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It's All Good: Media Reports for Duty as Militarists Plan More Wars
Sunday, 15 March 2009
When it comes to expanding American domination by force, menace, violence and death, our bipartisan courtiers and conduits of empire agree: It's all good!Surely there is no one who still needs to be apprised of the fact that the New York Times is one of the chief organs of the American Empire, operating in a semi-official fashion to disseminate the intentions and wishes of our rulers. The fact that the paper also publishes some excellent reporting -- and can even, on occasion, assume an adversarial stance against one faction of the elite or another -- in no way undermines its essential function in the imperial power structure. After all, Pravda and Izvestia did the same under the Soviets.
[Of course, the dead hand of state censorship was heavier under the Soviets than in our ultra-modern, low-carb authoritarian system. We prefer witless diversion over outright repression, tasers over bullets, and the eager self-censorship of cozy, coddled media dullards over direct intervention by government functionaries -- although, to be sure, if repression, bullets and direct intervention (along with KGB-style torture, rendition, detention without trial, etc.) are deemed necessary, our elites are more than willing to oblige.]
But despite the glaring transparency of the NYT's stovepiping duties, it is still instructive to watch these operations in action now and then, if only to keep one's bullshit detector in fighting trim. And a story by Thom Shanker highlighted in the Times on Saturday provides an excellent example of this venerable and pernicious process.
The nugget of "news" in the story was unsurprising -- but its implications were no less disturbing for that. Shanker, in the usual cringing courtier mode of our higher media, funnels the usual unexamined, unquestioned spin of the usual anonymous "senior official" to let the rabble know that the poobahs on the Potomac are gearing up to fight even more wars simultaneously all over the globe. Specifically, what we have is -- as Shanker puts it in the inelegant prose that characterizes most NYT pieces - a "rethink [of] what for more than two decades has been a central premise of American strategy: that the nation need only prepare to fight two major wars at a time."
No, what we need now, says Shanker's Anonymous Militarist, is the ability to fight every damn body every damn where in every damn kind of way. Not just a two-front war, but three-front wars, four-front wars, counterinsurgencies, police actions, nation-building (with the preceding nation-destroying, of course), on and on, all at the same time.
Nowhere -- absolutely nowhere -- does the story give the slightest space for even the briefest consideration of a viewpoint that questions in even the mildest way the assumption that the United States should and must be prepared at all times to wage war on multiple fronts all over the world, forever. No, this "need" is simply a given -- for Thom Shanker, for the New York Times, and for the bipartisan Beltway elite.
But let's give credit where it's due. We should note that Shanker does not rely solely on the word of the anonymous Senior Pentagon Official in preparing the American people for decades of endless war. To provide some needed context and nuance on this issue, he also quotes two Serious Experts. Who are they? Try not to laugh when you hear.
One of them is Thomas Donnelly, the author of the report published in 2000 by the Cheney-Rumsfeld group Project for a New American Century, which we have detailed so often in these pages and elsewhere. The other is astroturf "liberal" Michael O'Hanlon – yes, the same Iraq warhawk who falsely painted himself as a progressive opponent of the Iraq War who had been "converted" to the noble cause by Bush's vaunted "surge." That's right: the "perspective" on the Administration's move to a multi-war strategy was provided by two ardent proponents of aggressive military intervention around the world.
Donnelly's PNAC report -- a blueprint followed faithfully by the Bush Administration -- openly yearned for a "new Pearl Harbor" that would "catalyze" the American people into adopting PNAC's global militarist agenda wholesale. The report also called for imposing an American military presence in Iraq -- even if Saddam Hussein were no longer on the scene. Here are some of the points of Donnelly's report on behalf of Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, Jeb Bush, and other PNAC members. And remember, these were set down in September 2000 -- long before PNAC's longed-for "new Pearl Harbor" in September 2001; you know, the day that "changed the world" and has been used to justify the Terror War and the further militarization of American society. As we noted in the earlier PNAC piece, Donnelly, Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al, called for:
And note this point from the 2000 PNAC report:
That earlier piece also had more about the mindset of this "expert" called in by the Times:
This now has become the theme of the Obama Administration as it seeks "to develop the ability to 'fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theater wars.'" But what else to be expected from a new president who chose to retain the militarists' hand-picked Pentagon poobah – longtime Bush Family factotum Bob Gates – as head of the nation's war machine? This unprecedented action -- carrying over a Defense Secretary from the regime of a party vanquished at the polls – was entirely Obama's decision. Thus he is not being sandbagged or undermined or played by Bushist moles in the Pentagon, as many Obamalators like to believe; the people in the Pentagon now are there because the new president wants them to be there.
Donnelly, bless his heart, is admirably open about the assumptions behind the strategy shift, telling the NYT:
"The ultimate guarantor of international security": i.e., the old dream of global Pax Americana – with the world's nations in the same position vis-à-vis the "guarantor" as they were under the ultimate model for our militarists: the "Pax Romana" in days of yore. Of course, one of those old Romans had a better description of the reality of such guarantees of security. The historian Tacitus put it the mouth of a recipient of Rome's international security, the British chieftain Calgacus:
Creating a desolation and calling it peace is also high on the list for O'Hanlon, an incontinent quoter who is dragged out at every opportunity by the stovepipers to give "liberal" cred to their warlike designs. As we noted in August 2007 – in the midst of the escalation and "ethnic cleansing" operation in Iraq known as the "surge," O'Hanlon was prominent among the "liberal hawks" who were pushing the truly barbaric "solution" of partitioning Iraq into ethnic enclaves – by force, if need be. As noted below, another of these barbarians was the man Obama picked as his vice president: Joe Biden. (See original for all links):
And so in the recent story, O'Hanlon – described by the Times as a "liberal-centrist" – is trotted out to put a positive, progressive spin on the multi-war plan. It's a "good start," he says, because the Bush-Obama war chief Bob Gates has said that other parts of the government need to pitch in more on the imperial project; the Pentagon can't run the world all on its own. At least, that's what I think O'Hanlon said. His "insight" is such mushy, think-tank wankery that it's hard to divine any genuine content in it. Like Shakespeare's malapropic Dogberry, O'Hanlon is "too cunning to be understood." Here's the quote:
Whatever you say, Kev. But I sure hope you don't waste your next EZ Pass out of Gaza to dredge up boilerplate like this.
So there you have the considered, professional and, above all, serious analysis of the New York Times and its "experts." A strategy to commit the United States, and its cannon fodder – sorry, its citizens – to the service of a war machine capable of fighting endless, multi-level, violent conflicts simultaneously around the world does not occasion any demur, objection, pause for thought or – God forbid! – the slightest consideration that an ever-expanding, ever-meddling global empire of more than 700 military bases in 160 countries, and the aggressive foreign policy which put them there, might not be the best way to guarantee the peace and security of the American people. (Much less the bombed, droned, death-squadded and meddled-with targets of the strategy.)
No, when it comes to expanding American domination by force, menace, violence and death, our bipartisan courtiers and conduits of empire agree: It's all good!
Chris Floyd has been a writer and editor for more than 25 years, working in the United States, Great Britain and Russia for various newspapers, magazines, the U.S. government and Oxford University. Floyd co-founded the blog Empire Burlesque, and is also chief editor of Atlantic Free Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This column is republished here with the permission of the author.
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This story was published on March 15, 2009.
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