Friday, June 29, 2012

A Morass of Orwellian Depravity

 Congressman Dennis Kucinich has now joined Nation writer Jeremy Scahill in referring to President Obama's targeted drone attacks as acts of murder. In an exclusive interview with the Britain-based Bureau for Investigative Journalism, the Ohio Democrat scathingly denounces this open secret of covert war, calling out the President, the Congress and a complicit press for their mutual descent into "a morass of Orwellian depravity." Said Kucinich:

You are looking here at an executive power that is unleashed. Our system of justice, according to the Constitution, is highly structured. There are broad areas of our constitution that have to do with people being investigated, arrested, charged, having a trial, and then if they are convicted being properly sentenced and incarcerated.
What we have done here with the drone programme is to radically alter our system of justice. Because, remember, if the whole idea is that we are exporting American values, those drones represent American values. And now we are telling the world that American values are summary executions, no rights to an accused, no arrest process, no reading of charges, no trial by jury, no judge, only an executioner.
If you have only an executioner that is not justice, that is something else. Not only the United States but the world community should be properly appraised about these so-called targeted killings. And because the emphasis in on killing, this is murder. If someone shot a grocer and his defense was ‘it was a targeted killing’ he would be put on trial for his life. But we are told that these targeted killings are somehow to be considered apart from any legal system.
Kucinich explains that the United States is"getting away" with bombing Pakistan and killing innocent civilians because it is engaged in good old fashioned double-dealing. Our government is able to ignore the Pakistani parliament's demand that the U.S. stop the drone strikes because it is dealing only with the real people in charge: the Pakistani military. We are in a defacto war against one Pakistan while being "friendly" with the other Pakistan. Doublespeaking, double-crossing and Orwellian to a degree than even Orwell might not have envisioned.

The congressman, who is serving his last term after being defeated in the primary, finds it hard to believe that so few are condemning, or even mildly questioning, the new American role of judge, jury and executioner of any person suspected of being a terrorist, suspected of canoodling with terrorists -- and worst and most recently, any male with the poor taste to live in a tribal area and to be of "military" age. He told The Bureau:

I hope it is not going to be too far into the future, somebody is going to look back at this and go ‘oh my God, why was this permitted?’ The US government just goes ‘we spent more money on arms than any other country in the world just because we have the most powerful military.’ We cannot assume for ourselves the right to impose a war anywhere we well please, and yet we have. And there is little accountability, so what I am trying to bring about in the Congress is to force accountability and transparency. Transparency in terms of ‘how are you able, you know, what about this extrajudicial summary or arbitrary executions? What is the legal authority for the government to conduct extrajudicial killings, where did this come from?’ Really, where did this come from? Says who?
As far as the stenographic role of the American media is concerned, Kucinich is equally harsh. It is not considered bad form, he says, for a president to kill people. But it is a huge faux pas to dare to talk about it!

Let me say that there has been a tradition of American journalists in modern times to serve as the spear carriers for the government. They may look like pens but these are the spears of supernumeraries who have reporters’ cards. It’s what happens when you have fewer and fewer newspapers, and newspapers that are tied to large corporate interests. And a lack of enough institutions in the major media who are willing to serve as an effective counter-balance.
Look at the New York Times. It bought in wholesale into the war in Iraq, and came back to apologise. But how do you apologise for all of the dead bodies and the dead soldiers? We feel the dead soldiers, but we should also feel the dead civilians… There is a disturbing tendency to ignore civilian casualties, in any conflicts that we’re involved in whether they’re declared or undeclared.
Yes, indeed, look at the New York Times. The paper of record recently used the usual anonymous government sources to smear the same Bureau of Investigative Journalism which today brings us the Kucinich interview as well as exposing the hundreds of civilian deaths and dismemberments resulting from Obama's robotic and open-ended War on Terror. Scott Shane, the same reporter who penned the hagiographic article on the president's secret "Kill List" and Terror Tuesdays, came close to accusing the BIJ of giving aid and comfort to the enemy by having had the chutzpah to talk about American bad behavior:

