Top Leaderboard, Site wide
November 26, 2014
Truthdig: Drilling Beneath the Headlines
Sign up for Truthdig's Email NewsletterLike Truthdig on FacebookFollow Truthdig on TwitterSubscribe to Truthdig's RSS Feed

Get Truthdig's headlines in your inbox!






Joan of Arc


Truthdig Bazaar
Why the Middle Ages Matter: Medieval Light on Modern Injustice

Why the Middle Ages Matter: Medieval Light on Modern Injustice

By Celia Chazelle (Editor), Simon Doubleday (Editor), Felice Lifshitz (Editor), Amy G. Remensnyder (Editor)

more items

 
Report

The Disease of Permanent War

Email this item Email    Print this item Print    Share this item... Share

Posted on May 18, 2009
F-111
AP photo / Rich Pedroncelli

Cold War relic: An F-111 fighter jet on display at McClellan Air Force Base in Sacramento, Calif.

By Chris Hedges

The embrace by any society of permanent war is a parasite that devours the heart and soul of a nation. Permanent war extinguishes liberal, democratic movements. It turns culture into nationalist cant. It degrades and corrupts education and the media, and wrecks the economy. The liberal, democratic forces, tasked with maintaining an open society, become impotent. The collapse of liberalism, whether in imperial Russia, the Austro-Hungarian Empire or Weimar Germany, ushers in an age of moral nihilism. This moral nihilism comes is many colors and hues. It rants and thunders in a variety of slogans, languages and ideologies. It can manifest itself in fascist salutes, communist show trials or Christian crusades. It is, at its core, all the same. It is the crude, terrifying tirade of mediocrities who find their identities and power in the perpetuation of permanent war. 

It was a decline into permanent war, not Islam, which killed the liberal, democratic movements in the Arab world, ones that held great promise in the early part of the 20th century in countries such as Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Iran. It is a state of permanent war that is finishing off the liberal traditions in Israel and the United States. The moral and intellectual trolls—the Dick Cheneys, the Avigdor Liebermans, the Mahmoud Ahmadinejads—personify the moral nihilism of perpetual war. They manipulate fear and paranoia. They abolish civil liberties in the name of national security. They crush legitimate dissent. They bilk state treasuries. They stoke racism. 

“War,” Randolph Bourne commented acidly, “is the health of the state.” 

In “Pentagon Capitalism” Seymour Melman described the defense industry as viral. Defense and military industries in permanent war, he wrote, trash economies. They are able to upend priorities. They redirect government expenditures toward their huge military projects and starve domestic investment in the name of national security. We produce sophisticated fighter jets, while Boeing is unable to finish its new commercial plane on schedule. Our automotive industry goes bankrupt. We sink money into research and development of weapons systems and neglect renewable energy technologies to fight global warming. Universities are flooded with defense-related cash and grants, and struggle to find money for environmental studies. This is the disease of permanent war. 

Massive military spending in this country, climbing to nearly $1 trillion a year and consuming half of all discretionary spending, has a profound social cost. Bridges and levees collapse. Schools decay. Domestic manufacturing declines. Trillions in debts threaten the viability of the currency and the economy. The poor, the mentally ill, the sick and the unemployed are abandoned. Human suffering, including our own, is the price for victory. 

Advertisement

Square, Site wide
Citizens in a state of permanent war are bombarded with the insidious militarized language of power, fear and strength that mask an increasingly brittle reality. The corporations behind the doctrine of permanent war—who have corrupted Leon Trotsky’s doctrine of permanent revolution—must keep us afraid. Fear stops us from objecting to government spending on a bloated military. Fear means we will not ask unpleasant questions of those in power. Fear means that we will be willing to give up our rights and liberties for security. Fear keeps us penned in like domesticated animals.

Melman, who coined the term permanent war economy  to characterize the American economy, wrote that since the end of the Second World War, the federal government has spent more than half its tax dollars on past, current and future military operations. It is the largest single sustaining activity of the government. The military-industrial establishment is a very lucrative business. It is gilded corporate welfare. Defense systems are sold before they are produced. Military industries are permitted to charge the federal government for huge cost overruns. Massive profits are always guaranteed. 

Foreign aid is given to countries such as Egypt, which receives some $3 billion in assistance and is required to buy American weapons with $1.3 billion of the money. The taxpayers fund the research, development and building of weapons systems and then buy them on behalf of foreign governments. It is a bizarre circular system. It defies the concept of a free-market economy. These weapons systems are soon in need of being updated or replaced. They are hauled, years later, into junkyards where they are left to rust. It is, in economic terms, a dead end. It sustains nothing but the permanent war economy. 

Those who profit from permanent war are not restricted by the economic rules of producing goods, selling them for a profit, then using the profit for further investment and production. They operate, rather, outside of competitive markets. They erase the line between the state and the corporation. They leech away the ability of the nation to manufacture useful products and produce sustainable jobs. Melman used the example of the New York City Transit Authority and its allocation in 2003 of $3 billion to $4 billion for new subway cars. New York City asked for bids, and no American companies responded. Melman argued that the industrial base in America was no longer centered on items that maintain, improve, or are used to build the nation’s infrastructure. New York City eventually contracted with companies in Japan and Canada to build its subway cars. Melman estimated that such a contract could have generated, directly and indirectly, about 32,000 jobs in the United States. In another instance, of 100 products offered in the 2003 L.L. Bean catalogue, Melman found that 92 were imported and only eight were made in the United States.

The late Sen. J. William Fulbright described the reach of the military-industrial establishment in his 1970 book “The Pentagon Propaganda Machine.” Fulbright explained how the Pentagon influenced and shaped public opinion through multimillion-dollar public relations campaigns, Defense Department films, close ties with Hollywood producers, and use of the commercial media. The majority of the military analysts on television are former military officials, many employed as consultants to defense industries, a fact they rarely disclose to the public. Barry R. McCaffrey, a retired four-star Army general and military analyst for NBC News, was, The New York Times reported, at the same time an employee of Defense Solutions Inc., a consulting firm. He profited, the article noted, from the sale of the weapons systems and expansion of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan he championed over the airwaves.

Our permanent war economy has not been challenged by Obama and the Democratic Party. They support its destructive fury because it funds them. They validate its evil assumptions because to take them on is political suicide. They repeat the narrative of fear because it keeps us dormant. They do this because they have become weaker than the corporate forces that profit from permanent war. 

The hollowness of our liberal classes, such as the Democrats, empowers the moral nihilists. A state of permanent war means the inevitable death of liberalism. Dick Cheney may be palpably evil while Obama is merely weak, but to those who seek to keep us in a state of permanent war, it does not matter. They get what they want. Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote “Notes From the Underground” to illustrate what happens to cultures when a liberal class, like ours, becomes sterile, defeated dreamers. The main character in “Notes From the Underground” carries the bankrupt ideas of liberalism to their logical extreme. He becomes the enlightenment ideal. He eschews passion and moral purpose. He is rational. He prizes realism over sanity, even in the face of self-destruction. These acts of accommodation doom the Underground Man, as it doomed imperial Russia and as it will doom us. 

“I never even managed to become anything: neither wicked nor good, neither a scoundrel nor an honest man, neither a hero nor an insect,” the Underground Man wrote. “And now I am living out my life in my corner, taunting myself with the spiteful and utterly futile consolation that it is even impossible for an intelligent man seriously to become anything, and only fools become something.”

We have been drawn into the world of permanent war by these fools. We allow fools to destroy the continuity of life, to tear apart all systems—economic, social, environmental and political—that sustain us. Dostoevsky was not dismayed by evil. He was dismayed by a society that no longer had the moral fortitude to confront the fools. These fools are leading us over the precipice. What will rise up from the ruins will not be something new, but the face of the monster that has, until then, remained hidden behind the facade. 


New and Improved Comments

If you have trouble leaving a comment, review this help page. Still having problems? Let us know. If you find yourself moderated, take a moment to review our comment policy.

Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, May 22, 2009 at 8:24 am Link to this comment

KDelphi:
’... Anarcissie—What of those that are already staring down a precipace? I think we know what will happen to them…how can we just let that happen??? There is enough wealth in this country to stop it..it is just in the wrong hands….’

We are those who are staring down a precipice.

I think it is doubtful whether there is a lot of wealth left in the country.  There is a lot of money but it is increasingly worthless because it doesn’t represent anything.

I don’t know whether Mr. O could have reversed the decline but in any case he has chosen—or the ruling class has chosen for him—to follow the established path of war, imperialism, waste, debt, and funny money.  He has placed the same people who brought on the present crisis in positions of power so they can complete the catastrophe.

As we go down the precipice, the poor may actually be better off, because many of them have developed coping methods to deal with adversity that the better-off have forgotten.  They have families, groups of friends, mafias.  The middle and upper classes expect to be taken care of by large institutions which may well disappear or turn malevolent.  The Mexicans should set up classes for them.

As individuals we can do something for ourselves, and our relatives, friends and neighbors, we can cultivate mutually beneficial relationships, but I don’t see what we can do about the whole system.  The “Change we can believe in” that so many people voted for has turned out to be “More of the same.”

Report this

By mmadden, May 22, 2009 at 6:11 am Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt wrote “.......I recall that the Taliban gov’t either couldn’t do anything about the Al-queda bases or didn’t have time to do anything before the USA simply declared they were enemies as well and off to war we went.”

As i recall weren’t there some Bible thumpers involved in the beginning? I think the Taliban said they were preaching subversion and they were thinking of killing them. As we now know the Taliban are still killing subversives (their way of controlling the population). Bush asked for them to be set free and then we invaded. Of course Al-quaeda was involved in this too.

Report this

By KDelphi, May 21, 2009 at 12:38 pm Link to this comment

Our Journey to Smile—Thanks for your poignant post.

“No one listens to the ordinary Voice of Peace, drowned by the voices of a few powerful fellow human beings ?who have caught this subtle illness that is tearing humanity apart. Tearing humanity apart…. Tearing us ?apart……?

Will you grieve as much for those of us who may be killed by war soon, as much as the world is grieving for ?those killed by the H1N1 virus??

We plead with humanity not to forget. Please. Please don’t forget.?

For tomorrow, as you keep updated on the Swine Flu Pandemic statistics, some of us may have already ?succumbed to the War Pandemic statistics.?

Can’t ordinary human beings do something to end this War Pandemic, this global in-humanity, this New Global ?Great Game, this Global Culture of War??”
(unquote)

That is why the current “solution” is not acceptable to some of us. We will not give up.

Folktruther says, “Clearly it CAN be done since it has been done in more repressive police states.  a people’s media is central to the problem because the US is going to increasingly restrict the internet as US repression increases.  the time to think about it is now, because Bushobama policies are making it incrreasingly morre difficult as the endless War goes on.”
Yes…

Anarcissie—What of those that are already staring down a precipace? I think we know what will happen to them…how can we just let that happen??? There is enough wealth in this country to stop it..it is just in the wrong hands..

Sepharad—Sorry about your horse. I do feel your pain….honestly. Many dont think about how long a horse is usually with you…my old one was almost 28..fortunate, and he just laid down and dide, so “double lucky”.
We had a filly that we had to put down from repeated colic—-she was 3. HOrrible.

