Guest Post: Former Director of the CIA’s Counter-Terrorism Center Says That American Policy in the Middle East is Failing Because the U.S. Doesn’t Believe in Democracy

Washington’s Blog

Robert Grenier – a 27-year veteran of the CIA’s Clandestine Service, and Director of the CIA’s Counter-Terrorism Center from 2004 to 2006 – writes today:

Events in the Middle East have slipped away from us. Having long since opted in favour of political stability over the risks and uncertainties of democracy, having told ourselves that the people of the region are not ready to shoulder the burdens of freedom, having stressed that the necessary underpinnings of self-government go well beyond mere elections, suddenly the US has nothing it can credibly say as people take to the streets to try to seize control of their collective destiny.


Our words betray us. US spokesmen stress the protesters’ desire for jobs and for economic opportunity, as though that were the full extent of their aspirations. They entreat the wobbling, repressive governments in the region to “respect civil society”, and the right of the people to protest peacefully, as though these thoroughly discredited autocrats were actually capable of reform.

They urge calm and restraint. One listens in vain, however, for a ringing endorsement of freedom, or for a statement of encouragement to those willing to risk everything to assert their rights and their human dignity – values which the US nominally regards as universal.


There are two things which must be stressed in this regard.

The first is the extent to which successive US administrations have consistently betrayed a lack of faith in the efficacy of America’s democratic creed, the extent to which the US government has denied the essentially moderating influence of democratic accountability to the people, whether in Algeria in 1992 or in Palestine in 2006.

The failure of the US to uphold its stated commitment to democratic values therefore goes beyond a simple surface hypocrisy, beyond the exigencies of great-power interests, to suggest a fundamental lack of belief in democracy as a means of promoting enlightened, long-term US interests in peace and stability.

***The US’s entire frame of reference in the region is hopelessly outdated, and no longer has meaning: As if the street protesters in Tunis and Cairo could possibly care what the US thinks or says; as if the political and economic reform which president Obama stubbornly urges on Mubarak while Cairo burns could possibly satisfy those risking their lives to overcome nearly three decades of his repression; as if the two-state solution in Palestine for which the US has so thoroughly compromised itself, and for whose support the US administration still praises Mubarak, has even the slightest hope of realisation; as if the exercise in brutal and demeaning collective punishment inflicted upon Gaza, and for whose enforcement the US, again, still credits Mubarak could possibly produce a decent or just outcome; as if the US refusal to deal with Hezbollah as anything but a terrorist organisation bore any relation to current political realities in the Levant.

Machiavelli once wrote that princes should see to it that they are either respected or feared; what they must avoid at all cost is to be despised. To have made itself despised as irrelevant: That is the legacy of US faithlessness and wilful blindness in the Middle East.

For background on the America’s lack of belief in democracy, see this.

The fact that the former head of counter-terrorism laments America’s failure to support democracy in the Middle East proves once again that U.S. policy is not justified by terror concerns.

As I’ve repeatedly pointed out, stopping terrorism has never been the primary goal of America’s policy towards the Middle East. For example, as I noted last year:

Starting right after 9/11 — at the latest — the goal has always been to create “regime change” and instability in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Lebanon and other countries. As American historian, investigative journalist and policy analyst Gareth Porter writes in the Asia Times:

Three weeks after the September 11, 2001, terror attacks, former US defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld established an official military objective of not only removing the Saddam Hussein regime by force but overturning the regime in Iran, as well as in Syria and four other countries in the Middle East, according to a document quoted extensively in then-under secretary of defense for policy Douglas Feith’s recently published account of the Iraq war decisions. Feith’s account further indicates that this aggressive aim of remaking the map of the Middle East by military force and the threat of force was supported explicitly by the country’s top military leaders.

Feith’s book, War and Decision, released last month, provides excerpts of the paper Rumsfeld sent to President George W Bush on September 30, 2001, calling for the administration to focus not on taking down Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network but on the aim of establishing “new regimes” in a series of states


General Wesley Clark, who commanded the North Atlantic Treaty Organization bombing campaign in the Kosovo war, recalls in his 2003 book Winning Modern Wars being told by a friend in the Pentagon in November 2001 that the list of states that Rumsfeld and deputy secretary of defense Paul Wolfowitz wanted to take down included Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan and Somalia [and Lebanon].


When this writer asked Feith . . . which of the six regimes on the Clark list were included in the Rumsfeld paper, he replied, “All of them.”


The Defense Department guidance document made it clear that US military aims in regard to those states would go well beyond any ties to terrorism. The document said the Defense Department would also seek to isolate and weaken those states and to “disrupt, damage or destroy” their military capacities – not necessarily limited to weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

Indeed, the goal seems to have more to do with being a superpower (i.e. an empire) than stopping terrorism.

As Porter writes:

After the bombing of two US embassies in East Africa [in 1998] by al-Qaeda operatives, State Department counter-terrorism official Michael Sheehan proposed supporting the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance in Afghanistan against bin Laden’s sponsor, the Taliban regime. However, senior US military leaders “refused to consider it”, according to a 2004 account by Richard H Shultz, Junior, a military specialist at Tufts University.

A senior officer on the Joint Staff told State Department counter-terrorism director Sheehan he had heard terrorist strikes characterized more than once by colleagues as a “small price to pay for being a superpower”.

And recall that former U.S. National Security Adviser (and top foreign policy advisor) Zbigniew Brzezinski told the Senate that the war on terror is “a mythical historical narrative”.Indeed, one of the country’s top counter-terrorism experts, former number 2 counter-terrorism expert at the State Department (Terry Arnold – who I’ve interviewed twice), has repeatedly pointed out that bombing civilians in Afghanistan is creating many more terrorists than it is removing.

In fact, the top security experts – conservative hawks and liberal doves alike – agree that waging war in the Middle East weakens national security and  increases terrorism. See this, this, this, this, this, this and this.

I guess Alan Greenspan, John McCain, George W. Bush, Sarah Palin, a high-level National Security Council officer and others must all have been joking when they said that the Iraq war was really about oil.

And see this.

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About George Washington

George Washington is the head writer at Washington’s Blog. A busy professional and former adjunct professor, George’s insatiable curiousity causes him to write on a wide variety of topics, including economics, finance, the environment and politics. For further details, ask Keith Alexander…


  1. paper mac

    Hi Washington. I usually read your posts and get something interesting out of them because of the variety of links you post. I have to beg you to stop doing the “see this, this, this” thing though. I know I can cursor over each one and look at what it is before I click it, but its a bitch to find the stuff I’m interested in. Even a three-word description would help. Thanks!!

