Wednesday, August 16, 2006

How the Military/Industrial complex turned America into Murder, Inc.

The Military/Industrial complex makes its "living" killing!

I believe Albert Camus [L'Etranger (1942) ], lately said to have been read by George W. Bush, would have called that absurd.

The business of defense contractors —even those only peripherally connected with the production of weapons themselves —is death! Yet another way of putting it: The Military/Industrial Complex is Murder, Inc.

Bush, of course, will not admit that our country has become Murder, Inc. His party will even deny that we've become it's euphemism: The National Security State. The origins of our Murder, Inc. is the National Security Act of 1947 —a blueprint for fascism . It granted to the Pentagon powers of unlimited defense spending.

It would not have been possible to justify such largesse without a bogeyman to be dragged out whenever the population is roused by truth to suspicion. In 1947, the bogeyman was the specter of communism —a tactic urged upon President Harry Truman by GOP Senator Arthur Vandenburg. The climate of fear is maintained by both parties but with less embarrassment by the GOP. [See: The Decline of the American Empire, Gore Vidal] In what Vidal called "a fit of conscience" never witnessed among modern Republicans, President Eisenhower warned us that such a Military/Industrial complex might establish permanent control over the state itself.

Fascism is not defined by the number of its victims, but by the way it kills them. —Jean-Paul Sartre
Sartre was, of course, correct. Killing someone for revenge, an act of passion, even a petty theft is one thing. But a society is morally lost when mass murder becomes its number one export. In such a society, everyone is guilty. That is Fascism. That IS absurdity. The rationale du jour is terrorism.

Terrorism can only be exploited in an atmosphere of irrational and endemic hatred. Hatred is nurtured by a party that could not possibly exist without the various strawmen upon which it directs the bile and hatred of the American right wing —hatred of science, hatred of the humanities, especially art, literature, and most of all: philosophy. Right wing hatred of philosophy is most certainly based upon its inherent distrust of critical thought itself. The GOP finds the process of critical thinking subversive of its own inflexible, unquestioned dogma. This is dogma that they would, of course, impose upon you in various and subtle ways. It is a brave and rare person who dares think outside the box.

For grins, let's factor out the GDP, the billions spent and the billions earned on the arts of war and those who enable it. We are third world. And for all that, we can thank the most absurd party of man's creation: the GOP.

What matters - all that matters, really - is the will to happiness, a kind of enormous, ever-present consciousness. The rest - women, art, success - is nothing but excuses. —Albert Camus
It would appear that America's raison d'etre has become the mass murder of people from Viet Nam to Iraq. If Camus was right, then the collective will of America is doing precisely what it really wants to do. There are no rationales. There are no excuses. And the world will not be safe until America faces that ugly fact about itself.

Now, if Bush would expect us to believe that he's actually read anything by an existentialist, let him begin by withdrawing American troops, however belatedly, out of Iraq.

More on the symbiosis theme:

Bush's Political Survival Depends on Terror Threats

By William Greider, TheNation.com. Posted August 14, 2006.

The president is trying for the third time to make terrorism his big campaign issue -- are Americans going to finally snap out of it?

An evil symbiosis does exist between Muslim terrorists and American politicians, but it is not the one Republicans describe. The jihadists need George W. Bush to sustain their cause. His bloody crusade in the Middle East bolsters their accusation that America is out to destroy Islam. The president has unwittingly made himself the lead recruiter of willing young martyrs.

More to the point, it is equally true that Bush desperately needs the terrorists. They are his last frail hope for political survival. They divert public attention, at least momentarily, from his disastrous war in Iraq and his shameful abuses of the Constitution. The "news" of terror -- whether real or fantasized -- reduces American politics to its most primitive impulses, the realm of fear-and-smear where George Bush is at his best. ...







The Existentialist Cowboy

22 comments:

Fuzzflash said...

Len, Murder Inc. fits BushCo like a glove. It's time to slap him upside the head with Democracy's gauntlet.

