"...it's not the training to be mean but the training to be kind that is used to keep us leashed best." ~ Black Dog Red

"In case you haven't recognized the trend: it proceeds action, dissent, speech." ~ davidly, on how wars get done

"...What sort of meager, unerotic existence must a man live to find himself moved to such ecstatic heights by the mundane sniping of a congressional budget fight. The fate of human existence does not hang in the balance. The gods are not arrayed on either side. Poseiden, earth-shaker, has regrettably set his sights on the poor fishermen of northern Japan and not on Washington, D.C. where his ire might do some good--I can think of no better spot for a little wetland reclamation project, if you know what I mean. The fight is neither revolution nor apocalypse; it is hardly even a fight. A lot of apparatchiks are moving a lot of phony numbers with more zeros than a century of soccer scores around, weaving a brittle chrysalis around a gross worm that, some time hence, will emerge, untransformed, still a worm." ~ IOZ

May 19, 2010

Consent and the New Military-Police State

From Reuters:

"Bruce Riedel, a former CIA analyst, said the Obama administration ran with the drone program because, when it came to office, 'it found itself with a real al Qaeda threat and one tool to work with.'

'I don't think he (Obama) had really any alternatives. He seized the tool that was in front of him,' said Riedel, who chaired Obama's strategic review of Afghanistan and Pakistan policy that was completed in March 2009."

Yep. Imperial Barack had no choice. He came into power, riding a wave of amorphous hope and aimless  anger. He had to bail out those big banks. He had to compromise with big pharma and insurance companies, to get himself a political win. He had to send thousands more poor kids into the graveyard of Empires.

He had to use the tools available to him.

Including death robots raining murder from the skies.

Honestly, he did.

I'm not snarking here.

If Barack Obama did not transfer gobs of public wealth into private hands, if he did not hand the insurance conglomerates captive customers, if he did not expand the American gulag system under the cover of "banning torture," if he did not sign off on fiat executions and murder robots - he would not have a job.

He got all that juice from big media, corporate America and the military hierarchies during the campaign season because he gave good face to the project of empire. 

"A former U.S. intelligence official said the strategy was 'politically foolproof" because the mainstream candidates on both sides of the political spectrum 'campaigned on who can kill more of these guys.'"

And he speaks truth. The American people don't elect peaceniks, pacifists, anti-war candidates, socialists, reds or leftists. They totemize Gandhi and MLK, Jr, but they would never give them real access to the political system. They buy images of these men, as commodities. They don't - in any numbers that matter politically - entrust them with the keys to the kingdom.

The American people do elect warmongers who promise them jobs, cheap oil, lower taxes, safety from foreigners, targeted killings, lawn order,  jailed black people and the mandate of Jesus in heaven.

Imperial Barack kills people in Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, Ethiopia, Iraq, Colombia and around the world (just like his predecessors, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Reagan, Carter, Ford, Nixon, Johnson, Kennedy and Eisenhower) because his job description demands it:

"Under Obama, the program has grown to such an extent that, according to a Reuters tally, the nearly 60 missiles fired from the CIA's drones in Pakistan in the first four months of this year roughly matched the number fired by all of the drones piloted by the U.S. military in neighboring Afghanistan -- the recognized war zone -- during the same time period.

In Pakistan, the pace has jumped to two or three strikes a week, up roughly fourfold from the Bush years.

Of the 500 militants the agency believes the drones have killed since the summer of 2008, about 14 are widely considered to be top tier militant targets, while another 25 are considered mid-to-high-level organizers.

Independent tallies based on news accounts from the region put the death toll from drones since mid-2008 much higher -- at anywhere from nearly 700 to around 1,200."

These deaths don't just tally up in Imperial Barack's ledger. That blood soaks the hands of every single beneficiary of the American imperial project. Everyone who votes. Everyone who pays taxes. Every single person who puts gasoline in her tank, and the credit card through the card scanner.

That state - that Death State, to quote Art Silber - depends upon the passive acquiescence and compliance of those who accept its protection in exchange for obedience, as much as it depends on its active servants, its gunslingers and toy soldiers, its thug cops and workaday jailers.

The article continues a little later on with,

"In a recent speech outlining the Obama administration's position publicly, Harold Hongju Koh, the State Department's legal adviser, said: "The United States is in an armed conflict with al Qaeda, as well as the Taliban and associated forces, in response to the horrific 9/11 attacks, and may use force consistent with its inherent right to self-defense under international law."

Scholars say Obama's targeted killing doctrine appears to be little different from Bush's: Once someone has been deemed a lawful target, the CIA has no obligation to warn or seek to detain that person before attacking, said Kenneth Anderson, professor of law at American University."

Remember, the imperial project demands this justification. When the death state invades, occupies, conquers, murders, imprisons, degrades, builds its Roman roads and lays down its marks on the map it does so to defend the interests of its captive population, a population upon which it still depends. For now.

Your interests. Your oil. Your complicity. Your obedience.

Until it doesn't need you anymore.

Until those who run it and benefit from it reward your compliance and obedience with abandonment, as we near the oil drop off and the collapse of the petroleum fueled economy.

Your obedience paves that road.

It really, really does.

So long as you obey, you give your consent. And you deserve what you get. You get drones over domestic unrest, not so long after the drug warriors get their permission papers, to use them.


As Charles Davis writes just this day:

"...Be an example to to others. Work not on the behalf of a political party, but your community. Put simply, forget the polling booth and head to the soup kitchen. At least then you won't be complicit in a bloodied, immoral system."

Opt out. Give no more labor to this death machine. Give no more obedience, no more compliance, no more support, tacit or explicit. Do not obey.


h/t Emptywheel


Jack Crow said...

I too am part of the plural "you," above.

AlanSmithee said...

Fucking awesome, JC. Srsly.

Jack Crow said...

Thank you.

Jay Taber said...

As hippies in the early 1970s, we established cooperatives to meet our needs without ordinary jobs. Over time, the food cooperative, flour mill, housing cooperative, and community gardens we started grew and were replicated elsewhere. All were assisted by our alternative newspaper in reaching others sympathetic to our world view. As some of us became community leaders, elected and otherwise, this cooperative foundation enabled us to be more effective in pressing for public investment in programs of communal benefit.

The point I'm trying to make is there is a place for everyone to contribute if you begin with a cooperative attitude.