    1. George Washington Post author

      Thanks for the feedback. I do that because – otherwise – I’m afraid my posts would be much too long.

      If a programmer could figure out a way to go write to the interesting part of a link when the linked page doesn’t have an anchor in the right place, then I wouldn’t have this issue.

      1. Dirk77

        I also appreciate the references in your posts. To me it shows that you are appealing to a thinking audience, not just some people who are going to take you at your word. I think the MSM would get more respect if they did that, especially with electronic publishing there being no longer any excuse about lack of space at the end. To satisfy readers such as paper mac you could put the references, along with a snippet of the relevant bit, at the end of the work as they do in academic journals.

      2. somegeek

        To go directly to the interesting part of a linked page, load it in an iframe and use javascript to scroll down

  2. Glenn Condell

    ‘One listens in vain, however, for a ringing endorsement of freedom’

    Couldn’t we wheel Condi Rice out to shout ‘let freedom ring’ one more time? The Big Dog could give them a reprise of the ‘highway to the 21st century’, Bush can belt out the ‘thousand points of light’ which presumably sit atop a thousand hills…

    Nobody talks a better democracy.

    The assumption in Mr Grenier’s analysis (which I largely endorse and appreciate BTW) is that Americans enjoy the sort of democracy that Egyptians and other oppressed Middle Easterners would die for. And sure, in comparison, it would be a step up, but do they really want to be debt slaves to a dominant elite that controls the only political options available and who have gamed the rule of law so that it no longer applies to them? Talk about ‘the burdens of freedom’.

    Yes, they want the capacity to have their own Yves Smiths holding elite feet to the fire, but wouldn’t they prefer not to have to cross the threshold into a house of democracy that requires so much fire-fighting?

    Inequality is actually worse in the US than Egypt, Yemen and Tunisia, is it not?

    ‘suddenly the US has nothing it can credibly say’

    The loss of cred is not sudden. From the 70s on, the US has favoured corrupt elites over the great unwashed, at home and abroad. Feith’s evidence should be viewed thru this lens; he and his cronies were soldiers for Israel, Big Oil and the MI/Sec/Intel/contractor complex, not warriors for freedom-seeking regime changes across the ME. I suppose you could class all that as ‘being a superpower (i.e. an empire)’ but it’s really the owners of the empire who drove it all, not it’s citizens.

    ‘I guess Alan Greenspan, John McCain, George W. Bush, Sarah Palin, a high-level National Security Council officer and others must all have been joking when they said that the Iraq war was really about oil.’

    I have read (in the London Review of Books, Jim Holt, years ago) that Saddam’s regime ensured that Iraq’s untapped reserves were not as fully accounted for as other ME producers. The war cost what, 3 trillion? Some informed observers reckon there may be 30 trillion under the sand. The peace-keeping troops may go home, but what, in light of the probability that oil has already peaked, of those immense bases?

    Same with AF/Pak, full of what’s required to ensure that ‘the American way of life’ remains ‘non-negotiable’. The wedding guests, the innocent farmers etc blown to bits each week (unreported in the US) are acceptable collateral damage. In the past much of this could be swept under the rug, but not in these connected times. (Which is why the Kill Switch Bil is so scary…)

    Most people around the world (with the possible exception of most Americans) can see that democracy US-style US has been gamed and perverted so badly that it is not worth pursuing any more. A new model is required.

    1. Mighty Booosh

      The United States has always preferred client dictators to unpredictable democracies. I can recall no case in which the US did not work to install a client dictator in any state it was attempting to influence. Smedley Butler made that abundantly clear, as have others like Chalmers Johnson.

    2. grandiosity

      “…since the 70’s”

      … that is, since the first oil crisis and the formation of the OPEC cartel, the US soft underbelly has been OIL, and the USGOV prime directive has been to stabilize oil supplies and recapture most of the treasure squandered on this unsustainable economic dependence.

      The lack of truth concerning the fallout from this policy is what has corrupted our democracy. We owe the world a great apology.

  3. kezza

    Sorry to be a PITA, George, but the bombing of US embassies in East Africa was 1998, not 1988. Al-Qaeda didn’t even exist in 1988.

      1. kezza

        I am under the impression that Al-Qaeda was formed in earnest in the aftermath of Soviet retreat from Afghanistan in 1989, but then Wikipedia says it could be as early as August 1988 that bin Laden started making those plans.

        1. DownSouth

          According to Adam Curtis in The Power of Nightmares, The Politics of Fear, “Al-Qaeda,” both the word itself and the concept, are a total fantasy, an invention of U.S. neoconservatives. Osama bin Laden never used the word until after the U.S. national security apparatus began using it. Osama immediately went along with the fiction, however, because it greatly enhanced the aura and perception of his power and prowess.

          1. Walter Westcot

            CAN WE STOP THIS ??

            we all tip toe in bunny slippers around the truth of our foreign policy and collective ignorance of just exactly who the bad guys are — and they ain’t Muslim.

            Events of the last week are a dam bursting. Against Israeli hegemony over not just the Middle East, but America, our bought and paid for government – and our wholly owned subsidiary of the Jerusalem Post – American media.

            Can we just stop the nonsense.

            We are in this pickle because of the influence of JEWS.

            there, I said it… just like Helen Thomas and every martyr to truth since WWII… when we never really had a discussion about who did what to whom… AND WHY.

            I’m sick of it… and I expect the resident J’s to go running to the mods… help me help me… somebody hurt my feelings… the horrors… I’m a suhvivah… granny too!!

            I want my country back.. I’m sick of the lies and cover ups.. the covert wars on our own people, all because a nasty little cult wants a fought over piece of worthless real estate in the desert… and will do anything

            to take it from the majority..

            yeah.. not unlike Custer, and the rest.

            But now is now… and then was then.. and I’m sick of fighting with Jews over their nasty relatives in Israel, Russia, Poland and Germany.

            We can free ourselves from this bunch … with the help of 1.6 billion Muslims. this is our opportunity – but only if we SAY IT OUT LOUD.

            America should not be funding the genocide of Palestinians.

            then we should be looking at the BIG HEIST – and who took what for whom… 14 trillion stolen.

    1. Patrice

      As a Haitian American I have to admit that I’m surprised that American citizens cannot simply point to the following list of prominent Jewish Neocons and their role in getting the U.S. into Iraq and Homeland Security, without being accused of anti-semitism:

      Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, Michael Ledeen, Scooter Libby, Charles Krauthammer, Stephen Bryen,
      David Frum, Robert Kagan, David Wurmser, Dov Zakheim, Henry Kissinger, Norman Podheretz, John Podheretz, Elliot Abrams, Frederick Kagan, Donald Kagan, Alan Dershowitz, Daniel Pipes, Eliot Cohen, Bill Kristol, Irving Kristol, Max Boot, James Schlesinger, Marc Grossman, Joshua Bolten.