Report this

By Our Journey to Smile, May 21, 2009 at 12:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dear Chris,
?
We are writing from war-torn Afghanistan.
?
Thanks for speaking out on this hidden disease of permanent war!
?
We posted an article on this very disease entitled The War Pandemic a greater threat to ?humanity than the Swine Flu Pandemic ( below )
?
But of course, our real-life human concerns were deemed ‘irrelevant’, so we’re afraid that ?this disease will forever remain SILENT.
?
Thanks and Peace!?
http://ourjourneytosmile.com/blog


I’m a doctor and support the most rigorous measures necessary to control H1N1 Influenza A Swine Flu virus. ?The loss of EVERY life is a loss to humanity.?

It is wonderful that the world has not been silent with this influenza threat.?

I pray someone would listen to a threat that has been silent. Listen to silence.?

I live and work in the midst of the War Pandemic, among Afghans in Afghanistan.?

We should not be silent with the War threat either, which, just reading BBC News Front Page on 30/4/2009 ?updated at 0650 GMT, claimed 256 lives.?

WHO rightly fears that a Swine Flu Pandemic is ‘imminent’. The War Pandemic is ‘present’.?

The War Pandemic is also a human to human transmitted disease.?

It is spread when a human gives an order Incongruent with all Human Consciences and Civilizations, the order ?to fight, to kill. ?

It is more than a mutation.?

It is no respecter of persons.?

Like H1N1, it verifies Man’s common Mortality by mercilessly speeding it up.?

We ordinary Afghan youth have been paralyzed by this War Pandemic all our lives. ?

We wish to run away but we can’t seem to quarantine ourselves! ?

We cry, “God, save us!” but God seems to say, “Humanity can save herself!”?

We cry, “Stop! We’re tired of war and want peace!” But, no human seems to hear us.?

No one listens to the ordinary Voice of Peace, drowned by the voices of a few powerful fellow human beings ?who have caught this subtle illness that is tearing humanity apart. Tearing humanity apart…. Tearing us ?apart……?

Will you grieve as much for those of us who may be killed by war soon, as much as the world is grieving for ?those killed by the H1N1 virus??

We plead with humanity not to forget. Please. Please don’t forget.?

For tomorrow, as you keep updated on the Swine Flu Pandemic statistics, some of us may have already ?succumbed to the War Pandemic statistics.?

Can’t ordinary human beings do something to end this War Pandemic, this global in-humanity, this New Global ?Great Game, this Global Culture of War??

If this grief doesn’t make sense to you, then at least, remember us in our silence and our inconsolable regret.?

?“We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for ?the appalling silence of the good people. “Martin Luther King Jr

Thanks and Peace! ?
Our Journey to Smile, Bamiyan, Afghanistan

Report this

By Sepharad, May 20, 2009 at 11:46 pm Link to this comment

Writer on the Storm, May 20, 12:03—Agree entirely with your post. Rarely encounter neither another reader of Isaiah Berlin nor someone familiar with Sayyid Qutb and the role he played. The distinction between morality and moral outrage is indeed critical.

There are some other posts on this thread that are interesting, original and apt, but will defer comment until I can focus. (One of our horses was just diagnosed with a chronic incurable disease that in 1-3 years will become so painful that he’ll have to be euthanized. This is insignificant in the great scheme of things as defined by Mr. Hedges, but this horse was born in our back yard 12 years ago, can never be ridden again and is never content except when being ridden, so we need to concoct a scenario that will keep him comfortable and not too discontented as long as he can enjoy the sunshine.)

Report this

By Folktruther, May 20, 2009 at 4:34 pm Link to this comment

What I mean by the Educated clssses are the ruling class and the professional-mangerial class, which most of us belong to.  The ruling class, about 1% or so of the population largely owns and controls the corporations and banks, including the media corporations.  The professional class, about 10% or so of the population staffs them. 

The Educated form a power structure that runs the country in its own interests under the guise of promoting the interests of the geernal population.  With the support of other Educated, corrupt and deluded members of the population.

the Educated lie a lot, and are deluded by inherited power bullshit (powerbull) which distorts our worldviews of reality, especially political and social reality.  to mobilize the population it is necessary to form a truth consensus formulated from the interests of the general population or general person. a folktruth, if you will.  this subverts the powerbull of the learned and mass mainstream truth.

forming a people’s truth consensus is far more important than electing people to office since the electoral process is mostly a fraud without a real people’s organ.  since the American truth media is so corrupt, it is somehow necessary to form a people’s media which can serve as a counter weight to the usual powerbull.  something like indiemedia on a much larger scale. 

But how can this be done assuming that US police and intelligence agencies will infiltrate, provocatate, and manipulate, since the US is now larely a police state.

Clearly it CAN be done since it has been done in more repressive police states.  a people’s media is central to the problem because the US is going to increasingly restrict the internet as US repression increases.  the time to think about it is now, because Bushobama policies are making it incrreasingly morre difficult as the endless War goes on.

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, May 20, 2009 at 4:30 pm Link to this comment

KDelphi— “We” probably can’t stop it.  It probably has to run its course.  What some of us can do is ready ourselves for the ride, which may be a rough one, and provide ourselves and our friends, relatives and neighbors with some alternatives, not only to the present crazy stage of conventional state capitalism and global imperialism, but to some of the worse alternatives which may be suggested to follow it, when it turns out that printing money and playing cops of the world doesn’t really work—in any sense.

As the man said, “Things that can’t go on forever—don’t.”

Report this

By libertyvini, May 20, 2009 at 4:15 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

@ terry freeman;

“Ever hear about the depression of 1920? No? That’s because it was over so quickly. What did Harding do? He cut federal spending by 50% over the course of two years. How’d he do that? Only by making sure there were no sacred cows; everybody’s ox went hungry. Today, no politician can ever see a program cut without thinking of some other way to spend that money.”

What a strange time we live in! A commenter in a perfectly respectable progressive online publication approvingly cites the policies of Warren Harding,versus the ruinous policies of Bush and the crypto-fascist Obama, and no one bats an eye! That’s because next to them, Harding, almost universally reviled on the left and the right as a ‘do-nothing’, has been vindicated by the fiscal, monetary, and foreign policy Holocaust that ‘do-something’ government has brought down upon us.

End the Empire, End the Fed, Restore the Republic, and devolve control in sofar as possible to the smallest political unit - the individual!

Report this

By libertyvini, May 20, 2009 at 4:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

@ terry freeman;

“Ever hear about the depression of 1920? No? That’s because it was over so quickly. What did Harding do? He cut federal spending by 50% over the course of two years. How’d he do that? Only by making sure there were no sacred cows; everybody’s ox went hungry. Today, no politician can ever see a program cut without thinking of some other way to spend that money.”

What a strange time we live in! A commenter in a perfectly respectable progressive online publication approvingly cites the policies of Warren Harding,versus the ruinous policies of Bush and the crypto-fascist and no one bats an eye! That’s because next to them, Harding, almost universally reviled on the left and the right as a ‘do-nothing’, has been vindicated by the fiscal, monetary, and foreign policy Holocaust that ‘do-something’ government has brought down upon us.

End the Empire, End the Fed, Restore the Republic, and devolve control in sofar as possible to the smallest political unit - the individual!

Report this
Paul_GA's avatar

By Paul_GA, May 20, 2009 at 4:01 pm Link to this comment

Well, as long as people keep voting Repubs and Demos into office (with certain exceptions), all we’ll get is the same-old-same, friends. And I’m sick of the same-old-same.

Report this

By KDelphi, May 20, 2009 at 4:01 pm Link to this comment

truedigger3—I think youre right. The so-called US “left” would be “right” in every other civilized country. So what is different? One thing is certainly the influence of fundamentalist religion and WASPS. (the “protestant work ethic”, “gawd helps those who help themselves”, “sex” and who knows what the hell most USAns think on that one, if they can even talk about it at all…the myth of the self made man and Horatio Alger, “feeling bad” about genocide, but doing it again and again).Maybe the Anglo-Saxonism is fading…maybe it has been replaced with neo-liberlism? which is a form of neo-conservatism, except that they “feel your pain”.

Anarcissie, yes, youre right. How do we stop it?

Report this

By truedigger3, May 20, 2009 at 2:51 pm Link to this comment

KDelphi wrote:
“I wondered when I was reading it…can we define what is meant by “liberal classes””
_____________________________________________________

KDelphi,
In my opinion, the so called “libral classes” doesn’t
exist. It joins what is so called the “left” as being
figment of imagination or wishful thinking.
As I mentioned in previous post about the so called “left”, what we have, are several groups with
different agendas none of it subscribe to the “classic” interpretations of the words “liberal” or “leftist”.
The only issues most of these groups care about are
gender, sexual orientation, evironment or animal rights issues. Each group cares only about one issue
and the rest be damned!!
To make a long story short, we do not have a “left”
or “liberal class” in this country.

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, May 20, 2009 at 1:55 pm Link to this comment

I call the two forms of capitalism I described “subsistence capitalism” and “consumerist capitalism”.  I believe “supply-side”, if it means anything, refers to tax policy and other forms of state economic manipulation, the theory being that if you reduce the costs of capitalists they will produce more stuff cheaper.  If this were effective then the capitalists would have an exacerbated problem of surplus and would have to work harder at getting rid of it, meaning more consumerism, more war, more waste, and whatever else they can think of—whatever “works”.

Whether something works or not depends on your point of view, because this sense of work means “produces desirable results” and people’s desires vary.  Reagan’s supply-side economics gave many people a fun ride at least for awhile, so for them it “worked”.  For others it didn’t.  Nothing works forever—that’s the Second Law of Thermodynamics, I think.

Report this

By KDelphi, May 20, 2009 at 1:05 pm Link to this comment

I wondered when I was reading it…can we define what is meant by “liberal classes”? I know, “rationallity”, blah, blah. Or “educated”—-what does Hedges mean by it and what do you all mean by it?

Because I dont think that different posters are talking about the same thing at all…could be wrong…

Report this
Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, May 20, 2009 at 11:47 am Link to this comment

“The hollowness of our liberal classes, such as the Democrats, empowers the moral nihilists. A state of permanent war means the inevitable death of liberalism. Dick Cheney may be palpably evil while Obama is merely weak, but to those who seek to keep us in a state of permanent war, it does not matter. They get what they want.”Chris Hedges

It seems to me that he is correct for our “liberal classes” are very weak and without large bankrolls or numerous think tanks in an organized structure. We are caught naked while our adversaries have constructed a mechanical battle suit to take us in a fight. I don’t think Obama is ‘weak’ but then we are all weak when a powerful force for wealth and power wants to reward us for doing what it wants. Most are not like Cato who could not be bribed nor corrupted in his time of the Caesars. Wealth and power is an aphordesiac to many humans.

I am more worried that the psychopaths are brilliant and dedicated and incorruptable in their quest for power. Long term planners who have drawn their plans against us over the decades and heavily organized and disciplined. That is the kind of mental muscle that could hold us in thrall for decades if not centuries.

Report this

By Folktruther, May 20, 2009 at 11:10 am Link to this comment

Quite right, truedigger 3.  What I am worried about is martial law being declared at a time of nucelear weapons and our being ruled by crazed and incompetent psychopaths.  But anarcissie is right.  There is nothing we can do about it; it just has to play itself out, one way or another.

Cann4ing, there was a book written in 1986 on the relation of industrial production and national power called THE RISE AND FALL OF GREAT POWERS by Pual Kennedy, a military historian at Yale.  He details in the Western tradition the conflict between producing military weapons and using the money for economic investment.  the former gives present military power by depriving the Power of future power. 

the US has obviously given up future world power as China’s industrial production is already much larger than the US and is doubling relative to the US every five years. According to CIA figures.  So the US power structure is concerned about maintaining control of the US population in a period of rapid decline of world power, disguising and concealing this decline by irrationality and ideological repression. 

