“Cultural assimilation,” former congressional staff member Mike Lofgren writes in his essay Anatomy of the Deep State, “is partly a matter of what psychologist Irving L. Janis called ‘groupthink,’ the chameleon-like ability of people to adopt the views of their superiors and peers.
“This syndrome,” Lofgren goes on, “is endemic to Washington: The town is characterized by sudden fads, be it negotiating biennial budgeting, making grand bargains or invading countries. Then, after a while, all the town’s cool kids drop those ideas as if they were radioactive.
“As in the military, everybody has to get on board with the mission, and questioning it is not a career-enhancing move. The universe of people who will critically examine the goings-on at the institutions they work for is always going to be a small one. As Upton Sinclair said, ‘It’s difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.’”
Which, of course, explains a lot.
Including what happened just last weekend…
Last Saturday, you might’ve heard, the U.S. dropped bombs over Somalia. Our best and brightest killed, according to the official report, at least 150 people.
The bombs — from both manned and unmanned aircraft — struck land about 100 miles north of Mogadishu and, according to the Pentagon, killed al Shabaab terrorists who were ‘a direct threat to U.S. and African peace.’
“As it virtually always does,” Glenn Greenwald says at The Intercept, “the Obama administration instantly claimed that the people killed were ‘terrorists’ and ‘militants’ — members of the Somali group al Shabaab — but provided no evidence to support that assertion.”
(Quick note: Get this: The Obama administration’s official definition of “militant” is simply a “Military Aged Male.” They don’t even have to be associated with terrorists to get the label slapped on them. Seriously.)
Worse, no matter which mainstream newsreel you plug into, the fly is left down and a shriveled government mouthpiece is dangling out.
Our fearless “journalists” on the frontlines ask no questions. (Which is, of course, precisely why they are the only ones with access to the “right” U.S. officials.) Their only sources are the sources handed to them, and, astonishingly, they never ask for evidence to back up any claims.
“Other than the higher-than-normal death toll,” Greenwald goes on about Somalia, “this mass killing is an incredibly common event under the presidency of the 2009 Nobel Peace laureate, who has so far bombed seven predominantly Muslim countries.
“As Nick Turse has reported in The Intercept, Obama has aggressively expanded the stealth drone program and secret war in Africa.”
America’s string of interventions in Somalia, for example, began in January 2007 without public debate, congressional hearings or even news coverage lasting longer than a McDonald’s commercial.
All of these interventions, in some way, are part of the seemingly ever-growing secret kill list, which represents an unprecedented expansion in executive power. We are not at war with Somalia. Congress never declared anything, nor did it authorize the use of force. The Obama administration, instead, uses 2001’s Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) act as a free pass to bomb whoever it wants.
Worse, says Greenwald, this strike in Somalia — like all the other ones — won’t hold much attention in America for four reasons:
- (1) “the election-season obsession with horse-race analysis and pressing matters such as the size of Donald Trump’s hands
- (2) “widespread Democratic indifference to the killing of foreigners where there’s no partisan advantage to be had against the GOP from pretending to care
- (3) “the invisibility of places like Somalia and the implicit devaluing of lives there and
- (4) “and the complete normalization of the model whereby the U.S. president kills whomever he wants, wherever he wants, without regard for any semblance of law, process, accountability, or evidence.”
In the majority of cases, we remind you, according to The Intercept’s “Drone Papers,” a whopping 9 out of 10 who die during a drone strike are not the intended targets.
“Most individuals killed are not on a kill list,” scholar Micah Zenko told the New York Times, “and the government does not know their names.”
To confirm the locations of targets, we have learned, the NSA uses data and mobile-phone tracking technology. They “geolocate” individuals via their SIM cards and pass those coordinates off to the U.S. military.
No one has any clue who or what is near the target when the bombs start dropping. They just let ‘em rip as soon as they have a location.
And we doubt that this situation in Somalia is much different.
Rather than make us safer, it’s reasonable to say that U.S. meddling has only emboldened and made once-tiny groups like al Shabaab bigger and stronger.
Despite our constant presence in Somalia (Roughly 50 U.S. special operations troops, according to the Guardian, have been rotating in and out of Somalia for years), al Shabaab has only grown.
Moreover, by hunting down al Shabaab with high tech weaponry, the BBC’s World Service editor Mary Harper tells the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, it “gives [al Shabaab] almost a legitimacy in terms of the kind of group that they are claiming to be.”
The U.S.’s strategy, Harper goes on, creates the illusion that the group is “a global force to be reckoned with, even though they are in fact just a group of people running around in the Somali bush.”
And all this publicity… surprise… is a great recruiting tool.
For most Americans, bombing other countries, just because, is completely normal.
Outside of the bubble, though, it’s seen as unbelievably extreme. And that’s because it is.
“Most countries on the planet,” Greenwald writes, “don’t routinely run around dropping bombs and killing dozens of people in multiple other countries at once, let alone do so in countries where they’re not at war.
“But for Americans, this is now all perfectly normalized. We just view our president as vested with the intrinsic divine right, grounded in American exceptionalism, to deem whoever he wants “Bad Guys” and then — with no trial, no process, no accountability — order them killed. He’s the roving, Global Judge, Jury, and Executioner.
“We’ve been inculcated to view the world the way a 6-year-old watches cartoons: Bad Guys should be killed, and that’s the end of the story.”
One thing is for certain: Though al Shabaab may or may not have been planning an attack on U.S. soil before the recent attacks, it’s a safe bet that it’s crossed their minds once or twice this week.
And with each bomb dropped, the world, despite what the politicos say, does not become a safer place.
Instead, it becomes one filled with that much more hate and animosity for the American “way of life” and all of her so-called “freedoms.”
Managing editor, Laissez Faire Today