 9/11 fraud.

Without fear, without state terror, without mass media manipulation, the American people would not support America’s conquest of the Middle East. This quixotic project only benefits the private transnational Banksters, fascist multinational corporations, the National Security State, and Israel, all of which have no interest in the survival of America and her liberties.

In the 2002 book, “The Revolution in Military Affairs: Implications for Canada and NATO,” author Elinor C. Sloan, a defence analyst with the Directorate of Strategic Analysis at Canada’s National Defence Headquarters, wrote about the unwillingness of the American people to support big wars. Sloan said:

“Whether true or not, many decision makers now believe that the American people will only support the use of force abroad if it promises smashing victories with few or no casualties. Edward Luttwak has elaborated the view that in future only those forces that are least exposed to casualties, such as high-technology stand-off forces, will be “usable” in a domestic political context.” (2).

The lack of American public support for imperialist policies was treated as a problem to be fixed by the American foreign policy establishment. Near the end of the Cold War, when it was clear that the American empire was no longer needed in the world, a new rationale had to be created to justify America’s global dominance.

In the 1990s, Washington developed a new rationale for the use of force and it revolved around three big policy objectives: stopping nuclear proliferation, countering international terrorism, and overthrowing “rogue” regimes like Iraq, North Korea, Libya, Syria, and Iran. In the absence of the Soviet Union and the communist threat, Washington was forced to invent new threats, as well as raise insignificant threats to the status of international problems.

Robert E. Osgood, a foreign policy expert, defined the problem of American foreign policy in his essay, “The Mission of Morgenthau.” Osgood said the need to devise a new rationale to justify America’s global dominance was imperative because the Cold War was winding down and this massive change created a profound crisis in America’s self-image. Osgood wrote:

“The United States finds itself in an unprecedented situation: It faces the task of maintaining the active and extensive engagement of its power in the international arena without a clear and compelling rationale for doing so. For the presumed reduction of the communist threat dampens the security incentive, while disillusionment with the thesis that the United States must prevent piecemeal aggression everywhere for the sake of the world order deprives whatever security incentive there may be of its larger justification in terms of some transcendent purpose. The wave of self-criticism and loss of moral confidence following the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal aggravates the predicament.
.
Monetary, trade, energy, law of the seas, and resource issues have now come to the forefront of international politics and the concerns of American foreign policy, while military-security issues have receded to the background. These issues are by their nature uncongenial to the grand designs and great simplifying concepts or “doctrines” that Americans have loved. Who is the enemy, and how can one rally the nation to deter or defeat him?
.
Add to these complications the emergence of a variety of claims against the United States and other industrialized states by the poor countries, who are seeking a better economic deal and a redistribution of economic (and hence political) strength in the world. Under the slogans of a “new international economic order” and championed by the developing countries who have discovered the lever of oil prices and supply, these countries appeal to America’s conscience while impinging on its economic interests.
.
It is little wonder, under these circumstances, that the ambiguous imperatives of power–whether seen in economic, diplomatic, or military terms–should become more difficult to reconcile with the moral principles that Americans have sought to identify with United States policy. In the absence of a compelling anticommunist rationale, the compromises of moral preference that were more or less obscured or tolerated in the Cold War become objects of protest and controversy.
.
If this kind of moral dissatisfaction with America’s foreign relations fails to provoke a national debate or a moral crisis or even a coherent set of alternatives to the prevailing policies, it is because foreign policy issues are so diffuse and American policy so incoherent.
.
One is tempted to conclude that American policy will not recover its coherence until the nation as a whole perceives another overriding threat to its security interests, which will once more provide the basis for reconciling the imperatives of power with the dictates of morality.

Might there arise such a threat to America’s economic security? Now that the short-term effect of OPEC’s raising of oil prices has been largely absorbed and the prospect of another embargo remains remote, it is hard to think of other threats to America’s economic interests that could possibly provide the basis for a new consensus on American security.” (3).

The most important point that Osgood made was that, “American policy will not recover its coherence until the nation as a whole perceives another overriding threat to its security interests, which will once more provide the basis for reconciling the imperatives of power with the dictates of morality.”

The question of morality lies at the heart of American foreign policy. Is America the benevolent giant, or is it history’s most evil empire? After the false flag 9/11 attacks and the criminal invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, most people would say the latter. But even an evil empire needs to feel good about being evil.

The mythology of 9/11 has enabled Washington, London, and Tel Aviv to exercise the power of gods while pretending to be victims of terrorism. There are no words for deception of this scale. It is simply incredible. America’s hegemony over the mind of man is even greater than that of Christianity and Islam. America is God of Earth.

Satan has America by the throat. And America has the world by the throat.

The Zelikow Memo: Internal Critique of Bush Torture Memos Declassified Document Sheds Light on Disputes over Treatment of Detainees

Washington, DC, April 3, 2012 – The State Department today released a February 2006 internal memo from the Department’s then-counselor opposing Justice Department authorization for “enhanced interrogation techniques” by the CIA. All copies of the memo (Document 1), which reflect strong internal disagreement within the George W. Bush administration over the constitutionality of such techniques, were thought to have been destroyed. But the State Department located a copy and declassified it in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by the National Security Archive.


Philip D. Zelikow, State Department Counselor, 2005-2007

The author of the memo, Philip D. Zelikow, counselor to then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, described the context of the memo in congressional testimony on May 13, 2009, and in an article he had previously published on foreignpolicy.com site on April 21, 2009.