With the advent of TV and modern advertising techniques, and the centralization of the US mass media into a few media corporations, it has been very effective so far, while Obama continues Bush’s policies.

Report this

By KDelphi, May 20, 2009 at 11:00 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie—“Without it we would have to construct an entirely different social order.”

Yes.

What you describe in your previous post is supply side Capitalism, isnt it? Well, that didnt work…

Chimpanzees may carry out “wars”, but, it is pretty rare that they kill each other. They dont seem to have “moral outrage” about it, but, I did see a Jane Goodall show where , it appeard that a young male chimp felt “guilt” over his possible role in the unintended death of another. (or maybe he just “missed” them? They do show intense grief..)

That is supposedly the only thing that “separates ” us, but does it? It is beginning to seem , no. What seems to actually separate us is the ability to use more sophisticated tools..

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, May 20, 2009 at 9:14 am Link to this comment

Moral outrage is tedious, but the root of war seems deeper than that to me.  Chimpanzees and baboons carry on wars; do they have moral outrage?  I doubt it.  It seems more like decor to me: a feather to put in your cap (or helmet) as you get down to the real business of slaughter.

Report this

By WriterOnTheStorm, May 20, 2009 at 9:03 am Link to this comment

In a twist of logic that would make a neocon blush, Hedges argues that “rational liberalism” is bankrupt because it leads to moral nihilism. In the same breath he has the temerity to claim that Islam has nothing to do with the demise of the democratic movements in the Arab world.

In a word, bunk. Mr Hedges has confused cause and effect. Perpetual war is a symptom, not the disease. It is moral rectitude that leads to the pompous certainty at the core of perpetual war. Isaiah Berlin said it best with his concept of positive/negative liberty. Positive liberty, which is driven by passionate moral purpose, will always fail because it contains a false belief that there is one true answer to all human ills.

One merely needs to examine the life of Sayyid Qutb, the father of Islamic fundamentalism, to see that the ‘perpetual war’ Hedges rails against is in fact built on morality - or rather moral outrage*. The very stuff Hedges so proudly displays weekly on this site.

*the distinction is critical.

Report this

By hippie4ever, May 20, 2009 at 8:58 am Link to this comment

I hope everyone writes to their senators about the Afganistan supplemental bill. Opposition to another war is important—pls. write today.

You can call it perpetual war—I believe it’s all about Total Control. Warfare has traditionally been the glue which held the West together, unfortunately. I had hoped by the 1990s that the Media was taking over the role of Controller and Social Engineer. That would have been “kinder and gentler” but no such luck for the human race. Another meaningless slogan from the Ruling Class.

How do we get out of this trap? That’s the question & I’ve no answer. Maybe if we had access—strike that, OWNERSHIP of major media we could get the truth to the lazy, brainwashed, indifferent citizens who don’t care about their country anywhere near as much as they care about Sports. Organized athletics has replaced the role of organized religion in the lives of many men and some women too. It keeps the Tribal Gene alive & well in post-caveman society. 

The Tribal Gene made Vietnam and other Third World adventures possible. The Tribal Gene also engineered the election of Obama and his many cheerleaders, as well as the Bush Regime’s “case” for going into Iraq acceptable to unthinking (but good team member) Americans.

The Tribal Gene makes the transparent lies about “democracy” and “freedom” digestible. It’s role is to maintain the rule of the club and the fist. Every empire in history has been motivated by pure thuggery. The American contribution has been the smear of hypocrisy.

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, May 20, 2009 at 8:32 am Link to this comment

When capitalism begins it supplies basic needs in a context of natural scarcity, things which everyone already wants because they are necessities.  There is little advertising or marketing.  We might call this subsistence capitalism.

As the power of capitalist industry and technology grow, basic needs become less and less pressing and new desires for new products have to be created (although once people become dependent on them, for instance the automobile, they can become new needs.)  In effect, scarcity cannot be taken for granted; it has to be constantly generated.  Surplus production must be sunk, used up, in some way or other, so that people will continue to feel needs, and therefore work, spend, use, and use up, and thus continue to require the capitalists’ wealth and leadership.  (When this does not happen everyone, especially the capitalists, get depressed and we have a depression.)

Although consumerism—making the workers work at using up the products of their work—has been a major way of getting rid of surplus, war and imperialism (already natural to the state) are also important, because in war considerations like economy and utility can be brushed aside: when it’s a matter of life and death and the exhilaration of slaughter, when we’ve got to win, no one is going to count pennies.  So when you see acres and acres of now-useless death machines, you are actually looking at an essential part of the great engine of capitalist power and prosperity: waste. 

Without it we would have to construct an entirely different social order.

Report this
Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, May 20, 2009 at 8:25 am Link to this comment

In the grand scheme of things, labeling is used in the same way bigotry is, labeling becomes an important tool for divisiveness. dividing the people into manipulated tiny pieces of incoherency and ineffective segments.  Divisiveness is Politics or is it the other way around? 

So we have simplistic Right, left a one legged Frenchman kick boxer, entertaining and amusing.

Report this
Paul_GA's avatar

By Paul_GA, May 20, 2009 at 7:25 am Link to this comment

Bushfatigue, I recall reading in a WWII history book that many newly-built aircraft at war’s end were flown, on their maiden flights, directly to the smelter’s to be melted down! The US government didn’t need the planes (B-24 Liberator 4-engined bombers, in this case), but they couldn’t simply shut down the production lines.

So perpetual war and the enormous waste it creates didn’t start with Bush the Shrub.

Report this

By cann4ing, May 20, 2009 at 7:18 am Link to this comment

An important feature of Melman’s “Pentagon Capitalism” (1970)is his concept of military spending as a form of “parasitic growth.”  The Pentagon system produced products that do not enter the marketplace and cannot be used for future production.  Sixteen years later, Gore Vidal would analogously observe:  “The Pentagon is like a black hole; what goes in is forever lost to us, and no new wealth is created.”

Melman disputed the notion that America could afford both guns and butter.  “While the United States is rich, it is not inexhaustibly rich.  A massive Gross National Product…tends to overshadow the fact that an important part of this money is payment for economically parasitic activity rather than for productive growth….The contrast is with productive growth: producing goods or services that can be used for further production or for the present level of living.  Thus, a printing press or a loom multiplies its worth.” 

For Melman, it was not enough to simply focus on how many billions of dollars were being expended on the military and its increasingly sophisticated weapons systems.  His concern focused on the degree to which expanding Pentagon investment into research and development acted to deplete scientific and engineering talent from the civilian sector.  “The concentration of skilled brains and hands in the United States on parasitic growth explains why there is deterioration in many facets of life…”  He was especially concerned with the impact this was having within the nation’s universities where research was being conducted on topics ranging from weapons development to social control. 

The permanent war footing is, in a sense, the realization of total control by the corporatocracy and the military-industrial complex.

Report this

By Bushfatigue, May 20, 2009 at 7:08 am Link to this comment

I recently toured a de-commissioned aircraft carrier located in San Diego—they are truly amazing machines.

As I walked the decks covered with retired versions of various military aircraft, I was struck at the huge waste of resources they represented. 

Our current economic problems, and our limited financial resources to dig ourselves out of this mess, are clearly related to our state of perpetual war. 

Bush inflated the economy, to permit his mismanaged, dishonest, and disasterous wars to proceed, without asking any immediate sacrifice from taxpayers—but now the bell has tolled for our country.

Report this

By truedigger3, May 20, 2009 at 6:34 am Link to this comment

Folktruther wrote:
“But if the left orgnaizes to put significant pressure on Obama,”
_____________________________________________________

Folktruther,
What “left” are you talking about?! The primary concern of a real left is the protection of the average working people from the abuses and greed of big Money/business and the government they control.
A true left is primary concerned about civil rights and liberties for all,  fair living wages, secure retirement, health care for all, decent
housing, safe working condition and good schools etc
...etc.. etc.
A true left should have a national organisation with
national newspaper and can muster strikes and rallies
if the need does arises.

What we have in this country as a “left” are scattered and isolated groups whose main agenda
are abortion and gay rights which are important issues but as I noted above, there are many more
important issues that concern the average folks.
The election of Obama dealt almost a fatal blow to
the issue of racial discrimination and tackling the problems facing the black people in this country.
What is the difference between Obama and Bush that makes Obama amenable to your so called “significant pressure from the left”. How and who will exert that
pressure??!!
Obama is rolling on the same tracks Bush was rolling
on. Obama is as beholden to big Money/Business as
Bush was and definietly he is neither a leftist nor even a real centrist. He is a cosnervative with a black face with toothpaste smile coupled with good oratory which make his tricks and make believe measures without any real substance more deceiving.

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, May 20, 2009 at 5:25 am Link to this comment

Folktruther: ’... But if the left orgnaizes to put significant pressure on Obama, it may be possible to limit the neoliberal police state and to prevent full martial law.  ...’

I think this is one of those things that are just going to have to play themselves out.  As you note, there are no effective mainstream organizations or groups on the Left any more.  In any case, I don’t think the ruling class cares much about the Left.  On many issues important to the folk, like abortion, Gay marriage, drug prohibition, Welfare, they probably don’t care at all—various laws and removals of laws are thrown to the citizenry like so many dogs’ bones, now to the Left pack, now to the Right.  The really important issues are projects like seizing effective control of the Middle East’s oil, and these are going to be subject to public pressure only under the most extreme conditions.  There really has been no change in the imperial project since the 1940s (although breathers have been taken immediately following certain unsatisfactory wars).  In any case as long as Mr. O is seen as a peace candidate or leftist there won’t be any pressure on him with regard to any issues, so he’ll continue to drift rightward.  Why not?

The libs need to realize they’ve been gulled again, and start to figure out what to do about it.

Report this
Outraged's avatar

By Outraged, May 19, 2009 at 11:57 pm Link to this comment

This passage illuminates what is incumbent upon us to RECOGNIZE.  More importantly, it is necessary.  Do not be misled.

Mr. Hedges’ quote:
”“And now I am living out my life in my corner, taunting myself with the spiteful and utterly futile consolation that it is even impossible for an intelligent man seriously to become anything, and only fools become something.”

We have been drawn into the world of permanent war by these fools. We allow fools to destroy the continuity of life, to tear apart all systems—economic, social, environmental and political—that sustain us. Dostoevsky was not dismayed by evil. He was dismayed by a society that no longer had the moral fortitude to confront the fools.”

Do not give up.  Do not see “no hope”.  Do not simply buy into nor ACCEPT that you are doomed.  Long drawn-out “anomalies” are a TACTIC, recognize this….., adjust accordingly and never give up.  Soldiers do not confront battle with the admonition, “There’s no hope” if they want to win.  Use everything at your disposal, go prepared, do not be stupid.

Use everything you have, to your full advantage and do not believe everything you hear, nor were taught.

Consider the power of the multitudes in America and worldwide that detest war.  This is real POWER, use it.

Report this

By mill, May 19, 2009 at 6:32 pm Link to this comment

It really might represent the ultimate triumph of the evil that Eisenhower warned us about concerning the military-industrial complex in the Unites States. 

They won after all?  Can we reverse this madness?