From the latter half of your post with my italics,
"Bush's Political Survival Depends on Terror Threats
By William Greider, TheNation.com. Posted August 14, 2006.
The president(THE BOY WHO CRIED WOLF) is trying for the third time(THE THIRD ELECTION IN A ROW) to make terrorism(WHO'S AFRAID OF THE BIG BAD WOLF?) his big campaign issue --
are Americans going to finally snap out of it?" (BUSCO SURE DON'T RECKON SO)

And why shouldn't they? Roll over Machiavelli, Goebbels Raus; Karl Rove has mastered the art of fooling all of the people, all of the time. Karl's the kind of guy who makes David Copperfield seem like a sidewalk vaudevillian. The guy will even shapeshift to bypass airport security. Absolute Natural. It's not so much that Abe Lincoln or P.T. Barnum or whoever came up with the "fooling the people" triplet was wrong, it's just that neither of these gentlemen had Fox and Diebold and a reservoir of think tanks in their pocket.

Not like Karl has.

Fuzzflash said...

Bit quite on the trail today, pard, so I'll have another lash.
Hot on the heels of Sy Hersh's most recent New Yorker essay comes this superb piece of analysis from today's HuffPo. Seems the heavies are beginning to come round to where we've been on the Cowboy for some time now. Still, it's not much joy being Cassandra, unless the maddies on both sides can be neutered. It's been 61 years and two weeks since our species willfully nuked tens of thousands of human beings, leaving untold more to the aftermath of nuclear fallout. An "emptiness inside" overwhelms me, while contemplating those 2 acts of "war shortening" barbarity, and that we are, more than likely, living in the last few weeks before Uncle Sammy tries in on again. Yesterday Kenny "The Weasel" Mehlman from Murder Inc. admitted for the first time that Iraq was about oil(as well as god's gift of democracy,of course).
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tom-hayden/can-the-bombing-of-iran-b_b_27438.html

A group of young Persian shepherds greet the sun as it slowly rises through the red dawn.
The majesty of the moment washes over them inducing an incredible lightness of being.
For thousands of years their forebears bore testimony to such beauty.
They are as one in silent accord.

Today is a good day to die.

Jen said...

Are we ready for armageddon yet? Fuzzflash, are you saying we'd better be prepared? From all that has happened so far, unless we do a 180, we are doomed...

I think I need to go pray...

Len Hart said...

Fuzzflash, Jen. Great comments.

The Existentialist attitude is that an authentic life is the one lived free of excuses. At some point, the only choice left us is our own attitude. I've always known that there is the slim chance that Bush and his evil ilk might prevail. But there are no bargains to be made with Satan.

Camus wrote: Do not wait for the last judgment. It takes place every day.

And he also wrote: In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.

Dante lee said...

To illustrate your article, Len, Maureen Dowd puts it in better words than i could have come up with:



Strangely enough, we find two famous men reading Albert Camus’s “The Stranger” this summer.

One is Jean Girard, the villainous gay French race car driver hilariously played by Sacha Baron Cohen (a k a Ali G and Borat) — the sinuous rival to Will Ferrell’s stocky Ricky Bobby in “Talladega Nights.”

Girard, a jazz-loving, white-silk-scarf-wearing, America-disdaining Formula Un driver sponsored by Perrier, is so smooth he can sip macchiato from a china cup, smoke Gitanes and read “L’Etranger” behind the wheel and still lead the Nascar pack.

Frenchie contemptuously informs “cowboy” Bobby that America merely gave the world George Bush, Cheerios and the ThighMaster while France invented democracy, existentialism and the ménage à trois.

The other guy kindling to Camus is none other than the aforementioned George Bush, who read “The Stranger” in English on his Crawford vacation and, Tony Snow told me, “liked it.” Name-dropping existentialists is good for picking up girls, as Woody Allen’s schlemiels found, or getting through the clove-cigarette fog of Humanities 101. But it does seem odd that W., who once mocked NBC’s David Gregory as “intercontinental” for posing a question in French to the French president in France, would choose Camus over Grisham.

Camus is not beach reading — or brush reading. How on earth did this book make it into the hands of our proudly anti-intellectual president?

“I don’t know how ‘L’Etranger’ made it onto his list,” Mr. Snow said. “I must confess, I read ‘L’Etranger’ 25 years ago.” The rest of W.’s reading list was presidentially correct: two books on Lincoln and the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Polio: An American Story,” by David Oshinsky. (Not a word by Merleau-Ponty.)

