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6 thoughts on “The Art of Mental Warfare

  • November 27, 2007 at 1:45 pm
    another well-written find – I subtitle as “Diseased Priorities”

    America in the Time of Empire
    By Chris Hedges

    Monday 26 November 2007

    This column was originally published by the Philadelphia Inquirer.

    All great empires and nations decay from within. By the time they hobble off the world stage, overrun by the hordes at the gates or vanishing quietly into the pages of history books, what made them successful and powerful no longer has relevance. This rot takes place over decades, as with the Soviet Union, or, even longer, as with the Roman, Ottoman or Austro-Hungarian empires. It is often imperceptible.

    Dying empires cling until the very end to the outward trappings of power. They mask their weakness behind a costly and technologically advanced military. They pursue increasingly unrealistic imperial ambitions. They stifle dissent with efficient and often ruthless mechanisms of control. They lose the capacity for empathy, which allows them to see themselves through the eyes of others, to create a world of accommodation rather than strife. The creeds and noble ideals of the nation become empty cliches, used to justify acts of greater plunder, corruption and violence. By the end, there is only a raw lust for power and few willing to confront it.

    The most damning indicators of national decline are upon us. We have watched an oligarchy rise to take economic and political power. The top 1 percent of the population has amassed more wealth than the bottom 90 percent combined, creating economic disparities unseen since the Depression. If Hillary Rodham Clinton becomes president, we will see the presidency controlled by two families for the last 24 years.

    Massive debt, much of it in the hands of the Chinese, keeps piling up as we fund absurd imperial projects and useless foreign wars. Democratic freedoms are diminished in the name of national security. And the erosion of basic services, from education to health care to public housing, has left tens of millions of citizens in despair. The displacement of genuine debate and civil and political discourse with the noise and glitter of public spectacle and entertainment has left us ignorant of the outside world, and blind to how it perceives us. We are fed trivia and celebrity gossip in place of news.

    An increasing number of voices, especially within the military, are speaking to this stark deterioration. They describe a political class that no longer knows how to separate personal gain from the common good, a class driving the nation into the ground.

    “There has been a glaring and unfortunate display of incompetent strategic leadership within our national leaders,” retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, the former commander of forces in Iraq, recently told the New York Times, adding that civilian officials have been “derelict in their duties” and guilty of a “lust for power.”

    The American working class, once the most prosperous on Earth, has been politically disempowered, impoverished and abandoned. Manufacturing jobs have been shipped overseas. State and federal assistance programs have been slashed. The corporations, those that orchestrated the flight of jobs and the abolishment of workers’ rights, control every federal agency in Washington, including the Department of Labor. They have dismantled the regulations that had made the country’s managed capitalism a success for ordinary men and women. The Democratic and Republican Parties now take corporate money and do the bidding of corporate interests.

    Philadelphia is a textbook example. The city has seen a precipitous decline in manufacturing jobs, jobs that allowed households to live comfortably on one salary. The city had 35 percent of its workforce employed in the manufacturing sector in 1950, perhaps the zenith of the American empire. Thirty years later, this had fallen to 20 percent. Today it is 8.8 percent. Commensurate jobs, jobs that offer benefits, health care and most important enough money to provide hope for the future, no longer exist. The former manufacturing centers from Flint, Mich., to Youngstown, Ohio, are open sores, testaments to a growing internal collapse.

    The United States has gone from being the world’s largest creditor to its largest debtor. As of September 2006, the country was, for the first time in a century, paying out more than it received in investments. Trillions of dollars go into defense while the nation’s infrastructure, from levees in New Orleans to highway bridges in Minnesota, collapses. We spend almost as much on military power as the rest of the world combined, while Social Security and Medicare entitlements are jeopardized because of huge deficits. Money is available for war, but not for the simple necessities of daily life.

    Nothing makes these diseased priorities more starkly clear than what the White House did last week. On the same day, Tuesday, President Bush vetoed a domestic spending bill for education, job training and health programs, yet signed another bill giving the Pentagon about $471 billion for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1. All this in the shadow of a Joint Economic Committee report suggesting that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been twice as expensive than previously imagined, almost $1.5 trillion.

    The decision to measure the strength of the state in military terms is fatal. It leads to a growing cynicism among a disenchanted citizenry and a Hobbesian ethic of individual gain at the expense of everyone else. Few want to fight and die for a Halliburton or an Exxon. This is why we do not have a draft. It is why taxes have not been raised and we borrow to fund the war. It is why the state has organized, and spends billions to maintain, a mercenary army in Iraq. We leave the fighting and dying mostly to our poor and hired killers. No nationwide sacrifices are required. We will worry about it later.

    It all amounts to a tacit complicity on the part of a passive population. This permits the oligarchy to squander capital and lives. It creates a world where we speak exclusively in the language of violence. It has plunged us into an endless cycle of war and conflict that is draining away the vitality, resources and promise of the nation.

    It signals the twilight of our empire.


  • November 27, 2007 at 2:59 pm
    What follows is just TOO good to not post.

    “The majority must resign itself to the consumption of fantasy. Illusions of wealth are sold to the poor, illusions of freedom to the oppressed, dreams of victory to the defeated and of power to the weak.”
    – Eduardo Galeano


    “As Brigadier General Butler famously stated, “War is a racket.” It doesnâ’t have anything to do with freedom and democracy. It is not good fighting evil. Thereâ’s just a bunch of old greedy gangsta motherfuckers making obscene amounts of cash and breeding hatred, violence, terrorists and sex slaves.”

    another important ‘read’ here:

    However, IMO, his “7 points” are

  • November 27, 2007 at 3:34 pm
    Once again it’s a matter of credibilty. This article tells how to fight back,yet when I said the exact same thing I’m ignorant. We need to be credible,accurate and BOLD!
  • November 27, 2007 at 4:57 pm
    How about the comment on that blog:

    We the good People of this great Nation believe Congress and the Federal Government has reversed its Constitutional role and no longer serves the people. So We the good People of this great nation follow the directives given in our Constitution to protect our inalienable rights. Said rights have been attacked, eroded and neglected by collective actions of our legislative, judicial, and executive branches of Government.

