• All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out.

  • I.F. Stone

maandag 19 september 2016

Frank Westerman's Provinciale Schrijverij 22

In zijn boek Unwarranted Influence. Dwight D. Eisenhower and the Military-Industrial Complex (2011) schreef de Amerikaanse journalist/schrijver, ‘editor in charge of Reuters.com,’ James Ledbetter:

In a remarkably prescient book published in 1914, the left-wing journalist Henry Noel Brailsford, who served on the UDC's (Britse anti-oorlogsorganisatie. svh) governing board, wrote: ‘The events of the past two years have shown that modern warfare will henceforth be waged with increased implacability, not against the armies and navies of the contending Powers alone, but against the civilian population, which by its monetary contributions, by its manufacture of the fuel of slaughter, by its agricultural and industrial labors, and by its sanction, maintain those armies and navies. It will be impossible for belligerent States, and more and more futile for international lawyers, to draw any distinction between combatants and non-combatants. It is flying in the face of logic to maintain that the man (or woman) who who fashions the projectiles or the explosives which another man discharges, with deadly effect, is a non-combatant.’

Sterker nog, de Zweedse journalist/schrijver Sven Lindqvist zette in zijn boek A History of Bombing (2001) uiteen dat na de Eerste Wereldoorlog in Groot-Brittannië

a demand was made that the German pilots who had bombed London be brought to trial as war criminals. The British Air Ministry protested. Trials of that sort 'would be placing a noose round the necks of our airman in future wars.' Since the aim of the British air attacks against German cities had been 'to weaken the morale of civilian inhabitants (and thereby their 'will to win') by persistent bomb attacks which would both destroy life (civilian and otherwise) and if possible originate a conflagration which should reduce to ashes the whole town,' the application of the Hague Convention in these cases would defeat the very purpose of bombardment. 

This was top secret. Publicly the air force continued to say something quite different, just as the navy had done throughout the 19th century. This was the best tack to take, wrote the air staff in 1921: 'It may be thought better, in view of the allegations of the "barbarity" of air attacks, to preserve appearances by formulating milder rules and by still nominally confining bombardment to targets which are strictly military in character… to avoid emphasizing the truth that air warfare has made such restrictions obsolete and impossible.’

Kort samengevat, al bijna een eeuw geleden wisten de militaire en politieke machthebbers dat oorlog onvermijdelijk leidt tot grootschalige schendingen van de mensenrechten, oorlogsmisdaden, en misdaden tegen de menselijkheid,

de verzamelnaam voor een groot aantal verschillende grootschalige inbreuken op de mensenrechten. De benaming 'misdaden tegen de menselijkheid' wordt binnen het internationaal recht gebruikt voor de moorddadige vervolging van een groep mensen als eerste en belangrijkste aanklacht. Het begrip werd voor het eerst gebruikt in de inleiding van de Vredesconventie van Den Haag in 1907, en vervolgens toegepast tijdens de processen van Neurenberg, omdat vergrijpen zoals de Holocaust niet een specifiek verdrag schonden, maar wel zwaar bestraft dienden te worden. 

De Shock and Awe-strategie, onder leiding van NAVO-bondgenoot de VS is dan ook een eufemisme voor ondermeer oorlogsmisdaden, en wel omdat in de praktijk bij massaal geweld er geen onderscheid kan worden gemaakt tussen burgers en militairen. Een moderne oorlog is per definitie een permanente massale schending van het recht, zo weet elke deskundige en elk slachtoffer uit ervaring.

Curtis LeMay, stafchef van de Amerikaanse luchtmacht, vatte de militaire en politieke opvatting als volgt samen:

There is no such thing as an innocent civilian.

De militaire inzet tijdens de Vietnam-Oorlog was al even simpel:

We will bomb them back to the Stone Age.

In de met een Oscar bekroonde documentaire The Fog of War (2003) wierp de Amerikaanse oud-minister van Defensie Robert McNamara de vraag op: 

Why was it necessary to drop the nuclear bomb if LeMay was burning up Japan?

McNamara wees daarbij op het feit dat

Killing 50-90% of the people in 67 Japanese cities and then bombing them with two nuclear bombs is not proportional, in the minds of some people, to the objectives we were trying to achieve.

'Necessary' of niet, 'Shock and Awe' is de strategie waarmee het Westen al langere tijd zijn hegemonie probeert te consolideren. Immers, in de woorden van de Amerikaanse geleerde, wijlen Samuel Huntington:

the West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion, but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do.

Iedere militair, politicus, academicus, journalist weet dit. In zijn boek De Natuurlijke Historie van de Verwoesting (2004) wees de gelauwerde Duitse auteur en hoogleraar Europese Literatuur, wijlen W.G. Sebald, erop dat

Van een insectenkolonie verwacht je niet dat ze verstart van verdriet om de verwoesting van een naburige mierenhoop. Maar van de menselijke natuur verwacht je een zekere mate van empathie.

Dit inlevingsvermogen bezitten de 'democratische' militairen en zelfs politici niet. McNamara stelt dan ook in The Fog of War het volgende vraagstuk ter discussie:

What makes it immoral if you lose but not if you win? 

Deze vraag is vanzelfsprekend retorisch. Het antwoord ligt in de vraag besloten: oorlog is per definitie een misdaad, omdat de meerderheid van de slachtoffers bestaat uit ongewapende burgers. Tegelijkertijd geldt dat alleen de overwinnaars beslissen wie een oorlogsmisdadiger is, zij schrijven de geschiedenis. En zo gaat ook de democratie voorbij aan het ondubbelzinnige feit dat een moderne oorlog uit een lange serie oorlogsmisdaden bestaat, zeker nu oorlog beide partijen dwingt om totaal te zijn. Dit bleek in februari 1943 toen de nazi-minister van Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, opriep tot ‘den totalen Krieg,’ terwijl een jaar eerder al de Amerikaanse president, na de Japanse aanval op Pearl Harbor, tijdens zijn ‘total war’-speech had verklaard dat de Duitsers en Japanners geenszins moesten verwachten dat zij een ‘negotiated peace,’ zouden kunnen afdwingen, maar dat zij zich onvoorwaardelijk moesten overgeven. Wat dit in de praktijk betekende, vertelde ruim een halve eeuw later Robert McNamara door te stellen dat ‘[Lemay] — and I would say I — were behaving as war criminals.’ In tegenstelling tot de massamoorden in opdracht van de nazileiding werd bijvoorbeeld het op grote schaal vermoorden van de stedelijke bevolking in Duitsland door de Geallieerden nooit juridisch vervolgd. Integendeel zelfs, Lemay en McNamara en hun piloten werden bij terugkeer als oorlogshelden verwelkomd. Vanzelfsprekend is het niet overdreven te stellen dat een dergelijke ontwikkeling in een tijdperk van massavernietigingswapens genocidale gevolgen zal hebben. Te vrezen is dat  dit lot miljarden wereldbewoners boven het hoofd hangt, Europeanen voorop. Vooral zij zouden moeten weten dat achter de schermen het Amerikaans militair-industrieel complex nieuwe oorlogen blijft plannen. Vrijdag 1 juli 2016 lekte onder de kop ‘Breedlove’s war: Emails show ex-NATO general plotting US conflict with Russia,’ het volgende uit:

Hacked private emails of the US general formerly in charge of NATO reveal a campaign to pressure the White House into escalating the conflict with Russia over Ukraine, involving several influential players in Washington. 

The emails, posted by the site DCLeaks, show correspondence between General Philip M. Breedlove, former head of the US European Command and supreme commander of NATO forces, with several establishment insiders concerning the situation in Ukraine following the February 2014 coup that ousted the elected government in favor of a US-backed regime…

The hacked emails reveal his frequent and intense communications with retired General Wesley Clark, as well as former Secretary of State Colin Powell, and involving a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, State Department official Victoria Nuland (de neoconservatieve staatssecretaris van Buitenlandse Zaken voor Europe and Eurasia, die de gewelddadige Oekraïense machtsovername met 5 miljard dollar steunde. svh) and US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt…

Breedlove continued to push for more aggressive US involvement, claiming a heavy Russian troop presence in Ukraine — which was later denied even by the government in Kiev. In March this year, the general was telling US lawmakers that Russia and Syria were ‘deliberately weaponizing migration in an attempt to overwhelm European structures and break European resolve.’

Breedlove was replaced at the helm of EUCOM and NATO in May, and officially retired from the military on July 1 (2016. svh). He was replaced by US Army General Curtis Scaparrotti, whose public statements suggest a similar level of hostility for Russia.


Eerder, 6 maart 2015, berichtte Der Spiegel over Breedlove’s ‘Oorlogszuchtigheid,’ het volgende:

BREEDLOVE'S BELLICOSITY: BERLIN ALARMED BY AGGRESSIVE NATO STANCE ON UKRAINE

It was quiet in eastern Ukraine last Wednesday. Indeed, it was another quiet day in an extended stretch of relative calm. The battles between the Ukrainian army and the pro-Russian separatists had largely stopped and heavy weaponry was being withdrawn. The Minsk cease-fire wasn't holding perfectly, but it was holding.

On that same day, General Philip Breedlove, the top NATO commander in Europe, stepped before the press in Washington. Putin, the 59-year-old said, had once again ‘upped the ante’ in eastern Ukraine -- with ‘well over a thousand combat vehicles, Russian combat forces, some of their most sophisticated air defense, battalions of artillery’ having been sent to the Donbass. ‘What is clear,’ Breedlove said, ‘is that right now, it is not getting better. It is getting worse every day.’

German leaders in Berlin were stunned. They didn't understand what Breedlove was talking about. And it wasn't the first time. Once again, the German government, supported by intelligence gathered by the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Germany's foreign intelligence agency, did not share the view of NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR).

The pattern has become a familiar one. For months, Breedlove has been commenting on Russian activities in eastern Ukraine, speaking of troop advances on the border, the amassing of munitions and alleged columns of Russian tanks. Over and over again, Breedlove's numbers have been significantly higher than those in the possession of America's NATO allies in Europe. As such, he is playing directly into the hands of the hardliners in the US Congress and in NATO.

The German government is alarmed. Are the Americans trying to thwart European efforts at mediation led by Chancellor Angela Merkel? Sources in the Chancellery have referred to Breedlove's comments as "dangerous propaganda." Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier even found it necessary recently to bring up Breedlove's comments with NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg.

The 'Super Hawk’

But Breedlove hasn't been the only source of friction. Europeans have also begun to see others as hindrances in their search for a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine conflict. First and foremost among them is Victoria Nuland, head of European affairs at the US State Department. She and others would like to see Washington deliver arms to Ukraine and are supported by Congressional Republicans as well as many powerful Democrats.

Zomer 2015 karakteriseerde de voormalige Amerikaanse Veiligheids Adviseur en oud-minister van Buitenlandse Zaken Henry Kissinger de politiek van Washington als volgt: 

'Breaking Russia has become an objective [for US officials] the long-range purpose should be to integrate it,' 

Kissinger zette uiteen dat:

A number of things need to be recognized. One, the relationship between Ukraine and Russia will always have a special character in the Russian mind. It can never be limited to a relationship of two traditional sovereign states, not from the Russian point of view, maybe not even from Ukraine’s. So, what happens in Ukraine cannot be put into a simple formula of applying principles that worked in Western Europe, not that close to Stalingrad and Moscow. In that context, one has to analyze how the Ukraine crisis occurred. It is not conceivable that Putin spends sixty billion euros on turning a summer resort into a winter Olympic village in order to start a military crisis the week after a concluding ceremony that depicted Russia as a part of Western civilization… breaking Russia has become an objective; the long-range purpose should be to integrate it.