      26 names. And yet if someone dares to suggest that the above list of Jewish Neocons were largely (notice that I’m not saying entirely but largely) responsible for getting the United States into the war in Iraq, as well as the Homeland Security scam, then you will immediately be accused of anti-semitism, and you will probably be called a Holocaust denier as well.

      And so was the invasion of Iraq primarily done for Israel, or was it primarily done for the oil?

      In the “Politics of Dispossession” (1994), Edward Said wrote: “The question to be asked is how long can the history of anti-semitism and the Holocaust be used as a fence to exempt Israel from arguments and sanctions against it for its behaviour towards the Palestinians, arguments and sanctions that were used against other repressive governments, such as South Africa? How long are we going to deny that the cries of the people of Gaza… are directly connected to the policies of the Israeli government and not to the cries of the victims of Nazism?”

      And what about the role played by Jewish bankers such as Alan Greenspan, Robert Rubin, Ben Bernanke, Frederic Mishkin, Lloyd Blankfein, etc, in the financial crisis.
      (And I said “the role played”, notice I did not say, or even imply, that Jewish bankers alone *caused* the financial crisis.)

      But why were so many Jewish names involved in the financial crisis, beginning with prominent role played by Goldman Sachs itself?

      Perhaps it’s time for Americans to at least start asking themselves these kinds of questions, without someone immediately accusing them of being an “anti-semite” or a “Holocaust denier”.

    2. sgt_doom

      Not to be too picky, but historically accurate, the first mention of “al Qaeda” was back in the late ’70s in CIA’s documentation.

      It refers to their database for the American and Saudi-financed Mujahedeen (“The Base”), and one wonders if that’s just another one of those “thousand points of ….. coincidence”?

      And MONUMENTALLY GREAT blog post, BTW!

      1. alleninkerrville

        …as long as people are free to choose among at least two choices provided by the corporate state, well, they’re free.

        Well said, well said!

  4. Tao Jonesing

    “Freedom” and “liberty” are words used by neoliberals and neocons to dupe the masses into believing in their dehumanizing policies. The common usage of those terms no longer bear any semblance to the traditional use of those terms as established at the founding of the United States.

    Thanks to scoundrels like Hayek and Friedman (Milton, not Tom, who is just a mouthpiece and not a thinker), the concepts of freedom and liberty have been debased in this country, so it is no wonder that the Washington neoliberal/neoconservative Consensus is blind to the fact that what is happening in Egypt is following classical liberal concepts of freedom/liberty, as opposed to the Austrian/Chicago axis of evil’s concept of freedom/liberty, which is a purposeful doublespeak meant to enslave.

    Walter Lippmann’s “The Good Society” set the tone for the Washington Consensus and displays the distrust and disdain for American democracy domestically, as well as internationally. As far as people like Lippmann, Hayek (whose “Road to Serfdom” is really just a rewrite of “The Good Society” but not quite so honest), and Friedman (whose “Free to Choose” is just an Americanized-read “dumbed down”– version of Hayek’s “Road to Serfdom”) are concerned, as long as people are free to choose among at least two choices provided by the corporate state, well, they’re free.

  5. mannfm11

    I felt from the start that the Iraq war was about pushing more collateral into the system and bailing out the bubble that burst. The CIA has always been a bankers front, as has every organization that funnels bureaucrats into the government. War is always about looting something. Ike said to watch out for these people.

    1. fajensen

      In my opinion Iraq was about the US military serving as the presbyterian guards for the Saudi Wahabbis, destroying the apostate regime of Saddam Hussein and replacing it with one based on shariah law. Iran are Shia, aka Heretics, Syria are apostates like Iraq, Lebanon too liberal, i.o.w.: The US must destroy all the wrong flavours of muslims and spread Saudi Wahabbism everywhere in return for Oil!

      1. DownSouth

        But fajensen,

        We don’t allow that level of particularity in our analyses. All Muslims are the same. All people of the Middle East are the same.

        These commandments are carved in stone and handed down to us in the Description de l’Égypte, the twenty-three enormous volumes (literally, each page is a square meter in size) published between 1809 and 1828 at Napoleon’s behest. As Edward W. Said explained in Orientalism:

        [T]o make out of every observable detail a generalization and out of every generalization an immutable law about the Oriental nature, temperament, mentality, custom, or type; and, above all, to transmute living reality into the stuff of texts,…these are the feature of Orientalist projection entirely realized in the “Description de l’Égypte”…

        And lest we think only those of rightist persuasion are capable of such reductionism–of robbing large swathes of humanity of their humanity–think again. The leftists are also guilty, as Ralph Ellison makes eminently clear in his essay “The World and the Jug.” “First, three questions,” Ellison begins his essay. Ellison is critiquing Black Boys and Native Sons,an article written by the leading leftist intellectual and prominent figure of the Democratic Socialists of America, Irving Howe, and published in Dissent. Ellison continues:

        Why is it so often true that when critics confront the American as Negro they suddenly drop their advanced critical armament and revert with an air of confident superiority to quite primitive modes of analysis? Why is it that sociology-oriented critics seem to rate literature so far below politics and ideology that they would rather kill a novel than modify their presumptions concerning a given reality which it seeks in its own terms to project? Finally, why is it that so many of those who tell us the meaning of Negro life never bother to learn how varied it really is?

        The entire essay is certainly worth a read, but my favorite passage from the essay is this:

        Taking leave of Howe for a moment—-for his lapse is merely symptomatic—-let me speak generally. Many of those who write of Negro life today seem to assume that as long as their hearts are in the right place they can be as arbitrary as they wish in their formulations. Others seem to feel that they can air with impunity their most private Freudian fantasies as long as they are given the slightest camouflage of intellectuality and projected as “Negro.” They have made of the no-man’s land created by segregation a territory for infantile self-expression and intellectual anarchy. They write as though Negro life exists only in light of their belated regard, and they publish interpretations of Negro experience which would not hold true for their own or for any other human life.

        Here the basic unity of human experience that assures us of some possibility of emphatic and symbolic identification with those of other backgrounds is blasted in the interest of specious political and philosophical conceits. Prefabricated Negroes are sketched on sheets of paper and superimposed upon the Negro community; then when someone thrusts his head through the page and yells, “Watch out there, Jack, there’re people living under here,” they are shocked and indignant.