“At the time, in 2005 [and 2006],” he wrote, “I circulated an opposing view of the legal reasoning. My bureaucratic position, as counselor to the secretary of state, didn’t entitle me to offer a legal opinion. But I felt obliged to put an alternative view in front of my colleagues at other agencies, warning them that other lawyers (and judges) might find the OLC views unsustainable.”

OLC refers to the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel.

“My colleagues were entitled to ignore my views,” he continued. “They did more than that: The White House attempted to collect and destroy all copies of my memo. I expect that one or two are still at least in the State Department’s archives.”

Zelikow attached two other memos to his May 2009 congressional testimony (Document 3) that were publicly released at that time (Document 4 and Document 5), but his February 2006 memo remained classified. In later public statements, Zelikow argued that the latter document should also be released since the OLC memos themselves had already been opened to the public by the Obama administration.

The memo released today, labeled “draft,” concludes that because they violate the Constitutional ban on “cruel and unusual punishment,” the CIA techniques of “waterboarding, walling, dousing, stress positions, and cramped confinement” were “the techniques least likely to be sustained” by the courts. Zelikow also wrote that “corrective techniques, such as slaps” were the “most likely to be sustained.” The last sentence of the memo reads: “[C]ontrol conditions, such as nudity, sleep deprivation, and liquid diets, may also be sustainable, depending on the circumstances and details of how these techniques are used.”

According to Zelikow’s accounts, he authored the memo in an attempt to counter the Bush administration’s dubious claim that CIA could still practice “enhanced interrogation” on enemy combatants despite the president’s December 2005 signing into law of the McCain Amendment, which, in Zelikow’s words, “extended the prohibition against cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment to all conduct worldwide.”

The Zelikow memo becomes the latest addition to The Torture Archive – the National Security Archive’s online institutional memory for issues and documents (including the OLC’s torture memos themselves) relating to rendition, detainees, interrogation, and torture.


DOCUMENTS

Document 1: Philip D. Zelikow, State Department Counselor, Draft Memorandum, “The McCain Amendment and U.S. Obligations under Article 16 of the Convention Against Torture,” Top Secret, February 15, 2006
Source: Freedom of Information Act request

Written following passage of the so-called McCain Amendment against “cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment,” this memo offers alternative legal argumentation to the opinions that the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel continued to put forward into 2006. According to Zelikow, he was told that some officials in the Bush administration sought to gather all copies of his memo and destroy them, but the State Department located this one and released it under the Freedom of Information Act.

Document 2: Stephen G. Bradbury, Justice Department, Office of Legal Counsel, Memorandum for John A. Rizzo, “Re: Application of United States Obligations Under Article 16 of the Convention Against Torture to Certain Techniques that May Be Used in the Interrogation of High Value al Qaeda Detainees,” Top Secret, May 30, 2005
Source: The Torture Archive, the National Security Archive

This memo follows up previous OLC opinions on interrogation methods, providing an even more expansive vision of what kinds of “enhanced techniques” would be acceptable against al Qaeda and other detainees. Zelikow specifically refers to this memo in his February 2006 counter-argument.

Document 3: Philip D. Zelikow, Statement before the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts, Unclassified, May 13, 2009
Source: Federation of American Scientists

After the Obama administration declassified the controversial Office of Legal Counsel opinions on so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques,” Congress weighed in on the question. Here, Zelikow lays out his critique of the OLC position in detail.

Document 4: Philip D. Zelikow, State Department Counselor, and Gordon R. England, Deputy Secretary of Defense, “Elements of Possible Initiative,” Sensitive but Unclassified, June 12, 2005
Source: Federation of American Scientists

Zelikow and Gordon England, the acting deputy secretary of defense, put together this draft of a possible presidential initiative on detainee treatment and interrogation. The document was appended to Zelikow’s May 2009 congressional testimony. According to his prepared statement, this memo describes a “big bang” approach to dealing with the larger issues, but after Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld rejected its ideas, the National Security Council staff decided to pursue each issue piecemeal.

Document 5: Philip D. Zelikow, State Department Counselor, and John B. Bellinger III, State Department Legal Advisor, “Detainees – The Need for a Stronger Legal Framework,” Unclassified, July 2005
Source: Federation of American Scientists

In his May 2009 congressional testimony, Zelikow describes this document as part of an attempt by the State Department to enlist other U.S. government agencies to define legal standards for detainee treatment that were less “technical” and more “durable – politically, legally, and among our key allies.” The memo was appended to his testimony.

An Altered State of Government


Saman Mohammadi
Infowars.com
April 14, 2012

“Man as he is is utterly unconscious. He is nothing but his habits, the sum total of his habits. Man is a robot. Man is not yet man: unless consciousness enters into your being, you will remain a machine. That’s why the Sufis say man is a machine. It is from the Sufis that Gurdjieff introduced the idea to the West that man is a machine. It is very rarely that you are conscious.

The Sufis say man is a machine because man only reacts according to the programs that have been fed to him. Start behaving responsively, and then you are not a machine. And when you are not a machine you are a man: then the man is born.

Watch, become alert, observe, and go on dropping all the reactive patterns in you. Each moment try to respond to the reality — not according to the ready-made idea in you but according to the reality as it is there outside. Respond to the reality! Respond with your total consciousness but not with your mind. And then when you respond spontaneously and you don’t react, action is born. Action is beautiful, reaction is ugly. Only a man of awareness acts, the man of unawareness REACTS. Action liberates. Reaction goes on creating the same chains, goes on making them thicker and harder and stronger. Live a life of response and not of reaction.” –Osho, an Indian mystic, (11 December 1931 – 19 January 1990).