Debunking the theory that W. had a sports section or Mad magazine’s “Spy vs. Spy” tucked inside the 1946 classic of angst, Mr. Snow noted that he and the president had “a brief conversation on the origins of French existentialism, Camus and Sartre.” Pressed for more details by an astonished columnist having trouble envisioning Waco as the Left Bank, the press secretary laughed. “Confidential conversation,” he said, extending the administration’s lack of transparency to literature.

He brushed off suggestions that the supremely unself-reflective W. was going through a Carteresque malaise-in-the-gorge moment: “He doesn’t feel like an existentialist trapped in Algeria during the unpleasantness.”

It takes a while to adjust to the idea of W., who has created chaos trying to impose moral order on the globe, perusing Camus, who wrote about the eternal frustration of moral order in human affairs. What does W., the archenemy of absurdity as a view of life, kindle to in C., the apostle of absurdity as a view of life? What can W., the born-again monogamist, spark to in C., the amorous atheist? In some ways, Mr. Bush is supremely not a Camus man. Camus hated the blindness caused by ideology, and Mr. Bush wallows in it. Camus celebrated lucidity while the president keeps seeing only what he wants to see.

Mr. Bush’s life has been premised on his confidence that he will always be insulated from the consequences and the cruelties of existence, unlike Meursault. W. or his people always work to change fate, whether it’s an election or the Middle East.

If you think about it long enough, though, it begins to make a sort of wacky sense.

“The Stranger” is about the emotionally detached Meursault, who makes a lot of bad decisions and pre-emptively kills an Arab in the sand. Get it? Camus’s protagonist moves through an opaque, obscure and violent world that is indifferent to his beliefs and desires. Get it?

If there was ever a moment when this president could regard the unanticipated consequences of his actions, behold the world littered with the very opposite of what he intended for it and appreciate the gritty stoicism of the philosophy of absurdism, this is it. Iraq in civil war. Al Qaeda metastasizing and plotting. Hezbollah, Iran and Syria knitting closer, celebrating a “victory” in standing up to Israel, the U.S. and Britain, and mocking W.’s plan for a “new Middle East.” The North Koreans luxuriating in their nuclear capability. Chávez becoming the new Castro on a global scale.

Maybe next the president should pick up Camus’s other classic, “The Myth of Sisyphus.” Was there ever a national enterprise more Sisyphean than the war in Iraq?

If there was ever a confirmation of Camus’s sense of the absurdity of life, it’s that the president is reading him.

Mark said...

fuzzflash; the lame-ass denials of BushCo that the war in Iraq was about petrobux rather than democracy, or WMD or whatever, are believed by nobody. If the Great Decider didn't live in a soothing bubble that insulates him from reality, he'd know that, and stop the efforts at "disassembling".

Here's an interesting link -

http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/oil/2002/12heart.htm

- which posits that, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, a barrel of Iraqi oil can be produced for somewhere around $1.50. Yes, that's right; less than two bucks. That's not all. That figure includes "all exploration, oilfield development and production costs and including a 15% return".

The rest is pure profit. At more than $70.00 per barrel, if the cost remained there (and artful marketing could easily ensure it would), the profit margin would be staggering: like a license to steal.

It is a not-too-well-known fact that Canada is the U.S's biggest foreign supplier of oil. When the price of oil slipped below $20.00 per barrel, most of the oil companies in North America (including domestic U.S. producers) would cap their wells, because it costs more than that to get it out of the ground. Having a hand on the spigot in Iraq would allow the controlling country to undercut production costs everywhere else on the planet. The suggestion that the possibility was of no interest to a U.S. government thick with oil-industry executives is so ridiculous as to defy description - give the public a little credit. Add to that the opportunity to hold oil-hungry emerging giants such as China and India in check; who'd believe a chance to hold a gun to the head of their biggest creditor doesn't interest the Bush administration?

Leaving that for now, the idea that Bush actually reads (and discusses!!!) Camus is the joke of the century. Are we supposed to believe a marginally retarded posterboy for illiteracy such as Preznit Gump has discussions on the origin of French existentialism....with a slick boob like Tony Snow??? Well, they're pretty sure it originated in France, I'll bet. Thing is, whose knob are they polishing now? Wasn't it the French that Bush and his crowd so recently used to refer to as "Cheese-eating surrender monkeys"?