        1. DownSouth

          And fájense,

          Speaking of gross, obscene generalizations and the propaganda drive on the part of the neocons to paint all people of the Middle East for all time as being fanatical theocrats, there’s this little bit of pushback on CNN News.

        2. craazyman

          Yes South F. Scott Fitzgerald put it so succinctly in his lead into THE RICH BOY (1926).

          “Begin with an individual, and before you know it you find that you have created a type; begin with a type, and you find that you have created — nothing.”

          Who needs more than that? Unless yer a professer.

          rEGARding Mr. Said. I tried to read his book once. It thing it was Orientalism. I got to about page 59 and then I said, F–k it. It was like dragging my brain across the Sahara without a skull on. He never got to the point, but just circled it, like a big bird of prey, about 1 mile high. LOL.

          Ellison was a genious though. THE INVISIBLE MAN was an astonishment of language. Magnificent.

      2. notexactlyhuman

        As I saw it, the years of UN sanctions against Iraq were an attempt to starve either the indigenous citizens or Saddam into rekindling a pro-U.S. stance; a popular uprising against Saddam which the U.S. could back, or Saddam’s eventual submission. Either would work. The sanctions had the opposite effect, however, as Saddam proved more obstinate and the people less willing to challenge his brutality as years rolled by. Then France, Russia and China began heavily courting Saddam and his oil, concocting back-door deals to skirt the sanctions, and this challenge enraged the U.S. oil tycoons. And thus a half-witted war and occupation was engaged to protect their oil interests in the Middle East.

        An interesting cable here about Libya’s failed attempt to starve its dissenters into submission and the U.S.’s offer to intervene with some “soft programming”.

      3. sgt_doom

        “/// US military serving as the presbyterian guards for the Saudi Wahabbis..”

        I suspect Fru Jensen, you are referring to Praetorian Guard???

        I thoroughly agree that thanks to massive and illegitimate US intervention, beginning in Afghanistan around six months prior to the taking of US hostages by the Iranian revolutionaries, with Carter’s presidential directive to destabilize the then secular government of Afghanistan, and with Bush’s invasion in Iraq, and warring in Pakistan, there has been a colossal increase and spreading of Sharia law throughout Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

        But, fundamentally speaking, the real reasons are always economic thievery: the oil from southern Iran flows to China, for those multinational factories and production facilities there.

        The Afghanistani copper being mined by Chinese companies under the protection of US military flows to China for the same reason; the pipelines carrying oil and gas across Afghanistan, ending in India, carrying those energy resources to supply the multinational production facilities and infrastructure for the very same reasons.

        In the end, it’s always about those Benjamins.

    2. liberal

      Nope. Walt and Mearsheimer have convincingly shown that the Iraq War was about Israel. It’s actually pretty obvious from the documentary record: lots of evidence of neocons pushing for the war even back in the 1990s, roughly zero evidence of oil companies pushing for war.

      1. Billy Bob

        I cringed when I heard Sec. Clinton say that Mubarak had done a good job keeping the peace with Israel by way of praising him this past weekend. I can’t think of any way expressing this point of view benefits Mubarak, Israel or the US in this situation. At some point soon, US policy must place US interests ahead of Israeli interests.

      2. Justicia

        Oil and Isreal, which has become the screen and platform for US imperial ambitions in the region.

    3. Walter Westcot

      Name them damn you…. who are THESE PEOPLE… on Wall St… in banking .. .the FED,..

      name EM!
      It’s the only way to free ourselves.

      Our government and media are occupied territory… and if we don’t name them now … then WHEN?

      14 trillion stolen?

      by whom?

  6. Bas

    ‘Terrorist strikes characterized as a “small price to pay for being a superpower”.’

    I can believe being a superpower carries benefits to the people actually wielding that power, and the playthings that come with it. But as a percentage of the population, their number is, of course, tiny.

    To the overwhelming majority of Americans, superpower status brings not just increased risk of terrorist attacks, but also periodic credit bubbles due to abused reserve currency privilege, a dubious reputation abroad (must be more Canadians in Europe than in Canada), and a political system fatally infested by special (and foreign) interests.

    And what do Americans get in return for this ‘small price’? Deceptively cheap oil and the empty buzz of patriotism. Doesn’t strike me as a very good deal.

    I know from my own country’s experience that losing the colonies – and ‘major power’ status – did not result in the disasters many imperialists had been predicting. On the contrary, the colonies proved to be the rather expensive hobby of a dwindling elite – even if they did offer career opportunities in quantities the American ’empire’ cannot.

  7. Wild Bill

    What a funny story, George! You write like you are breaking news, or publishing a new angle of thought. Isn’t this what Al Queda is mad about?

    The rest of the world believes that we don’t support democracy, that we support dictators. Maybe it’s just you who has learned this fact recently.

    And we know that the fight against Al Queda is a farce, a front for building bases in Arab nations from which to wage the next war. We know that the War on Terror was a front for establishing massive government agencies that have nothing to do. And we know that capturing Bin Laden would give face to all these farces.

    How do we know these things, George? They were reported in mainstream media. National papers have published countless articles on the base buildups, most recently NY Times on Bagram. The Washington Post ran a series of articles on the Homeland Security buildup to 800 separate agencies. And 60 minutes produced a piece that showed we had Bin Laden at Tora Bora but upper commanders told the troops to let him go. We all know.

    So here’s the question I put to you: Do you believe that Al Queda is correct to be angry? OK, you disagree with their methods — as we all do. But it sounds like to me that they got your attention long enough for you to take a hard look at the situation, and you don’t like what you see.

    1. Walter Westcot

      and what of our methods?

      and what of the methods of Israel? – her operatives throughout the power elite in America… and their strangle hold on our government and PERCEPTION of events.

      I’m sick of it.

      How about we start by naming Americans in government and media with dual passports??? Just a start>…

      Let Freedom ring for our own governors… out them as the butt boys they are and for WHOM

  8. Jack Rip

    It is amazing to read the comments of a top CIA person and give them some reality check. The CIA, it seems, is a big supporter of democracy, believes in the ability of the US to have influence everywhere given the government listens to the CIA, and knows everything about the solution of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

    The CIA was and is one of the darkest corners of the US; they never shied away from assassinations, coups and illegal interventions. The counter-terrorism unit failed miserably in the Al-Qaida case that someone should have dismissed the whole sub-organization on 9/11 and started from scratch. They still cannot find anyone of value. Let’s face it, the people (there other ex CIA doing the same) giving advice are those dysfunctional CIA guys who have difficulty performing their jobs.

