Research Material

by Dave McGowan

This seems like a good time to offer an installment of what I have rather humbly decided to call Nostradaveus. This excerpt comes from my first book, Derailing Democracy, where it provides the introduction to chapter 25.

From Derailing Democracy

"The fact that some elements [of the US government] may appear to be potentially ‘out of control’ can be beneficial to creating and reinforcing fears and doubts within the minds of an adversary's decision makers… That the US may become irrational and vindictive if its vital interests are attacked should be a part of the national persona we project to all adversaries.... It hurts to portray ourselves as too fully rational and cool-headed...." US Strategic Command "Essentials of Post-Cold War Deterrence," 1995 (US Strategic Command, or STRATCOM, is the military entity responsible for formulating U.S. nuclear policy)

The White House appears to have taken the advice of STRATCOM to heart, as how else are we to explain the drive-by bombing of the Sudan in August of 1998? This action, taken against a sovereign nation with which the U.S. had no legitimate grievances, was a flagrant violation of international law that was harshly condemned, and rightly so, by the world community. The increasingly militarized approach to foreign policy, of which the Sudan bombing is but one recent example, is justified on the basis of fighting international 'terrorism,' which has largely replaced the old justification of fighting international communism. Of course, who is identified as a terrorist at any given time is largely determined by what best serves US economic interests.

Yesterday's Abu Nidal morphs seamlessly into today's Osama bin Laden while Abdullah Ocalan takes the place of Yassir Arafat and Nelson Mandela. Both of the latter, not long ago vilified as 'terrorist' leaders of 'terrorist organizations,' are now Nobel Peace Prize winners, widely praised in Washington and around the world. Other 'terrorist' threats, such as Kaddafi in Libya and Assad in Syria, simply fade from view, with no explanation given as to why, though they remain in power, they no longer pose a threat to the sovereignty of the United States. Some groups formerly pegged as 'terrorists,' most recently the KLA (identified as such by the U.S. State Department in 1998), are suddenly reborn as 'freedom fighters,' again with no explanation offered as to how this miraculous transformation has taken place. Then there are those 'terrorists' who suddenly become so only after years of serving as CIA 'assets.' Noriega of Panama, Aidid of Somalia, and the mother of all terrorists - Saddam Hussein - all fall into this category, all having been demonized only after ceasing to serve American interests. And of course there are the old standbys, such as the ever popular Fidel Castro, who can be trotted out at a moment's notice if no better villain is readily available.

All of these largely manufactured threats are used to justify an increasingly bloated level of military expenditures, euphemistically referred to as 'defense spending,' as well as a foreign policy increasingly reliant on naked aggression. In addition to the aerial bombardment and military occupation of Kosovo, the continued military presence in Bosnia, and the cruise missile attacks on Sudan and Afghanistan, the United States continues to routinely launch air strikes against Iraq, though the American press has apparently decided that this is no longer news. All of these actions have been taken with virtually no debate in Congress and an obvious contempt for public opinion. The overwhelming bipartisan support for vastly increasing the current military budget at every possible opportunity signals a continuation and escalation of U.S. belligerence.

The mainstream media have played a large part in creating a public tolerance for a greatly increased militarism by being a willing participant in this political shell game. American military actions are routinely glorified and sterilized, while the terrorist du jour is suitably vilified. Propaganda stories increasingly proliferate carrying preposterous warnings of near imminent nuclear attack on America from North Korea, Iraq, or some other allegedly 'rogue' nation. By the Pentagon's logic, any nation not allied with the U.S. that is working on a nuclear weapons program is doing so for the express purpose of launching a preemptive strike against American soil.

Never is it suggested that these ‘rogue’ nations, having witnessed the destructive power the United States was so eager to wield in such places as Iraq and Serbia, could feel a legitimate need to possess a meaningful deterrent against an international aggressor armed with some 6,000 long range nuclear missiles and a desire to appear ‘out of control.’ The notion that any nation would use such weaponry for offensive purposes, to launch a first strike at the United States, defies any rational analysis. Surely the cost to the aggressor nation of such an attack on America would be nothing less than the complete and total nuclear annihilation of the ‘rogue’ nation and its people.

Of course, the State Department realizes that certain countries will not be deterred by this, because they are led by madmen who don’t have the same respect for human life that we do. It would be foolhardy to expect these terrorist heads of state to act rationally. These men would willingly sacrifice their entire country for the chance to take out part of Manhattan. That is why we must always maintain our defenses against those who, in the words of one notorious rogue nation, “may become irrational and vindictive.”

"Another unacknowledged and unpleasant reality is that a more militant approach toward terrorism would, in virtually all cases, require us to act violently and alone." Former CIA Director Robert M. Gates in The New York Times, August 16, 1998 (snip)

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