Does anyone else here remember the years 1959-1962, playing capture-the-flag with your friends late into the summer twilight on dead-end streets peppering small hometown communities across America? Well folks today we are witness to the biggest game of capture-the-flag one could ever have imagined. I think some of those guys with whom I played back in the day just took the whole game way too seriously. Now they magically believe they are perched at the right hand of their god (multiple choice: Allah, Christ, Yahweh), preparing us all for the final accounting. Things are just beginning to get interesting, folks. Perhaps another game of childhood make-believe is in order. Unfortunately, it is too much of a strain on my overworked imagination to make believe all this stuff is not happening. However, the news is no less imaginative than is the frightful reality of their conquests.
In a world of professional propagandists, is it any wonder that even those who seek to present unbiased, no less, critical commentary, end up being the hapless dupes of the official promoters and fakirs of the State. Even media outlets intent on providing dissenting views find themselves reporting what is released by the charlatans as news. Further investigation beyond the official headline takes time, money and intelligence. So when the hegemony tells us that the latest drone strike in Pakistan targeted a “top al-Quaeda figure” even Al Jazeera must report the headline; and if one digs no deeper, the magical thinking of “protecting the Republic” goes unexamined.
So, as our spiral into the depths of this Inferno continues apace, we are told that the muscle of US warships are loading up their guns and heading off into Asian waters, while the feckless leaders of the free world continue publicly to fret and frig over who is to blame for the “Syrian problem.” Indeed, it is interesting how the USA and its allies can unrepentantly kill women and children in Pakistan or Afghanistan while going after our “targets” without so much as an international whimper; yet the civil war in Syria is branded a humanitarian crisis and a horror by our press. Meanwhile, on the homefront, the body politic continues to burn in its own private Purgatory, with the most recent Jobs Report indicating that Americans are in fact losing more ground within the greatest economy the world has ever known, while the powers that be blame it on manipulation of oil prices. Unfortunately, too many of us believe their bullshit. And while “hosed” Mubarak faces life in prison for his years of free-wheeling complicity with Western power brokers, other more dangerous players – W, Straight Shooter, and Rumy – roam freely over the fields of this artfully constructed Paradise. Meanwhile, Obama – the Crown-Prince of Peace – finalizes his “kill list” in the quasi-religious confessional of onetime CIA reject, John Brennan; three new drone strikes inside Pakistan in just three days, folks. Dante’s epic poem could not have been more divinely inspired, nor could he have invented a more motley crew for that Divine Comedy.
In short, it appears that the militaristic expansion of the American hegemony continues at an unforgiving pace, as we the people sit on our ass and let the whores, thieves, and gangsters who run this increasingly frightening comedy do what they please to us and to the rest of the globe. This week in Al Jazeera we read:
New York, NY – Even as the Obama campaign ramps up its operations for the 2012 presidential race and seeks to gin up its liberal base, the White House has become increasingly more assertive in pushing for a global network of US military bases. Indeed, if the progressive community was paying attention, it might be somewhat surprised to find that Obama has been even more militaristic in some ways than predecessor George Bush, the long-time bane of the US left. In particular, Obama has been quietly constructing American bases in the remote Southern Cone. It’s an intriguing news story which has received scant attention in the US media, much less the so-called progressive media.
In a recent column, I discussed the novel story of Obama’s new military base located in the Chaco region of northern Argentina. Officially, the Resistencia base forms part of a joint US-Argentine initiative which will provide joint emergency services and eventually deploy troops for “humaninatarian relief”. Local authorities have emphatically stressed that the installation is a civil base only, and will be subject to the oversight of provincial authorities. Nevertheless, the Argentine left claims that Resistencia amounts to a covert US intelligence operation, thinly disguised as humanitarian relief. One Argentine legislator has even called for an investigation into the “Yankee base in Chaco” and recently political and environmental activists held a demonstration against the installation.
If the Resistencia story was not outlandish enough, now comes word that the Obama administration has pushed for yet another base, this one located just across the border in Chile. The installation, which has cost the US taxpayer nearly a half million dollars to construct, is situated in the port city of Concón in the central Chilean province of Valparaíso. In Chile, the political debate surrounding the Concón base mirrors the previous fight over the Resistencia installation: while local authorities and the US military claim that Concón will be used for training armed forces deployed for peacekeeping operations, the Chilean left believes the base is aimed at controlling and repressing the local civilian population.
So, before the federali set up military outposts on every street corner, with their death-dealing drones lurking overhead in our own “land of the free and home of the brave” (all of course in formal compliance with the newly signed NDAA), perhaps we should encourage our protesting colleagues, the OWS occupiers, to surround the White House and the Capital and make the leaders of this institutional oppression an “offer they can’t refuse.” God, where is Marlon Brando when you really need someone with his talent?
Instead, we linger here on the frontlines of despair, angst-stricken wayfarers continuing to debate calmly the pros and cons of permaculture, pacifism, and polity. This certainly is the strangest of times in an increasingly strained world. All the while, the boys and girls of Wall Street maintain their death-grip on the 99% as they continue their wholesale fleecing of America with the devil’s advocate at their disposal. So, what are we to do? That was the hot-topic (no pun intended) of last week’s discussion. And I imagine the issue will continue to elicit further reflection and commentary.
In truth, I am not sure there is much more to be done. After all, the boys and girls in charge of this erstwhile comedy are doing quite enough already; and their effectiveness is all too obvious — collapse in progress. But, as Chris Hedges recently noted, fear not because extremist elements around the globe are coming into their own, with increased political clout helping to flex their HGH-injected muscles. Just take a look at Greece, France, Austria, Norway, Hungary, Denmark, or the Netherlands; those prone to violent response are gaining ground politically, as this beast continues to tumble and fall.1 Yet, is Chris himself trying to frame the debate as a battle between good and evil; does he not realize that the Curriculum is driving both sides of the coin?
Unfortunately, the paid mouthpieces will not be silenced, their voices continuing to fuel the expiatory fires of this modern-day divine comedy. Odd militant shooters and solo suicide terrorists may soon give way to armed militias on both sides of the street. And, while the enforcers of the State together with their corporate paymasters are certain to respond harshly to any sustained heterodox challenges, perhaps they will not be swift enough to stop all of the cascading violence. Those of us who remain unarmed and caught in the crosshairs may not live to see the consequences of such escalating belligerence. However, I believe that our own fascist regime is well equipped to snuff-out most opposition, armed or otherwise. Even now, the FBI is using paid instigators to entrap wayward individuals who the Feds have identified as potential troublemakers; all to set an example. Just as they are doing with Pvt. Bradley Manning. And this betrays the psychotic structural violence conceived of and nurtured by the outstretched hand of the State, in short by those claiming to represent the alienated, civilized horde.
While he was suspicious of the unharnessed exercise of our feral instincts (he called the Id), Freud was also clear in his warnings about the inherent discontent produced through the repression and sublimation required and enforced by civilization.2 What we are now witnessing around the world today, both in fact and in its myriad representations, is a game of capture the flag, and it is like any other competition conceived by the guiding principles of our contestual culture. It is a function of the models we have so diligently crafted and exported around the globe. And the chickens are now coming home to roost.