Effective official lies are always based on some credible fact. It’s the extrapolation that reaches the realm of the fantastic. Let’s think about it. After the Cold War ended suddenly in 1989–1990, the United States was at a loss. The first President Bush was reluctant to declare the hostilities over for fear of economic disruption in the United States and Europe and lack of political direction afterward. Declassified memos of the last meeting between then-president Ronald Reagan, Mikhail Gorbachev, and president-elect George H. W. Bush in 1988 reveal that Reagan and Bush were stunned by the Soviet offer to disarm unilaterally.
A report prepared by the National Security Archives, which obtained the memos, concluded that Bush was unwilling “to meet Gorbachev even halfway.”66 Nonetheless, of course, the Cold War ended without Bush’s consent. America then struggled through the early 1990s with economic dislocation, later floating its prosperity on an ephemeral dot-com bubble and keeping such defense appropriations as were credible based on the feeble posturing of a dilapidated North Korea. Scanning the world for a believable enemy, the miserable Pyongyang was the best the Pentagon and the intelligence agencies could produce.
==The Rise of the American Corporate Security State: Six Reasons to Be Afraid (Beatrice Edwards)
The thought that hostile forces may be evolving resistance to our military equivalent of antibiotics rarely gets a look in, and the thought that at least some of those hostile forces may be reading those same scenarios and brainstorming ways to toss a monkey wrench into the machinery — well, let’s just say that making such suggestions will be about as helpful for the career of a military officer today as the same habit was for Col. Billy Mitchell back in his day. This is one reason why I have come to believe that of the shocks that could cause the US empire to collapse, one of the most likely is a disastrous and unexpected military defeat. At this point, very nearly the only thing that maintains US power, and the disproportionate share of the world’s wealth that is the payoff of that power, is our readiness to pound the bejesus out of Third World nations at the drop of a hat. If we lose that capacity, we could end up neck deep in serious trouble very quickly indeed. Yet the military downsides of America’s obsession with high-tech gizmos, in a world where complexity just gives the other guy more opportunities to mess with you, are taking shape in a wider context that has its own bad news to deliver to fans of US global dominance.
==Decline and Fall: The End of Empire and the Future of Democracy in 21st Century America (John Michael Greer)
Gallup, 2000: “A new Gallup poll conducted November 13-15, 2000 finds that nearly seven out of 10 Americans (69%) believe that sending troops to Vietnam was a mistake.”
Gallup, 2013: “Ten years have passed since the United States and its allies invaded Iraq, and it appears the majority of Americans consider this a regrettable anniversary. Fifty-three percent of Americans believe their country ‘made a mistake sending troops to fight in Iraq’ and 42% say it was not a mistake.”
Gallup, 2014: “For the first time since the U.S. initially became involved in Afghanistan in 2001, Americans are as likely to say U.S. military involvement there was a mistake as to say it was not.”
New York Times, today: “The Obama administration is preparing to carry out a campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria that may take three years to complete, requiring a sustained effort that could last until after President Obama has left office, according to senior administration officials.”
CNN, today: “Americans are increasingly concerned that ISIS represents a direct terror threat, fearful that ISIS agents are living in the United States, according to a new CNN/ORC International poll. Most now support military action against the terrorist group.”
A few points:
(1) I’ve long considered this September, 2003 Washington Post poll to be one the most extraordinary facts about the post-9/11 era. It found that – almost 2 years after 9/11, and six months after the invasion of Iraq – “nearly seven in 10 Americans believe it is likely that ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the Sept. 11 attacks . . . . A majority of Democrats, Republicans and independents believe it’s likely Saddam was involved.”