Thursday, October 04, 2007

The world turned upside down: Reality nonoperable.

I was just scanning through this weeks edition of Newsweek and I came across Christopher Dickey's article on the recent avalanche of books being published outlining the sad state of affairs in our country in terms of civil liberties. It's pretty bleak oh my droogies.

We've all heard the administration's narrative that after 9/11 everything had changed and the gloves were coming off. I'm sure most people thought we were going to go after whoever was behind the 9/11 attacks much the same way the Clinton administration did with the "Blind Sheik" after the 1993 WTC attacks or Timothy McVeigh after Oklahoma City. What I don't think most folks bargained for was the vice-president and his legal eagle, David Addington (aka Cheney's Rasputin), getting out a big bottle of white-out and blanking out the fourth, sixth, and eighth amendments of the constitution, all in the name of waging a perpetual war against . . . well someone, we're not sure who. After all, the two people most responsible for 9/11 are still hanging out in Pakistan spending their free time playing around with digital video cameras.

Meanwhile, W. & Co. have managed to get us into two wars that just seem to go on and on. And in the name of those wars, they've gone around the world kidnapping people off the streets of our closest allies and outsourced the torture of them to regimes like Syria; locked up mere suspects up in "black prisons," and at home have run roughshod over our entire system of checks and balances that were supposed to prevent the creation of an imperial regime from ever taking over. The country most of you reading this right now were born into and thought was the way it had always been and would always be -- is gone.

As Chris Dickey sums up in his piece: "The Bush administration's very special vision of a powerful president waging endless war, which once would have seemed fantastical, has become the painful reality that Americans may be living for generations to come."

Perhaps many people who haven't been paying much attention to the fact that our country is no longer our country are scratching their heads at the funny situation where private armies are now essentially waging parallel wars for their corporate clients in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan and getting paid vast sums of tax-payer money to do it.

What kind of brave new world are we living in where the our top commanding general in Iraq, David Petraues, the author of the Surge, makes $100,000 a year while the owner of Blackwater USA, Erik Prince, makes a million a year? And, worst of all, while our grunts are sweating it out on the streets of Baghdad -- many of them concerned about whether their families back at home have enough food stamps to get through the month -- they're most likely dodging and sometimes catching "honor bullets" for the murderous excesses of Blackwater mercenaries making 10 times what they do.

In what kind of whacky world does an American civilian contractor kill the body guard of another country's vice-president in a drunken rage and get flown out of that country and flown back home to walk the streets a free man? In the olden days an American soldier who did such a thing would be court marshaled and imprisoned. But since this contractor was working for Blackwater, the State Department's muscle, he gets a pass. We've got 2 million American in prison, 40% of whom are non-violent drug offenders, yet murderers working for our government are allowed to walk the streets free men.

David Satterfield, a senior advisor to Condi Rice, defended Blackwater by telling Congress: "Without private security details, we would not be able to interface with Iraqi government officials, institutions and other Iraqi civilians critical to our missions here."

The fact that after four years, almost 30,000 US casualties and half a trillion dollars down the drain our diplomats still can't walk out their heavily fortified door without the protection of dozens of heavily armed mercenaries (with their own air support wing no less) to "interface" with Iraqi civilians, kind of tends to highlight the reality that this war is a total and complete failure.

But reality is no longer operable in these United States. Ron Suskind quoted one Bush official explaining the newthink that prevails at the White House:

Suskind and his fellow travelers are "'in what we call the reality-based community," what is made up of people, he says, who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality."

Empiricism and intellictual regour all that clap-trap is simply a thing of the past:

"That's not the way the world really works anymore. We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

As arch-neocon Norman Podhoretz writes in his book "World War IV:" in its fight against terrorism W. & Co. face their own "domestic insurgency" here at home: There are "journalistic devotees of the Vietnam syndrome" those damned "liberal internationalists" and worst of all the "realists." If you think the neocons are a spent force, just look at who's still sitting on his perch in the veep's office.

How long before this administration turns its hired guns against this domestic insurgency? Halliburton is already building new detention facilities for the illegal aliens DHS is getting ever better at rounding up in their hundreds at a time. If we don't have enough ICE agents to round up illegals and domestic insurgents at the same time, there's always Blackwater ready and willing for a price to interface with American civilians right here at home.

Think this is all conspiracy theories and paranoia? Just look at what's been done in just 6 1/2 years by this administration and, if you still have any doubts, check out Operation Endgame and what DHS has in store.


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