“Our body, mind, and emotions frequently resemble a completely automated airliner,” wrote psychologist Charles Tart in his 1986 book,“Waking Up: Overcoming the Obstacles to Human Potential.” “Course and destination have been set by others,” he added, “automatic mechanisms have been set, and your consciousness is not required for the trip.” (1).

Tart is most known for his 1969 book, “Altered States of Consciousness,”which draws on the spiritual teacher G. I. Gurdjieff’s insights into the mind. Tart talks about his research and views on altered states of consciousness in this video, and in this interview on Thinking Allowed TV in the late 1980s. Tart said in the interview:

“You know, the strange thing is that the Eastern psychologies, Buddhism and Hinduism particularly, have the idea that we live in a state of illusion. They call it Saṃsāra or Maya. And they don’t really mean that the world is illusory, but that we have such distorted perceptions of it that we live in an illusory dream of our own creating. Now the funny thing is that while we don’t have this idea in Western psychology, we actually know more about the nuts and bolts of living an illusion than the Easterners do. All our research about the nature of the unconscious, about the way perception is a relatively arbitrary construction, works out the mechanisms of Maya or Saṃsāra, tells us exactly of how we live in a dream.

I’ve tried to combine some of these ideas in my Waking Up book, because I think we desperately need to know that the state of consciousness we ordinarily walk around in is not some simple, natural, sane state. It’s a very arbitrary, very biased, very slanted construction, which is marvelous for some things, but quite terrible for other things. And until you question your ordinary consciousness, and realize there are other potentials that you’re distorting in your ordinary state, until you question it, there’s nothing you can do about it.”

Tart’s wisdom and knowledge can help us in these dark times to open our minds and rethink the entire history of not just the past decade of terror, but the past century of state violence and horror.

Since the false flag 9/11 attacks, many of us have experienced on a direct level the emotional shifts and psychological changes that Professor Tart was talking about.

9/11 altered the U.S. government and Western civilization in a negative and destructive way. And it was altered because of the insane media coverage of the event.

The monstrous mainstream media and the totalitarian governments that engineered the 9/11 events feed on public unconsciousness. They are emotional, psychic, and political vampires. The war criminals in the U.S. and Israeli governments had the dream of war and tyranny on their minds before 9/11, and after staging 9/11, their insane dream was transmitted into the minds of the American people and global public through trauma and tragedy.

But millions of people have woken up and rejected the mainstream reprogramming of Western consciousness. We understand now that government hijackers in the United States, Israel, and England are piloting the global collective mind towards their desired destination: world war three, and an authoritarian world government. Our government, financial, media, and corporate leaders are essentially drunk and drugged-out pilots who are steering Western civilization and the world into the ground.

After 9/11, the people gave the governments of the world the keys to the plane of civilization and basically said: “Go ahead, takes us wherever you want. We will not question your stories, your statements, your wars, your decisions, and your judgments. You are the lords of the universe now. You are the masters of our reality. Guide us while we sit in our chairs and waste away our precious time by staring into space and watching movies like children.”

9/11 recreated in the Western mind a blank state, upon which a new conception of history and a radical code of ethics were written by the government authorities in the United States, Israel, England, and other Western nations. On this new mental blank slate, a new global bank state – a totalitarian world order – has been imposed on the American public and the Western world with the means of media propaganda and Soviet-style political brainwashing.

The reality-shaping and mind-bending powers of television were enhanced to the nth degree on September 11, 2001, and the days and weeks after the event. Holland Cotter, an art critic for The New York Times, wrote about how television news coverage shapes the political and historical memory of the United States in his excellent article “Huge Events Are Close to Home.” The article was featured in a longer piece called, “The Expression of Grief and the Power of Art,” which was published in The New York Times on September 13, 2001. Cotter wrote:

“The very nature of television changes in times of national tragedy and grief. A medium that usually treats death with murder-of-the-week flippancy suddenly brings its reality into our homes and offices with disturbing immediacy. As a country, we watched an inconceivable number of lives disappear before our eyes along with the World Trade Center, a horrifying shared experience. But there is always a second wave, which will play out again in the days to come.

In the aftermath of large-scale disasters, television does for the national psyche what wakes and funerals do in personal situations: it helps mourners accommodate themselves to the enormity of the loss and the change it will bring. When death enters the national consciousness through television, it creates a personal connection that requires mourning in the same medium.

That communal function is as crucial today as it was when John F. Kennedy was assassinated. What happened live on camera then — Walter Cronkite weeping as he announced that the president was dead, Jack Ruby shooting Lee Harvey Oswald — instantly linked the country to events. But what we think of historically as “the Kennedy assassination” includes the funereal images the country watched together in the days that followed: the flag-draped coffin, the first lady in her mourning veil, the 3-year-old John F. Kennedy Jr. saluting. It was a period that marked an enormous change in the country’s conception of itself.”

In the face of the mind-eating monster that is television, it is easy to lose your mental independence and accept the political construction of reality as actual reality. It takes sustained thoughtfulness and awareness to get out of the psychological prison system that has been put in place by the psychological warfare specialists in the intelligence agencies of the United States, England, and Israel.

How do we fire the government pilots of reality, and take back control of the plane of our civilization, our planet, and our destiny?