Deze informatie wordt door de westerse mainstream-pers genegeerd. Gedwee volgt zij de propaganda van de macht, en weigert het feit te analyseren dat de elite in Washington en op Wall Street zich tevens voorbereidt op een gewapend conflict met China. Vóór 2020 zal tenminste 60 procent van de Amerikaanse marinevloot in de Zuid Chinese Zee zijn gestationeerd, waar nu al ‘U.S. Navy destroyers stalk China's claims in South China Sea.’ De reden is dat de Amerikaanse  politiek ten aanzien van de Pacific Rim erop gericht is ‘to “contain” China, to limit China’s ability to project power in the waters off its southern coast, to bolster U.S. “hegemony” or primacy in the East Asia maritime space.’ De lezer dient niet te vergeten dat

The idea of American hegemony is as old as Benjamin Franklin, but has its practical roots in World War II. The United States emerged from that war as the dominant economic, political and technological power. The only major combatant to avoid serious damage to its infrastructure, its housing stock or its demographic profile, the United States ended the war with the greatest naval order of battle ever seen in the history of the world. It became the postwar home of the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. And, of course, the United States had the bomb. America was, in every sense of the word, a hegemon,

zoals het goed geïnformeerde tweemaandelijkse tijdschrift The National Interest nog eens op 11 juni 2015 liet weten onder de kop 'American Hegemony Is Here to Stay.'



Vrijdag 5 augustus 2016 werd bekend dat het Amerikaanse leger de prestigieuze Rand Corporation opdracht had gegeven om, ik citeer, ‘Thinking Through the Unthinkable.’ Onder de kop ‘RAND CORPORATION LAYS OUT SCENARIOS FOR US WAR WITH CHINA’ kon de lezer vernemen dat

A new study by the RAND Corporation titled ‘War with China: Thinking Through the Unthinkable’ is just the latest think tank paper devoted to assessing a US war against China. The study, commissioned by the US Army, provides further evidence that a war with China is being planned and prepared in the upper echelons of the American military-intelligence apparatus.

That the paper emerges from the RAND Corporation has a particular and sinister significance. Throughout the Cold War, RAND was the premier think tank for ‘thinking the unthinkable’— a phrase made notorious by RAND’s chief strategist in the 1950s, Herman Kahn. Kahn devoted his macabre book ‘On Thermonuclear War’ to elaborating a strategy for a ‘winnable’ nuclear war against the Soviet Union.

According to the preface of the new study, released last week, ‘This research was sponsored by the Office of the Undersecretary of the Army and conducted within the RAND Arroyo Center’s Strategy, Doctrine, and Resources Program. RAND Arroyo Center, part of the RAND Corporation, is a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the United States Army.’

The paper is a war-gaming exercise in the Kahn tradition: weighing the possible outcomes of a war between two nuclear powers with utter indifference to the catastrophic consequences for people in the United States, China and the rest of the world.

Als achtergrondinformatie over Herman Kahn: 

Dr. Strangelove is an ex-Nazi scientist, suggesting Operation Paperclip, the US effort to recruit top German technical talent at the end of World War II. He serves as President Muffley's scientific adviser in the War Room… Twice in the film, Strangelove accidentally addresses the president as ‘Mein Führer.’ […]

The character is an amalgamation of RAND Corporation strategist Herman Kahn, mathematician and Manhattan Project principal John von Neumann, rocket scientist Wernher von Braun (a central figure in Nazi Germany's rocket development program recruited to the US after the war), and Edward Teller, the ‘father of the hydrogen bomb.’


De westerse mainstream-media spelen in de oorlogsvoorbereiding een vitale rol. Op talloze manieren, van het direct steunen van de politieke agressie tegen de Russische Federatie en het demonizeren van ‘Poetin’ tot aan triviale nonsens als de volgende:  

 NRC ziet liever VS-serie Jinek dan VS-serie Rosenthal
Geplaatst op maandag 12 september 2016 om 10:06 by admin

Tv-recensent Hans Beerekamp van NRC Handelsblad kijkt liever naar De Verenigde Staten van Eva met Eva Jinek dan naar Droomland Amerika met Eelco Bosch van Rosenthal. Dat zegt hij vandaag in de krant. Beerekamp vindt alle twee de reisseries over de VS ‘de moeite waard,’ maar: ‘Ik zie net iets liever de wat meer flodderige aanpak van Jinek, misschien wel omdat zij nog wel gelooft in de Amerikaanse Droom, die Bosch van Rosenthal effectief naar Fabeltjesland verwijst.’

De Verenigde Staten van Eva laat Jinek ‘op haar best zien,’ vindt Beerekamp. ‘Energiek, gepassioneerd, vaak emotioneel en met een bijzondere voorkeur voor vrouwen.’

De tv-recensent van de ‘kwaliteitskrant’ prefereert ‘de wat meer flodderige aanpak van’ van de lichtgewicht mevrouw Jinek, die allereerst op haar uiterlijk is uitgekozen om de Nederlandse televisiekijker te ‘informeren.’ Het 'argument. van Beerekamp is dat ‘zij nog wel gelooft in de Amerikaanse Droom.’ Het staat er echt, zonder enige ironie. De polderpers gebruikt nog immer het geloof in een 'droom' als journalistiek criterium voor het beoordelen van een imperium dat slechts 21 jaar van zijn bestaan geen oorlog heeft gekend, dat evenveel aan het militair-industrieel complex besteedt als de rest van de wereld bijeen, en jaarlijks ruim 9 keer meer aan ‘defensie’ spendeert dan Rusland. Ziedaar, de gecorrumpeerde Nederlandse journalistiek, die Henk Hofland tot ‘beste journalist van de twintigste eeuw’ uitriep, de opiniemaker die een jaar voor zijn dood de lezers van De Groene Amsterdammer nog met klem waarschuwde dat het ‘noodzaak [is] voor het Westen om grenzen aan de Russische expansie te stellen.’ Gemanipuleerd door het ééndimensionale wereldbeeld van dit slag propagandisten staat de mens aan de vooravond van onmetelijk geweld, op het moment dat de mensheid wordt geconfronteerd met de klimaatverandering, de uitputting van basale grondstoffen en de wereldwijd toenemende kloof tussen rijk en arm. Tegelijkertijd functioneert de alomtegenwoordige staat als de gewapende arm van de elite, en vormt zij in de huidige postmoderne massamaatschappij de grootste bedreiging van de burger. Ledbetter toont in Unwarranted Influence dat dit al ten tijde van de Eerste Wereldoorlog het geval was toen de 

United States faced keen economic pressure to violate its desired neutrality. As early as the summer of 1914, large American banks began pressuring the Wilson administration, through Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan, to allow them to make substantial loans to the French government and to the powerful Rothschild family, which controlled much of the French banking system…

the tug of the Great War on the American economy proved impossible to ignore. In October 1914, an official at the National City Bank contacted the State Department  and noted that American manufacturers were asking to issue credits to foreign buyers of U.S. wares, in order to take advantage of the ‘unprecedented and increasing volume of goods.’ If American companies did not provide such credits, the banker noted, Europe's belligerent powers would simply turn elsewhere — Argentina, Australia, Canada — thereby rendering U.S. neutrality not only pointless, but harmful to its own economic interest. Wilson agreed, thus launching the U.S. financial system on a dangerously slippery slope of its own design…

Just as the efforts of total war required an all-out mobilization of a country's economy,  so too, did a fully functioning economy seem to require trading with the warring countries — or even joining them.