Report this

By radson, May 19, 2009 at 5:42 pm Link to this comment

Hello truthdiggers the following is a bit of nostalgia.The first song is the original by Marlene Dietrich ,the second is by Seeger and the last is in Polish from the movie Katyn ; enjoy
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_ptqXqjsZw&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1y2SIIeqy34
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKZmbE72jcU&feature=PlayList&p=69C16E18A4ED1555&index=0&playnext=1

Report this

By ThaddeusStephens, May 19, 2009 at 5:39 pm Link to this comment

Talisman said
http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20090518_the_disease_of_permanent_war/#240983
‘Lumping Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with Dick Cheney and Avigdor Lieberman, and Iran with the US and Israel is misleading and unfair.’

I firmly believe in remaining impartial towards people or issues until I can gather enough information to form an opinion. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is unknown to me. However, Human Rights Watch, (a group I trust greatly) has some words of caution about the man.
The Ahmadinejad government, in a pronounced shift from the policy under former president Mohammed Khatami, has shown no tolerance for peaceful protests and gatherings.
http://www.hrw.org/legacy/englishwr2k7/docs/2007/01/11/iran14703.htm

In addition, Ahmadinejad is under fire from university students. Never a restful lot, except recently in the United States, we may still learn something from their demands.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahmoud_Ahmadinejad#Universities
One last straw in the wind, and that concerns Ahmadinejad’s push for nuclear power. The current level of technology for building nuclear power plants involves too many dangers. I say this based on the U. S experience; the Union of Concerned Scientists has a lot to say about the dangers of nuclear power.
http://www.ucsusa.org/nuclear_power/
I have strong opinions about nuclear power plants; I would doubt the integrity of anyone who can ignore their dangers.
http://www.blackherbals.com/biggest_breast_cancer_risk_factor.htm
Women and children are especially vulnerable to the small amounts of radioactive waste that regularly leak out of these oddball devices; so Hedges grouping of Ahmadinejad with other rouge world leaders appears, on the surface, to be entirely correct.

World leaders are constantly misquoted in the press, I seek corroboration on everything; skepticism must remain at a reasonable but high level until there is time to verify. Makes living in these chaotic times a lot of work.

Report this

By Talisman, May 19, 2009 at 3:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Lumping Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with Dick Cheney and Avigdor Lieberman, and Iran with the US and Israel is misleading and unfair.  Unlike the US and Israel, Iran has not attacked any other nation in at least 100 years.  Unlike Lieberman and Cheney, Ahmadinejad is not threatening anyone.  He was misquoted in his comments about Israel, and Iranian Jews turned down opportunities to go to Israel, wishing to stay in Iran.  Even the Ayatollah said recently that Iran doesn’t want to be enemies with anyone, including Israel and the US.  There is not a shred of evidence supporting the notion Ahmadinejad is a warmonger!  He may say things that are offensive to the ears of many Westerners, but he has never called for war or violence.  Just a columnist doesn’t like him doesn’t mean he should just make things up that are unsubstantiated!

Report this

By Folktruther, May 19, 2009 at 3:01 pm Link to this comment

Obama’s electoral strategy is to isolate progresives who oppose the Bushobama poliicies on one side, and the right wing loonies on the other.  He therrefore hopes to take a chnuch of votes out of the least politically active and knowledgeable in the center, a bipartisan chunk.  He need not have a majority if the left runs a candidate, merely a plurality as Clinton did when he defeated Bush 1 with the help of Perot.

It may well work.  Hell have an enormous amount of money from Wall Street to buy off the Obama cheerleaders and the clueless. But if the left orgnaizes to put significant pressure on Obama, it may be possible to limit the neoliberal police state and to prevent full martial law.  Honest liberals like Glenwald are already outlining the Bushobama strategy in mainstream left blogs and a cadre of left truthers are forming.

the historical problem is that this truth grouping must meld with the working population in some way, and American capitalism has destroyed the unions and is now working on the universities.  The question is: how is it possible to mobilize a significant fraction of the population against Bushobama?

Report this

By Gorf, May 19, 2009 at 2:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The perpetual war reflects human nature, one of mistrust and intolerance of our differences.  Given natural selection tendencies to which we are programmed, we are driven to it like moths towards a flame.  Our only salvation is to awaken as a race and lead ourselves beyond our petty squabbles and look beyond to true challenges are awaiting us.  Keeping the status quo will end us, and possibly all life with it.  If we continue to recognize hate as a worthy emotion, then we give in to the cycle, where puppet masters exploit us to further their perpetual war.  Hope is ever elusive, leaving us the only reality to which there is no escape.  How do you get 6.5B people to snap out of it at the same time?

Report this
tropicgirl's avatar

By tropicgirl, May 19, 2009 at 2:12 pm Link to this comment

This has always been, and will continue to be, The Bush-Obama-Israeli War Against The Muslims. There is no other way to understand this. They are trying to prevent the spread of conservative Islam, across the continent. Why?  The only threat is against Israel and other Arab kingdoms. Oh, and world banks since the Muslims have higher morals than them.

Report this
Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, May 19, 2009 at 1:16 pm Link to this comment

“It is a state of permanent war that is finishing off the liberal traditions in Israel and the United States. The moral and intellectual trolls—the Dick Cheneys, the Avigdor Liebermans, the Mahmoud Ahmadinejads—personify the moral nihilism of perpetual war. They manipulate fear and paranoia. They abolish civil liberties in the name of national security. They crush legitimate dissent. They bilk state treasuries. They stoke racism.”Hedges

He is correct that all of these men personify the manipulation and fear factors of it. Though the only fear we really have is from Israel and the USA , both purporting to be sweetness and light, doing battle with the sour and dark ones i.e. “the enemy.” The only fear we might have from Iran is that they throw everything they have at Israel. That is world war III.

Maybe he should have mentioned the takeover of the oil and natural gas as one of the reasons for such actions by the USA just to let you know that he knew. That wasn’t the body of the thesis after all. It was the manipulation thereof. However your thesis still has yet to be proven that he is actually supporting war. I see no such thing and you still need to show quotes and analysis to prove to me and others you have an insight and not an delusion into Hedges writings.

Report this
prole's avatar

By prole, May 19, 2009 at 12:40 pm Link to this comment

There are so many variegated themes pressed together here, from Trotsky to L.L.Bean, it’s all a blurred. Chris Hedges knows he’s against something, and rightly so, but he’s not quite sure what it is. Is it war - presumably, at least by his own reckoning, ‘a force that gives us meaning - or is it “Defense and military industries”: is it “permanent war” or the “permanent war economy”? Which is the chicken and which is the egg here? Even Einstein couldn’t figure out, ‘why war?’ If defense corporations disappeared overnight, people would likely still go on bashing each other over the heads with clubs and homemade axes. “Citizens in a state of permanent war are bombarded with the insidious militarized language of power, fear and strength” - but that’s still not nearly as bad as being bombarded literally with the lethal armaments produced by a permanent war economy, the way innocent victims are around the world. It’s a little hard to feel sorry for our selfish selves because our own military-industrial complex “extinguishes liberal, democratic movements… turns culture into nationalist cant [and] degrades and corrupts education and the media, and wrecks the economy.” Much worse, it virtually extinguishes whole societies abroad, turns wholesale killing into nationalist sport, corrupts indigenous cultures and ransacks their economies. So “the liberal, democratic forces, tasked with maintaining an open society” are simply a figment of imagination, a self-deluding rhetorical flourish. “Imperial Russia, the Austro-Hungarian Empire or Weimar Germany” all existed within their own peculiar, indiviual historical circumstances and to “rant and thunder in a variety of slogans” to make them appear “all the same” doesn’t help clarify matters very much. Then too, it wouldn’t take much for “finishing off the liberal traditions in Israel and the United States”, since they never really got started in the first place. An officially Jewish state - or a de facto one like our own too, for that matter - and all it takes to make and keep it that way, can hardly be a liberal one,  except in the most narrow ethnocratic sense. “Defense and military industries in permanent war” may “trash economies” but two-thirds of the U.S. exonomy is still in consumer spending, much of which consists of plenty of trashy products itself that overflow landfills and litter vacant lots. If “Boeing is unable to finish its new commercial plane on schedule”, it’s probably because they’re more interested in finishing their military projects as the country’s second largest defense contractor, so they’ll get it coming or going, either way. “Foreign aid is given to countries such as Egypt, which receives some” $1.7 B in aid, which this FY is being cut to $1.5 B but the $1.3 B in military aid “required to buy American weapons with” still stays the same. “It is a bizarre circular system” which deFINES “the concept of a free-market economy. “Producing consumer trash and producing military trash with the same profit-enhancing concept of planned obsolescence and conspicuous consumption. Both “these weapons systems” and consumer superfluities “are soon in need of being updated or replaced. They are hauled, years later, into junkyards where they are left to rust” It is, in ecological “terms, as well as existential terms, “a dead end.” It sustains nothing but the permanent” waste economy. “Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote “Notes From the Underground” to illustrate” the existential alienation of modern society and anticipates “what happens to cultures when a liberal class, like ours, becomes sterile, defeated” consumers seeking solace in a culture of commodification and conformity. “Dostoevsky was not dismayed by evil. He was dismayed by”  the darker prospect of the utter futility of existence itself in all directions and social settings - “the face of the monster that has, until then, remained hidden behind the facade”.

Report this

By truedigger3, May 19, 2009 at 12:26 pm Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt wrote:
“Why don’t you just pick five examples and lay them out instead of simply saying that he is this “camouflaged war-monger” would be better to bolster your as yet unsubstantiated argument?”

Also he wrote in defense of Hedges:
“To a point I agree that Hedges is confusing violent rhetoric of the fearfully defiant with the fearfully violent like in the USA and Israel.”

So, you think Hedges “is confusing violent..”
Really, do you believe that?! An excellent wordly writer like him,  with superb command of the language
, history and current events IS CONFUSED about the difference??!! Common on!!

Hedges also wrote in his last week article:
“Becoming what we are seeking to destroy”
Which means we went to war to destroy evil and we
became evil ourselves!!??

And to bolster this point he also wrote:
“We are morally no different from the psychopaths
within the Talibans..”

So, these wars, in his opinion, are about destroying evil and psychopaths and spreading goodness and democracy and he is ONLY taking issue with HOWs and not the WHYs of these wars.
Not a single word mentioned in these two articles about full control of oil and gas and its pipelines which these wars,  including the coming wars with Iran and maybe Venezuela are all about.

Report this
Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, May 19, 2009 at 12:23 pm Link to this comment

You must understand that Obama isn’t “Bush lite” he is of the same ethos as Bush and is just better to look at. He makes the poison easier to go down as the republic dies. His sweetness cuts that bitter taste that someone like McCain wouldn’t.

In a two party monopoly, or two heads of the same animal with just one looks like a poodle and the other like a Hell Hound but their bite is bad. Remember the two poison analogy? Why are we still drinking poison when there are other choices that are actually healthy? Like Nader & Kucinich? Because they are left out in the cold. We are not given choices, we are given their choices for our decisions that really mean little. Our system makes certain that we don’t have a good choice to make. That is why the other possibles are forbidden from getting on national TV, unless you shell out the big bucks to do so. In a rigged system only the house rules. Their the same ones behind our debacle in the economy which they still want to fail. Also behind the imperial ambitions of global storm troopers for God and Country. Not our friends.

Report this
Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, May 19, 2009 at 11:42 am Link to this comment

FT,

Obama clearly did not campaign on peace, he suggested, he gave an illusion that he was more for peace then Hillary, but as far as I could see early in the campaign, he for the most part has done what he said.  I remember discussing with Tony Wicher on this very subject of Obama sounding quite the dove/hawk back then, Obama was looking at Pakistan, many of us found this disappointing, one could only hope it was only normal politics and he would maybe change course. Holding my breath seemed silly, so it may have been a long shot hope, Obama was flirting with politics. I felt at the time a long shot was like Poncho’s nose,(not the wooden puppet) Obama’s illusions seemed to keep getting longer.