Tart says we must first be more spiritually attentive and become our own pilots of our individual minds.

According to Tart, becoming your own pilot of your own mind, “is a matter of first learning how the airliner works, how your psychological machinery operates, and then becoming/creating your own pilot, a genuinely awake and knowledgeable part of your mind, that will fly your plane well and take you to destinations of your own choice. Understanding how your psychological machinery functions is the work of self-observation. Creating your own pilot is the work of self-remembering.” (2).

Tart expanded on the importance of self-observation:

“The practice of self-observation begins with a desire and resolution on your part: ‘I want to know what really is, regardless of how I prefer things to be.

This is a resolution that must be constantly reinforced, as it goes against the tide of the automated processes of false personality and easily weakens and is swept under unless you actively willto know. Besides requiring will, it requires patience. It is definitely not the case that there are a few things it would be advantageous for you to know and you can find them out in a few weeks of effort. There are enormous numbers of things to know, and the commitment of self-observation should really be a commitment to an attitude to take actively for a lifetime.

It sounds like hard work. In one way, it is. In another way, it is pure pleasure, for it is nourishing one of your most essential qualities: curiousity.” (3).

Essentially, Tart is saying to occupy your mind. Take back your mind and own it. Don’t let powerful demonic forces that have hijacked the government and media to occupy your mind and take you for a spin while draining you of your wealth, your energy, your time, your trust, your faith, and in the cases of soldiers, your blood and your very life.

Psychologist Philip Zimbardo gave the same advice in the documentary, “I Am Fishead” Are Corporate Leaders Egotistical Psychopaths?” Zimbardo said:

“To blindly obey authority means be mindless, don’t be mindful, don’t do critical thinking, just do what you’re told. And that then links up. Parents say mind your own business, don’t get involved. Don’t think too deeply about it, just do what I say. That is one of the worst things that can happen in any society. An unthinking society is a society that’s vulnerable to the psychopaths, because they say ‘I have the answer, I have the way, I have the money, I have the power, I have the status, I can give you jobs. All you have to do is do it my way.’

Long before corporate psychopaths, there was Hitler, and Stalin, and the others. And those totalitarian dictators had the same message: give me your power and I will give you security, or the illusion of security, and all you have to do is do what I tell you to do. Many people are willing to give up freedom because it has associated responsibility, for the illusion of security. For somebody to say ‘okay, you’re a good boy, you’re a good child, now go play in the corner and don’t bother the grown-ups.’

And so in that sense it’s prolongation of immaturity. That is, as children, authorities, most parents, most teachers are good. Following their lead is good. But nobody teaches us to make the distinction between just authority that deserves our respect and unjust authority that deserves defiance. And that’s a big problem because as you grow older then here are these psychopaths, political, religious, organizational, industrial, who put on the same mask and say follow me. And you say okay without thinking why, where, when, and how.” (46:35 – 48:50).

Both Zimbardo and Tart are saying the same thing: wake up and grow up. Stop being robots and children. Become thinking adults.

Government is not your friend or your father. In the hands of Satanic tyrants, government is your eternal enemy. It forever tries to brainwash your mind, enslave your will, denigrate your character, control your perceptions, shape your memories, direct your energy, dominate your life, kill your spirit, and destroy your independence.

Government liars do not deserve our loyalty and our trust. They deserve our wrath.

Sources:
1. Tart, Charles. “Waking Up: Overcoming the Obstacles to Human Potential.” 1986. Pg. 183.
2. Ibid. Pg. 184.
3. Ibid. Pg. 189.

Saman Mohammadi is the writer and editor at The Excavator Blog

Catching Rachel Maddow’s Drift

http://warisacrime.org/content/catching-rachel-maddows-drift 

By davidswanson –

People who know better gave Rachel Maddow’s new book unqualified praise in blurbs on the dust jacket. Maybe they see more good than bad in the book, which is called “Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power.”  That’s a fair assessment.  I’d love for a hundred million Americans or so who never read books to read this one.  It wouldn’t be the first book I’d pick, but it would probably do a lot more good than harm.

It may seem greedy of me to wish that this book were a little bit better, but when Eisenhower warned of “the total influence — economic, political, even spiritual” of the military industrial complex, he exhibited that influence himself during the same speech in his comments on the Soviet Union.  Eisenhower was no exception to the totality of the influence, and neither is Maddow.

Maddow’s book picks out episodes, from the war on Vietnam to the present — episodes in the expansion of the military industrial complex and in the aggrandizement of presidential war powers.  Some of the episodes are extremely revealing and well told.  Maddow’s is perhaps the best collection I’ve seen of nuclear near-miss and screw-up stories.  But much is missing from the book.  And some of what is there is misleading.

Missing is the fact that U.S. wars kill people other than U.S. troops.  The U.S. Civil War’s battles, in Maddow’s view “remain, to this day, America’s most terrifying and costly battles.”  That depends what (or whom) you consider a cost.  A listing of U.S. dead on the television show “Nightline,” Maddow writes, “would be a televised memorial to those who had died in a year of war.”  Would it really?  Everyone who had died?  Victims of U.S. wars make an appearance in these pages as the sex slaves of U.S. mercenaries, but not as the victims of murder on a large scale.  This absence is in contrast to a large focus on the damage done to U.S. troops, and a much larger focus on financial costs — and not even on the tradeoffs, not even on the things that we could be spending money on, but rather on the “threat” of deficits and debt.  Maddow notes the dramatic conversion from weapons factories to automobile, tractor, and refrigerator factories that followed World War II, but she does not propose such a conversion process now.