    The belief in the superiority of American influence given the proper policy is a pipe dream. Every nation wants to be left alone to its own evolution; no country wants a benevolent or malevolent US to be present at family fights or honeymoons. Only an organization with a history in the 50s in Iran and Nicaragua in the 70s believes that we should have influence. We should offer support; that is all and it isn’t too late. Mubarak is a goner, we should just forget about him.

    1. Doug Terpstra

      I wonder what the “I” in CIA stands for. They have never, ever gotten anything right about foreign policy analysis and are arguably the most anti-democratic racket on the planet.

      Grenier has very little credibility. Did he really just discover yesterday that the covert criminal army he worked for all those years has been engaged in nothing but destroying democracy and human rights in dirty wars and coups around the world for decades since the 50’s? Well give the man a presidential medal of freedom. I suppose intelligence and conscience is something one discovers only after leaving the agency. Or, more likely, he’s following Hillary and Obama’s trying to remain relevant, waiting for the right moment to jump out in front of the parade.

  9. McMike

    The US is not only hypocritical about democracies, it is opposed to them. And we have worked tirelessly to make sure they don’t happen.

    Our track record of subversion, war making, support & training of despots, sponsoring coups, assassinations, and the like performed against democracy-seeking groups is long and already well documented – stretching across every continent. Pick just about any Middle Eastern, Latin American or African nation. See Haiti. See Iran. Chile. Iraq. Vietnam. Saudi Arabia. Palestine. Greece. Nicaragua. Any nascent attempt at democracy is violently put down by the US.

    During the cold war they excused it as realpolitik and fighting communism. Now they excuse it as fighting terrorism or drugs or spreading economic “stability”. Or worse, we explain the subversion of democracy as in fact spreading it, so deep is our alienation from meaning.

    It is not that these people can’t handle democracy; it is that the US can’t handle it. Because democratic nations may start thinking for themselves. And may decide that they wish to enjoy the fruits of their own labor and resources for themselves. And also because democracy is contagious.

    Those are very dangerous ideas, and the US will not tolerate them. We have in fact zero tolerance for democracy. Our unbroken track record of demolishing democracies around the globe and replacing them with totalitarian kleptocracies speaks for itself.

    There is a fundamental myth about America’s relationship to democracy – a perfect lie. It has been clear for fifty years that we do not tolerate it elsewhere. What has changed is we are openly eliminating it now at home.

    1. DownSouth

      Henry Steele Commanger is entirely right: “If we subvert world order and destroy world peace we must inevitably subvert and destroy our own political institutions first.” The much-feared boomerang effect of the “government of subject races” (Lord Cromer) on the home government during the imperialist era meant that rule by vioence in faraway lands would end by affecting the government in England, that the last “subject race” would be the English themselves.
      ▬ Hannah Arendt, Crises of the Republic

    2. Elliot X

      McMike said: “We have in fact zero tolerance for democracy. Our unbroken track record of demolishing democracies around the globe and replacing them with totalitarian kleptocracies speaks for itself.

      There is a fundamental myth about America’s relationship to democracy – a perfect lie.”

      Well put. And the only people still naive enough to believe this lie are the American people themselves. Thanks to years of dumbing down and being fed a constant diet of mindless propaganda.

      It is way past time to start paying attention to what is being done to other countries, in our name.

      “Does reality essentially remain outside language, separate, obdurate, alien, not susceptible to description? Is an accurate and vital correspondence between what is and our perception of it impossible? Or is it that we are obliged to use language only in order to obscure and distort reality – to distort what happens-because we fear it? We are encouraged to be cowards. We can’t face the dead. But we must face the dead because they die in our name. We must pay attention to what is being done in our name.” – Harold Pinter “Oh Superman” 1990

  10. El Snarko

    As financial regulation, bank policy, and the wars on terrorism and drugs so too the foreign policy in the middle east. This is a comprehensive failure of management because the incentives are all perverse and the result is the best and brightest becoming increasingly involved in less and less reality based status quo that is more and more ideological. Worse the benefits are no longer generalized to the national interest including all the citizens but bigger and bigger benefits to lesser numbers. There is now an observable end point to this systemic entropy.

    Seemingly our current modus operandi is as tenable as was the economy of the Southern States ante bellem. Perhaps “American Exceptionalism” means only we can have democratic processes, and at the cost of less free allies at that?

  11. rd

    What has been clear for over a century is that the US wants “stability” for its corporate interests around the world. Only a few countries, such as the US, Canada, Britain etc. can really be trusted to be democratic, “stable,” and Christian.

    As a result, dictatorships tend to be more “stable” in the same way that financial markets can be stable. Everything looks great for a long-time while internal contradictions and instabilities mount. Then when they pop, it is usually with a vengeance.

    I think the astounding thing about Tunisia and Egypt is that these great pressure-cookers are actually being quite orderly. This has been the biggest surprise for me and tells me that these populations may truly be ready for a democratic state. In particular, it appears that the military have been able to maintain a largely apolitical role, unlike many Third World countries. Could these countries really have George Washingtons lurking in the shadows instead of the usual Robespierres and Napoleans?

    I think it would be a shame if we did not support their movement towards democracy so that we can maintain good relations and relevance as well as helping them improve their lot.

    We will find out what the US really stands for over the next decade on many fronts.

    1. emca

      I would second a several of your statements, but would add:

      With Canada, Sweden etc. some form of political self-rule, economic stability have been around a long time; not sure those concepts are mutually dependent, but the dialog has been that way for as long as I can remember (it should be remembered that U.S. self-rule had its own early and violent start and continues to be saddled with occasional severe disharmonies and discords to this very day).

      America’s traditional support of local, independent (or democratic) institutions only extends as far a its, the U.S. government’s, perception of self-interest, the public either unaware, in agreement or unconcerned.

      Likewise issues tend local, in the U.S., but particularly in Tunisia, Egypt, elsewhere. The main aggregative are economic, food prices, ability to work and secondarily social, safety of person, more or less fair treatment and application of local law and fairness of government. Democracy itself is not necessarily cause or remedy sought, but a logical alternative to local klepto/dictatorships.

      My perception on viewing comments from the ground in Egypt, Tehrir Square, is that the protests are remarkably free of violent rhetoric or political hatred, expound of the universality of participants (young-old, Muslim-Christian), or ‘giddy’ as the term I’ve heard used.

      Will leaders arise from these idealistic beginnings? Well its not a bad start, unless of course your name is Hosni Mubarack.

    2. alleninkerrville

      We will find out what the US really stands for over the next decade on many fronts.