President Woodrow Wilson die in 1916 met de champagneslogan dat hij ‘Us Out Of War’ zou houden, werd herkozen verklaarde naderhand ‘that he believed America would have entered the war even absent any German action against U.S. citizens,’ zo stelt Ledbetter vast, want 

whatever guided the U.S. course of action, historians and public figures of the time had established the notion that modern industrial economies act interdependently (afhankelijk van elkaar. svh) with modern military institutions for ill effect. The idea is closely akin to what Eisenhower would several decades later call ‘unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.’ 


Loopgraven na de Slag bij de Somme.

De definitieve consolidering van zijn macht bereikte het Amerikaans militair-industrieel complex ten tijde van de Tweede Wereldoorlog. Ledbetter:

Even before World War II came to an end, influential businessmen and policymakers argued that the United States needed to place its industrial capacity on a more permanent war footing. In January 1944, Charles Wilson, the former president of General Motors and the executive vice president of the War Production Board (overheids-instantie. svh), delivered a landmark speech before the Army Ordnance Association. He denounced previous strategies of disarmament as ‘thoroughly discredited’ and asserted that the nation's security depended on maintaining the ability to go to war at any moment. He looked to the longstanding concept of maintaining a naval fleet 'in being’ — that is, not to engage an opponent but to deter war by drawing an opponent's forces to defend against possible attack. ‘What is more natural and logical than that we should henceforth mount our national policy upon the solid fact of an industrial capacity for war, and a research capacity for war that is also “in being”? It seems to me that anything less is foolhardy (lichtzinnig. svh).’

He called for the armed services and private businesses to work in tandem to harness science and technology for military preparedness, and for industry to be allowed to play its role unhampered ‘by political witch-hunts, or thrown to the fanatical isolationist fringe tagged with a ‘merchants-of-death' label.’ Wilson would later become secretary of defense in the Eisenhower administration. 

No doubt many of the businessmen who made up Wilson's audience were delighted at the prospect of continued government money flowing their way even during peacetime. On top of that, the government also knew that war spending was good for the economy and began to sense that it could be beneficially extended to peacetime as well. The 1930s and 1940s saw the birth of a school of thought that would become known, somewhat misleadingly, as ‘military Keynesianism’: that a government's military expenditures are a legitimate way to stimulate (or, pending on the proponent, sustain) economic growth. Through most of American history, war taxes and war expenditures were generally only enacted according to temporary military need, but the shape of the global economy at the end of World War II prompted high-ranking U.S. policymakers to consider the benefits of a permanent war economy…

In broader economic terms, the mobilization for World War II had achieved something very close to full employment in the United States. Maintaining it was a desirable enough social goal that Congress gave the federal government responsibility for promoting ‘maximum employment, production, and purchasing power’ in the Employment Act of 1946.

Dit is de basis waarop de Amerikaanse National Security State en haar militair-industrieel complex de afgelopen ruim 70 jaar almaar is uitgedijd, en vandaag de dag de Amerikaanse buitenlandse politiek determineert. Onder goed geïnformeerde Amerikaanse intellectuelen is dit al lang geen geheim meer. James Ledbetter wijst erop dat al 

[i]n the 1940s and 1950s in America, it was common for public officials to caution against becoming a ‘garrison state.’  […] In 1947, for example, a New York Times writer summarized the dilemma of the nuclear age this way: ‘In seeking security we must be careful that we do not lose freedom. For there can be a trend — given the threat of the atomic bomb — to increase military power in all fields more and more to such a degree that the ultimate end would be the 'garrison state.’" The most thorough formulation of the idea came from the sociologist Harold Lasswell, who published an essay in 1941 entitled ‘The Garrison State.’ In Lasswell's view, the garrison state was distinguished as ‘a world in which the specialists on violence are the most powerful group in society.’ […]  Economic production would be regularized, and the rulers would use ‘war scares’ to ensure that the population did not overconsume…

For an American academic writing in the midst of the Second World War, he was remarkably objective about where he expected the garrison state to arise: he identified Japan, Germany, Russia, and the United States as strong possibilities. Were such a state to come about in the United States, he predicted, it would be organized — ironically enough — around the ‘symbol pattern’ of a unified democracy among free states. That is, the United States and certain allies would conspire to destroy freedom in order to save it. 

Lasswell was not some lone academic wolf. In a somewhat shocking 1950 address, Claude A. Putnam, head of the National Association of Manufacturers, declared matter-of-factly that Americans were ‘going to live in a garrison state for five, ten or fifteen years.’ It is a bleak vision, but millions of Americans glimpsed some version of it, if only as a goal to protect against. Of course, most Americans believed that their Constitution and democratic heritage were a bulwark against what was also beginning to be widely labeled as ‘totalitarianism.’ But that view was severely challenged by the rise of antidemocratic regimes abroad; by domestic constrictions on liberty during World War II (the internment of tens of thousands of Japanese Americans particularly disturbed many); and by he fact that much of the globe even after the Allied victory was beginning to resemble a garrison state.

One American who expressed the fear of a garrison state and his aim to oppose it was Dwight Eisenhower; the phrase is sprinkled throughout Eisenhowers; the phrase is sprinkled throughout Eisenhower’s private and public communications. In a press conference not long after becoming president, for example, Eisenhower described the difficulty of assessing and meeting the threats to the United States: ‘We don't want to become a garrison state. We want to remain free. Our plans and programs have to conform to a free people, which means essentially a free economy. That is the problem that, frankly, this Administration meets on, discusses, works on every day of its life.’