Give Bush two weeks to forget about it, then ask him, "Who was that French existentialist author you're so struck with, Mr. President?" I bet he'd say, "Ummm...Camel, I think his name was. Anyway, that's classified. National Security, you know", or some similar evasion.

It reminds me of nothing so much as a quote I once saw, attributed to Madonna's press agent: "If you peek in her purse, she's got Proust in there".

Sure she has.

Vierotchka said...

Actually, Madonna is a million times more likely to have Proust in her purse than Dubya reading Camus for real... :)

Mark said...

Ha!! Conceded.

Mark said...

Here's a cool link -

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/08/17/
flying_toilet_terror_labs/print.html

- by Thomas Greene at The Register, taking apart the theory of binary explosives, and how the world is falling for a Hollywood movie plot that would in reality be extremely difficult to execute ( for starters, who thinks you can spend a couple of hours in an airplane toilet without attracting attention?)

"…Modern fascism should be properly called corporatism, since it is the merger of state, military and corporate power..."

Benito Mussolini


“ I would rather live my life as if there is a God and die to find out there isn't, than live my life as if there isn't and die to find out there is.”

Albert Camus

Fuzzflash said...

Jen, it's always good to be prepared. I think that there is a significant chance that if BushCo nukes Iran, and they have shown themselves to be desperate and stupid and greedy and vainglorious enough to attempt it,then sooner or later there will be a retaliation in kind. I'm no soothsayer, but I don't think all human life on terra is doomed as a result multiple M.E. nukings but the aftermath will be catastrophic. "Today is a good day to die" is an everyday greeting among the native North Americans featured in the 1970 film "Little Big Man". To me, it's existentialism straight up. 'Twould would make a fine epitaph.

Dante Lee, J'aime beaucoup Jean Girard et Borat aussi. SBC is both brilliant and courageous. His phsical comedy alone (Borat on a treadmill or running along the street etc.) is Chaplinesque. Very funny and very brave. Borat told a "live" redneck rodeo crowd that Kazakstan stood alongside George Bush and America in Iraq and was honoured to be drenched in the blood of innocent women and children, just like they were. He was lucky to getaway without being lynched. His comedy is as anarchistic as Lenny Bruce's, minus the self pity.

Mark, I'll wager Junior's brain hurt so bad after a few sentences of Uncle Albert, than he was at once drawn to the familiar,ungulate comforts of "My Pet Goat".
Wanna have some fun? Copy and paste the following into a search engine.The game is called Give Bush A Brain.It's belly laugh territory.See if you can get past 8.
http://www.imgag.com/product/full/ap/3067907/graphic1.swf

Len Hart said...

Hello gang, a big story broke and I will have to wait until morning to write the cowboy take on it. It's the story about how a Federal Judge bitch slapped Bush's no warrant, big bro surveillance program. Bush's face must still be stinging. The Constitutional story to come.

Mark said...

Yes, I saw that yesterday morning in the Washington Post (and repeated elsewhere). It is a big story, I suppose, in the sense that it signifies a continuing trend in judicial resistance to the Bush administration's parlour tricks after a couple of years of rubber-stamping. However, I don't have a lot of confidence it'll actually make them cease and desist.

There are a couple of good reasons for that. For one, they were already doing it for years before anybody knew. They had no intention of anybody ever knowing. That suggests they'll look all embarrassed, and then take it deeper underground, with a smaller circle of in-the-knows. For another, remember Total Information Awareness? TIA was deemed so invasive of privacy even in the post-9-11 rush for the security tit that its designers were told to pack it up and chuck it. Did they? No, by no means; they just broke it up into component parts, and assigned different code names.

This administration is crazy for information and surveillance. The notion that somebody who now has a deep plot against broad and multiple targets is going to call up a friend and chat about it on the phone, or commit the details to an email, is ludicrous - they were more careful than that before 9-11. This is all about trawling for potentially embarrassing leverage against political opponents and leftist big-mouths.

Len Hart said...