Missing is resistance and conscientious objection.  “War will exist,” wrote President John Kennedy, “until the distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige as the warrior does today.”  That day grows more distant with books like Maddow’s.  In “Drift,” everything warriors do is called “defense” (except with the Russians whose actions are called “strategic (aka offensive)”; when the troops do things they are “serving”; they are “patriotic”; and in times when the military becomes widely respected that is considered a positive development.  Jim Webb is “an extraordinary soldier.”  Soldiers in Vietnam “served honorably,” but sadly the military was “diminished” and the troops “demoralized.”  Or is it de-moral-ized?  Maddow fills out her book with dramatic accounts of Navy SEALs trying to invade Grenada that appear to have been included purely for the adventure drama or the pro-troopiness — although there’s always some SNAFU in such stories as well.

War, in Maddow’s world, is not in need of abolition so much as proper execution, which sometimes means more massive and less hesitant execution.  LBJ “tried to fight a war on the cheap,” Maddow quotes a member of Johnson’s administration as recalling.  On the other hand, when Colin Powell and Norman Schwarzkopf propose five or six aircraft carriers for the First War on Iraq, Maddow recounts that this “would leave naval power dangerously thin in the rest of the world.”  Dangerous for whom?

Meanwhile advocates of ending war show up in a brief reference to “student activists and peaceniks,” and a characterization of publications favoring peace as those advertising “Oriental herbs, futons, prefab geodesic homes, all-cotton drawstring pants, send-a-crystal-to-a-friend, and the magic of Feldenkrais’s Awareness Through Movement seminars.”

Missing from the selected vignettes are some major wars but also the very existence of endless small wars and interventions.  The most complete portrait of a period is that of the Reagan presidency, which dominates the book.  Whereas Johnson “got dragged” into Vietnam in Maddow’s account, and the Gulf of Tonkin incident, which NEVER HAPPENED, was “wildly exaggerated,” Reagan gets a no-punches-pulled depiction as the heartless warmonger that he was.  He also gets credit for undoing the Soviet Union: “there might be some truth to that,” says Maddow, even though many believe that the Soviet Union could have dissolved sooner without the Ronnie Raygun military spending spree.

“Drift” is excellent on the transfer of war powers from Congress to the White House, but part of that story, as Maddow tells it, is presidential appeal to public opinion.  She leaves out the calculated manipulation of that public opinion through outright lies.  In Maddow’s telling, Reagan didn’t give a darn about rescuing U.S. students in Grenada — his excuse for invading.  But the excuse, in this telling, remains plausibly a part of the motivation.  In actual fact, U.S. State Department official James Budeit, two days before the invasion, learned that the students were not in danger. When about 100 to 150 students decided they wanted to leave, their reason was fear of the U.S. attack. The parents of 500 of the students sent President Reagan a telegram asking him not to attack, letting him know their children were safe and free to leave Grenada if they chose to do so.

In her account of the First War on Iraq, Maddow says that President George H.W. Bush convinced Saudi Arabia to allow U.S. troops in, but not that this was done by dishonestly claiming that Iraqi troops were massing at the border, a claim disproven by satellite photos.  Maddow quotes Bush’s claims about babies taken out of incubators in Kuwait, but does not mention that some congress members, including the late Tom Lantos (D., Calif.), knew but did not tell the U.S. public that the girl who told Congress the story was the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the United States, that she’d been coached by a major U.S. public relations company paid by the Kuwaiti government, and that there was no other evidence for the story.

When Maddow gets to the Clinton wars in the former Yugoslavia, she writes of the urge to bomb as a humanitarian impulse: “Long years on the national security watch had given [Colin Powell]  a much stronger stomach than the new president when it came to absorbing the daily press accounts of prison camp survivors, or of homeless starving Muslim and Croat refugees, or of the victims of Serbian artillery, snipers, and para-military knife-wielding thugs.”  Somehow Navy SEALS are never “thugs.”  Somehow Rwanda did not upset Clinton’s delicate stomach, even though police rather than bombs might have been appropriate in that case, and even though NATO wasn’t interested.  Somehow the options are limited to war or nothing.

The new sensitive president remarked of Somalia, according to George Stephanopoulos: “We’re not inflicting pain on these fuckers. When people kill us, they should be killed in greater numbers. I believe in killing people who try to hurt you. And I can’t believe we’re being pushed around by these two-bit pricks.”

But Clinton chickened out on proper war making in Bosnia, in Maddow’s account: “With his public approval ratings already sinking under the weight of policy fumbles like gays in the military and a failing health-care initiative, Clinton decided to take a pass on his Balkans test.  In this game of chicken with the Pentagon and mouthpieces like [John] McCain, Clinton blinked.  Clinton managed to commit the U.S. military to a fairly impotent ‘no-fly zone’ operation, and applauded the UN-formed ‘safe zones’ in the Balkans, but other than that he sat back and watched while Milosevic and Serb warlords continued to grind down the Croats and the Bosnians, and then taunt the West.”  What happened to restraint? legality? government of by and for the people?  Also missing from Maddow’s account is the 1999 bombing, the lies that facilitated it, and the defiance of Congress it entailed.