In a radio address a few days later, Eisenhower explicitly made a connection between military spending, the illusion of total security, and the specter of dictatorship: ‘It is fact that there is no such thing as maximum military security, short of total mobilization of all our national resources. Such security would compel us to imitate the methods of the dictator. It would compel us to put every able-bodied man in uniform — to regiment the worker, the farmer, the business man — to allocate materials and to control prices and wages — in short, to devote our whole nation to the grim purposes of the garrison state. This — I firmly believe — is not the way to defend America.’ […] 

Eisenhower believed from the very early days of his presidency that if America was to live up to its mission, strict fines had to drawn between national security and military spending on the one hand, and liberty — particularly economic liberty — on the other.


Ook deze achtergrond-informatie wordt door de zogeheten ‘vrije pers’ niet structureel behandeld, om dat zij niet past in het manicheïsch wereldbeeld dat de mainstream-media propageren, en waarbij ‘wij’ het Goede vertegenwoordigen en ‘onze’ zelfbenoemde vijanden het Kwaad. Wat mijn collega’s in de commerciële massamedia eisen is een ‘energiek, gepassioneerd, vaak emotioneel’ beeld van de ‘Amerikaanse Droom.’  Zij leven in een virtuele televisiewereld waarbij goed en kwaad messcherp van elkaar gescheiden zijn door een journaille dat net als de gecorrumpeerde Geert Mak, Frank Westerman en Eelco Bosch van Rosenthal bereid blijkt te zijn de betalende consument waar voor zijn geld te geven. In hun werk zult u nooit het volgende bericht lezen uit The Times:

British reporter Anthony Loyd recounts in The Times (UK) today his reaction when he saw his former Syrian ‘rebel’ kidnapper Hakim Abu Jamal, aka Abdel Hakim al-Yaseen and Hakim Anza, celebrating a victory in northern Syria two weeks ago as part of a supposedly CIA-vetted ‘moderate’ rebel group… Centcom, the US Central Command, did not respond to Times requests over three days this week to explain how such a well-known hostage taker with family connections to extremists could have passed US vetting procedures.

Over de westerse terreur en de steun aan terroristische huurlingen zult u geen beschouwing lezen in het door de polderpers zo geprezen boek Een Woord Een Woord (2016) van journalist/schrijver Frank Westerman over ‘het terrorisme,’ geen woord hierover kunt u lezen in Geert Mak’s Reizen zonder John. Op zoek naar Amerika (2012). Even zwijgzaam hierover is Bosch van Rosenthal op de VPRO-televisie. Om voor de hand liggende redenen durven deze collega’s het niet aan om publiekelijk met mij over dit onderwerp in discussie te gaan. Die houding getuigt van wat de vooraanstaande Amerikaanse politieke theoreticus, professor Sheldon Wolin, ‘Inverted Totalitarianism’ heeft genoemd, en wat hij in zijn boeken Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism en Politics (2010) and Politics and Vision: Continuity and Innovation in Western Political Thought (1960) uitwerkte. Zijn voormalige student, de prominente Amerikaanse filosoof en emeritus hoogleraar Cornel West, die aan zowel de universiteit van Princeton en Yale als die van Harvard doceerde, betitelde Wolin’s ‘massive survey of Western political thought’ als ‘magisterial.’ Wolin 'lays bare the realities of our bankrupt democracy, the causes behind the decline of American empire and the rise of a new and terrifying configuration of corporate power he calls “inverted totalitarianism.”' De oud-buitenland correspondent van The New York Times, Chris Hedges, schreef onmiddellijk na Sheldon’s dood in 2015:

Inverted totalitarianism is different from classical forms of totalitarianism. It does not find its expression in a demagogue or charismatic leader but in the faceless anonymity of the corporate state. Our inverted totalitarianism pays outward fealty to the facade of electoral politics, the Constitution, civil liberties, freedom of the press, the independence of the judiciary, and the iconography, traditions and language of American patriotism, but it has effectively seized all of the mechanisms of power to render the citizen impotent.

‘Unlike the Nazis, who made life uncertain for the wealthy and privileged while providing social programs for the working class and poor, inverted totalitarianism exploits the poor, reducing or weakening health programs and social services, regimenting mass education for an insecure workforce threatened by the importation of low-wage workers,’ Wolin writes. ‘Employment in a high-tech, volatile, and globalized economy is normally as precarious as during an old-fashioned depression. The result is that citizenship, or what remains of it, is practiced amidst a continuing state of worry. Hobbes had it right: when citizens are insecure and at the same time driven by competitive aspirations, they yearn for political stability rather than civic engagement, protection rather than political involvement.’

Inverted totalitarianism, Wolin said when we met at his home in Salem, Oregon, in 2014 to film a nearly three-hour interview, constantly ‘projects power upwards.’ It is ‘the antithesis of constitutional power.’ It is designed to create instability to keep a citizenry off balance and passive.

He writes, ‘Downsizing, reorganization, bubbles bursting, unions busted, quickly outdated skills, and transfer of jobs abroad create not just fear but an economy of fear, a system of control whose power feeds on uncertainty, yet a system that, according to its analysts, is eminently rational.’

Inverted totalitarianism also ‘perpetuates politics all the time,’ Wolin said when we spoke, ‘but a politics that is not political.’ The endless and extravagant election cycles, he said, are an example of politics without politics.

‘Instead of participating in power,’ he writes, ‘the virtual citizen is invited to have “opinions”: measurable responses to questions predesigned to elicit (uitlokken. svh) them.’

Political campaigns rarely discuss substantive issues. They center on manufactured political personalities, empty rhetoric, sophisticated public relations, slick advertising, propaganda and the constant use of focus groups and opinion polls to loop back to voters what they want to hear. Money has effectively replaced the vote. Every current presidential candidate — including Bernie Sanders — understands, to use Wolin’s words, that ‘the subject of empire is taboo in electoral debates.’ The citizen is irrelevant. He or she is nothing more than a spectator, allowed to vote and then forgotten once the carnival of elections ends and corporations and their lobbyists get back to the business of ruling.

‘If the main purpose of elections is to serve up pliant legislators for lobbyists to shape, such a system deserves to be called “misrepresentative or clientry government,”’ Wolin writes. ‘It is, at one and the same time, a powerful contributing factor to the depoliticization of the citizenry, as well as reason for characterizing the system as one of antidemocracy.’