Seems many of the fanatics who where blinded by their blind faith in Obama’s cause, missed reality.  Some may have seen through the facade. Obama needs more time to clean out the lobbyists and credit card problem. 

For change and hope has again, become hope for change.

Report this

By "G"utless "W"itless Hitler, May 19, 2009 at 11:11 am Link to this comment

“If you’re not actively trying to stop it, it’s YOUR fault.” 

Hehe, hehe… heckuva job, Wexler.  You nailed the nail in the head with that one!

You folks ought to listen to the ol’ Wexinator here; he knows the score.  My daddy once told me that you can’t be a conscientious non-participant in a capitalist society ‘cause the bottom line is if you’re not doing the fucking then you’re getting fucked… er, pardon my French… er, hehe, hehe.

Report this

By Tim, May 19, 2009 at 11:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Hedges,

How many times can you write essentially the same article over and over?

Report this

By Folktruther, May 19, 2009 at 10:53 am Link to this comment

the current aim of the endless War on Terrorism, which Obama has rebranded, is not foreign affairs at all, it is dommestic affairs.  All power structures are much more concerned with their relations with their own people than they are with foreign relations, because that is the basis of their power. And the US extension of the war to Pakistan makes no geostrategic sense at all.

the purpose of the Bush-Obama war policy is to transform the traditional US bourgeois Democracy of the US into a neoliberal police state.  They have to because of the enormous class inequality and the inability of the US to compete economically with it in a globalized economy.

That is the basis for the 9/11 false flag operation which I though was just senseless maniacal adventurism. But in order for the ruling class to save their power, which was based on ownership and management of the banks and corporations, they had to effect a political revolution.  Similar to the political revolution that Rome underwent to save the landowners from the uprisings of their slaves, and free farmers.

In which case Zionism is being used as a means of effecting a police state in the US, with Israeli ethnic cleansing a secondary objective.  That is why the Zionist thoubht control bill and the hate crimes bill has been passed by the House, for US domestic purposes, not Israeli purposes.  And that’s why the US wars in Iraq and Afpak are so ssenseless.  It doesn’t much matter WHO the US is at war with as long as a war climate is created for domestic purposes.

So the function of Obama is to rebrand and rehabilitate Bushite policies to strengthen and legitimate them, campaigning on peace and making war in the usual Dem way previously done by Wilson, Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, and Johnson.  A current article by Greenwald on Commondreams states for the first time explicitly by a mainstream Progressive that the function of Obama is to continue Bush.

Report this
William W. Wexler's avatar

By William W. Wexler, May 19, 2009 at 10:22 am Link to this comment

Leefeller,

I just have a moment, but as I was just thinking about our situation it struck me that one of our primary motivations is discomfort. 

The reason why the situation has persevered is that people are not quite motivated to change it.  The discomfort of the injustice is less than the discomfort of working to knock it down and rebuild something better.

Thinking of what that “better” might be is tantalizing.  I guess the only way we’ll ever find out is if things deteriorate to the point where we have a political day of reckoning.  The two parties are in collusion to try to prevent that day… 3rd party movements are hobbled, ridiculed, shut out of the system. 

I just came across an old Newsweek magazine that our neighbor gave us.  It was from 2008, apparently the week after Nader announced.  In their “Dignity” meter, or whatever they call it, they actually gave Nader a “28” out of 100 for announcing.  When a nationally distributed MSM magazine ridicules somebody who got on the ballot in all 45 states that still allow 3rd party candidates to even run, how do we expect “change” to happen?

I dunno.  I curse myself for not moving to Canada in 1970 when I had the chance.  What an idiot.

-Wexler

Report this
Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, May 19, 2009 at 9:51 am Link to this comment

William W. Wexler,

Punch and Judy is a very good analogy. Getting out of our slacker mentality may be harder then proposed. Cannot speak for others but survival seems to become an increasing and growing issue for myself.  As people find themselves in less comfortable situations and closer to third world life styles, enlightenment becomes a luxury like such as owning ones home.

Green party may be worthy of support?  Though not sure if federalism is the way to go.  Is it possible to utilize the local level politics where community’s can take care of themselves?  Sounds good, buy one only needs to look at places like Alabama to know local politics can be appear more ignominious than even national politics. 

Fanatics need to unite and set a goal which will become evasive in the final results. Depending on who ends with on top with the control and power, may I safely say movments never ending in the grass roots original vision, as hoped for from the beginning? Find me a struggle, which ended as it started?

So, as we plan for the future with ideas as noble and full of equity for all as we can hope for, my suggestion is they would end most different. The results may not be much different from what we have now, opportunism has a way of taking control.  History may have more than one example suggesting this to be correct in one degree or another?

Report this
Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, May 19, 2009 at 9:30 am Link to this comment

“The six day war was quite some time ago and Egypt and Syria have not warred with Israel since. In fact, a reading of history would note that Israel was itself attacked in that war, and on the most important of its religious holidays as well. The invasion of Lebanon, illegal and stupid as it was, was not a war upon that nation but upon the extremists who sheltered on its borders.”Ardee

Yet you see that Lebanon was tossed back economically at least 20 years in their developments, aborted in toto. So I must disagree with you concerning Lebanon. For Gaza it is estimated at least 60 years.

“Is chris Hedges by attacking Ahmadinejad is paving the way to an attack on Iran?? Is he advocating “what he is preaching against?? Is he cleverly camouflaged war-monger and very skilled bullshit artist??”Truthdigger3

To a point I agree that Hedges is confusing violent rhetoric of the fearfully defiant with the fearfully violent like in the USA and Israel. But as a cryptic war monger? I would say no. I just wish Achmadinajad wouldn’t say such things that actually hurt his side. Not that anything he said would impinge on the rock faced ideologues here. Obama too is part of that group.

“As I said, Chris Hedges inserts and hide poisonous pieces of candy in an enticing dish of sweets. I noticed that in this article and in previous articles, so I stand by that he is cleverly camouflaged war-monger and bullshit artist in spite of his preaching and pontification.”Truthdigger3

Why don’t you just pick five examples and lay them out instead of simply saying that he is this “camouflaged war-monger” would be better to bolster your as yet unsubstantiated argument?

But Paul_GA hadn’t a deal been made with the Taliban about such a pipeline or was close? Remember that the Taliban were the “saviors” of Afghanistan from the brutish Northern Alliance originally. The Taliban created by the Pakistan ISI to keep Afghanistan under control after the Soviet pullout in 1989. In concert with the USA CIA with the mistaken idea that the most religiously fanatical would fight the hardest!

I recall that the Taliban gov’t either couldn’t do anything about the Al-queda bases or didn’t have time to do anything before the USA simply declared they were enemies as well and off to war we went.

Remember that the three top recipients of US foreign aid money are as follows: Israel, Egypt and Columbia. In S. America the only bases left are in Columbia. [Uruguay just ended our base in their country this year.] Remember Plan Columbia?

Report this

By mike turner, May 19, 2009 at 9:29 am Link to this comment

thanks C.H.
9/11 was the perfect Reichstag re-enactment. Now that the corporations have been given one last chance to suck the taxpayer coffers dry….the decline of the news media to a propaganda machine will pave the way for the waves of economic & social unrest to follow next year. Sadly, by that time the war lovers will be well on the way to the unimaginable suffering of full scale war. On the bright side, as Don Rumsfield’s warped Bible verses show: the shallow Bushittes who seek to both enrich themselves & hasten the second coming (deepest pardons Hebrews)  shall fulfill their depraved wishes. Imagine how warped & lurid CNN. NBC, ABC, CBS & FOX shall be by then. The modern American version of the Josef Geobels cult of the nationalist hero!

Report this

By herewegoagain, May 19, 2009 at 9:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

William Wexler writes: “If we do not break the two party system we are stuck in perpetuity in the good cop/bad cop game.”

What will break the good cop/bad cop cycle is complete removal of corporate money from the election process. More than anything else, corporatism is what is blurring the lines between Dems and Repubs the most.

If that was removed, the differences between the two parties would become clear again. Also, a two-party system is more conducive to true democratic/majority rule. If you have a lot of parties running, how fair is it when one wins based on a very tiny percentage of the voter population?

Report this

By Thomas Mc, May 19, 2009 at 9:06 am Link to this comment

Voters were stupid to think America could change, and Obama is proving that, over and over again, every single day.

Report this

By herewegoagain, May 19, 2009 at 8:48 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Our job is to inform as many Americans as possible exactly how our defense budget and policies is cheating this country of services that would truly make us more secure, particularly from an economic standpoint.

Die-hard neocons, of course, will never change their minds, but that doesn’t matter. Our task is to counterpoint their illogical reasoning. Two examples of that:

A local radio commentator, Mike Rosen, told David Sirota in a recent debate that we were “cutting defense spending” because this year, it would be a slightly less percentage of our GDP. Never mind that the actual budget was increased, he was stubbornly clinging to percentage of GDP as the basis of his argument. 

The second example I can give is a debate I once had with a conservative who was arguing that Social Security was bankrupting our country. I posited that it was defense spending, to which he replied, “That’s the last thing I would cut!” From a “fiscal” conservative mind you - wouldn’t even consider that there was waste that could be cut from the budget. No, the percentage of budget and expenditures must not change except to climb even higher.

Report this
Paul_GA's avatar

By Paul_GA, May 19, 2009 at 8:46 am Link to this comment

What did we go into Afghanistan for in the first place, Inherit The Wind?

Well, I’ve been reading Steve Coll’s GHOST WARS, and on page 302 (Penguin paperback edition), he mentions that when the USA wanted to build a pipeline from Turkmenistan across Afghanistan to Pakistan’s port Karachi, Turkmenistan (immediately to Afghanistan’s northwest) had 159 trillion cunbic feet of natural gas and 32 billion barrels of oil.

So ultimately, though the initial US invasion of Afghanistan was just a sideshow to the real show (the conquest of Iraq and its oil), oil was at least part of the reason for getting this country involved in South and Central Asia. And I’m willing to predict that the only thing which might make this country leave Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, etc. will be its economic collapse as it’s overstretched beyond its limits.

Report this
William W. Wexler's avatar

By William W. Wexler, May 19, 2009 at 8:43 am Link to this comment

Leefeller….

I didn’t expect Nader to win the election and so I’ve never whined about it.  How could he?  The party of the candidate you supported is one of the two parties that have rigged the system.

You are right to have lowered your expectations about Obama and congrats for reading through the political hyperbole and seeing that Progressives were in denial about his real positions. 

But step back and look at the big picture.  If we do not break the two party system we are stuck in perpetuity in the good cop/bad cop game.  As I have stated on my website and in other places,

It’s a Punch-and-Judy Show and they’re using YOU for the puppets. (TM)

So just how do you propose to break the system, if you agree that it’s fouled up?  There are only 2 things that politicians want from us… our money and our votes.  They can get money from anywhere, but they need our votes, at least until our elections turn rigged with Diebold junk and software.  So why give them your vote?

Your vote, and the votes of everyone else you can convince to cast, are one of the tools we’ve been given.  You can use it, in primaries, caucuses, etc., to influence the political system.