      And it isn’t going to be a pretty sight. Given that we have by far the greatest military power on the planet, once the majority finally sees what an “even playing field” means in practical terms we will have some score-settling to do with prominent US personae who sold us out and then engage in some
      unpleasant international muscle-flexing in an effort to regain the status quo.

  12. Charlie

    Our primary concerns in the middle east are: Nuturalize treats to Israel, stick permanent military bases around oil and Israel, kill muslims and war profiteer. Any talk of democracy, WMDs, bringing this group or that group a better life is just nonsense and deception.

  13. zack

    The US government via the State Department should maintain neutrality with respect to the Egyptian situation. As a free people however, we should be free to choose sides. I choose to side with the Egyptian people against the tyrannical US puppet government.

    We help Americans find jobs and prosperity in Asia. Visit for details.

  14. CS

    America’s capitalist empire has two objectives. Democracy is not one of them. They are: 1. Secure resources. 2. Guarantee markets.

    Question: If capital knows no borders, why isn’t labor accorded the same right?

    1. sgt_doom

      Must refer you to my Goldberg Memorandum.

      Arthur Goldberg was the last appointed secretary of labor to actually be connected to labor and the unions. Appointed in 1961 by President Kennedy.

      1961. Been a long time since anyone affiliated with the unions and labor occupied that position?

      Dr. John Goldberg, retired engineer/scientist presently working in a non-faculty area with the University of Sydney, did some brilliant forensic economic investigation into the underlying financing of public-private partnerships for Australian infrastructure.

      His summary (found at the bottom site) pretty much sums up the typical accounting practises to be found in America’s, and the global, economic meltdown.

      Paying equity dividends with virtually no cash flow available (CCT)

      The introduction of large spurious amounts of debt capital of unknown origin to
      augment cash flow, and the drawing down of fictional amounts of capital from
      reserves (LCT).

      The use of dual entries to disguise the non-amortization of project debt (M2).

      (The numbers in parens refer to various projects — please ignore.)

  15. Sufferin' Succotash

    If democracy means “majority rule by universal suffrage” the US itself still has a ways to go in that department.

  16. Frank in midtown

    Thomas Paine was almost executed by french revolutionaries for being a royalist. Paine felt that you could not force democracy on a people not ready or willing. Paine’s belief that people have the government they want/desire/deserve has long basis of our approach to other nations’ governments. As to the neo-con’s, they have no regard for democracy/human rights at home or abroad.

  17. avgJohn

    I’m going to take a wait and see approach before I commit myself to supporting the “democratic” revolution in Egypt. I’m not convinced that the majority of the country wants a western style democracy.

    If it turns out that it’s a “true” democratic revolution supported by the majority of the country, then I will support it and lobby my government to do the same (I’d like to see some sort of tangible evidence of support for a written constitution and bill of rights guaranteeing freedoms and citizen rights). But if it’s a cover to imposing Sharia law on all Egyptians, and just one form of oppression replacing another, count me out. If that’s the case, they can fight it out on their own without our financial support. We are not the “World Police” and need to stop acting like it.

    But from what I have learned since the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, the middle eastern countries aren’t necessarily interested in western style democracy with freedom of speech, freedom of religion, representative government,etc. Surely, after all we’ve been through, we wouldn’t be so stupid to commit ourselves to refereeing yet another middle eastern civil war.

  18. Anonymous Jones

    “Indeed, the goal seems to have more to do with being a superpower (i.e. an empire) than stopping terrorism.”

    How could anyone take an honest look at our history and conclude anything else?

    It has never *not* been this way.

    People like things. People like money. People like power.

    You get more things, more money and more power by trampling over the downtrodden in other countries. You understand where the phrase ‘banana republic’ comes from, correct? We slaughtered the locals so that the banana barons could make more money and have more things and wield more power. That’s how it works. If you don’t think it works that way, you’re either delusional or stupid.

    It’s so goddamn Pollyanna to be even discussing that this could be any other way. It’s just not and never will be. The only people who don’t understand this either cannot bear to accept their own responsibility in the rape and torture of other people or are just plain too stupid to understand.

    [And further, of course no one really believes in democracy. Look at what it’s done here. Look at the morons who get elected. Look at the worldwide wreckage we leave in our wake. If our destruction of the rest of the world is any indication of democracy, why would we want another country to do what we do? It wouldn’t end so well for us, would it? We want to be the pillagers and pretend we’re the good guys. Our willful ignorance does not extend so far, however, that we don’t realize that it would really suck to be at the mercy of someone like us.]

  19. RobW

    Is this blog moderated at all?

    This thread has become infested with hatred. It’s sad that some folks are too blinded by it that they can’t hold individuals responsible rather than the demographic to which they belong.

    I come here for liberal views on economics and politics and suddenly it’s fucking Stormfront up in here.

    Oh, and Patrice? As a white dude growing up in Miami, I heard unbelievably hateful garbage about Haitian-Americans on a daily basis; “they’re taking our jobs, they’re practicing Satanism, they’re unclean and immoral.” Every goddamned day, I’d hear this sort of bullshit from other whites. And Latinos. And non-Haitian blacks. It was stupid and evil then, it’s stupid and evil now, and I don’t tolerate hate speech directed against anyone, Haitians included. I’d appreciate the favor returned. What you’re doing is exactly the same thing. (If you’re not a fake.)

    Criticism of neoconservative foreign policy and of the people who create it is always dismissed by the neocons as anti-semitism. It is a ridiculous way of distracting from genuine criticism of their ideas, of accusing the critics, an ad hominem attack who’s purpose is to change the subject. But lo and behold, in a particularly scathing critique of neoconservative policy results of the last 30 years, one that’s highly documented and researched and cites impeccable sources, along come you and whatshisface to demonstrate exactly the anti-semitism of which the bastards falsely accuse all of their critics.

    On the other hand, there are genuine anti-semites in the world who will leap on any opportunity to say, “see? see? We told you so.” So maybe you’re both genuine assholes.

    I think you’re both fakes. You come here to assist the neocons by creating an artificial context of anti-semitism in comments that serves to discredit the legit criticism of this post. You give them cover and their false charges credibility. I was going to link to this page but now anyone who doesn’t agree with it can now point to your hateful screeds and accuse the entire critique of antisemitism through guilt by association. Well played.

    It’s an old trick. I can’t believe the moderators here would be dumb enough to fall for it and let your comments stand.

    Again, is this blog moderated at all? Does this blog’s credibility matter to its owners? I know this is their space, they can do what they will. Me, I don’t let people like this into my yard, let alone the house.

    1. Patrice

      RobW said: “Me, I don’t let people like this into my yard, let alone the house.”