The result, he writes, is that the public is ‘denied the use of state power.’ Wolin deplores the trivialization of political discourse, a tactic used to leave the public fragmented, antagonistic and emotionally charged while leaving corporate power and empire unchallenged.

‘Cultural wars might seem an indication of strong political involvements,’ he writes. ‘Actually they are a substitute. The notoriety they receive from the media and from politicians eager to take firm stands on nonsubstantive issues serves to distract attention and contribute to a cant politics of the inconsequential.’

‘The ruling groups can now operate on the assumption that they don’t need the traditional notion of something called a public in the broad sense of a coherent whole,’ he said in our meeting. ‘They now have the tools to deal with the very disparities and differences that they have themselves helped to create. It’s a game in which you manage to undermine the cohesiveness that the public requires if they [the public] are to be politically effective. And at the same time, you create these different, distinct groups that inevitably find themselves in tension or at odds or in competition with other groups, so that it becomes more of a melee than it does become a way of fashioning majorities.’

In classical totalitarian regimes, such as those of Nazi fascism or Soviet communism, economics was subordinate to politics. But ‘under inverted totalitarianism the reverse is true,’ Wolin writes. ‘Economics dominates politics—and with that domination comes different forms of ruthlessness.’

He continues: ‘The United States has become the showcase of how democracy can be managed without appearing to be suppressed.’

The corporate state, Wolin told me, is ‘legitimated by elections it controls.’ To extinguish democracy, it rewrites and distorts laws and legislation that once protected democracy. Basic rights are, in essence, revoked by judicial and legislative fiat. Courts and legislative bodies, in the service of corporate power, reinterpret laws to strip them of their original meaning in order to strengthen corporate control and abolish corporate oversight.

He writes: ‘Why negate a constitution, as the Nazis did, if it is possible simultaneously to exploit porosity and legitimate power by means of judicial interpretations that declare huge campaign contributions to be protected speech under the First Amendment, or that treat heavily financed and organized lobbying by large corporations as a simple application of the people’s right to petition their government?’

Our system of inverted totalitarianism will avoid harsh and violent measures of control ‘as long as ... dissent remains ineffectual,’ he told me. ‘The government does not need to stamp out dissent. The uniformity of imposed public opinion through the corporate media does a very effective job.’

And the elites, especially the intellectual class, have been bought off. ‘Through a combination of governmental contracts, corporate and foundation funds, joint projects involving university and corporate researchers, and wealthy individual donors, universities (especially so-called research universities), intellectuals, scholars, and researchers have been seamlessly integrated into the system,’ Wolin writes. ‘No books burned, no refugee Einsteins.’

But, he warns, should the population — steadily stripped of its most basic rights, including the right to privacy, and increasingly impoverished and bereft of hope — become restive, inverted totalitarianism will become as brutal and violent as past totalitarian states. ‘The war on terrorism, with its accompanying emphasis upon ‘homeland security,’ presumes that state power, now inflated by doctrines of preemptive war and released from treaty obligations and the potential constraints of international judicial bodies, can turn inwards,’ he writes, ‘confident that in its domestic pursuit of terrorists the powers it claimed, like the powers projected abroad, would be measured, not by ordinary constitutional standards, but by the shadowy and ubiquitous character of terrorism as officially defined.’

The indiscriminate police violence in poor communities of color is an example of the ability of the corporate state to ‘legally’ harass and kill citizens with impunity. The cruder forms of control — from militarized police to wholesale surveillance, as well as police serving as judge, jury and executioner, now a reality for the underclass — will become a reality for all of us should we begin to resist the continued funneling of power and wealth upward. We are tolerated as citizens, Wolin warns, only as long as we participate in the illusion of a participatory democracy. The moment we rebel and refuse to take part in the illusion, the face of inverted totalitarianism will look like the face of past systems of totalitarianism.

‘The significance of the African-American prison population is political,’ he writes. ‘What is notable about the African-American population generally is that it is highly sophisticated politically and by far the one group that throughout the twentieth century kept alive a spirit of resistance and rebelliousness. In that context, criminal justice is as much a strategy of political neutralization as it is a channel of instinctive racism.’

In his writings, Wolin expresses consternation for a population severed from print and the nuanced world of ideas. He sees cinema, like television, as ‘tyrannical’ because of its ability to ‘block out, eliminate whatever might introduce qualification, ambiguity, or dialogue.’ He rails against what he calls a ‘monochromatic media’ with corporate-approved pundits used to identify ‘the problem and its parameters, creating a box that dissenters struggle vainly to elude. The critic who insists on changing the context is dismissed as irrelevant, extremist, “the Left” — or ignored altogether.’

The constant dissemination of illusions permits myth rather than reality to dominate the decisions of the power elites. And when myth dominates, disaster descends upon the empire, as 14 years of futile war in the Middle East and our failure to react to climate change illustrate. Wolin writes:

‘When myth begins to govern decision-makers in a world where ambiguity and stubborn facts abound, the result is a disconnect between the actors and the reality. They convince themselves that the forces of darkness possess weapons of mass destruction and nuclear capabilities: that their own nation is privileged by a god who inspired the Founding Fathers and the writing of the nation’s constitution; and that a class structure of great and stubborn inequalities does not exist. A grim but joyous few see portents of a world that is living out “the last days.”’

Wolin was a bombardier and a navigator on a B-24 Liberator heavy bomber in the South Pacific in World War II. He flew 51 combat missions. The planes had crews of up to 10. From Guadalcanal, he advanced with American forces as they captured islands in the Pacific. During the campaign the military high command decided to direct the B-24 bombers — which were huge and difficult to fly in addition to having little maneuverability — against Japanese ships, a tactic that saw tremendous losses of planes and American lives. The use of the B-24, nicknamed ‘the flying boxcar’ and ‘the flying coffin,’ to attack warships bristling with antiaircraft guns exposed for Wolin the callousness of military commanders who blithely sacrificed their air crews and war machines in schemes that offered little chance of success. 

