New Hope for Defending Democracy
Continued from previous page
There may no greater evidence of the ability of fear, self-interest and fantasy to overwhelm rationality than the fact that the U.S. Congress does not even discuss whether the Executive really needs to spend over $1 trillion a year to protect us in a world in which China and Russia are no longer even our enemies, and the most effective way to reduce whatever terrorist threats do exist is clearly to engage in old-fashioned police work with local police forces who see us as allies, not enemies.
And the single most irrational fact of American "national security" policy today, as several dozen of America's most knowledgeable national security experts have attested, is that this $1 trillion a year is actually not protecting but endangering us, by creating far more enemies than it kills, increasing the risk of more 9/11s, destabilizing friendly governments, and making it more likely that Pakistani nuclear materials will fall into anti-American hands.
Information Management to Protect a Failed Institution
Although the Executive is America's most powerful institution, it has an Achilles heel. The private sector produces wealth and builds; the Executive consumes wealth and destroys. It thus depends for its life on convincing taxpayers to fund it despite its 70-year record of failure, wasted resources and innumerable lies.
The U.S. Executive Branch has not won any of the major wars it initiated over the past 50 years, sending over 62,697 American youths to their deaths and wounding over 185,625 in Indochina and Iraq, on the basis of lies. Its support for the Shah of Iran and invasion of Iraq brought to power and strengthened its major Middle East foe; its costly intelligence agencies supported the Mujahidin in Afghanistan who became al Qaeda and the Taliban, failed to prevent 9/11, falsely claimed that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, and failed to predict the Arab Spring. It has today turned most of Latin America against it and wasted $4-6 trillion long-term on its losing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, even as China has invested similar sums in buying up many of the world's resources, leading the clean energy revolution, and moving to become the dominant Asian power.
The Executive Branch has succeeded on its own terms, steadily accumulating power for 70 years now. But it is clearly an institution that has failed the American people. If Americans realized this truth they might likely dramatically reduce its funding and control its activities.
As a result, Executive officials' top priority is to maintain secrecy about their countless failures, and actively propagandize the American public about real and imagined successes.
For such officials "truth" and "lies" are not operational categories of thought. The purpose of any communication with the public or Congress is to further their agency's mission. Lying is rewarded not punished, as when General Stanley McChrystal was promoted after knowingly lying when he said that Pat Tillman was killed by enemy rather than friendly fire. The only firing offense is telling the truth, as when State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley was dismissed for stating that "what is being done to Bradley Manning is ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid on the part of the Department of Defense."
Executive Branch officials almost always lie in those cases where they are acting illegally or could be embarrassed, as when National Intelligence Director James Clapper responded "no, not wittingly," when asked on March 26 by Senator Ron Wyden "does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?" (Clapper further compounded his lie by claiming he had misunderstood the simple question. Senator Wyden had sent it over to him the day before.)