And Bushies must likewise think it big. They have rolled out the the GOP slime machine —an effort to discredit U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor. The Ad Hominem attack is evidence of a failed position and, in this case, a failed administration.

Anonymous said...

Boy, you said a mouthful. Say, have you seen the flood of stories expressing reservations and skepticism about the Great British Binary Explosives Plot? They're really taking this one apart.

Most are keen to point out that there is no evidence at all thus far, and that some suspects have already been released (not to mention an implication that nobody will face serious charges at all).

The sole exception, not surprisingly, is Michelle Malkin, who reported on her blog that a United Airlines ticket dated next Wednesday was found in the home of one suspect. However, most reasoning beings now expect Malkin to just make stuff up in order to backstop her tin-foil-hat theories.

Mark said...

Sorry, that was me. I was asked to retype the secret word several times, and in one of those transactions, the name must have deropped off

Vierotchka said...

It must be pointed out that nowadays, it is extremely difficult for a Pakistani Brit to obtain a visa for the USA, and that without such a visa, one cannot board an airplane bound for the USA. This is one of the many reasons why this alleged terror plot sounds like a total fabrication.

Vierotchka said...

Hi Mark - thanks for your visit and your kind comment! :)

Vierotchka said...

Mark, here is your link in a clickable form: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/08/17/flying_toilet_terror_labs/print.html

Len Hart said...

Vierotchka, that's a great article and an eye opener. Another phony plot from desparate fascists!

Mark said...

Hey, Vierotchka! Thanks for the clickable link, I've never known how to do that. I like the improvements to your site, and the art is fabulous. It reminds me strongly of the old album-cover art for Yes.

Indeed, Len, the whole liquid explosive plot is slipping through their fingers. It smells more and more like a totally manufactured instant-crisis tempest in a teapot. Points that have been advanced in other articles on the subject are;

1. the binary liquid explosives threat is far from new - not only has it been around for at least a decade (convicted terrorist Ramzi Yousef exploded a binary-liquid device on a Manila-Tokyo flight, killing a passenger, in a component of the "Bojinka" plot; this was discussed in Chapter 5 of the bipartisan 9-11 Commission report), the limitations are well known. Liquids, though, were not restricted on planes before this,

2. sources in London have begun to distance themselves from the plot, and to suggest the Al Qaeda connection resulted from American pressure; and

3. although he is said to have briefed Bush via telephone (on vacation in Texas) on surveillance operations on targeted flights to the U.S. the Sunday prior, Tony Blair still left for vacation the day before the situation broke. When it did, he didn't bother to return. The Transport Minister was recalled from vacation in Scotland to deal with the airport travel crisis, but Blair left the following day.

It not only suggests a detached and cynical manipulation of public fear, but a brazen contempt for public ability to put things together. If this is what now passes for government in the biggest and oldest democracies, perhaps democracy itself is in decline. Such a system is deserving of ridicule and abandonment.

Mark said...

Another enlightening link on this rapidly-crumbling disaster -

http://www.craigmurray.co.uk/archives/2006/08/
the_uk_terror_p.html

- highlighting the rarely-discussed fact that most of the "intelligence" came from a Brit Pakistani in Pakistan, where he quite possibly said anything to persuade them to forgo, or to stop torturing him.

Nice backgrounder also on British Home Secretary John Reid, the man some are suggesting could be Britain's next Prime Minister, if Labour can somehow hold on to government. Along with Tony Blair being on vacation, the heretofore imagined successor to the PM-ship, Gordon Brown, was also elsewhere.

This article closes with a summation of the thousands of British Muslims arrested, pointing out that only 12% are ever actually charged with anything, and of them, "...most of the very few who are convicted...are not convicted of anything to do with terrorism, but of some minor offense the police happened upon while trawling through the wreck of the lives they had shattered".

Gee...why do they hate us?

Vierotchka said...

As someone pointed out in the comments section on the Craig Murray article, hydrogen peroxide is globally used to clean and disinfect baby bottles, so finding some in a baby bottle or traces of it in empty baby bottles is perfectly normal and not indicative of a baby's parents plotting to blow themselves (and the airplane they are to board) up in some suicidal terror plot...