‘It was terrible,’ he said of the orders to bomb ships. ‘We received awful losses from that, because these big, lumbering aircraft, particularly flying low trying to hit the Japanese navy — and we lost countless people in it, countless.’

‘We had quite a few psychological casualties... men, boys, who just couldn’t take it anymore,’ he said, ‘just couldn’t stand the strain of getting up at 5 in the morning and proceeding to get into these aircraft and go and getting shot at for a while and coming back to rest for another day.’

Wolin saw the militarists and the corporatists, who formed an unholy coalition to orchestrate the rise of a global American empire after the war, as the forces that extinguished American democracy. He called inverted totalitarianism ‘the true face of Superpower.’ These war profiteers and militarists, advocating the doctrine of total war during the Cold War, bled the country of resources. They also worked in tandem to dismantle popular institutions and organizations such as labor unions to politically disempower and impoverish workers. They ‘normalized’ war. And Wolin warns that, as in all empires, they eventually will be ‘eviscerated by their own expansionism.’ There will never be a return to democracy, he cautions, until the unchecked power of the militarists and corporatists is dramatically curtailed. A war state cannot be a democratic state.

Wolin writes:

‘National defense was declared inseparable from a strong economy. The fixation upon mobilization and rearmament inspired the gradual disappearance from the national political agenda of the regulation and control of corporations. The defender of the free world needed the power of the globalizing, expanding corporation, not an economy hampered by “trust busting.” Moreover, since the enemy was rabidly anticapitalist, every measure that strengthened capitalism was a blow against the enemy. Once the battle lines between communism and the “free society” were drawn, the economy became untouchable for purposes other than “strengthening” capitalism. The ultimate merger would be between capitalism and democracy. Once the identity and security of democracy were successfully identified with the Cold War and with the methods for waging it, the stage was set for the intimidation of most politics left or right.’

The result is a nation dedicated almost exclusively to waging war.

‘When a constitutionally limited government utilizes weapons of horrendous destructive power, subsidizes their development, and becomes the world’s largest arms dealer,’ Wolin writes, ‘the Constitution is conscripted to serve as power’s apprentice rather than its conscience.’

He goes on:

‘That the patriotic citizen unswervingly supports the military and its huge budget means that conservatives have succeeded in persuading the public that the military is distinct from government. Thus the most substantial element of state power is removed from public debate. Similarly in his/her new status as imperial citizen the believer remains contemptuous of bureaucracy yet does not hesitate to obey the directives issued by the Department of Homeland Security, the largest and most intrusive governmental department in the history of the nation. Identification with militarism and patriotism, along with the images of American might projected by the media, serves to make the individual citizen feel stronger, thereby compensating for the feelings of weakness visited by the economy upon an overworked, exhausted, and insecure labor force. For its anti-politics inverted totalitarianism requires believers, patriots, and nonunion “guest workers.”’

Sheldon Wolin was often considered an outcast among contemporary political theorists whose concentration on quantitative analysis and behavioralism led them to eschew the examination of broad political theory and ideas. Wolin insisted that philosophy, even that written by the ancient Greeks, was not a dead relic but a vital tool to examine and challenge the assumptions and ideologies of contemporary systems of power and political thought. Political theory, he argued, was ‘primarily a civic and secondarily an academic activity.’ It had a role ‘not just as an historical discipline that dealt with the critical examination of idea systems,’ he told me, but as a force ‘in helping to fashion public policies and governmental directions, and above all civic education, in a way that would further... the goals of a more democratic, more egalitarian, more educated society.’ His 1969 essay ‘Political Theory as a Vocation’ argued for this imperative and chastised fellow academics who focused their work on data collection and academic minutiae. He writes, with his usual lucidity and literary flourishes, in that essay:

‘In a fundamental sense, our world has become as perhaps no previous world has, the product of design, the product of theories about human structures deliberately created rather than historically articulated. But in another sense, the embodiment of theory in the world has resulted in a world impervious to theory. The giant, routinized structures defy fundamental alteration and, at the same time, display an unchallengeable legitimacy, for the rational, scientific, and technological principles on which they are based seem in perfect accord with an age committed to science, rationalism and technology. Above all, it is a world which appears to have rendered epic theory superfluous. Theory, as Hegel had foreseen, must take the form of “explanation.” Truly, it seems to be the age when Minerva’s owl has taken flight.’

Wolin’s 1960 masterpiece ‘Politics and Vision,’ subtitled ‘Continuity and Innovation in Western Political Thought,’ drew on a vast array of political theorists and philosophers including Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Immanuel Kant, John Locke, John Calvin, Martin Luther, Thomas Hobbes, Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Marx, Max Weber, John Dewey and Hannah Arendt to reflect back to us our political and cultural reality. His task, he stated at the end of the book, was, ‘in the era of Superpower,’ to ‘nurture the civic consciousness of the society.’ The imperative to amplify and protect democratic traditions from the contemporary forces that sought to destroy them permeated all of his work, including his books ‘Hobbes and the Epic Tradition of Political Theory’ and ‘Tocqueville Between Two Worlds: The Making of a Political and Theoretical Life.’

Wolin’s magnificence as a scholar was matched by his magnificence as a human being. He stood with students at UC Berkeley, where he taught, to support the Free Speech Movement and wrote passionately in its defense. Many of these essays were published in ‘The Berkeley Rebellion and Beyond: Essays on Politics and Education in the Technological Society.’ Later, as a professor at Princeton University, he was one of a handful of faculty members who joined students to call for divestment of investments in apartheid South Africa. He once accompanied students to present the case to Princeton alumni. ‘I’ve never been jeered quite so roundly,’ he said. ‘some of them called me [a] 50-year-old... sophomore and that kind of thing.’

From 1981 to 1983, Wolin published ‘Democracy: A Journal of Political Renewal and Radical Change.’ In its pages he and other writers called out the con game of neoliberalism, the danger of empire, the rise of unchecked corporate power and the erosion of democratic institutions and ideals. The journal swiftly made him a pariah within the politics department at Princeton.

‘I remember once when I was up editing that journal, I left a copy of it on the table in the faculty room hoping that somebody would read it and comment,” he said. “I never heard a word. And during all the time I was there and doing Democracy, I never had one colleague come up to me and either say something positive or even negative about it. Just absolute silence.’

