I feel like a guy standing before a rapidly advancing tsunami. I’m throwing up a peace sign as if that will stop the wall of water.
I began to realize in 1970, as did millions of other eighteen-year-old American males, that the government considered me little more than a dispensable body to be kidnapped and turned into a bullet-stopping slave.
I was saved by the crank of a tumbler operated over television by two old men in suits. This was a year after the state decided to institute a “lottery” for the draft. I rolled high, so I didn’t need to flee to Canada. Millions of others were not so lucky.
It wasn’t out of empathy and benevolence the state implemented this slavery lottery. For several years, college students and other young people were marching all over America, going so far as to burn down ROTC buildings and occupying college administration offices to force the state to end its insane war in Vietnam.
Eventually, this war was shut down, but behind the scenes less noticeable—to Americans at least—wars were waged around the world. You had to read between the lines of The New York Times and The Washington Post to learn about US dirty dealing in Angola, Chile, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Panama, Pakistan, Cambodia, on and on, seemingly endless.
The Pentagon devised a new tactic. Instead of drafting middle-class kids, they made “military service” “voluntary,” in other words only the desperately poor—and those brainwashed by lies and “patriotism”—are sucked into the war machine.
The corporate media, at the behest of the state and its apparatchiks, insisted the American people suffered from something called the “Vietnam Syndrome,” a malady related to “isolationism.” This was corrected in 1991 when Bush the Elder illegally invaded Iraq. Bush, a onetime oilman, and director of the CIA said America had finally “defeated the Vietnam Syndrome.”
This was, of course, a lie. Millions of Americans, perhaps most, were reluctant to sacrifice their children, brothers, and fathers to imperialistic neoliberal dictates handed down by the state. Bush and those who followed—Clinton, Bush II, Obama, and now Trump—invariably donned white hats and portrayed carpet bombing, napalm, cluster bombs, depleted uranium, cruise missiles, stealth fighters, etc., as the tools of freedom and democracy. Photos and videos of the victims were not permitted. Journalists—mostly stenographic careerists—were “embedded” with a military that told them what to report.
That’s how you defeat the Vietnam Syndrome—through lies, misinformation, omission, and an endless stream of propaganda, the latter shaping, and warping (or obfuscating altogether) the American public’s perception of crimes against humanity and the complicity of the state that claims to “represent” them.
Like Pavlovian zombies, Americans invariably rally around the state during its wars, tie yellow ribbons around old oak trees, march in pro-war parades with little mass-manufactured flags, and demand unquestioning fealty to the state and its obscenely obese war machine.
The founder of Hitler’s Gestapo, Hermann Göring, knew how the process works. All the state need do is scare the hell out of the “common people” by telling “them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.”
Indeed, rallying around the flag and God-blessing the troops works the same in just about every nation on the planet. The “exceptional” and “indispensable” nation has mastered the art of disguising mass murder, destruction, and theft as “humanitarian intervention,” a core “value” of the “Obama Doctrine” that turned one of the most advanced nations in Africa into a hellish nightmare of murder, slavery, and fanaticism.
Obama, however, when stacked up against the Bush-era neocons, is a lightweight. Killing tens of thousands of Libyans and targeting “suspected” terrorists with drones and Hellfire missiles is, for neocons like John Bolton, little more than appeasement. Nothing short of full-scale invasion and carpet bombing will suffice.
Obama’s crowning achievement? Making a paltry and ineffectual antiwar movement even more irrelevant than it was under Bush, who dismissed it as a “focus group.” No longer is there an antiwar movement in this country, or at least not one that can get the attention of the American people, thanks to a war-promoting corporate media reading scripts handed down from the State Department and the Pentagon.
The American people are irrevocably brainwashed. The state has distracted and divided them into mutually antagonistic groups. Instead of focusing on the US-spawned horror of forever war—Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria—and economic warfare against an ever-growing roster of nations not submitting to neoliberal economic suicide (Venezuela, North Korea, Cuba, Nicaragua), the people are distracted by celebrity pabulum, sports, television shows pushing identity and sexual politics and, recently arrived on the scene, a corrosive and vile partisan war that has since the election of Donald Trump resulted in riots, looting, violence, and death. It is now common to hear people demand the assassination of the president and the incarceration of his wife and children.
As an example of how far away from reality many Americans have drifted—due largely to conflict engineering devised by the state (conquer and divide)—millions seriously believe Russia meddled in and dominated the outcome of the 2016 election with Facebook ads. They fear the same will happen in 2020. This dim-wittedness is pushed relentlessly by the corporate media.
The fact Americans mistakenly elected a conman and crony capitalist to the “highest office”—primarily because they’re sick and tired of establishment politicians and corruption rife in the depths of the “swamp”—is rarely factored into the equation as the corporate propaganda media tells us what to think. For the state, these folks are “deplorables.” Many are now earmarked as conspiracy-peddling terrorists by the FBI.
As a victim of the FBI’s Vietnam-era COINTELPRO, I have a pretty good idea of what will happen to those of us standing in opposition to the wars and endless pilferage by the state, regardless of the fact most of us are politically irrelevant.
I don’t know if the narcissistic buffoon and political ignoramus Trump will be impeached, re-elected, or if the deep state coup against him will result in a more gruesome outcome. However, if the Democrats take back the White House, and capture both chambers of Congress, the “witch hunt” Trump complains about will not be limited to the swamp—it will encompass all who dare stand in opposition to the corporate state (the true definition of fascism). This was signaled when the FBI sent out its bulletin designating “conspiracy theories” as a major threat to democracy.
The US government and its partner, the United Kingdom, are now in the process of slowly killing Julian Assange. This is the ultimate fate of truth-tellers. The torture and slow murder of Assange is a billboard-sized warning to those who stand above the crowd and call for an end to the insanity and violence of the state.
For the rest of us, less-known activists and bloggers, we will ultimately be denied access to the internet, social media, and online payment systems. COINTELPRO of the 1950s, 60s, and 70s excelled at ruining lives, ending careers, and setting up activists for long term prison sentences. This objective didn’t evaporate in the 1970s.
This little political blog—under-funded with a paltry readership—will not be pulled down anytime soon, primarily due to the aforementioned lack of supportive readers. I am not a threat to the state—for the moment.
History, however, demonstrates that, under totalitarianism, even pipsqueaks are persecuted. Opposition, no matter how small or ineffectual, is not tolerated. All must support the state, or at least appear to do so, or suffer the consequences.
It may be time to shut down this blog—not due to fear or cowardice—but rather because it has at best nugatory influence. It faces a tsunami of indifference and a paucity of support and my efforts will undoubtedly be put to better use elsewhere.