I thought about voting for Obama, particularly since I worked for him as a precinct captain in Iowa and also housed one of the campaign people here for a while.  But as correctly pointed out below, there is a party in the States that’s not hooked on perpetual war, the Greens.  Yeah, I know, they’re a bit disorganized right now, but that could change if some of us slacktivists got out of our chairs once in a while and actually did something.

Just a suggestion, in case you wanted one.

-Wexler

Report this
Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, May 19, 2009 at 8:21 am Link to this comment

Obama seems to have gone in the directions he stated during the campaign, his political posturing was all part of the game in order to win.  Everyone who Obama is not doing what he said he was going to do, were in the Nile during the election.  Seems their eyes were bigger then their brains. 

As for the two party system, I find them the good cop bad cop routine. In Britain they have three parties, has it helped?

As for Nader, vote for him, I could not care less. But quite whining about loosing! My guy won, so what does that mean? We shall find out down the road, my expectations may be going down, but they were not to high to begin with. What else can one expect from good cop bad cop, business as usual?

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, May 19, 2009 at 7:57 am Link to this comment

KDelphi:
... There are probably a lot of former-Obama supporters feeling that same agonizing sense despair now that President Rainbow has done an about-face on every campaign promise he made. So much for “truth in advertising”, eh?

What a disaster. Did anyone know it was gonna be this bad?

It’s pretty much what I expected.  People who actually took care to read Obama’s position papers and to notice who his associates and allies were knew that he was fairly conservative.  Those who were not under the spell were often mystified by the enthusiasts’ rigorous avoidance of what was in plain view.

However, to a large extent it doesn’t matter a whole lot who is president.  It is pretty clear that, when policies and relations persist for decades, that they do not come from one individual.  If there were less hero-worship and more critical thinking among leftists fewer of us would be breathlessly waiting for some great leader to come along and save everybody, and there would be less disappointment when this idol or that proved to have feet of clay.  Maybe people would spend some more time and energy forming the cooperative institutions which are the only real alternative to the capitalist warfare-welfare state.

Whose health is war, as Mr. Hedges dutifully notes, although he doesn’t seem to have really taken it in.

Report this
William W. Wexler's avatar

By William W. Wexler, May 19, 2009 at 7:39 am Link to this comment

I voted for Nader and anyone who gave me grief about it or will in the future gets told to cram it up their ass in a big hurry.  It’s my vote and I cast it however I see fit.

The reason why we have perpetual war is that people have allowed it to happen.  Our founders gave us the tools to avoid this kind of mess but if you don’t learn to use them or even give enough of a shit to find out they exist, there are people who will run your government into the ground.  Whose fault is it?  If you’re not actively trying to stop it, it’s YOUR fault.

I have become excruciatingly amused at the political game played by our 2 party system.  Given the situation we had after Nixon got run out of D.C., it’s totally amazing that it’s come to what we have today.  I shake my head in disbelief. 

You Obama supporters should do some introspective soul searching.  As someone pointed out in an earlier post, he signaled his anti-progressive agenda about a year ago when he started articulating a center-right position on everything.  It’s too late, now.  All the issues you thought were going to “Change” here are already decided, and let’s just say that trickle-down economists, free-traders, the health insurance industry, military contractors, and the Bush Administration have nothing to worry about.

You, however, do.  Obama got up to go to the bathroom and he split, leaving you with the tab.

-Wexler

Report this

By truedigger3, May 19, 2009 at 5:55 am Link to this comment

ardee said:
“Israel is not the sole culprit for everything wrong with this world, nor is our own nation run by those who practice the same religion as the majority in Israel do either”
___________________________________________________

I never said that and I agree with you in that point.
However, when it comes to the middle East, the creating of aggressive expansionist Israel was crucial detrimental effect on its neighbors social , economic and political development. It put them in
situation of perpetual fear and apprehension.
The absence of war for a period of time doen’t negate
that fact.
Of course blaming Israel for all the problems of the
Arab world is also wrong, but Israel, again, is big
cause for these problems.
As I said, Chris Hedges inserts and hide poisonous
pieces of candy in an enticing dish of sweets. I noticed that in this article and in previous articles, so I stand by that he is cleverly camouflaged war-monger and bullshit artist in spite of his preaching and pontification.

Report this

By ardee, May 19, 2009 at 4:50 am Link to this comment

Chris Hedges lumps together the victims and victimisers of perpetual war in one big basket without defining who is who.
Some countries like Egypt, Syria and Lebanon found themselves forced into perpetual war to defend themselves when expanist Israel was created in the
heart of the Arab world and put its neighbors under constant threat.
...................

I think perhaps the seeds of the destruction of a democratic movement in the Middle East can be laid at the doorstep of other factors than the paranoid and destructive policies of Israel towards its neighbors.

The six day war was quite some time ago and Egypt and Syria have not warred with Israel since. In fact, a reading of history would note that Israel was itself attacked in that war, and on the most important of its religious holidays as well. The invasion of Lebanon, illegal and stupid as it was, was not a war upon that nation but upon the extremists who sheltered on its borders.

Leaders like Amadinajhad who preach hatred and separatism must accept a certain responsibility for destabilising any peace process as well. The oppressive govts of several nations in that region are certainly partly responsible for the growth of militant Islamic movements also.

If I do not mistake your meaning, the implication that, should Israel not have been founded, we would find a democratic paradise in that area of the world is unfounded. Further, implying base motives to Hedges seems rather pointless and misdirected, especially considering the history of his articles.

The aforementioned Amadinajhad is heckled in his own nation, is not the deciding factor in Iranian politics either, and was once a progressive concerned with economic improvements as well.

I do not wish to appear to negate the affect that the heinous policies of the State of Israel towards its Palestinian brethren has had upon events in the Middle East. They are as much to blame as are the foreign policies of the USA which abets them at every turn as the destabilising force their actions cause.

But, when considering the lack of traction for democracy one must place other factors on that list. Israel is not the sole culprit for everything wrong with this world, nor is our own nation run by those who practice the same religion as the majority in Israel do either.

Report this

By Inherit The Wind, May 19, 2009 at 4:45 am Link to this comment

Paul_GA, May 18 at 6:45 pm #

To paraphrase Madame Roland at the guillotine—

“O, Freedom! Freedom! How many wars have been fought in thy name!”
****************************

There’s a difference between fighting for freedom and using that as an excuse for war. The Lincoln Brigade was a fight for freedom.  Neither Gulf war was.

The first was to re-establish the status quo and prevent Saddam Hussein from controlling the Persian Gulf, but had nothing to do with freedom as the Al Sabah family in Kuwait is as cruel and cowardly as Saddam, but are politically expedient. At least it made a certain logic of the lesser of two evils.  And Daddy Bush was smart enough not to remove Saddam.

The second was to capture Iraq’s oil and establish the US’s military presence in the heart of the mid-east with 4 of the largest and most modern military establishments.  It was totally based on lies, deceptions and self-deceit and has been a total failure.

I’m not sure WHAT to make of Afghanistan now—Botch f***ed up incredibly what could have, should have and WOULD have been a successful effort, but he abandoned it for his sick fantasy in Iraq.  Now, things are very, very different and the reasons and wherefores for being in Afghanistan in 2001 and 2002 no longer seem to be true.

Report this

By sar, May 19, 2009 at 4:11 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Permanent” war will remain so until the working class cures their amnesia and realizes that the government and their wealthiest cohorts often “create” wars for economic gain and global control. This has been consistent throughout history, take a look at Howard Zinn’s video “three holy wars”.
My jaw dropped when I saw the evidence on the internet that the CIA was instrumental in creating the Taliban, as they plunder and kill in Pakistan, there is our government’s excuse for “permanent” war. Its no surprise. What is a SHOCK is that working class Americans are so ready to take a bullet for the rich.

Report this

By truedigger3, May 19, 2009 at 4:04 am Link to this comment

Chris Hedges wrote:
“It was a decline into permanent war, not Islam, which killed the liberal, democratic movements in the Arab world, ones that held great promise in the early part of the 20th century in countries such as Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Iran. It is a state of permanent war that is finishing off the liberal traditions in Israel and the United States. The moral and intellectual trolls—the Dick Cheneys, the Avigdor Liebermans, the Mahmoud Ahmadinejads”
_____________________________________________________

Chris Hedges lumps together the victims and victimisers of perpetual war in one big basket without defining who is who.
Some countries like Egypt, Syria and Lebanon found themselves forced into perpetual war to defend themselves when expanist Israel was created in the
heart of the Arab world and put its neighbors under constant threat.
Again he lumps together Ahmadinejads and Cheney!!
Ahmadinejads with all his shortcomings did not start
two uncalled for wars of aggression and prepared to start a third and fourth one like what cheney did!!
Is chris Hedges deliberately hiding and inserting
pieces of poisonous pieces of candies in an enticing dish of sweets??!!
Is chris Hedges by attacking Ahmadinejads is paving
the way to an attack on Iran??  Is he advocating
what he is preaching against?? Is he cleverly camouflaged war-monger and very skilled bullshit artist??!!

Report this
Paul_GA's avatar

By Paul_GA, May 19, 2009 at 3:22 am Link to this comment

Good point, Ivy, and one I should’ve noted myself.

Report this

By Frank Greenway, May 19, 2009 at 12:19 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This seems simply amazing.

Having had since 1967-1968 to assimilate the deadly-accurate spoof/prophesy of “The Report From Iron Mountain”, Americans (including Canadians) have only just _now_ lately begun to notice their longstanding national policy commitment to perpetual war?

It puts one in mind of a comment attributed to Voltaire to the effect that in order to understand the extent of human stupidity one needs to contemplate the mathematical concept of infinity.

Report this

By Ivy, May 18, 2009 at 8:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why do you lump in Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with Dick Cheney and Avigdor Lieberman?
How many wars has he started?
How many countries has he attacked?

Report this
Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, May 18, 2009 at 6:20 pm Link to this comment

Sodium,

Believe I did reply to your posts, unless they were audited off?  I am still receiving TD notices for the same article.  I can go back and check?

Report this

By disillusioned, May 18, 2009 at 5:09 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

So what do we do?

It isn’t a case of good government vs. bad people anymore. Lots of Americans know exactly what the government is up to and for a variety of reasons they don’t care. Do you honestly think lots of these folks care about the dead kids in Farah? Ok, on one level they do; but on another, they act like a bunch of mean (i.e. threatened) rottweilers.

Maybe this nihilism started out as a pseudo-conspiracy on the part of our leaders, but by now, like a cancer, it has corrupted the body politic completely.

When Bush won in 2000 and in 2004 lots of people talked about leaving the country. At the time, I thought it sophmoric to say so. But now that Obama (i.e. the Sierra-tinted messiah) has come, nobody is talking about leaving anymore. It’s a great big love in, and the wars and death go on unabated, with lots of apologies and promises to do better, but we ain’t “gonna fight with one hand tied, no siree!”

I don’t know how to stop this, I don’t even know that it can be stopped. I’m just leaving this place, and watch this tawdry little show from a quieter country.

Report this

By Jeff Morris- Saugerties, N.Y., May 18, 2009 at 4:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Eisenhower tried to warn us back in Jan. 1961. The 2003 unnecessary invasion of Iraq was exactly what he foresaw as possible. Very disappointed with the Obama administration. Their willingness to continue turning a blind eye to the immoral, illegal acts of Bu$hCo.

Obama can either take the steps to finally get at the truth of the disastrous past eight years, or he can join in the continued Obstruction Of Justice and cover up. History will record his choice, which could be the most important factor of his Pres legacy.