And what about elements of history that are in doubt: should they be mentioned?  The Iran hostage crisis plays a role in “Drift,” but nowhere is there any hint at the likelihood that Reagan’s team played a role in delaying the release of the hostages.

Public opinion should not be treated sloppily when it comes to Congressional actions any more than presidential.  Whenever Congress plays a role, Maddow uses the term “we,” as in “We decided to go to war, as a country.”  Here she was referring to the attack on Baghdad in 1991.  Personally, I recall protesting that in the street, but I don’t recall voting on the decision or electing someone to represent me who gave a damn what I thought.

Maddow explains war, to the extent that she does, in terms of electoral calculations and machismo.  The secret wars that she discusses are obviously hard to explain by the re-election strategies of presidents.  Machismo indeed goes a long way.  But what about money?  What about corruption?  What about weapons manufactured in little pieces as jobs programs in dozens of congressional districts?

When she comes around to Obama, Maddow includes a bit about his escalation of the war on Afghanistan, but understates by half the number of troops he sent, and claims he sent them only until 2014, while any eventual withdrawal is very much in doubt at this time for that future year.  On Iraq, Maddow’s account is worse: “[E]ven for President Obama, a man who had made a name for himself as an avowed opponent of the Iraq War, getting out was not easy.  In year nine of the war, Obama finally got the Iraqi government to provide the fig leaf of insisting upon our departure.”  Where to start?  Obama had a treaty that Bush had put in place.  All he had to do was comply with it.  He had his own campaign promises to withdraw much more quickly than that, and he’d won the election.  All he had to do was order the promised withdrawal.  Instead, Obama sought approval from the Iraqi government to keep troops in Iraq beyond Bush’s deadline.  Obama failed to obtain that approval.  Meanwhile Obama increased military spending, but Maddow makes no mention of it.  On her television show she celebrated it and falsely depicted it as a decrease:http://warisacrime.org/node/41507

Obama launched a war on Libya that goes unmentioned.  He claimed new powers to murder or imprison anyone, including U.S. citizens.  He openly asserted the presidential power to make war without Congress, the United Nations, or any other body.  This goes unmentioned.  He fumbled his way toward possible wars in Syria and Iran: no mention.  He persuaded Israel not to attack Iran until 2013, and according to Maariv provided the arms with which to do it then: no mention.  He also killed Osama bin Laden without attempting to capture him: Maddow calls this a “bright spot.” She says Pakistan was “shamed” by the event.  Apparently “we” were not.

Two flatly contradictory claims toward the end of “Drift” sum up my ambivalent attitude toward the book.  First, Maddow writes that “there are no examples in modern history in which a counterinsurgency in a foreign country has been successful. None!”  Then, a few pages later, back on the theme of reckless spending, Maddow writes: “‘We don’t have any enemies in Congress,’ a senior defense official told me in 2011.  ‘We have to fight Congress to cut programs, not keep them.’  And those are basically the only fights the Pentagon ever loses.”  Well, except for every single counterinsurgency, every single war, the war on Iraq, the war on Afghanistan, the war on Pakistan, the war on Libya, the wars back to the start of the book in Vietnam.  None of those nations are better off because of U.S. bombs.  The United States is not better off because of having bombed them.  The United States does not control them.  They have not submitted to its will.  Why not admit that the Pentagon always loses?  Why not admit that its losses are crimes and must always be immoral and illegal in every instance?  What does Maddow want us to do with a story of the dogs of war gradually going mad, if the story claims that those dogs provide a “service” and tend to “win”?

Well, the last few pages provide a to-do list.  The items are good, if limited.  They are almost entirely systemic changes within our government: wars must be paid for; no secret militaries; no more use of the military “to do things best left to our State Department, or the Peace Corps, or FEMA.”  That last one deserves praise, as many hold the misguided but well-intentioned view that the military should be transformed into a sort of Peace Corps.  In one of Maddow’s to-do items, the looming threat of a war on Iran appears to receive its only possible mention in the book, as Iran is included in a list of countries where war “is not always the best way to make threats go away.”  If Maddow stands by that position in 2013 and does not meet the fate that Phil Donahue met, her voice could make a major difference.

One to-do item on the last page of the book includes something for you and I, rather than just our government, to do.  Sadly, that something is “vote.”  Specifically: “Republicans and Democrats alike have options to vote people into Congress who are determined to stop the chickenshittery and assert the legislature’s constitutional prerogatives on war and peace.”  That’s not so obviously the case in most districts.  Most of us have a choice between this warmonger or that warmonger.  We do however have the option of nonviolent action that moves our entire society in a better direction.  I hope this book can help with that.  I just wish it were a little bit better.

http://warisacrime.org/content/catching-rachel-maddows-drift 

By davidswanson –

People who know better gave Rachel Maddow’s new book unqualified praise in blurbs on the dust jacket. Maybe they see more good than bad in the book, which is called “Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power.”  That’s a fair assessment.  I’d love for a hundred million Americans or so who never read books to read this one.  It wouldn’t be the first book I’d pick, but it would probably do a lot more good than harm.

It may seem greedy of me to wish that this book were a little bit better, but when Eisenhower warned of “the total influence — economic, political, even spiritual” of the military industrial complex, he exhibited that influence himself during the same speech in his comments on the Soviet Union.  Eisenhower was no exception to the totality of the influence, and neither is Maddow.

