How Did We Let this Happen? By Timothy V. Gatto

By Timothy V. Gatto
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
April 12, 2012

Every nation gets the government it deserves. (Joseph-Marie, comte de Maistre (1 April 1753 – 26 February 1821) was a Savoyard lawyer, diplomat, writer, and philosopher.)

This is a fact not an opinion. When I first read this quote, I believed the author had it wrong. I thought about nations that had governments forced on them, from outsiders and from their own people. The more I thought about it, the more convinced I became that the author had it wrong. I received a rude awakening as I was driving my wife home from the hospital where she had spent a full week in ICU battling septicemia where half the week was spent with a ventilator tube that went from her mouth to her lungs. The doctors told me on the first day that if she survived the next 24 hours she just might make it. My brother looked at me and grabbed my arm to steady me. I couldn’t believe what I had just heard.

I spent the next few days at her bedside while she lay in a drug induced coma so that her body could have a chance to heal, this was on a Sunday. Politics, writing, the Occupy movement, and everything else I had been involved with fell by the wayside. The only thing I could do was to hope that she would survive. I nodded off from time to time in the chair next to her bed. I was focused on only one thing, and that was her survival. I was told that her kidneys had shut down and if they could save her, she may have to go on dialysis. They also told me that she may lose her vision, and that she may need oxygen for the rest of her life.

She recovered after they infused her with massive doses of antibiotics. The tube came out on Wednesday and she was taken out of her coma. Another three days in ICU and she was taken to a room to recover. She started asking me what happened and I told her everything (since my wife was an RN, I couldn’t leave anything out, as much as I tried). She became very quiet for the next few days. I guess a brush with death will do that to a person.

When she was discharged, we rode home and she remained quiet. After about ten minutes she turned to me and asked “How did we let this happen?” I told her that sometimes people get sick and never know why. She shook her head and said “No, I’m not talking about me, I mean how did we let this happen to the country.” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Here was a woman that was at deaths door just a few days ago and here she was, lamenting about what the hell happened to America. She talked about the NDAA, the wars and the power of the Federal government. She used the word fascism a few times. This was what was on her mind.

Now I’m the radical dissident in the family, not her. To hear her go on about the people letting everything they once believed in being destroyed by all the politicians that we elected. She had tears in her eyes. As she went on about the government controlling everything, reading e-mails and tapping phone conversations and passing laws that made protests on Federal property a felony, she turned her melancholy mood into anger. I had to change the subject, she was in a weakened state and I didn’t want her to become upset. Still, that question “How did we let this happen?” reverberated through my mind to this day. Indeed, how the hell DID we let this happen? The more I thought about it, the angrier I got.

You see, I’m not angry with the government, I’m angry with the people of this country. I spent three years in Germany, asking the older folks that were around when the Nazi’s were in power, “How the hell did you people let that happen?” I received the same answer from everyone. They told me that they never understood what was happening until it was too late. They were asleep at the wheel; they were in a self-induced coma, enjoying the good things that the Nazi’s brought to Germany. They were enjoying the economic revival of their nation after years of hyper-inflation, unemployment and anger over the reparations they were forced to pay for World War One that they didn’t start. The nation was in tatters when Hitler and the Nazi’s came to power. The people were grateful to the National Socialists that gave them back their dignity.

Many Germans saw what was happening and they left Germany, but the majority of them turned a blind eye when the government started banning political protests, after all, there were many nations that were a threat to the Third Reich. Everything the government did was to protect their citizens from external threats. The Reichstag gave the Nazi’s free reign to remove their constitutional rights in order to “protect” the people from their enemies. They glorified their armed forces and hung Nazi banners everywhere. The news was written by and large by the government. Many of their activities were labeled “secret” in order that their “enemies” were kept in the dark. Patriotic Germans supported and accepted this behavior and believed that it was necessary to protect the German people from outside threats.

Sadly, Germany wasn’t the only nation that experienced this behavior from its government. Throughout history dictatorial governments have taken control by using propaganda, glorifying their armed forces and posing threats to their citizens from dangers from external enemies of the state.

