Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Have Americans - Especially Their Government - Learned Anything From 9/11?

“Americans are apt to scoff at the idea that a military coup in the U.S, as so often happens in Latin American countries, could ever replace our government. But that is an idea that has grounds for consideration.”  Lee Harvey Oswald, from his July 27, 1963 talk given at  The Jesuit House of Studies, Spring Hill College, Mobile AL.

“Of all the enemies to public liberty, war is perhaps the most to be dreaded because it comprises the germ of every other. As the parent of armies, war encourages debts and taxes, the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few”-        James Madison

Is it possible that one of the things that may have signed Lee Oswald's death warrant - was his little known talk at the Jesuit House of Studies at Spring Hill College, Mobile? James Douglass in his stirring book, JFK and the Unspeakable, certainly put that out there to consider (p. 331) though he also does acknowledge that Lee may never have actually verbalized outwardly the content in his notes. But does it matter? If indeed the CIA was in the process of sheepdipping him, as noted by John Newman ('Oswald and the CIA') then whether he actually said the key words may be immaterial. He had disclosed himself as a threat that had to be eliminated - preferably after his arrest for a murder he didn't commit.

This is a critical observation because many deep politics observers believe that the country rapidly mutated into a military -security state in the wake of Kennedy's assassination. (For a plausible scenario of how it could have transpired via conspiracy, rent or buy the excellent 1973 movie, Executive Action.)

In his American University speech, JFK noted:

“Our primary long-range interest is general and complete disarmament- designed to take place by stages, permitting parallel political developments to build the new institutions of peace which would take the place of arms”.

This could not have pleased the warmongers, especially among his Joint Chiefs - who had already been appalled at his failure to bomb and invade Cuba during the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis some eight months earlier.

Anyway, the point of this post is that the U.S. not only emerged as a hyper-militant state (empire)  after Kennedy's death, aggressively launching an illegal war in Vietnam - but a national security state as well. The two in concert incepted a toxic policy paranoia that has generated blowback over more than three decades.  In the case of Vietnam, the security state propelled LBJ's retraction of  JFK's National Security Memorandum 263 ( which would have evacuated all personnel). Worse, LBJ  used a security -state developed bogus ploy:  the alleged North Vietnamese firing on the Maddox and Turner Joy in Aug, 1964 to justify a full scale war which led to 58,000 Americans killed.  Vietnam also launched the weasel ploy of  congress "authorizing" further military actions - when actual wars would have been declared, as per the Constitution. All of this in concert, together with how and where the U.S. has stuck its nose in other nations' business (when Kennedy rejected any 'Pax Americana') makes one wonder if American leaders even grasp the concept of 'blowback'.

In a September 13, 2001 interview with the magazine In These Times, Chalmers Johnson (the author of ‘Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire’) was said to “have seen the September 11 catastrophe coming”.  Johnson’s 2000 book argued that U.S. interventionist foreign policy and military overextension would lead to unintended and unpredictable consequences. A year later, his warning seemed eerily prescient. Though JFK wasn’t so prescient in a specific context, his American University Pax Americana  speech, he generically prefigured the horrific consequences if the U.S. insisted on being the policeman of the world, enforcing peace with American weapons of war.    Also, holding the rest of the world up to standards it didn't follow itself!

This speech probably set the foundation for Kennedy’s plan (under NSAM-263) to pull out of Vietnam (after the 1964 elections,  when political repercussions would be minimal). He could likely see that if, indeed, the U.S. remained in Vietnam, the perils of a much wider war, along with consolidation of the military-industrial-oil complex,  would be unavoidable.

Back to Chalmers Johnson and some of the answers to questions he gave in his In These Times interview:

Q1. Is what happened on September 11 an example of blowback?

Of course it is. That's exactly what my book was written for: It was a warning to my fellow Americans, a year ago, that our foreign policy was going to produce something like this. It's important to stress, contrary to what people in Washington and the media are saying, that this was not an attack on the United States: This was an attack on American foreign policy. It was an example of the strategies of the weak against the overwhelmingly powerful.

Q2. Osama bin Laden has been named the primary suspect in these attacks. In the first chapter of Blowback, you talk about earlier American attacks on Osama bin Laden as an example of "a spiral of destructive behavior."

I heard Sen. John McCain say this morning that the people of Afghanistan have nothing to worry about if they would just turn over Osama bin Laden and cooperate with us. ... Where was he during the '80s, when we and the Soviet Union were destroying Afghanistan? Our efforts were to hire people like bin Laden to come from Saudi Arabia and help give the Soviet Union a Vietnam-like experience.

