Dec 8, 2013
Truthdigger of the Week: Tom Engelhardt
Posted on Apr 20, 2013
In short, without a public perpetually terrified of a resilient global terrorist bogeyman, American military aggression and the multibillion-dollar industry that enables it would have been impossible to justify and create. We would have no Department of Homeland Security; no 17-outfit, $75 billion U.S. Intelligence Community; no secret, endless wars via remote-controlled plane and a financially flush “drone lobby” to promote it.
No, without the crippling influence of fear (which Engelhardt recognizes as a new American way of life) insisted upon by politicians and fanned by a compliant, drum-beating press, the security state that we have been watching develop over the last 12 years would have been preposterous to imagine.
The word “uncanny” could have been an appropriate description of Engelhardt’s piece because it was posted less than 24 hours before the Boston Marathon bombings, in which three people were killed and 185 injured in two blasts set off by the kind of enemy American policy has created in the real world as well as in the minds of the terrified public. The concurrence of those events serves to demonstrate the journalist’s relentless prescience and his importance as a teacher in a world created by fear and governed by powerful institutions and chance.
This view is confirmed by Engelhardt’s insight into what the bombings will ultimately mean for the rights of Americans. In a comment on his article written on Facebook on the day after the explosions, he warned that the tragedy would be used to justify the fortification and expansion of the American police state:
Civil rights lawyer and national security writer Glenn Greenwald updated Engelhardt’s warning in an article published on The Guardian on Saturday. Suspected bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured Friday night, and in the supposed name of national security, was never read his Miranda rights. To the cheers of many Americans, Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham and John McCain quickly called for the 19-year-old to be treated as an enemy combatant and denied legal representation. Americans allow for such a suspension at their own peril, Greenwald wrote. “When you cheer for the erosion of [Tsarnaev’s] rights, you’re cheering for the erosion of your own,” he pointed out.
For Tom Engelhardt’s tireless and ongoing demonstration of the ways American politicians and their partners in business are making the world a more dangerous place, and for inspiring and encouraging, by example and personal attention, a large number of young journalists who are striving to document the same, we honor him as our Truthdigger of the Week.
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