      Nice. What if I slept on the streets outside your gated community. Would that be okay with you? Or would that bother you as well?

      Maybe the homeless shelter downtown?

    2. Larry Elasmo

      On Anti-Semitism

      Palestinians are “Semites,” but the word antisemitism is never applied to prejudice against them, only to Jews. The restriction on the application to Jews, and failure to use it in reference to Palestinians, continues in the face of the fact that prejudice against Jews has sharply diminished in the West from the era of Hitler, and that the Arabs have displaced them as target of anti-“Semite” hostility. Thus the usage itself reflects power and deep-seated bias.

      What is more, the use of “antisemitism” has long been an opportunistic ploy of supporters of Israel to counter criticism of Israel, with mentions of the Holocaust and allegations of prejudice against Jews used to elicit sympathy for Israel, supposedly once again being threatened by menacing enemies. But the fact is that Israel has created increasing numbers of enemies by refusing to leave the occupied territories, or to abide by the Geneva Conventions, or to halt the steady and often brutal ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Palestinians in favor of Jewish settlers, many immigrants from abroad.

      “Antisemitism” has been a complement of “terrorism” in the propaganda arsenal of the “friends of Israel,” more properly designated the “supporters and underwriters of Israeli ethnic cleansing.” The Palestinians have engaged in terror, but by any meaningful definition the Israelis have also, and the bias in treatment of the two has been staggering. The huge death rate differential over the years – better than twenty Palestinian to one Israeli deaths – and the steady racist bias in systematic house demolitions and removals, the seizure of water resources, and the rise to head of the Israeli state of a world class terrorist responsible for over a thousand Palestinian civilian deaths in a single episode, doesn’t alter the deeply imbedded bias. Only the Palestinians terrorize; the Israelis retaliate and are the victims of terror.

      For years in the United States, there was a tendency on the part of the hard-line supporters of Israel to conflate criticisms of Israel with “antisemitism.” Such criticisms, and even criticism of policies that might not comport with Israeli interests, like a large military budget, were regarded – in Stalinist lingo and mode – as “objectively” antisemitic (most notoriously, in Nathan and Ruth Perlmutter’s 1982 work on “the real antisemitism in America”). That tendency has become more marked in recent years, as the “friends” have become increasingly aggressive in attacking critics of Israel, and have even mounted attacks on blatantly pro-Israel media institutions like The Washington Post, The New York Times and CNN (all besieged with hostile messages and subjected to boycotts). The drive by the “friends” has been toward total closure; they are not satisfied that the NYT, WP and CNN are already hugely biased in favor of Israel, they want inconvenient facts suppressed and alternative viewpoints entirely blacked out.

      And anyone writing critically about Israeli policy will be subjected to serious harassment as a matter of course. Professor Shahid Alam of Northeastern University, after writing an article on Israeli repression and calling for a boycott of Israel, was the victim of a press vilification campaign, followed by attacks by computer hackers who sent out false “email-spoofing” messages under his name.

      The friends of Israeli ethnic cleansing have been fighting a war on many fronts, and without scruple. Their power is evident in the fact that over 300 college presidents signed an ad (in 2001) in which Jewish students alone are victims of harassment. It is also evident in the staggering bias of the media, already hugely biased in support of anything Israel does, but pressed further by the attacks of the “friends” wanting still more – for evidence on this bias, see the numerous case studies on the website of Palestine Media Watch (), the website of FAIR (, and my “Israel’s Approved Ethnic Cleansing,” Part 3, Z Magazine, June 2001.

      Edward Herman

    3. DownSouth


      Very well said.

      I don’t know if humankind can move beyond the us vs. them framing or not.

      As a post-Modernist (or neo-Renaissance?) thinker, Reinhold Niebuhr certainly gave a more accurate assessment of humankind than the modernists ever did. But because of the original sin doctrine that he embraced, I’m not sure he believed humankind could overcome some of its most obvious shortcomings. It wasn’t until the next generation of post-Modernist thinkers—-Hannah Arendt, James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison, Martin Luther King, etc.—-that a sense of optimism developed that humankind was indeed capable of evolving and improving its lot. A key component of achieving this next level of human development was putting the us vs. them framing behind it.

      It was Martin Luther King and James Baldwin, then, who had the faith and courage to dream of this new world, a world that did not exist, but that they believed could exist. King gives us a glimpse of this world in his sermon Why I am Opposed to the War in Vietnam:

      And I have not lost faith. I’m not in despair, because I know that there is a moral order. I haven’t lost faith, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. I can still sing “We Shall Overcome” because Carlyle was right: “No lie can live forever.” We shall overcome because William Cullen Bryant was right: “Truth pressed to earth will rise again.” We shall overcome because James Russell Lowell was right: “Truth forever on the scaffold, wrong forever on the throne.” Yet, that scaffold sways the future. We shall overcome because the bible is right: “You shall reap what you sow.” With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our world into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to speed up the day when justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream. With this faith we will be able to speed up the day when the lion and the lamb will lie down together, and every man will sit under his own vine and fig tree, and none shall be afraid because the words of the Lord have spoken it. With this faith we will be able to speed up the day when all over the world we will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we’re free at last!” With this faith, we’ll sing it as we’re getting ready to sing it now. Men will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. And nations will not rise up against nations, neither shall they study war anymore. And I don’t know about you, I ain’t gonna study war no more.

      James Baldwin likewise sets out his vision of what he believes the new world could look like in The Fire Next Time:

      The unprecedented price demanded—-and at this embattled hour of the world’s history—-is the transcendence of the realities of color, of nations, and of altars.


      I am very much concerned that American Negroes achieve their freedom here in the United States. But I am also concerned for their dignity, for the health of their souls, and must oppose any attempt that Negroes may make to do to others what has been done to them. I think I know—-we see it around us every day—-the spiritual wasteland to which that road leads. It is so simple a fact and one that is so hard, apparently, to grasp: Whoever debases others is debasing himself. That is not a mystical statement but a most realistic one, which is proved by the eyes of any Alabama sheriff—-and I would not like to see Negroes ever arrive at so wretched a condition.


