Sunday, February 16, 2014

weaving a nightmare

Where the 'terrorists' lurk
Really, there was a part of me that had hoped my own somewhat pessimistic outlook on the explosive forces at work in my society would turn out to be nothing more than the paranoid, conspiracy-nut mutterings of another old fart ... you know, someone who cherry-picked incidents and trends and came up with a bleak and bloody outlook ... someone who "doesn't see the big picture" ... an alarmist whose "American" credentials were a couple of bottles short of a six-pack. Being wrong was a secret hope.

But then, this morning, there was the following passed along in email. It is simultaneously so concrete and so gob-stopping that I hardly know where to begin ... to stay cool ... to report without ardor ... to draw no hasty conclusions.

Perhaps sixty miles south of Washington, D.C., at Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia, the U.S. Army's Asymmetric Warfare Group recently opened a 300-acre fake city replete with "a fake bank, soccer stadium, underground subway station with subway cars, train station with real train cars, an embassy and a mosque, according to the U.S. Army’s website."

The object of the $96 million (the army says it cost 90.1 million; Infowars, among other sources, uses $96 million) project is to address future combat in urban areas. From a military standpoint, it makes sense. But the recently opened project (ribbon cutting ceremony embed code does not seem to work but is available here) bears no resemblance to Baghdad or Kabul or anywhere else that the U.S. is currently prosecuting its military adventures. Instead, it resembles nothing so much as Anywhere, U.S.A.

Here is a quote that may serve as an overview of postulations and planning:
If we face a period of persistent global conflict as outlined in successive National Security Strategy documents, then Army officers are professionally obligated to consider the conduct of operations on U.S. soil.
And from this point, I can do no better than to excerpt from Paul Joseph Watson's article on
The increasing demonization of domestic political groups as extremists has prompted numerous scenarios where commentators have suggested that U.S. Army and National Guard personnel could be needed to quell civil unrest.
In 2012, an academic study about the future use of the military as a peacekeeping force within the United States written by a retired Army Colonel depicted a shocking scenario in which the U.S. Army is used to restore order to a town that has been seized by Tea Party “insurrectionists”.
The study dovetailed with a leaked U.S. Army manual which revealed plans for the military to carry out “Civil Disturbance Operations” during which troops would be used domestically to quell riots, confiscate firearms and even kill Americans on U.S. soil during mass civil unrest.
The manual also describes how prisoners will be processed through temporary internment camps under the guidance of U.S. Army FM 3-19.40 Internment/Resettlement Operations, which outlines how internees would be “re-educated” into developing an “appreciation of U.S. policies” while detained in prison camps inside the United States.
Fort Hood soldiers are also being taught by their superiors that Christians, Tea Party supporters and anti-abortion activists represent a radical terror threat, mirroring rhetoric backed by the Department of Homeland Security which frames “liberty lovers” as domestic extremists.
Last year, former Navy SEAL Ben Smith warned that the Obama administration is asking top brass in the military if they would be comfortable with disarming U.S. citizens, a litmus test that includes gauging whether they would be prepared to order NCOs to fire on Americans.
During a recent Ohio National Guard exercise, second amendment proponents were portrayed as domestic terrorists as part of a mock disaster drill.
This accumulation of data leaves me short of breath. As always, it has its self-anointing excuses -- keeping the country safe, patriotism, warding off terror, etc. It makes sense to prepare, to be ready, to study scenarios. Who could fault the spending of $96 million in taxpayer money when it was spent "in defense of liberty?"

But I don't think it is unreasonable or paranoid or conspiracy-nut to ask ....


-- $96 million in taxpayer money spent to create a force that is aimed at other taxpayers ... incarcerating them, perhaps, 're-educating' them perhaps, killing them perhaps?

-- Who benefits from this scenario? To answer that "the country" benefits is to neglect the fact that the "insurrectionists," whoever they are, are also part of the country. It is further to suggest that, in a democracy, some (by force of arms) are more capable of defining democracy than others.

-- As in the matter of so-called terrorism, the demonizing of the terrorists -- or in this case "insurrectionists" -- does not include a serious analysis of why anyone might be a terrorist in the first place... or whether there were some creditable basis for terrorists to resort to violence... and whether those creditable complaints might be addressed without the use of fatal force.

-- On a personal note, I quail that my son, a member of the Army National Guard, might find himself convinced by his military organization and, based on that conviction, firing upon friends and neighbors or even, come to that, me. I might be willing to give him my life, but I am horrified at the facts he would thereafter have to live with.

-- Drip by drop by drip by drop ... a little at a time things move towards an autocratic rule. Honor and decency and democracy are slowly redefined. Fort A.P. Hill will be forgotten in the next news cycle and yet its existence and exercises will move forward ... drip by drop by drip by drop.

Is there a way to understand all of this, let alone combat it?

The only shorthand I can come up with is, "Follow the money."

I once read a wonderful latter-day fairy tale in which a man refused to go outside because he was convinced there was an alligator in the front yard that would eat him if he did. His friends did what they could to convince him otherwise -- after all, when they looked out the window, there was no alligator to be seen. His friends talked and talked and urged and urged. Finally, the man was convinced by his friends. He went outside ... and the alligator promptly ate him.

Welcome to the Matrix.

1 comment:

  1. Robin hood was right. Huxley was right. History repeats. We carry on.