Max Weber, whom Wolin called ‘the greatest of all sociologists,’ argues in his essay ‘Politics as a Vocation’ that those who dedicate their lives to striving for justice in the modern political arena are like the classical heroes who can never overcome what the ancient Greeks called fortuna. These heroes, Wolin writes in ‘Politics and Vision,’ rise up nevertheless ‘to heights of moral passion and grandeur, harried by a deep sense of responsibility.’ Yet, Wolin goes on, ‘at bottom, [the contemporary hero] is a figure as futile and pathetic as his classical counterpart. The fate of the classical hero was that he could never overcome contingency or fortuna; the special irony of the modern hero is that he struggles in a world where contingency has been routed by bureaucratized procedures and nothing remains for the hero to contend against. Weber’s political leader is rendered superfluous by the very bureaucratic world that Weber discovered: even charisma has been bureaucratized. We are left with the ambiguity of the political man fired by deep passion — “to be passionate, ira et studium, is … the element of the political leader” — but facing the impersonal world of bureaucracy which lives by the passionless principle that Weber frequently cited, sine ira et studio, “without scorn or bias.”’

Wolin writes that even when faced with certain defeat, all of us are called to the “awful responsibility” of the fight for justice, equality and liberty. 

‘You don’t win,’ Wolin said at the end of our talk. ‘Or you win rarely. And if you win, it’s often for a very short time. That’s why politics is a vocation for Weber. It’s not an occasional undertaking that we assume every two years or every four years when there’s an election. It’s a constant occupation and preoccupation. And the problem, as Weber saw it, was to understand it not as a partisan kind of education in the politicians or political party sense, but as in the broad understanding of what political life should be and what is required to make it sustainable. He’s calling for a certain kind of understanding that’s very different from what we think about when we associate political understanding with how do you vote or what party do you support or what cause do you support. Weber’s asking us to step back and say what kind of political order, and the values associated with it that it promotes, are we willing to really give a lot for, including sacrifice.’

Wolin embodied the qualities Weber ascribes to the hero. He struggled against forces he knew he could not vanquish. He never wavered in the fight as an intellectual and, more important, in the fight as a citizen. He was one of the first to explain to us the transformation of our capitalist democracy into a new species of totalitarianism. He warned us of the consequences of unbridled empire or superpower. He called on us to rise up and resist. His “Democracy Incorporated” was ignored by every major newspaper and journal in the country. This did not surprise him. He knew his power. So did his enemies. All his fears for the nation have come to pass. A corporate monstrosity rules us. If we held up a scorecard we would have to say Wolin lost, but we would also have to acknowledge the integrity, brilliance, courage and nobility of his life.

Op het feit dat de macht in de VS oorlog hebben ‘genormaliseerd,’ rust een taboe, om de simpele reden dat de mainstream-pers nooit de voor de hand liggende conclusie mag trekken dat een ‘war state’ als de VS, die slechts 21 jaar van zijn 240-jarig bestaan geen oorlog voerde, ‘cannot be a democratic state.’ Juist op deze mythe is namelijk het hele propagandistische raamwerk van de westerse macht gebaseerd. In die virtuele realiteit, waar biljoenen dollars (miljoen maal een miljoen) rondcirkelen kon de minister van Defensie Rumsfeld, een dag voor dinsdag 11 september 2001 zonder grote opschudding te veroorzaken opmerken dat ‘According to some estimates, we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions.’ Dat betekende niet zozeer dat het geld verdwenen was, maar dat zelfs accountants niet konden traceren waar het geld precies gebleven was. Ondertussen blijft het de taak van de mainstream-journalistiek om de oorlog en de daaraan onlosmakelijk verbonden corruoptie te blijven normaliseren. Vandaar ook dat een polderkrant als de NRC op 20 maart 2003, de dag dat de illegale inval in Irak begon, in een redactioneel commentaar het volgende adviseerde:

Nu de oorlog is begonnen, moeten president Bush en premier Blair worden gesteund. Die steun kan niet blijven steken in verbale vrijblijvendheid. Dat betekent dus politieke steun — en als het moet ook militaire.

En dit, terwijl de NRC-journalisten tegelijkertijd stelden dat zij ‘AAN DE casus belli tegen Irak twijfelen…’  Kortom, de zelfbenoemde ‘kwaliteitskrant’ die ‘de nuance zoekt’ was bereid een ‘agressieoorlog’ met de daaruit vloeiende oorlogsmisdaden en misdaden tegen de menselijkheid, te propageren, terwijl de redactie wist dat het Westen geen enkele juridische rechtvaardiging bezat om met ‘shock and awe’ een soevereine staat binnen te vallen. Desondanks zal Frank Westerman dit massale terrorisme nooit terreur durven noemen. Die kwalificatie blijft gereserveerd voor ‘onze’ tegenstanders. In zijn wereldbeeld zijn alleen ‘wij’ westerlingen ‘weerloos’ tegen ‘de gesel van terreur’ die ‘ingrijpt in gewone levens.’ En zo steunt iedere westerse mainstream-journalist op zijn of haar manier ‘het terrorisme.’ 





2 opmerkingen:

  1. En Religie blijft weer fijn buiten schot,ze zit als een "koningin.de hoer van de politiek heeft veel bloedschuld op haar geweten

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  2. Een lang citaat voor de Nederlandse inteelt-crowd die de kranten en tullefisie bevolkt -- uit Chris Hedges' meest recente stuk; het is rond Holalnds, in het Engels:

    ''
    The Democratic and the professional elites whom Frank excoriates are, as he points out, morally bankrupt, but they are only one piece of the fake democracy that characterizes our system of “inverted totalitarianism.” The problem is not only liberals who are not liberal; it is also conservatives, once identified with small government, the rule of law and fiscal responsibility, who are not conservative. It is a court system that has abandoned justice and rather than defend constitutional rights has steadily stripped them from us through judicial fiat. It is a Congress that does not legislate but instead permits lobbyists and corporations to write legislation. It is a press, desperate for advertising dollars and often owned by large corporations, that does not practice journalism. It is academics, commentators and public intellectuals, often paid by corporate think tanks, who function as shameless cheerleaders for the neoliberal and imperial establishment and mock the concept of independent and critical thought.
    ''

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