      For black people, though I am aware that some of us, black and white, do not know it yet, are very beautiful. And when I sat at Elijah’s [Muhammad] table and watched the baby, the women, and the men, and we talked about God’s—-or Allah’s—-vengeance, I wondered, when that vengeance was achieved, What will happen to all that beauty then? I could also see that the intransigence and ignorance of the white world might make that vengeance inevitable—-a vengeance that does not really depend on, and cannot really be executed by, any person or organization, and that cannot be prevented by any police force or army; historical vengeance, a cosmic vengeance, based on the law that we recognize when we say, “Whatever goes up must come down.” And here we are, at the center of the arc, trapped in the gaudiest, most valuable, and most improbable water wheel the world has ever seen. Everything now, we must assume, is in our hands; we have no right to assume otherwise. If we—-and now I mean the relatively conscious whites and the relatively conscious blacks, who must, like lovers, insist on, or create, the consciousness of the others—-do not falter in our duty now, we may be able, handful that we are, to end the racial nightmare, and achiever our country, and change the history of the world. If we do not now dare everything, the fulfillment of that prophecy, re-created the Bible in song by a slave, is upon us: God gave Noah the rainbow sign, No more water, the fire next time!

      I for one believe that Baldwin was right. Mankind can learn to live and work together, or it can perish.

      1. DownSouth


        I would just add that I disagree with your calls that the forum be moderated more strictly.

        I tend to hew to what Thomas Jefferson wrote in The Virginia Statute of Relgious Freedom:

        …that truth is great and will prevail if left to herself, that she is the proper and sufficient antagonist to error, and has nothing to fear fromt he conflict, unless by human interposition disarmed of her natural weapons, free argument and debate, errors ceasing to be dangerous when it is permitted freely to contradict them…

        And after all, if the forum were to have been moderated, we never would have had the benefit of your wonderful comment.

      2. DownSouth

        Perhaps I should make that last sentence a little clearer:

        And after all, if the forum were to have been moderated, we never would have had the benefit of your wonderful comment, because the comments that provoked your comment would not have been there.

        1. RobW

          Thanks for the replies. My apologies for delay in responding; I’ve been too busy guffawing for the last 2 days over Patrice’s assumption that I live in a gated community. I’ve been out of work for a year, live in one of the cheapest buildings in my city, access internet from the wifi of the hotel next door, and am about 2 months away from living in my car if I don’t find something soon. I called him out as a bigot, said what I said to indicate that I don’t associate with bigots and wouldn’t want them in my space, online or off.

          No worries. I do agree that less moderation is generally better in the interest of diversity of opinion. I think, however, that promoting diversity of thought does not in any way require tolerance of, or provision of space for, outright hate speech. As long as Jefferson’s name is being invoked, didn’t he say something about providing, “to bigotry no sanction,” as regards the purpose of the US? Anyway, this blog moves right along quickly. This is now two pages below the front page; it’s probably pointless to bring it up at this rate.

          As for my speculation that the two Jew-baiters are actually fakes, I’m wondering if their names appear on any other threads that don’t criticize neoconservative foreign policy.

          Anyway, I rarely if ever comment here myself. I just don’t know enough about economics and finance. That’s why I’m here; to learn. Had the jerks just dropped their loads and left, and had anyone else said anything, I’d have ignored them. But they just wouldn’t let up and nobody else seemed interested in challenging them; I just couldn’t help myself. I know, I know… don’t feed trolls…

          Good night, all. Back to lurk mode.

    1. WM

      Spengler (David Goldman) has a long track record of Islamophobic, anti-Arab bigotry. It beggars belief that the Asia Times allows him a platform to air his noxious prejudices.

  20. Lulu

    Machiavelli, I don’t believe wrote, “avoid being despised at all costs.” He did write that if one could be feared or loved only, better to chose feared. That implies so long as feared is there, despised will have to be accepted.

  21. John

    For the past decade, I’ve repeatedly noticed our government behaving so flagrantly it’s as if they’re thumbing their noses at us and saying, “Nyeah-nyeah! Look how bad we can be, and you can’t do a darn thing about it.”

    And it seems as if we can’t do a thing about it.

  22. Paul Tioxon

    The rest of the world wants our middle class level of consumer consumption, but with it comes a society that is socialized differently as citizens and demanding, cash paying customers as opposed to resigned subjects in a clearly demarcated class stratified culture. In the countries formerly known as less developed 3rd world nations, the ability to handle the internet, cell phones and traffic jams should make them ready for complex social associations that provide broad consent, as well as input, to the decisions of government. In other words, the kinds of people that consume the middle class technology and products and services makes them the kind of people that can handle democracy. The more participation the better. Egypt suppresses political opposition, intellectuals and leaves only the national security apparatus in the offices named for what should be civilian offices providing non- military state bureaucratic functions.

    This is an extension of the military industrial complex we have at home which replicates itself abroad. Only beginning with Kennedy did we even see as much as lip service given the concept of de-escalation of the arms race and peace as an actual word used in conjunction with a federal program, the Peace Corps.

    The mass psychology of fear at home of a break down of law and order coupled with the fear of a break out of socialism, outside of the Soviet side of the Iron Curtain, has spoiled our appetite for democratic culture. The logic inherent in a democratically controlled republic is that people will vote themselves the goods and services that they want, instead of relying on the open market. This leads to the trashing of planning by governments for any purpose whatsoever. Every military has nothing but battle plans. D-Day was drilled over and over like a football team until everyone knew their role in the planned invasion and of course, no commando team could go forward an inch without synchronizing their watches so every thing could go off with the precise timing of the plan. Except the economy, which should occur like the weather, sometimes sunny, sometimes rain, but it would always come around to set itself aright, after the storm, or tornado etc.

    The fear producing propaganda, that we live in a world too dangerous for anything other than a national security state as ruthless as the forces arrayed against us, produces a coarse mindset that denounces a democratic culture as soft, naive, and ready for appeasement at the slightest threat. They forget though, that it was oakies, and simple farm boys, and skinny newsboys, and a whole host of scruffy factory workers, who were polite, unworldly and morally circumscribed by church and family rearing, who went off to defeat the Imperial Japanese army in Pacific island hellholes and Nazi mechanized armor division across Europe. We had no standing army to mention, no spies, a prep school Ivy League ruling class of gentlemen. Not anymore. We like military dictators because we have become everything we ever hated as a people and as a nation: a military empire, a money swilling aristocratic class based society with more 2nd and 3rd class citizens everyday. The fear and anxiety that we suffer from is advertised everyday with stomach remedies, tranquilizers, sexual dysfunction. We literally can not eat, make love or enjoy pleasure anymore due to the sinking feeling that some crazed enemy will take our life or ruin it in some manner. A mugger, a terrorist, a politician who will intrude into my life and take away my freedom, some one will sue me, I might lose my job, my drivers license, a million fears and cause for flight or fight. But the a dictator keeps tomorrow predictable by force. No more changes to guess about. No uncertainties. Just the sure stability, that today will be the future, forever. Dictators, nothing to have to plan for anymore, other than the weather.

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