These are gruesome days. The world is truly adrift and on the brink of a global “something”. Everyone can feel it here in the USA.
The US system of government is often described as a layer cake: federal on top, state in the middle, and local at the bottom. That cake is a mess. The frosting?the sweet taste of the American Way of Life–has melted away; the bitter taste of economic insecurity/uncertainty is everywhere in the country. The federal government has slid off the top of the cake and occupies a place completely disconnected from the remaining two layers–state and local. The state and local layers of the cake are drying up and crumbling as the economic crisis in the USA is causing them to jettison all sorts of labor and safety net programs. And cost to care for returning military personnel and the heavy burden on communities that involves makes life all the more difficult in 2011.
Listening to America’s “leaders”, one is tempted to think that their grand solution to all of the USA’s problems is to start World War III. Is there a better way to do that than invade Iran based on divine or mythological guidance? Will Obama look to George W. Bush for guidance leading up to the invasion? Is the country being prepared for a “longer war”?
As the country continues to fragment, truth’s role in the political-military-economic-media milieu, as Gianni Vattimo points out, has vanished. The USA is devolving into religion, sorcery and mythological practices of times past as fear and the national security consciousness breeds visions of the unknown evil lurking everywhere. No one can be “trusted.” Technological Shamanism has appeared. Neil Whitehead of the University of Wisconsin has a very interesting take on UAV/Drone, Night Operations and the USA’s role as a night stalking killing machine.
And now the USA is engaging in the interesting practice of taking the corpses of dead “terrorists” offed in SWAT like kill-capture raids for DNA retrieval purposes.
A Mid-Summer’s Daydream
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta?described early in his career by a veteran Washington, DC politico as a “dangerous idiot”?trots off to Iraq and tells the US soldiers there that “you guys” are here because of 911. Great!
What is CIA Director David Petraeus going to say next? Fortunately, the former General’s version of the Iraq “success” is being challenged from within. Nonetheless, if Obama ascends to the Presidency again, Petraeus will likely become Secretary of Defense.
A daydream here: perhaps President Barak Obama is secretly negotiating with Iranian leaders behind the scenes and as the USA’s election cycle starts to spin fast we’ll hear the “Breaking News”, a sort of “Nixon in China” announcement that a breathtaking series of agreements have been signed between the Iranians and Americans. Can you hear Obama speaking on national television at the post-breakthrough press conference? “I am pleased to announce that, at long last, we have come to terms with Iran. It is in America’s strategic interest to work with the Iranians. It has been far too long since we sat directly across from each other and extended hands of friendship across the table. The negotiations were brutal for both sides. But, talk was not cheap in this case. But make no mistake??”
That would be a groundbreaking event that Obama and all Americans could take a lot pride in. The fallout would be stunning as it would change the global geopolitical balance and put the USA one-up in the Great Game underway in South Central Asia.
In the daydream world, the US and Iran could work together in Iraq and help diffuse the violence in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain and other countries in the region. A solid relationship would counterbalance the nefarious interests of Saudi Arabia and its support of violent Sunni extremists. It would force Israel to the negotiating table and with the USA and Iran leading the way, Hezbollah, Hamas and the Palestinians may be resolved peacefully.
Economically, the USA and Iran, teaming up with Turkey, Russia, China and India, could bring to bear massive investments in the region stretching from Iran to Egypt and other countries on the North African continent, employing millions/creating new markets. On that note, it may alter, to the USA’s advantage, the peer competition between the USA and China.
There are so many positives that a USA and Iran partnership would produce that it seems to be a no- brainer for both sides to “get it done”. But that’s exactly the point: there are no-brains, apparently, on both sides, willing to give up living in the past.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers
So, instead of diplomatic breakthroughs, we get a press conference in which Obama stated, “We killed Bin Laden last evening”. Is that the stuff of national celebration, pride? To literally blow one man’s brains out, take a blood sample from the corpse for DNA purposes, and then dump the guy in the ocean? Did they retrieve any internal organs (like the brain) for study? What happens to his children/wives? Are they imprisoned for life, stuck in a Dungeon, for fear that they would avenge the father? Where did their DNA end up?
And, for that matter, what becomes of all the DNA samples and bodies that JSOC, CIA, et al, pick up after a kill-capture raid? Is there a “Terrorist DNA Database”? Is the USA sequencing genetic material at a university defense contractor like Johns Hopkins? At some point the DNA, the bio-scans, the cultural data from Human Terrain Teams, Female Engagement Teams, Provincial Reconstruction Teams, and Village Stability Operators will make its way into many Geospatial Maps in intelligence agencies, military commands, and executive offices. This is Joshua Project meets Global Human Terrain Map. Makes sense, the way things work these days.
Getting back to Panetta, the US State Department had to put him in check for his statement suggesting that the USA would respond militarily to Iranian meddling in Iraqi affairs. Where has that guy been? The Iranians are ascendant in Iran. This comes on the heels, or at the same time, as the US Congress held a session with the MEK, listed as a terrorist group by the US State Department. The National Iranian American Council in Washington, DC reported extensively on that event and a visit to their website should be in order for anyone interested in a balanced view of Iran and US relations, their tireless efforts to prevent a US-Iran war, and their activities for American Iranians.
NIAC reports this on the MEK “A decision is imminent regarding whether the MEK will stay on the terrorist list or if it will be permitted to receive U.S. Government funding and support. The State Department has been ordered to review the MEK’s terrorist designation as result of a legal appeal by the MEK and a decision is expected in August 2011. The MEK has spent millions of dollars on lobbyists, PR agents and communications firms to orchestrate an unprecedented political campaign to pressure its way off the terrorist list.
High profile former U.S. officials have received payment to advocate publicly for the MEK, and Members of Congress have introduced resolutions calling for MEK to be removed from the FTO list. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is expected to issue a decision on whether the MEK will continue to be listed as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in August 2011.
If MEK is removed from the State Department’s list, the NIAC correctly notes that the USA will be repeating the war formula for Iraq. “Disastrous repercussions in Iran and the US will take place to include empowering anti-democratic hardliners in Iran and devastating the pro-democracy movement in Iran; paving a pathway to covert action and war, repeating the mistakes of Iraq; empowering pro-war hardliners in Washington and destroying US credibility among Iranians; and enabling the MEK to control US policy towards Iran and silencing the Iranian-American community.”
John Stanton is a Virginia based writer specializing in national security matters. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org