When the military starts looking like our savior, we’d better look out. by The Other Katherine Harris

by The Other Katherine Harris
Featured writer
Dandelion Salad

The Other Katherine Harris’s blog
Nov. 14, 2007

Much admiring notice has lately been taken of Shrub’s new Central Command chief, Admiral William J. Fallon, a font of soothing noises about Iran. This week he reassured the Financial Times that a strike is “not in the offing” and earlier this fall, he spread the same message all over the Persian Gulf region — delighting potentates and other stakeholders in the oil-blest dreamscapes of Doha and Dubai. As was widely reported, he said on Al Jazeera TV, “I expect that there will be no war and that is what we ought to be working for. We ought to … do our utmost to create different conditions.”

In private, he supposedly vowed as early as last winter that an attack on Iran “will not happen on my watch” and added, “There are several of us trying to put the crazies back in the box.” This (from an anonymous source) was cited by Inter Press in May — and seemingly backed up by Fallon’s outright refusal to place a third carrier group in the Gulf to intimidate Iran last summer.

Refusing Shrub and Darth anything, as we know, never sets well with them. But Fallon is still running CENTCOM, while also running around calling the belligerent rhetoric of his bosses and their war-mongering confreres “not particularly helpful”. Which spurs any reasonable interpreter to search for subtext.

Plenty can be found in more or less plain sight. Although he phrases it charmingly, Fallon rules out nothing apart from leaving — as witness this from the Financial Times piece: “Getting Iranian behavior to change and finding ways to get them to come to their senses and do that is the real objective. Attacking them as a means to get to that spot strikes me as being not the first choice … That said we have to make sure that there is no mistake here on the part of the Iranians about our resolve in tending to business in the region.”

Deftly put. “Stay the Course” has a shiny new wrapper. Beneath the “no extra war with Iran unless they’re too crazy to change” gift-tag is the same old poisonous parcel: “tending to business” in Iraq and environs, at American taxpayers’ expense.

Meanwhile, the ugly bluster goes on in counterpoint to Fallon’s sweet-talk. So it looks like a Good Cop/Bad Cop routine to me — a test to see whether millions of furious Americans will fall into an adulatory swoon and settle for Not Making Things Even Worse (unless it just can’t be helped, in which case “sorry”).

Say we start rooting hard for kindly unk Fallon and eventually Shrub’s thugs seem to cede to his wisdom, as well. The Iranian crisis passes and we’re so relieved that we keep giving the corporatist murderers everything they wanted in the first place. Even those high in the military who’re now grappling with what to do in the event of an Iranian attack order would be able to settle cozily back into line.

It could shape up as quite a coup de théâtre. Or it could shape up as a coup d’état — with Generals of Conscience taking over, ostensibly to save us from bombing Iran and starting a world war. Or whatever. National bankruptcy, corruption and extremist threats worked out fine as rationales for imposing martial law on Burma, Bangladesh and Pakistan, not to mention various South American lands.

That might not actually be far-fetched at all. Shrub has always preferred to delegate.

see

In the Hands of the Military By Chris Hedges

5 thoughts on “When the military starts looking like our savior, we’d better look out. by The Other Katherine Harris

  1. Hi, smchris. Thanks for offering your good thoughts. No doubt you’re right that there’s a major rift in the military now. Leaders who’ve retired and then come forward are clearly as upset by what’s befallen this country as any of us — and, according to things I’ve read, plenty of patriotic people still on active duty are wrestling with their consciences every day.

    The trouble with turning to them as any sort of “answer”, though, lies in the nature of the military as an institution. It’s all about authority and power, so not a bit democratic in essence.

    As for learning lessons from the post-WWII experience, I’m not sure what the South American nations would have to teach. They suffered no devastation and weren’t even much involved (except to take Nazi war criminals and loot). In England, Churchill was soon ousted, which strikes me as strange — but I can’t think he minded very much, having learned his own lesson in egalitarianism during the war. Remember his wonderful comment about the working class (which made up most of the RAF)? It was something to the effect that they saved the country for us, so they deserve to run it. Although I haven’t read much about the task of repair and rebuilding there, I expect the US played a role financially. We’d been aiding them since long before we entered the war, so why would we stop when need persisted? They weren’t off rationing until well into the 1950s.

    To me, the best post-WWII lessons are those of the Nuremberg Trials. Under the standards of international law and common decency set forth there, which our jurists were proud to uphold, our present excuse-for-a-government would stand convicted.

  2. Thanks very much for taking time to comment, Joseph. I really appreciate it when people do.

    Yes, obviously I’m worrying along with you. Every day things grow worse. It seems totally crazy that, after all of their crimes, Shrub, Darth and the gang are being left free to work their wicked will on us for another year. Absolutely anything could happen.

    With regard to the coming election — assuming that we get to have one — I wish you’d give Edwards a think. While I’m also a fan of Gore and would support him if he ran, Edwards strikes me as an excellent choice. Media outlets keep rubbishing him, because he’s the candidate they’re most scared of, along with all of Big Biz. He’s the one who’s made a career of standing up to giant corporations on behalf of regular people, and he’s hit them smack in the balance sheet, which is the only thing they care about. By contrast, Hillary and Barak wouldn’t change anything greatly, nor would the rest — apart from Kucinich and Gravel, who don’t have a prayer of winning.

  3. Dunno. It _does_ seem like there are some really scary things going on in the background by a sub-culture of the military that just “happen” to get exposed. The Minot nuke load and ship being a prime example. Someday, I’m sure the conflict within the military during the Bush regime will make for some fascinating revelations.

    We have a president selected by the court and maintained by a congress in which “impeachment is off the table.” It’s the military who take a stand against torture and for our treaties and seem to be blocking the white house in every bureaucratic way possible from fulfilling their more insane excesses. It isn’t hard to imagine that many of the less-visible higher command in the military are currently our best patriots.

    I know one of my failings, and I think of many others, is that it is easy to make comparisons with Nazi Germany or the Roman Empire, but what of positive examples? How exactly did countries like Spain, Argentina and Chili, who didn’t have a Marshall Plan pressed upon them from outside, return to sanity? At this point I think it’s time to look at _whatever_ worked for them and ask whether it would work for us.

  4. Most Americans are entirely too oblivious, just plain stupid or both when it comes to analyzing what’s going on around that will effect or change their lives – and in what way(s). The majority of them have been happily tending to their knitting as the nation has gone down the tubes – much to the glee of the BUSH-CHENEY CRIME FAMILY and their GOP minions.

    I am profoundly and completely PESSIMISTIC that Americans – even 51% of them – will arise from their stupor, survey the shattered landscape of their Democratic Process and rebuild the World into a better place to live. I look at Hillary Clinton and the rest of the hopeless stooges of the Democratic party and weep that Gore refuses to run. I look at the cage full of Republican candidates and want to never let then OUT! But alas, Americans made their bed of nails in 2000 and 2004 and now they must lay in it even as they bleed out their logic and reason. As a nation, America is lost right now trapped a GOP dimension of corruption, lies and cowardice. My only solution to the problem was Gore. Now, I’m packing for Brazil where a junta NEVER mascarades as a Democracy vs. America where Bush might decide to ‘channel PRESCOTT of 1933 and plung the land into Darkness.

  5. Pingback: In the Hands of the Military By Chris Hedges « Dandelion Salad

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