    We the People herein state that a Congress that will not act on impeachable offenses committed by the President, the Vice President and Attorney General is not worthy of the offices it occupies. We the People believe that our Congress will neither uphold their oath of office, the constitution nor rule of law. We further believe that our Federal Government has abandoned the confidence of the majority. We the People herein state numerous instances that Congress has forfeited our confidence.

    We the People have no confidence in the integrity of the manner by which federal taxes are levied, collected and distributed by the Congress and President. There is no confidence that our taxes are being actualized for the betterment and welfare of our good population. Furthermore it is observed that the Federal Government instructs an Internal Revenue Service to intimidate and sublimate the good People of this great Nation. It is further believed that the income generated by said taxes fuel the malfeasance of a liaison between private banking consortiums, corporations and unduly elected or appointed members of this Federal Government. Lastly, a Congress that partakes of taxes levied to fund salaries and benefits for itself, exempting itself from realities it forces on the population cannot instill confidence of the People.

    We the People distrust the mechanics and conduct of national elections. We question the validity of their outcome. We believe that voter fraud, vote, and election tampering has obscured the possibility of democratic rule and increased the probability of an unfairly designated oligarchy. We believe that the seeds of fascism in our democracy have been sown. Thus the People have no confidence in the fair outcome of national elections. Furthermore this United States Federal Government is consistently elected or appointed by means of its ingratiation to the most wealthy and least populated segment of our population as whole. It is observed that the laws created and passed by the three ruling branches of government are to benefit the least of the population and perpetuate a disparity of wealth.

    We the People have observed that the Federal Government does engage in a multitude of nefarious, malicious, and villainous activities for the purpose of dominating the good people of this nation and forcing their submission. We the People have further noted a consistent collusive effort to pit neighbor against neighbor and divide the heart and will of the great people of this nation. We have also noticed manipulation of the press and media to promulgate false issues, false information, and to prevent honest scrutiny of governmental activities such as our freedoms of press and speech were intended to preclude.

    We the People have no confidence that the Federal Government does not imprison citizens for crimes that are insignificant and victimless solely for the purpose of subjugating the majority of our Good People. We further believe that our government will not respect Habeas Corpus, or the Geneva Convention even with regard to its own citizenry.

    We have no confidence that the Federal Government avoids war profiteering, war mongering, and war provocation as it should. We believe that gross fear mongering is routinely conducted to intimidate and disrupt the progress of peaceful endeavors. We believe as well that the ruling elite misuses the purpose of law for war profiteering. It entraps the best of our youth into a military that fights not for defense but for profit. We observe that despite personal sacrifice, returning soldiers are grossly neglected and dishonored. We the People of this great Nation want our soldierâ’s lives to be considered as precious as the most wealthy. Instead We believe the Federal Government colludes to sacrifice good young citizens and cause ruination of lives for the mere perpetuation of elitist wealth.

    We the People believe that the offices of the Federal Government have grossly neglected the welfare of the Earth itself, thereby endangering the entire planet. When the Federal Government should have exercised caution and prevented erosion of our resources they chose instead to exploit it. We believe that the ruling elite have led the good people of this nation into harms way by neglecting to address the matters of global climate change in a timely fashion. Furthermore the Federal Government condones actions of corporations that harm our environment to the detriment our collective health, and our pursuit of happiness. Beyond this the Federal Government grants itself liberal and complete access to health care and denies its citizens the same. Therefore we have no confidence that the Federal Government recognizes the sanctity of life, liberty and health and happiness of the majority of citizens of the United States

    Therefore We the good People of this great Nation – country question the authority of this Federal Government to continue destroying the principles of our Constitution in the manner it has. Thus We engage the technological means to promote the will of the heretofore silent majority to be expressed specifically. We the good People seek the complete right to fund or unfund the work of our Federal Government independent of the elective process. We the people seek the specific right to ratify the laws that Congress passes. With the technology and means to allow the will of individual citizens to be expressed accurately comes the responsibility of individuals to seek out a better reality for democratic rule. We the Great People of this Good Nation have the moral obligation to engage in the process of government, inclusive of funding and budgeting of government, and the creation of law in a manner heretofore uncharted.

    Therefore we work united to restore the spirit of fairness to our proud nation. As The People of this Great nation it is time that we create a new mandate for our Republic to generate conditions that promote the better qualities of humankind. A Union of citizens themselves would be able to generate a legitimate fourth branch of Federal government. That Union must balance the instability that has arisen from the isolation of wealth and power in the Federal Government. Only this measure of unity and size of union can restore the principles of our Constitution to our life as Americans. Our Constitution directs us to come together as United Citizens when it is needed to remedy the erosion of democracy.

    We the people declare that such a time has arisen. We pray for peace, prosperity and good health of our people. We the people pray that our efforts will restore the health of our Earth. We pray that by our Union will we will meet the needs of our Country that our Constitution will be honored, and that the equality of all our People will be respected.

  • November 27, 2007 at 5:37 pm
    Unfortunately the kind of rhetoric in this article is most likely illegal under the Homegrown Terrorist Prevention Act.
  • November 27, 2007 at 8:12 pm
    After looking at the website I have one question…where’s the underground… I want to join!

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