The bureau’s investigation, which began last year with a detailed study of civilian casualties, involved interviews with villagers who said they saw strikes, wounded people and family members of those killed.
The bureau counted 260 strikes by Predator and Reaper drones since President Obama took office, and it said that 282 to 535 civilians had been “credibly reported” killed in those attacks, including more than 60 children. American officials said that the number was much too high, though they acknowledged that at least several dozen civilians had been killed inadvertently in strikes aimed at militant suspects.
A senior American counterterrorism official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, questioned the report’s findings, saying “targeting decisions are the product of intensive intelligence collection and observation.” The official added: “One must wonder why an effort that has so carefully gone after terrorists who plot to kill civilians has been subjected to so much misinformation. Let’s be under no illusions — there are a number of elements who would like nothing more than to malign these efforts and help Al Qaeda succeed.”
I am willing to bet that the anonymous official is none other that Obama's chief counter-terrorism adviser, John Brennan, former Bushie and Islamophobe extraordinaire and an obvious source for Shane's Kill List piece. (he even came out of the closet to be photographed for it.) He has been popping up all over the place lately, coyly bragging about the White House assassination squad even as the White House officially denies it existence and refuses to divulge the secret law it unilaterally enacted to give itself carte blanche for murder. Brennan was also outed by another Times reporter, David Sanger, as the discredited source behind the original botched narrative of the bin Laden assassination. Brennan even came to NYC this spring, just to applaud that city's spy program against Muslim Americans and, while he was at it, to blast the Pulitzer-winning Associated Press for exposing it.

"Freedom of the press, if it means anything at all, means the freedom to criticize and oppose." From George Orwell's lips to the American Media-Industrial Complex's plugged-up ears.


Denis Neville said...

War is now the American way. Peace is what most Americans experience while others’ sons and daughters fight in our distant wars. In Orwellian terms, war is indeed peace and peace, war. In American Newspeak, any alternatives to our continual state of war are unacceptable. Peace is given lip service in official speeches, but has been emptied of meaning and discredited. There is no money in peace.

Dissent no longer penetrates our government. Dissenters, like Dennis Kucinich and Jimmy Carter, are dismissed.

“The ideology of national security persists not because it expresses empirically demonstrable truths but because it serves the interests of those who created the national security state and those who still benefit from its continued existence – the very people who are most responsible for the increasing maladroit character of U.S. policy.” – Andrew Bacevich, The Limits of Power, The End of American Exceptionalism

C. Wright Mills described the power elites obsession with “military metaphysics,” which he characterized as “the cast of mind that defines international reality as basically military.” Genuine, lasting peace was no longer considered to be plausible. Rather, peace was at best a transitory condition, “a prelude to war, or an interlude between wars.”

“No area of decision has been more influenced by the warlords and by their military metaphysics than that of foreign policy. Once war was considered the business of soldiers, international relations the concern of diplomats. But now that war has become seemingly total and seemingly permanent, the free sport of kings has become the forced and internecine business of people, and diplomatic codes of honor between nations have collapsed. Peace is no Ionger serious; only war is serious. Every man and every nation is either friend or foe, and the idea of enmity becomes mechanical, massive, and without genuine passion. When virtually all negotiation aimed at peaceful agreement is likely to be seen as 'appeasement,' if not treason, the active role of the diplomat becomes meaningless; for diplomacy becomes merely a prelude to war or an interlude between wars, and in such a context the diplomat is replaced by the warlord.” – C. Wright Mills, “The Military Ascendancy,” The Power Elites

ibygeorge said...

"The congressman, who is serving his last term after being defeated in the primary, finds it hard to believe that so few are condemning, or even mildly questioning, the new American role of judge, jury and executioner of any person suspected of being a terrorist"

Easy to see why he was defeated in the primaries with his observations that are so contrary to our warmongering.

Valerie said...

I give so much credit to Kucinich and Carter for speaking up for what is right. They are the moral courage to speak the truth despite the fact that they must know they will be maligned for it.

Americans seem blind to the fact that we are seen as bullies by the rest of the "free" world. We used to want to be admired and respected by the rest of the world. Now most Republicans and Democrats are just fine with being feared. They mistake fear with respect. I have heard that the attitude of some of our allies in response to the 9/11 attacks was America had it coming or at the very least, America shouldn’t be surprised it happened considering our foreign policies. We are making enemies right and left – the families of those we kill hate us and will teach their children to hate us.

Elizabeth Adams said...

There HAS to be a serious amount of cognitive dissonance within the Democratic Party anymore. The complete lack of anger and backlash regarding the NDAA and murder-by-drone nationally and locally have made my decision to leave the party an easy one.

And regarding the ACA (which should have been single payer) and speaking up for gay rights (finally), it bugs me that people fall all over themselves on Facebook and via petitions in thanking the President for DOING HIS JOB! Is this not a condition similar to Stockholm Syndrome? We thank for crumbs? We feel guilty for wanting/asking for more as our rights are held hostage?

James F Traynor said...

From a purely selfish point of view this scares the hell out of me; it's just a micro jump for this sort of crap to start working within our borders. And politically there's nowhere to turn.

Valerie said...

Interesting point, Elizabeth, about the Stockholm Syndrome-like behaviour in the Democratic Party. I never thought of it that way.

Suzan said...

Thanks, Karen, for all you do to expose the ever-present danger from within.

James' micro jump has motivated me since the 2008 election.

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