The American character – Glenn Greenwald – Salon.com
*Mexikaresistance.com Note: The lifeblood of this nation is inflicting terror upon others. The "war on terror" is a farce that fuels imperialistic ambitions.Fareed Zakaria, normally a reliable and pleasant purveyor of conventional “centrist” wisdom, has a genuinely good and surprisingly confrontational CNN column today, in which he disputes the widespread belief that America is ending its War on Terror and explains what this reflects about the American character: While we will leave the battlefields of the greater Middle East, we are firmly committed to the war on terror at home. What do I mean by that? Well, look at the expansion of federal bureaucracies to tackle this war.
Since September 11, 2001, the U.S. government has created or reconfigured at least 263 organizations to tackle some aspect of the war on terror. Thirty-three new building complexes have been built for the intelligence bureaucracies alone, occupying 17 million square feet – the equivalent of 22 U.S. Capitols or three Pentagons. The largest bureaucracy after the Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs is now the Department of Homeland Security, which has a workforce of 230,000 people.
The rise of this national security state has entailed a vast expansion in the government’s powers that now touch every aspect of American life, even when seemingly unrelated to terrorism. Some 30,000 people, for example, are now employed exclusively to listen in on phone conversations and other communications within the United States. . . .
In the past, the U.S. government has built up for wars, assumed emergency authority and sometimes abused that power, yet always demobilized after the war. But this is, of course, a war without end. . . . We don’t look like people who have won a war. We look like scared, fearful, losers.
What Zakaria is describing here, of course, is a permanent, sprawling Surveillance State, one that has been inexorably built over the course of six decades but which has massively accelerated under two different administrations in the post-9/11 era and which has no end in sight. Quite the opposite.
One of the reasons I loathe Election Years — which actually endures for 18 months — is because the vast bulk of the most consequential political issues are completely ignored by virtue of enjoying full bipartisan consensus. The transformation of America into a full-scale Surveillance State is, on every level, indescribably significant; as Zakaria put it, it “now touches every aspect of American life.” Its never-ending growth results in a massive transfer of wealth from ordinary citizens to the private sector corporations which operate it; it empowers unaccountable public and private sector factions which surveil and store massive amounts of private information about the citizenry; it is conducted entirely in the dark and thus further eliminates notions of transparency and accountability; and it destroys any remnant of personal privacy, the indispensable attribute which fosters and enables creativity, dissent and challenges to orthodoxy and has thus long been viewed as the most central right, the one that anchors all the others.
But like almost all of the most consequential and destructive policies — endless war, the Drug War, the sprawling and barbaric American prison state — the domestic Surveillance State expands with equal fervor under both Democratic and Republicans administrations, and opposing it thus affords no partisan gain and it is therefore entirely off the table of debate. In lieu of any dispute over these types of actually consequential government policies, we instead endure a series of trivial weekly scandals that numb the brain, distract attention, and produce acrimony as virulent and divisive as it is petty.
FULL ARTICLE: The American character – Glenn Greenwald – Salon.com.
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