Maddow’s book picks out episodes, from the war on Vietnam to the present — episodes in the expansion of the military industrial complex and in the aggrandizement of presidential war powers.  Some of the episodes are extremely revealing and well told.  Maddow’s is perhaps the best collection I’ve seen of nuclear near-miss and screw-up stories.  But much is missing from the book.  And some of what is there is misleading.

Missing is the fact that U.S. wars kill people other than U.S. troops.  The U.S. Civil War’s battles, in Maddow’s view “remain, to this day, America’s most terrifying and costly battles.”  That depends what (or whom) you consider a cost.  A listing of U.S. dead on the television show “Nightline,” Maddow writes, “would be a televised memorial to those who had died in a year of war.”  Would it really?  Everyone who had died?  Victims of U.S. wars make an appearance in these pages as the sex slaves of U.S. mercenaries, but not as the victims of murder on a large scale.  This absence is in contrast to a large focus on the damage done to U.S. troops, and a much larger focus on financial costs — and not even on the tradeoffs, not even on the things that we could be spending money on, but rather on the “threat” of deficits and debt.  Maddow notes the dramatic conversion from weapons factories to automobile, tractor, and refrigerator factories that followed World War II, but she does not propose such a conversion process now.

Missing is resistance and conscientious objection.  “War will exist,” wrote President John Kennedy, “until the distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige as the warrior does today.”  That day grows more distant with books like Maddow’s.  In “Drift,” everything warriors do is called “defense” (except with the Russians whose actions are called “strategic (aka offensive)”; when the troops do things they are “serving”; they are “patriotic”; and in times when the military becomes widely respected that is considered a positive development.  Jim Webb is “an extraordinary soldier.”  Soldiers in Vietnam “served honorably,” but sadly the military was “diminished” and the troops “demoralized.”  Or is it de-moral-ized?  Maddow fills out her book with dramatic accounts of Navy SEALs trying to invade Grenada that appear to have been included purely for the adventure drama or the pro-troopiness — although there’s always some SNAFU in such stories as well.

War, in Maddow’s world, is not in need of abolition so much as proper execution, which sometimes means more massive and less hesitant execution.  LBJ “tried to fight a war on the cheap,” Maddow quotes a member of Johnson’s administration as recalling.  On the other hand, when Colin Powell and Norman Schwarzkopf propose five or six aircraft carriers for the First War on Iraq, Maddow recounts that this “would leave naval power dangerously thin in the rest of the world.”  Dangerous for whom?

Meanwhile advocates of ending war show up in a brief reference to “student activists and peaceniks,” and a characterization of publications favoring peace as those advertising “Oriental herbs, futons, prefab geodesic homes, all-cotton drawstring pants, send-a-crystal-to-a-friend, and the magic of Feldenkrais’s Awareness Through Movement seminars.”

Missing from the selected vignettes are some major wars but also the very existence of endless small wars and interventions.  The most complete portrait of a period is that of the Reagan presidency, which dominates the book.  Whereas Johnson “got dragged” into Vietnam in Maddow’s account, and the Gulf of Tonkin incident, which NEVER HAPPENED, was “wildly exaggerated,” Reagan gets a no-punches-pulled depiction as the heartless warmonger that he was.  He also gets credit for undoing the Soviet Union: “there might be some truth to that,” says Maddow, even though many believe that the Soviet Union could have dissolved sooner without the Ronnie Raygun military spending spree.

“Drift” is excellent on the transfer of war powers from Congress to the White House, but part of that story, as Maddow tells it, is presidential appeal to public opinion.  She leaves out the calculated manipulation of that public opinion through outright lies.  In Maddow’s telling, Reagan didn’t give a darn about rescuing U.S. students in Grenada — his excuse for invading.  But the excuse, in this telling, remains plausibly a part of the motivation.  In actual fact, U.S. State Department official James Budeit, two days before the invasion, learned that the students were not in danger. When about 100 to 150 students decided they wanted to leave, their reason was fear of the U.S. attack. The parents of 500 of the students sent President Reagan a telegram asking him not to attack, letting him know their children were safe and free to leave Grenada if they chose to do so.

In her account of the First War on Iraq, Maddow says that President George H.W. Bush convinced Saudi Arabia to allow U.S. troops in, but not that this was done by dishonestly claiming that Iraqi troops were massing at the border, a claim disproven by satellite photos.  Maddow quotes Bush’s claims about babies taken out of incubators in Kuwait, but does not mention that some congress members, including the late Tom Lantos (D., Calif.), knew but did not tell the U.S. public that the girl who told Congress the story was the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the United States, that she’d been coached by a major U.S. public relations company paid by the Kuwaiti government, and that there was no other evidence for the story.

When Maddow gets to the Clinton wars in the former Yugoslavia, she writes of the urge to bomb as a humanitarian impulse: “Long years on the national security watch had given [Colin Powell]  a much stronger stomach than the new president when it came to absorbing the daily press accounts of prison camp survivors, or of homeless starving Muslim and Croat refugees, or of the victims of Serbian artillery, snipers, and para-military knife-wielding thugs.”  Somehow Navy SEALS are never “thugs.”  Somehow Rwanda did not upset Clinton’s delicate stomach, even though police rather than bombs might have been appropriate in that case, and even though NATO wasn’t interested.  Somehow the options are limited to war or nothing.

The new sensitive president remarked of Somalia, according to George Stephanopoulos: “We’re not inflicting pain on these fuckers. When people kill us, they should be killed in greater numbers. I believe in killing people who try to hurt you. And I can’t believe we’re being pushed around by these two-bit pricks.”

