Residing in the sumptuous geography of the Pacific Northwest, both feet planted in these fertile Palouse hills affectionately deemed the “Tuscany of America,” I am inclined towards the peaceful turning of seasons and the soft vistas. I moved here seeking refuge from the urban hustle and bustle; my idealism must have gotten the better of me.
My decision to take up the ink quill and write was simultaneously a decision to step down (and stumble) from my fragrant perch of idealism and waft through the stench of dissention and factionalism, now increasingly violent. To write about the latest brand of moral righteousness spewing from our political and corporate cult leaders, is to join the fray. I’m reminded of the Irish saying, “Is this a private fight, or can anyone get into it?” I am also reminded that Pax Romana — the Roman Empire’s interlude of peace — lasted all but 200 years. Our Republic, at 244 years, is showing most of the tell-tale signs of its demise. We don’t need Trump or Biden or Elon Musk or Kanye West to describe a country at its crossroads. History does an ample job of that. What American homo sapiens have neglected to learn from history will seal the deal.
On a recent conference call, when Secretary of Defense Mark Esper implored U.S. governors to “dominate the battle space,” he wasn’t referring to our local soils sprouting with golden waves of soft winter wheat — although that too will come, he was referring to those far-left anarchists and domestic insurgents who threaten Mom, apple pie and the corporate hierarchy. Esper’s directive was actually a values statement: there will be law and order, top-down; there will only be mercy for those loyal to the present power structure.
Were you aware that our cherished “battle space” of Disney worlds, Walmarts and McDonalds is threatened by domestic terrorists? That we need counterinsurgency commandos to save our cities?
I can only imagine that retired Army Gen. Tony Thomas, was thinking of the fall of Rome when he tweeted in response, “Not what America needs to hear … ever, unless we are invaded by an adversary or experience a constitutional failure … a Civil War … .” There has been no invasion that I am aware of, though there has been mounting economic desperation and on top of that a steady erosion of public trust.
And although retired Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling added a dash of sanity to the dialog by reminding the White House that “the police and military are not interchangeable in any functioning democratic society,” its sensibility depends on the degree to which we are actually “functioning.”
Over the last few decades there has been a steady transition into what the military terms unconventional warfare. Or have you not been watching our ongoing TV movie of the week? The latest episode featured 50 members of America’s elite Delta Force swooping-in on CH-47 Chinook helicopters to eliminate another “high value target” for the good guys — Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi … or was it a drone strike that took out Iranian General Qassem Suleimani?
U.S. Special Operations Forces, some 73,000 of them, do the Pentagon’s bidding undercover. They operate in 141 countries. In some circles they are considered the globe’s moral traffic cops, sent to remind those who may have forgotten: Washington D.C. calls the shots. And for the forgetful in Afghanistan, Trump recently tweeted, “We have been hitting our Enemy harder than at any time in the last ten years!”
Last year saw the completion of a $100 million dollar drone hub — in Niger of all places. Because with Reaper drones we can help wipe out African Jihadist groups like al-Shabaab. Presumably, so that Dorothy will feel safer in Kansas. Even conservative writer, Jose Nino, calls this “imperial overstretch.”
But what happens when our corporate elites and their political appointees muse that our enemies, these extremists, are not over there somewhere in Yemen, Syria and Iran, but in our backyard in Portland, Ore., and Milwaukee, Wis.?
We do know what does not happen. Those in power do not look into the root causes of society’s fragmentation, systemic failures that have resulted in widespread hopelessness or more fundamentally what the environment is signaling through its winds and waters and viruses.
Cartoonist Walt Kelly had it right: “we have met the enemy and he is us.”
After years of globetrotting, Todd J. Broadman finds himself writing from his perch on the Palouse and loving the view. His policy briefs can be found at US Resist News: https://www.usresistnews.org/