Don't get me wrong. Everyone understands that the people of New York, the people of Washington, the people on the airplanes were innocent bystanders—and that is the nature of this kind of warfare. Our Department of Defense invented the phrase "collateral damage" to deal with the dead Iraqis and the dead Serbs as a result of our bombings of their countries. ... I know it sounds cruel to say, but the people of New York were collateral damage of American foreign policy. It was inevitable that something like this would come back.

Q.3 You implied that this type of terrorist warfare seems to be the warfare of the future. I assume that you would expect to see more?

No nation can hope to beat the United States on American terms. Therefore you must devise a strategy that essentially makes our overwhelming military capability worthless. I think they have managed to do so.

People in Washington are continually talking about declaring war—but declaring war on whom? They don't know. If they are going to go out and attack Afghanistan, it will simply produce a further cycle of blowback and retaliation. In the meantime, it will also even further inflame the entire Middle East.

Q.4 If not military force, then what could be effective against this type of terrorist warfare?

What we need to find out is: what are we doing that is provoking this? Is there any flexibility in our policy? Couldn't we alter our policies somewhat? Couldn't we make it our business to try to stay out of fratricidal and hate-laden conflicts? And then, to the extent that we are still the victim of terrorism (which we always will be) then we need a much greater analytic effort to defend ourselves, and that should not be impossible to craft.

Clearly, what happened on September 11 was an almost catastrophic failure of intelligence by extremely expensive agencies that do not do anything. And so far, the American reaction seems to be to target the Bill of Rights more than anything else. Retaliation is not the answer. It hasn't worked for Israel it has only exacerbated the situation. It won't work for us.

Q.5 Is it possible that blowback may take place internally as well as externally?

The greatest danger we have now is militarism in America. We have this huge, overpowering, unbelievably expensive military establishment. It is something from the days of Washington's farewell address to Eisenhower's invention of the phrase "military-industrial complex" that seasoned U.S. leaders have warned against—the threat of a huge military establishment to the liberty of our citizens.

I fear that from this we are going to get even more militarism. That is, more and more functions—including domestic police functions—will be transferred from civilian institutions to the military, and the military will have ever greater authority in our society. We know how that will end based on history, especially of the Roman and British Empires. We're talking here about military overstretch, and the attendant weaknesses of the imperial structure (including continuous financing) that will ultimately lead to total collapse.

Of course, Johnson’s prediction that we’re going to “get even more militarism” has come to pass, what with the pre-emptive invasion of Iraq (violating Article VI of the Nuremberg laws) and now the drums beating ever louder for an attack on Syria - which will really let loose the dogs of blowback if Chalmers Johnson's answers are to be believed - and I do believe them whole heartedly.

Fortunately, the Russians and Vladimir Putin have proposed a way out of the Syria mess, which requires the Syrian regime to declare all stockpiles of chemical weapons, and ultimately subject them to capture or destruction. There would then be a basis for UN inspectors to get on the ground in Syria and do assays and inspections. Of course, this will take time and so the Amerikkan Empire purveyors and blowback inceptors are already huffing and puffing that "it's all a ploy". This because Russia retracted a resolution regarding inspections yesterday. But what none of the pundits said, except Chris Hayes, is that the Russians (rightfully) want NO resolutions done with a U.S. "gun" pointed to anyone's head, whether Russia's or Syria's. Do the resolution, sure, but not under threat that if such and such markers aren't met and 'x' hoops aren't jumped through in 'y' time, an attack will ensue,

The question then is have American leaders learned the lessons of blowback from their policies, which led directly to 9/11? (In that case the establishment of American bases in Saudi Arabia, left from the Gulf War.))

The answer will hinge on what we see Obama and his bunch do now, given the Russian Syrian proposal. Wifey - who watched his speech- told me he was accepting of the deal, and very humble. He actually acknowledged that the U.S. "cannot be the policeman of the world."  This at least discloses Obama might have partially learned the lessons of 9/11 but I need to see more than words. I want to see a firm leash put on the military dogs preventing them from being unleashed after Assad or Syria, if certain artificial time limits or conditions aren't met. (And again, bear in mind I already made the case the U.S. has no moral authority to be bossing around anyone, "punishing" or anything else, e.g.

Will we see more 9/11s? Will we see an increased consolidation of the military -surveillance state even beyond what exists now, which as David Lindorff put it in one blog - surpasses even the excesses depicted in Orwell's '1984'?

That depends on how this Syrian crisis plays out.

The whole world is watching, and all American citizens ought to stay tuned as well!

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