But Clinton chickened out on proper war making in Bosnia, in Maddow’s account: “With his public approval ratings already sinking under the weight of policy fumbles like gays in the military and a failing health-care initiative, Clinton decided to take a pass on his Balkans test.  In this game of chicken with the Pentagon and mouthpieces like [John] McCain, Clinton blinked.  Clinton managed to commit the U.S. military to a fairly impotent ‘no-fly zone’ operation, and applauded the UN-formed ‘safe zones’ in the Balkans, but other than that he sat back and watched while Milosevic and Serb warlords continued to grind down the Croats and the Bosnians, and then taunt the West.”  What happened to restraint? legality? government of by and for the people?  Also missing from Maddow’s account is the 1999 bombing, the lies that facilitated it, and the defiance of Congress it entailed.

And what about elements of history that are in doubt: should they be mentioned?  The Iran hostage crisis plays a role in “Drift,” but nowhere is there any hint at the likelihood that Reagan’s team played a role in delaying the release of the hostages.

Public opinion should not be treated sloppily when it comes to Congressional actions any more than presidential.  Whenever Congress plays a role, Maddow uses the term “we,” as in “We decided to go to war, as a country.”  Here she was referring to the attack on Baghdad in 1991.  Personally, I recall protesting that in the street, but I don’t recall voting on the decision or electing someone to represent me who gave a damn what I thought.

Maddow explains war, to the extent that she does, in terms of electoral calculations and machismo.  The secret wars that she discusses are obviously hard to explain by the re-election strategies of presidents.  Machismo indeed goes a long way.  But what about money?  What about corruption?  What about weapons manufactured in little pieces as jobs programs in dozens of congressional districts?

When she comes around to Obama, Maddow includes a bit about his escalation of the war on Afghanistan, but understates by half the number of troops he sent, and claims he sent them only until 2014, while any eventual withdrawal is very much in doubt at this time for that future year.  On Iraq, Maddow’s account is worse: “[E]ven for President Obama, a man who had made a name for himself as an avowed opponent of the Iraq War, getting out was not easy.  In year nine of the war, Obama finally got the Iraqi government to provide the fig leaf of insisting upon our departure.”  Where to start?  Obama had a treaty that Bush had put in place.  All he had to do was comply with it.  He had his own campaign promises to withdraw much more quickly than that, and he’d won the election.  All he had to do was order the promised withdrawal.  Instead, Obama sought approval from the Iraqi government to keep troops in Iraq beyond Bush’s deadline.  Obama failed to obtain that approval.  Meanwhile Obama increased military spending, but Maddow makes no mention of it.  On her television show she celebrated it and falsely depicted it as a decrease:http://warisacrime.org/node/41507

Obama launched a war on Libya that goes unmentioned.  He claimed new powers to murder or imprison anyone, including U.S. citizens.  He openly asserted the presidential power to make war without Congress, the United Nations, or any other body.  This goes unmentioned.  He fumbled his way toward possible wars in Syria and Iran: no mention.  He persuaded Israel not to attack Iran until 2013, and according to Maariv provided the arms with which to do it then: no mention.  He also killed Osama bin Laden without attempting to capture him: Maddow calls this a “bright spot.” She says Pakistan was “shamed” by the event.  Apparently “we” were not.

Two flatly contradictory claims toward the end of “Drift” sum up my ambivalent attitude toward the book.  First, Maddow writes that “there are no examples in modern history in which a counterinsurgency in a foreign country has been successful. None!”  Then, a few pages later, back on the theme of reckless spending, Maddow writes: “‘We don’t have any enemies in Congress,’ a senior defense official told me in 2011.  ‘We have to fight Congress to cut programs, not keep them.’  And those are basically the only fights the Pentagon ever loses.”  Well, except for every single counterinsurgency, every single war, the war on Iraq, the war on Afghanistan, the war on Pakistan, the war on Libya, the wars back to the start of the book in Vietnam.  None of those nations are better off because of U.S. bombs.  The United States is not better off because of having bombed them.  The United States does not control them.  They have not submitted to its will.  Why not admit that the Pentagon always loses?  Why not admit that its losses are crimes and must always be immoral and illegal in every instance?  What does Maddow want us to do with a story of the dogs of war gradually going mad, if the story claims that those dogs provide a “service” and tend to “win”?

Well, the last few pages provide a to-do list.  The items are good, if limited.  They are almost entirely systemic changes within our government: wars must be paid for; no secret militaries; no more use of the military “to do things best left to our State Department, or the Peace Corps, or FEMA.”  That last one deserves praise, as many hold the misguided but well-intentioned view that the military should be transformed into a sort of Peace Corps.  In one of Maddow’s to-do items, the looming threat of a war on Iran appears to receive its only possible mention in the book, as Iran is included in a list of countries where war “is not always the best way to make threats go away.”  If Maddow stands by that position in 2013 and does not meet the fate that Phil Donahue met, her voice could make a major difference.

One to-do item on the last page of the book includes something for you and I, rather than just our government, to do.  Sadly, that something is “vote.”  Specifically: “Republicans and Democrats alike have options to vote people into Congress who are determined to stop the chickenshittery and assert the legislature’s constitutional prerogatives on war and peace.”  That’s not so obviously the case in most districts.  Most of us have a choice between this warmonger or that warmonger.  We do however have the option of nonviolent action that moves our entire society in a better direction.  I hope this book can help with that.  I just wish it were a little bit better.