Does this behavior sound familiar? Could this happen to America? Could the United States follow in the footsteps of so many nations that endured this scenario? After all, we are a democracy. Some politicians are telling us that we are not a democracy; we are a republic or a representative republic. After all, the political parties are supported by the people, and it is the people that determine who comes to power. Political parties were mentioned in George Washington’s farewell address. This is what the father of our nation said about political parties:

However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.

— George Washington, Farewell Address, Sept. 17, 1796

Cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion. Could this happen here? It already has. The words “How did we let this happen?” continue to haunt me. I see the Armed Forces glorified on television. The history channel doesn’t let a day go by without hours of American military power focused on protecting the American people from outside threats. The mantra from people that served or are still serving is that “Freedom is not free”. We are told that our citizens in uniform are “Protecting our freedom”.

How did invading Iraq protect our freedom? Did killing one million Iraqi’s protect anyone of us? Now the people in government tell us quietly that the war in Iraq was based on faulty information. Bullshit. The faulty information we acted on was scripted by the government in power right here in America. I can’t accept their “faulty information” excuse. A civilized nation doesn’t kill a million people based on sketchy intelligence. We wanted to invade Iraq, our government sifted through pieces of intelligence and cherry-picked anything that sounded suspicious. Information that didn’t support military involvement was tossed and covered-up. We know that now, yet this administration does nothing to hold those accountable for perpetrating that horrific war that left so many Iraqi people dead and left so many soldiers scarred for life, both physically and mentally.

Since September 11, 2001, those in power, then and now, have used this “War on Terror” to advance what they call “Full-spectrum Dominance”. In civilian talk that phrase means “Control of the Planet”. The truth is right there for all to see. What else could “Full-Spectrum Dominance mean?

According to a Department of Defense document first revealed in the 1998 US Space Command document – Vision for 2020. Later released in 2000 as DOD Joint Vision 2020, it called for “full spectrum dominance” over all land, surface and sub-surface sea, air, space, electromagnetic spectrum and information systems with enough overwhelming power to fight and win global wars against any adversary, including with nuclear weapons preemptively.

I wish that somebody would tell me exactly why we need to defeat “any adversary” over all land, surface and sub-surface sea, air, space, electromagnetic spectrum and information systems. Do we really need this? I mean really? Are we prepared to invest trillions of dollars to defeat enemies that might be a threat in the future? When will this paranoid delusional behavior end, more importantly how will it end? We are building new weapons frantically. The question I would like to pose is this; Have there ever been weapons developed that have never been used? Does anyone actually believe that? If we could devastate any adversary on the planet, would we then control the planet?

We can’t even govern this country effectively. We have over one million people incarcerated, the highest percentage of prisoners per capita on the planet. So how is this working for us? Are we so gifted in governance that we could govern the world? Would we ever want to? If there was money involved, the powers that be will be right there insisting on it.

So let me sum this up for those that find themselves a wee bit skeptical of what I have written, or those who think this is over the top. Let’s review some of the laws that have been passed that effectively kill The Bill of Rights contained in our Constitution.

The John Warner Defense Bill: Eliminates “Posse Comitatus” which is a provision in the Constitution that prevents the use of the nation’s armed forces to be used for law enforcement. It also allows the President to call up National Guard members in the individual states over the objections of the governors of those states, and they could be Federalized and used in law enforcement in any state the President deems necessary. IE; The National Guard in Florida could be called up for law enforcement in Texas. (It’s easier to shoot at civilians that don’t live nearby) The President could effectively have a state of martial law without answering to Congress.

The Patriot Act: Anyone can have their homes searched without a warrant, without your knowledge even after the fact if you are deemed a “terrorist”. It expanded the Secretary of the Treasury’s authority to regulate financial transactions, particularly those involving foreign individuals and entities; and broadened the discretion of law enforcement and immigration authorities in detaining and deporting immigrants suspected of terrorism-related acts. The act also expanded the definition of terrorism to include domestic terrorism, thus enlarging the number of activities to which the USA PATRIOT Act’s expanded law enforcement powers can be applied. On May 26, 2011, President Barack Obama signed a four-year extension of three key provisions in the USA PATRIOT Act:  roving wiretaps, searches of business records (the “library records provision”), and conducting surveillance of “lone wolves” — individuals suspected of terrorist-related activities not linked to terrorist groups. One of the most controversial aspects of the USA PATRIOT Act is in title V, and relates to National Security Letters (NSLs). An NSL is a form of administrative subpoena used by the FBI, and reportedly by other U.S. government agencies including the CIA and the Department of Defense (DoD). It is a demand letter issued to a particular entity or organization to turn over various records and data pertaining to individuals. They require no probable cause or judicial oversight and also contain a gag order, preventing the recipient of the letter from disclosing that the letter was ever issued. There is so much more, the bill was over 2000 pages and at the time of its passage, no Senator had read the entire bill.