Report this
Paul_GA's avatar

By Paul_GA, May 18, 2009 at 3:45 pm Link to this comment

To paraphrase Madame Roland at the guillotine—

“O, Freedom! Freedom! How many wars have been fought in thy name!”

Report this

By Sodium, May 18, 2009 at 3:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To: Leefeller

Leefeller,

Will you please check page 2 of section “Ear To The Ground” of TD dealing with Michael Savage and read my answers to your question,since Truthdig’s moderators/editors have finally posted my original response to your question,addressed to me about my “discomfort”,after roughly of 10 hours delay,which caused me to write you two more responses,in the hope one of them might be published and eventually would reach you. That is the price I have to pay for being unregistered commenter. Even here,the requirements for free speech differ!!!!

However,it is important to me that you read what I think and believe in. No way I would ignore a valid question based on obvious curiosity and obvious good INTENT. I can read between the lines,regardless how clever the poster attempts to hide his or her REAL INTENTION. I can also connect the dots for,apparently,unclear trend of events-A life long experience,Leefeller and no kidding….. 

All of this delay might have been for,perhaps,  constructive and positive results. I certainly hope so.

Report this

By sophrosyne, May 18, 2009 at 3:34 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris soudns like Herbert Hoover and WR Castle, his udnersecretary of state.  Truth is, some of the most devastating criticisms of permanent war and its consquences were conservatives from the 1920’s and 1930’s.  They were also among the first to see through the Vietnam rationale and the cold war. 

Truth is, Bush was no conservative.  Cheney either.  Hoover would not recognize any of them as conservatives.

Report this

By colin2626262, May 18, 2009 at 3:26 pm Link to this comment

Stephen Rose, what exactly do you mean by freedom?  After all, the people who started the wars said they needed to be fought for the sake of freedom. 

Right here on truthdig Chalmers Johnson wrote a good book review about the U.S. military-industrial complex, or permanent war.  He said that “Integral elements of misogyny infect military training. …The military is a violence-producing institution to which sexual and gender violence are intrinsic. … The essence of military forces is their pervasive, deep-rooted contempt for women, which can be seen in military training that completely denies femininity and praises hegemonic masculinity.” 

So what he’s saying is that this warmaking culture is a result of the inner lives of those who participate in the military.  It’s the image of oneself, the way a man thinks of himself, that leads to the actions which Chris Hedges decries.  Most people want a military of some sort for national defense.  However, what is sickening is what Hedges points out: money is being spent on the military in order to destroy people while that money should be spent on social programs in order to help people. 

And maybe there is some hope for genuine change, because, as Chalmers Johnson points out, people may start to “reflect on the nature of U.S. imperialism just at the point where it is most probably starting to decline due to economic constraints and popular exhaustion with the wars and deaths it has caused.”  That would be significant, but it should be stressed that it’s more important to reflect on our own lives and find a change from within before expecting to see a change from without.

Good article, Chris

Report this

By KDelphi, May 18, 2009 at 2:46 pm Link to this comment

Its an honest article. I get a little tired of luminaries “blaming the people” though, considering that the working classes have been running around for the past two decades trying to figure out how to eat…I dont see the Democrats as the lesser of two evils anymore, because the damage they do is the same, and, they get so many to believe that they will effect change, and, to believe that they are the “only alternative”....

Leefeller—“If the people were united and for the most part agreed on everything, they would be looking at real problems and issues instead of made up ones.” This article certainly isnt about a “made up issue”, and those watching MSM are hopeless anyway…

Yeah, if everyone agreed on everything, things would be pretty quiet…people can be “united” for REAL change without “agreeing on everything”...they can agree that THIS systemic duoppoly is not going anywhere but hell…I could NOT vote GOP—EVER—but, this guy has a point…what would be so different??

“Anyone who has ever wasted good money on a clunker only to drop the transmission 15 minutes after leaving the car-lot, knows the feeling. It’s like a swift-kick in the groin followed by weeks of fist-pounding rage. It’s called buyer’s remorse; “Gawd, I wish I hadn’t bought that piece of dogshite!”

There are probably a lot of former-Obama supporters feeling that same agonizing sense despair now that President Rainbow has done an about-face on every campaign promise he made. So much for “truth in advertising”, eh?

What a disaster. Did anyone know it was gonna be this bad?

For the record; I didn’t vote for Obama because I didn’t like the way he backpedaled on wiretapping and because he promised to escalate the war in Afghanistan. (Like everyone else who voted for Ralph Nader; I got loads of grief for it) But that doesn’t mean I didn’t want Obama to succeed. I did. The country is in too big a mess NOT to hope that he would succeed. But now…?”

unquote—can I post the link??


http://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/2009/05/18/buyers-remorse-is-it-too-late-to-swap-obama-for-mccain-by-mike-whitney/comment-page-1/#comment-96812

Report this
Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, May 18, 2009 at 2:21 pm Link to this comment

Capitation Aldo,

When one asks a question without any preface, I question agendas or motives.  If I went to the proposed site and discovered something new I would be surprised, could it be the Zionists again? Possibly the Muslims or Donald Trump? The Gays or Mexicans. 

Posters here on TD have overindulged on their personal bigotry’s so maybe you have one or more. From the Zionists to the Pope. Even the banana slug has been touted on occasion. 

As I work myself into a frenzied delusion and join the rest of our fellow country folks, even as I find myself chomping at the bit, fired up to check out your link, my willpower and experience demand that I do not.

Most have heard the old saying, curiosity upsets the cats, I know how this works very well, so maybe instead please indulge us with a preface, so one can make a decision with even a tiny bit of knowledge?

Full of questions, “how does it feel to be controled by powerful interest groups”?  Would that possibly be the plutocracy, the self proclaimed elite, MSM, we know it is not the GOP, for they could not find blackberry seeds in Skunk droppings. Hopefully it is not the Zionists again, this is when long of tooth becomes like old fish. 

On TD many posters seem to have an abundance of old fish.

Report this

By ardee, May 18, 2009 at 2:16 pm Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind, May 18 at 2:25 pm #


Pogo wasn’t wrong, it was just Okiefenokeese that got given far more meaning than Walt Kelly ever meant to.  It was just supposed to be a funny way of saying “We have met the enemy and he is ours.”  Like “Nuclear fission ain’t so new and it ain’t so clear!”
........

I recall the original cartoon, which did of course borrow on that already famous line. Pogo is seated in a boat ,fishing in a pond, which is littered from shore to shore with garbage. With a tear in his eye he says those words, and , considering the mess we all make of our planet, our politics and our lives, a quite profound utterance indeed.

Report this

By terry freeman, May 18, 2009 at 1:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Part of our problem is the mock warfare between the Demopublicans and the Republicrats. First off, both vote for “defense” spending regardless of rhetoric. That’s part of the cozy deal; Republicans get credit for “defense” spending, and Democrats for “social” spending, but both actually support Big Huge Government.

Ever hear about the depression of 1920? No? That’s because it was over so quickly. What did Harding do? He cut federal spending by 50% over the course of two years. How’d he do that? Only by making sure there were no sacred cows; everybody’s ox went hungry. Today, no politician can ever see a program cut without thinking of some other way to spend that money.

Better to cut every government program by 10 or 20%. No new programs. If there’s a budget surplus, cut taxes across the board. Repeat as needed. We won’t starve if the government spends “only” a trillion dollars. Really.

Report this

By Lester Shepherd, May 18, 2009 at 1:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Captain Aldo:  Your referral to the Paul Craig Roberts article is right on the money, however, I believe Roberts is a Milton Friedman, Thatcherite, Reagenite, Chcago School free marketer that thinks Pinochet is a hero.  Do you know.  Have you ever asked him?  He will not answer me.

Report this

By CaptainAldo, May 18, 2009 at 12:47 pm Link to this comment

Who Rules America?  The answer to that is on http://www.TheLuminousCompass.com

It starts:

What do you suppose it is like to be elected president of the United States only to find that your power is restricted to the service of powerful interest groups?

read more at: http://www.TheLuminousCompass.com

Report this
Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, May 18, 2009 at 11:54 am Link to this comment

One of Hedges better articles, not because I agree with it, but he is preaching to the choir on this subject, Military Complex was something Eisenhower called attention and warned us of, back in the early 50s. 

Fear a most important tool used by opportunists to bolster their pocket books. Constant deceptions with smoke and mirrors and you have US.

GOP rising from the dead to reconstitute their non issue, issues, dragging out abortion and gays like Donald Trumps wig to be a rallying point for the mindless masses to bicker about.  MSM with constant breaking news, shrills of divisiveness calling the ignorant to gather around the flag, for it is being attacked by Obama, the gays, the Mexicans, the Taliban, the democrats, the Muslims, the Atheists, the Methodists, pick a name, for they are ruining the country, not the real patriots, the true and pure GOP has spoken.

If the people were united and for the most part agreed on everything, they would be looking at real problems and issues instead of made up ones.

The economy, health care, our nation indivisible, our rights. No! Lets worry about the gays, induced phobias so useful in the grand scheme of things.

Report this
Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, May 18, 2009 at 11:52 am Link to this comment

One of Hedges better articles, not because I agree with it, but he is preaching to the choir on this subject, Military Complex was something Eisenhower called attention and warned us of, back in the early 50s. 

Fear a most important tool used by opportunists to bolster their pocket books. Constant deceptions with smoke and mirrors and you have US.

GOP rising from the dead to reconstitute their non issue, issues, dragging out abortion and gays like Donald Trumps wig to be a rallying point for the mindless masses to bicker about.  MSM with constant breaking news, shrills of divisiveness calling the ignorant to gather around the flag, for it is being attacked by Obama, the gays, the Mexicans, the Taliban, the democrats, the Muslims, the Atheists, the Methodists, pick a name, for they are ruining the country, not the real patriots, the true and pure GOP has spoken.

If the people were united and for the most part agreed on everything, they would be looking at real problems and issues instead of made up ones.

The economy, health care, our nation indivisible, our rights. No, lets worry about the gays, induced phobias so useful in the grand scheme of things.

Report this

By Dave Schwab, May 18, 2009 at 11:37 am Link to this comment

Not everyone is resigned to permanent war. If you are serious about opposing the military-industrial-congressional complex, get active with the Green Party.

http://www.gp.org

Report this

By Inherit The Wind, May 18, 2009 at 11:25 am Link to this comment

Folktruther, May 18 at 1:19 pm #

Paul, Jackpine.  Pogo was wrong.  We are not the enemy, our rulers are.
***************************************************

Pogo wasn’t wrong, it was just Okiefenokeese that got given far more meaning than Walt Kelly ever meant to.  It was just supposed to be a funny way of saying “We have met the enemy and he is ours.”  Like “Nuclear fission ain’t so new and it ain’t so clear!”

**************************************************
Inherit, you are right about American cars.  Maybe the expensive ones are better but we get cheap ones, and the Toyotas are liteyears better.  I don’t know what the problem is.  Why don’t they just steal the ideas from Toyota, they steal from eveyone else.
***************************************************

As I drove that POS HHR around I asked myself that same queation: Why did these idiots pick CHRYSLER to steal from (the PT Cruiser)? Drive a Toy, a Nissan, a BMW or a Mercedes and SEE how to build a comfortable, desirable car with sensible controls in sensible locations that do what you need them to do.

