A Pile of Shit is no Profiterole Cake
Are you like us? Are you just a little bit sick of politicians, proselytisers and propagandists keeping us in the dark trying to sell us on the wonderful aroma of their profiterole cake, when it’s clear from the stink that what it really is, is a pile of shit?
So when you know you’re confronted by a steaming heap of horseshit – politicians’ lies, corporate propaganda, plutocratic greed and dishonest, self-serving media pap for example – it’s refreshing when there’s someone who has the guts and the intellect to name it for what it is.
Glenn Greenwald – former constitutional lawyer, contributing writer at Salon.com, highly popular political and legal blogger and author – is that sort of someone. Last week he talked to Bill Moyers on the Bill Moyers Journal. The conversation was exceptional, wide-ranging and rivetting – a breath of fresh air.
BILL MOYERS: Andrew J. Bacevich — whom you know and have quoted; was at this table — wrote the book, THE LIMITS OF POWER, and has recently said, and reiterated the fact, that war is a permanent condition in American society today. Not only because there might be ready, steady fighting, but because of the accumulated cost. And all the money that’s being spent on preparing for the next episode. And he said that war has become a permanent condition of America. Do you agree with that?
GLENN GREENWALD: I absolutely agree with that. And I think it’s really the central political fact that Americans need to reexamine. And the reason for that is because it’s not just that wars cost an enormous amount of money and drain our resources. I mean, they do. I mean, the wars that we fight are being paid for by money that we borrow from China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and a variety of other countries.
It’s not just that in enormous numbers of people are killed — both our own citizens and the citizens of the country that we attack. That’s also true. But if you look at countries throughout history that can be described — as ours should be described — as permanent war-fighting states, then you see that the character of the country changes in all sorts of radical and fundamental ways.
When you’re fighting a war, it means that the government has claims to far more power than it does when wars aren’t being fought. The executive branch has all kinds of claims to unfettered and unchecked power. There are secrecy justifications that are made constantly and are accepted in the name of war that allow the government to exist in a very opaque fashion.
So, beyond all the moral cost and the financial cost and the human cost of endless war — which are, by themselves, sufficient to make this endless war posture something that’s horrible — it changes the nature of what kind of country we are. And I think more than anything that’s the debate that’s missing. What is it doing to the United States to say that we’re going to devote as our primary activity our resources to being a warrior state. A state that fights wars permanently?
[ ... ]
BILL MOYERS: Whether it’s constitutional liberties and rights or threats, or whether it’s escalating the number of troops in Afghanistan and prolonging the war: Where is the public in all these debates? I mean, some of these issues I would think would drive people to the Bastille, you know? Or to the kind of outpourings in the Vietnam War. Even the Iraq war, there were several hundred thousand people together. But we seem strangely mute today.
GLENN GREENWALD: I agree. I mean, if you look at what happened with the financial crisis, and the way in which Wall Street was — through its own recklessness — the principle cause of what became a virtual worldwide economic collapse and, to this day, continues to result in mass joblessness and misery and suffering on the part of the American people.
And to realize that not only have they been greatly enriched on the way to causing that crisis, but continue to exert principle control over the government and to have laws written designed to benefit only them, while the masses in the United States continue to suffer financially. I mean, that is the sort of thing that has caused great backlash in the past. And, for example, Simon Johnson, who I know you’ve had on your show several times before–
BILL MOYERS: The economist–
GLENN GREENWALD: And former I.M.F. official, talks about how what has typically happened in more unstable countries, and countries we think about as being the third world and developing countries and under-developed countries, is that the oligarchs and the financial elite will cause the sort of financial crisis through their own corruption and the government will then step in and try and help and aid the very oligarchs who caused it, at the expense of the citizenry. And that will continue until the riots grow too large. That’s what he wrote in an article in THE ATLANTIC. And that typically happens. But in the United States, that doesn’t seem to be happening.
BILL MOYERS: Why?
GLENN GREENWALD: There is no end to that. And–
BILL MOYERS: You look at our culture, you study our culture, you write about it. What’s your theory, at least?
GLENN GREENWALD: I think there’s several aspects to it. But I think the principle one is — and interestingly, Barack Obama actually talked about this in his Presidential campaign, quite eloquently and insightfully — that there gets to be a point where citizens look at the government, and they look at both political parties, and they conclude that the system itself is so radically corrupt and the political parties are so fundamentally nonresponsive that no matter what it is that they do, they aren’t going to be able to achieve any change. They feel a sense of learned helplessness. And they essentially accept whatever it is that’s done to them and simply hope that it’s not too bad. And I think that’s the population. It’s not that they’re apathetic. It’s that they’ve come to believe in their own impotence. And I think that’s actually sadder and– and more dangerous.
We just want to put that here again, because it’s as true here in Australia – and probably even more so in NSW – as it is in the US:
“…they look at both political parties, and they conclude that the system itself is so radically corrupt and the political parties are so fundamentally nonresponsive that no matter what it is that they do, they aren’t going to be able to achieve any change…”
Well, not if you and I can help it.
[tags]Bill Moyers, Bill Moyers Journal, Glenn Greenwald, Salon, Salon.com. unclaimed territory, GFC, economicspolitics, politicians, lies, propaganda, media, journalism, war, government, Bush, Obama, Cheney, John Yoo, blogging, constitution, law, legal, Iraq, Iraq War, Afghanistan, Shah, Iran, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Japan, China, values, political values, principles, standards, economic values[/tags]
Posted: 4 November, 2009 in Australian Politics, Australian Values, Blogging, Culture, Economics, Guantanamo/Hicks, Iran, Iraq, legal, Life, Media, politics and government, Racism, Religion, US Politics, Video.
Tags: Afghanistan, Bill Moyers, Bill Moyers Journal, Blogging, Bush, Cheney, China, constitution, economic values, economicspolitics, GFC, Glenn Greenwald, government, Iran, Iraq, Iraq War, israel, Japan, John Yoo, journalism, law, legal, lies, Media, Obama, political values, politicians, principles, propaganda, Salon, Salon.com. unclaimed territory, Saudi Arabia, Shah, standards, values, war