Juan Cole makes some perfectly succinct points regarding the propaganda and hypocrisy of the American government, regarding its claims to the dangers that Edward Snowden’s revelations on the excesses of national surveillance by the NSA pose to U.S. soldiers in the field. This goes to the heart of some of the points we have made on numerous occasions in the past via USTV Media, about how we are becoming overtly Soviet in our behavior, how expanding state secrecy is always excused as being for your own good, and questioning it is somehow undermining “the troops,” and threatens national security.
It is truly astounding at times how repetitive these claims can be (have become), how historically similar they are to those made by practically every modern authoritarian state, and how much they continue to be swallowed by the populace at large, over and over. Elvis Costello sang about this very thing back in 1979, with his poignant and prescient raging rock number “Goon Squad”, about co-option into the system, where the apparatchiks of power are busy “thinking up the alibis that everyone’s forgotten”. I’m afraid Gore Vidal had it right, when he wrote about our living in the United States of Amnesia.
Here are just a couple of excerpts from Cole’s spot on piece…
NSA employees were given talking points in defending their trashing of the Constitution suggesting they change the conversation to terrorism, even though there is zero evidence that the massive domestic surveillance of Americans has forestalled any terrorism at all. And, that consideration is beside the point if what the NSA is doing is illegal and unconstitutional, i.e. if it is conducting warrantless searches of the papers and effects of innocent people. When police use excessive force and kill an innocent bystander, we don’t say ” that’s all right. The police keep us safe from criminals.” Breaking the law is breaking the law and there is no instrumental excuse for it.
When I was young in the Cold War, we were constantly told that Communists (they meant Stalinists) believe that the ends justify the means, whereas American traditions of law and practice insist that the ends must be reached legitimately. The Federal government has morphed into the very thing it preached against. Now they are saying that the ends justify the means, even if the means are blatantly unconstitutional.
The latest salvo in this disinformation campaign is to claim that Snowden has endangered US troops by revealing surveillance methods. That allegation is highly unlikely to be true. The enemies of the US abroad knew very well of US surveillance capabilities. Al-Qaeda in particular has been using hard copy and face to face communication for a decade. That is why they couldn’t find Usama Bin Laden all those years. Or as W. used to say, “He’s hidin’.”
But since they’re bringing up endangering US troops, here are all the ways the Washington politicians have put soldiers’ lives unnecessarily at risk in recent years:
1. Going to war on false pretenses. The invasion and occupation of Iraq, which killed over 4000 troops, wounded over 30,000 badly, and inflicted some injuries on some 100,000, was sold on the incorrect allegation that Iraq was near to having a nuclear weapon and had deadly Weapons of Mass Destruction that it might use on the US. That case was false, and most likely an outright lie. You can’t endanger US troops in a more thorough way than by sending them into a dangerous country based on false allegations.
Read the rest of Cole’s list Here