National Defense Authorization Act: Declares that the United States is a “Battleground” in the “War on Terror”. Authorizes the military to apprehend and detain anyone suspected of being a “terrorist” without a warrant. A suspected “terrorist” or anyone suspected of supporting an “associated force” can be held until “The War on Terror” ends or they can be tried by a military court and represented by a military lawyer. The government does not have to provide the fact that anyone has been picked up by the military. This bill gives the President the power to make anyone “disappear”.

There are other laws that have been passed that violate the Constitution. To get a glimmer on exactly what laws have been passed that may violate your rights, you can find details on the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) at

Maybe the time has come to make sure you have a passport and a location where you can relocate. I have a plan and believe that the time to put it into action gets closer by the day. I want to be somewhere else when the U.S. attacks Iran. I want to be somewhere else when they begin to round up “dissidents”. Since we all live in a “battleground” in “The War on Terror” it would be a good idea to have a plan. I have served almost 21 years in the U.S. Army. There is a saying that I attempt to live by. It’s called the six P’s, Prior planning prevents piss poor performance.

Even now the words “How did we let this happen” echo in my mind. How did we let this happen? We let this happen because we were not paying attention. When someone in the future asks you “How did you let this happen” how will you respond? All of this breaks my heart. We can change the game and change this nation, but we have to be aware. We are the ones that let this happen, all of us. We can turn it around, but to do so will be extremely difficult. Every day that we let this mindless conduct by the Federal government continues, the more difficult it will be to change it.

This nation is run by the military-industrial-banking complex. President Eisenhower warned us about this in his farewell speech. It was the last thing he did in office. He specifically said “Beware the Military Industrial Complex”. Indeed.

Tim Gatto is the author of “Complicity to Contempt” and “Kimchee Days” published by Oliver Arts and Open Press. He is the former chairman of The Liberal Party of America. He currently lives in South Carolina.


The shame of our country by Ed Dunphy

Chris Hedges: No Outcry Within Media on NDAA

Coming to a Gulag Near You by Chris Hedges

The Polite Conference Rooms Where Liberties Are Saved and Lost by Chris Hedges

Chris Hedges: NDAA is a decimation of our civil liberties

6 thoughts on “How Did We Let this Happen? By Timothy V. Gatto

  1. Tim , we let this happen because Americans care about one thing: can i get my pizza delivered in half an hour.

    the NDAA is the worse thing i have ever heard of . ever. this has to be THE front burner issue.

    • When you try to inform your family and friends about the legislation that destroys their civil liberties, they get angry and don’t invite you back. Throughout history, those that fail to remain vigilant, find that those elected to serve the the people, end up serving themselves.

      This will be another republic, built on the foundations of democray, that morphed into another dictatorship.

      • Hi Tim

        We are of the same opinion. I wrote “the shame of our country” because of “brain dead America”

        We need to get town hall meetings swarmed with people of one voice. Threatening careers is the only way to make them vote the way the people need, when they return to either houseboat congress.

        Ed Dunphy

  2. well said mr gatto.after coming of age in the late 60s&spending many yeaars fighting the same evil ones ,winning many battles i might add,now i’m an arms length from 70yr old&i’m pissed&waiting for the people to revolt by the mil;lions upon millions and yet we have an occupy movement that stirs my soul,but our numbers are tiny& the police state crushes us,while we wait for the millions of other aware citizens to join us and make us so much more powerful!!!!! the time for talking is over folks,the time for to shut down washington&wallstreet with massive civil actions is NOW OR NEVER!! ho ka hey/it is a good time to live

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