On the POS, there was a display to reset the trip odo.  On the wheel there’s a “reset” key and a key with a return arrow like an “undo” key on a PC.  Does the obvious “reset” button reset the odo? Noooooo!  It’s the “undo” arrow…Makes no friggin’ sense.  An electric powered seat—with a manual backrest.  If I wanted manual I wouldn’t want to pay for electric!  Dumb and dumber!  Not a lick of common sense!

Report this
Clash's avatar

By Clash, May 18, 2009 at 10:47 am Link to this comment

The quality of life in the empire, excuse me the fatherland, but that’s not correct either, the home land is unsustainable. Just as the article describes, choices are made for the short term by a hierarchy who spreads fear in a way that paralyzes the majority of the populace into a state, that when given the choice to survive or hold onto antiquated value systems they chose the same paradigm that is slowly killing everything.

On the other side of this dilemma we have those that can think for themselves, but cannot come to a consensus on the basic premise’s that could begin the long term choice making process. That leaves only the dogmatic rhetoric that continues to be thrown about, this continues to keep us separate.

History, ancient and recent seems to point in the direction that operating within the structure of all but a few cultures that not many of their inhabitants could make these choices. This culture along with its abusive hierarchy will not have ability or courage to make those long term choices for the survival of its populace.

The problems facing the inhabitants of this island while not insurmountable are beyond solution by the choice makers of whom we scrutinize on these and other political pages, and no amount of critique is going to change them.

Civilization as we know it is irredeemable; it is not sustainable and never has been. That the effects of the poor choices made hundreds( maybe thousands) of years ago are now just coming to light, only shows that the inhabitants of this culture could not then with the knowledge they had acquired perceive the unanticipated consequences of their choices now facing the humans who have to live with those choices.

War is a choice, pollution is a choice, deforestation is a choice, degradation of the land mass is a choice, degradation of the oceans is a choice, boiling water with flesh killing radiation is a choice, living sustainable with our fellow humans is a choice, being a soldier slave is a choice. These choices will be the hardest we make and the wrong choices will most likely not affect anyone but our children, and grandchildren.

We now return you to you regularly televised world.

Report this

By Folktruther, May 18, 2009 at 10:19 am Link to this comment

Endless war was initiated by the 9/11 false flag operation and most likely can’t be defeated until the truth of it is confronted.  The Bushites who did it were not fuols, they were murderously insane.  And we continued to be ruled by homocidal maniacs, who smile at us really sincerely.  It will end in a neoliberal police state.  But Hedeges does not confront 9/11, and blathers on about Notes From Underground.  I think his liver is diseased.

Paul, Jackpine.  Pogo was wrong.  We are not the enemy, our rulers are.

Inherit, you are right about American cars.  Maybe the expensive ones are better but we get cheap ones, and the Toyotas are liteyears better.  I don’t know what the problem is.  Why don’t they just steal the ideas from Toyota, they steal from eveyone else.

Report this
Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, May 18, 2009 at 10:09 am Link to this comment

Another astute analysis by Chris Hedges and something to ponder as our false man of change Obama re institutes and continues policies previously set up and implemented for the GWOT/OCO and the extraordinary renditions (started as renditions under Clinton) are maintained.

With our limited two party monopoly in place it was only a matter of time that they would be co-opted in the main by like minded men and women. The few who do not hew to that mark are limited in their ability to affect like Dennis Kucinich or even Ron Paul in their main party bodies.

David Jones the first US-Iraq War was to get the other members of Saddam’s ruling party to oust him and replace him with another like him but not him. That and use the Kuwait invasion to do so. Remember that Bush 41 was able to get a coalition of other nations to add their solidarity to the war crime thus done. Since 1990 almost 3 million killed and some 5 million wounded and/or maimed with about as many internally and externally displaced. Whole cities blasted and burned and gassed. Only now after the local ethnic cleansing was completed and the locals have decided to wait to see if the occupying forces of the USA were to leave. [We aren’t leaving and they will again begin fighting us to make us leave permanently.]

Already more people are finding the only place they can go to for a job, place to live and food is in the military which is taking in all comers except gays. You can be a gang-banger of any kind and it is okay to join! Such are the benefits of trashing an economy for a soon to be empire.

Report this

By Bill Jones, May 18, 2009 at 10:08 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why do you lump in Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with Dick Cheney and Avigdor Lieberman?
How many wars has he started?
How many countries has he attacked?

Report this
Paul_GA's avatar

By Paul_GA, May 18, 2009 at 8:26 am Link to this comment

As Walt Kelly’s Pogo said, Jackpine, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

Report this

By Henry Pelifian, May 18, 2009 at 8:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Hedges has captured the primary political conduct of the two controlling political parties since World War II leading the American people to financial and foreign policy dead ends with so many educated and privileged Americans standing on the sidelines watching foreign and domestic policies built like elaborate sand castles higher up on the beach finally begin to disintegrate when the tides become uncontrollable.

Report this

By DavidJames, May 18, 2009 at 7:46 am Link to this comment

Chris,

An interesting post.  A little gloomy though.

I was wondering how you would compare the first Iraq conflict with the second Iraq conflict.

Was the more limited military action of the first Iraq conflict better or worse and for whom?

Regards,

Report this

By "G"utless "W"itless Hitler, May 18, 2009 at 7:06 am Link to this comment

Hedges is merely confirming in print what every thinking person in this country should have realized by the time they were 20.  The U.S. military industrial complex is the largest system of wealth redistribution the world has ever known.  However, unlike the fairytale of wealth redistribution crowed from every yacht and penthouse balcony ad nauseum by the one-percenters (and their waterboys)—the fairytale where the victimized people of “true merit” are forced to pick up the tab for a nation of shiftless welfare queens—this one is for real and the money is moving in the opposite direction.

This is trickle down economics folks, but they only give you half the equation.  The money trickles down as a result of how obscenely it’s been flooding up for the last 60 years.

Report this

By Thomas O. Anderson, May 18, 2009 at 6:38 am Link to this comment

Hedges has given us the “progressive star of Bethlehem,” the key principle that should guide all true progressives: permanent war is the foundation of Empire, and an enemy to the progress of Humanity.

The Bush initiated “War on Terror” is the quintessential “permanent war,” and all who give credence to this pestilent concept have either been taken in, or are willing exploiters riding the imperial bandwagon.

Report this

By Stephen Rose, May 18, 2009 at 5:55 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris, I think if Niebuhr were alive he would suggest you take a step back. Your columns have the flavor of eliminating what Berdyaev believed was central to Dostoevsky—freedom. We are in a crucial time precisely because the war culture does not work and it is the free actions of individuals that can reverse the cycle of violence. Incidentally, all the descriptions of this phenomenon are generally applicable to all history, not just the present. You have a platform. But writing for a choir creates a closed circle and vitiates the freedom to be part of the answer.

Report this

By jackpine savage, May 18, 2009 at 5:11 am Link to this comment

Some like to quote Clauswitz and call war an extension of politics.  It’s not true.  War is failed policy.

It is not the Taliban, Iraqis or Al Quaeda that are defeating us; we’re defeating ourselves.

Report this

By everynobody, May 18, 2009 at 5:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

By Inherit The Wind, May 18 at 7:50 am #
Didn’t George Orwell make the same point more eloquently in “1984”?

He sure as hell did! Good on ya!

All this blah, blah, blah is surely boring and from all the public response; underwhelming at best.

Report this

By Inherit The Wind, May 18, 2009 at 4:50 am Link to this comment

Didn’t George Orwell make the same point more eloquently in “1984”?

“They redirect government expenditures towards their huge military projects and starve domestic investment in the name of national security. We produce sophisticated fighter jets, while Boeing is unable to finish its new commercial plane on schedule and our automotive industry goes bankrupt.

Quite frankly, I’m not sure I’d want to take a GM product into combat. Just last week I had a Chevy HHR as a loaner and I couldn’t believe all the ways this car was a POS. NOTHING was designed by anyone with brains and even the engine sounded asthmatic and sick.

Melman’s point about the NYC subway getting ALL its cars from abroad reinforces a point I’ve made: We NEED rolling stock in America—freight and passengers but there’s no capacity to build it. Instead, the Big 3 built Rams, Navigators and Suburbans—giant gas-guzzling beasts that now NOBODY wants, and crappy cars.  Who else is better equipped to tool up for rail rolling stock?  And CSX insists it can move a ton of freight over 400 miles on a gallon of fuel…

As for shipping our productivity abroad, well, that goes back to neo-con hero Ronald Reagan who, with his cohorts in Congress (a Senate majority and the “Reagan Democrats”—traitors—in Congress) passed a tax incentive bill to ENCOURAGE American business to move production offshore.  Over 3.5 MILLION union jobs were lost, never to return.  Pittsburgh and Bethlehem no longer make ANY steel as a result.

You can’t reverse this overnight.  You can’t bring back deliberately murdered industries, murdered in the name of “free enterprise” as a cover for union busting.

And perpetual war is, as described, The Great Poisoner of free societies, used by the Cheneys and Nassers and Assads and Netanyahus as the cynical way to get their short-term selfish aims in place, regardless of the lives lost.

Report this

By coloradokarl, May 18, 2009 at 4:23 am Link to this comment

We need to embrace the Military Industrial Complex as it is the driving force in our technalogical future. Only through LOVE and Understanding will the drive to Kill and Control be wound into the hopeful future of our grandchildren. Energy Independance is a National Security Issue. Investing in Renewable Energy IS OUR FUTURE. Investment sends the mesege the Corporations hear….........

Report this
Paul_GA's avatar

By Paul_GA, May 18, 2009 at 3:58 am Link to this comment

A most excellent article—and I’m especially pleased that Mr. Hedges saw fit to quote one of my heroes, proto-libertarian Randolph Bourne: “WAR IS THE HEALTH OF THE STATE.”

Report this
thebeerdoctor's avatar

By thebeerdoctor, May 18, 2009 at 3:56 am Link to this comment

To Reverend Hedges sermon I can only say amen.

Report this

By ardee, May 18, 2009 at 2:41 am Link to this comment

This is a very important article, in my opinion, and one that points toward perhaps the single most destructive force to our democratic institutions, war and those who profit from it.

It also provides a very rare, true and negative opinion of the Democratic Party as the party of hope:

“oes Our permanent war economy has not been challenged by Obama and the Democratic Party. They support its destructive fury because it funds them. They validate its evil assumptions because to take them on is political suicide.  They repeat the narrative of fear because it keeps us dormant. They do this because they have become weaker than the corporate forces that profit from permanent war.

The hollowness of our liberal classes, such as the Democrats, empowers the moral nihilists. A state of permanent war means the inevitable death of liberalism. Dick Cheney may be palpably evil while Obama is merely weak, but to those who seek to keep us in a state of permanent war it dnot matter. They get what they want. “

I believe that the solution to our endless wars, to our increasingly unfair society in which the money continually migrates to fewer and fewer, health care becomes more and more a profit center and less a right, the middle class shrinks towards extinction lies outside the two party system. It lies with those who reject corporate money as tainted, those who understand the reasons for the tens of millions necessary to run for higher office and seek to make elections more open, honest and available to more of the populace.

Report this

Page 2 of 2 pages  <  1 2

 
Monsters of Our Own Creation? Get tickets for this Truthdig discussion of America's role in the Middle East.
Right 1, Site wide - BlogAds Premium
 
Right Skyscraper, Site Wide
Right 2, Site wide - Blogads
 
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network
 
 
 

A Progressive Journal of News and Opinion   Publisher, Zuade Kaufman   Editor, Robert Scheer
© 2014 Truthdig, LLC. All rights reserved.

Like Truthdig on Facebook