“EIT – sounds so Orwellian, doesn’t it?”
“But it’s not really about them. It’s about us. It’s about who we are.”
— Senator John McCain, “Face The Nation,” 12/14/2014
For the second time in my humble life, I was impressed by the words of a politician. The first was when I’d heard then Senator Obama declare his candidacy for the presidency of the country, in late ’07. But that impression, shaken by what seemed to be an unwarranted award of a Nobel Peace Prize very early in his first term, has waned greatly over the years. Senator McCain seemed most sincere today. His words, in the “Face The Nation” program this Sunday morning, resonated with my thoughts.
A Republican politician of the good old US of A? Approving of the recent release of a Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA actions after 9/11 that is vociferously branded by most Republicans here as constructed principally by ‘Democrats‘ and released before their hold on the senate ends? Ah, but we must recall that John McCain is a true war hero, a veteran of the Vietnam war, where he was a badly injured POW from ’67 to ’73, undergoing episodes of torture…
“Those operating our drones express their great concern: ‘We are now called torturers. Will we be called murderers for drone strikes?’…” Comments conveyed by another participant in the same program.
But what are we, really? The richest nation in the world. Arguably the most powerful. How did we (our corporations and the 1% mostly) grow so rich? And we are, by many measures, apparently the most charitable as well, for our contributions to helping others – countries and people all over the globe – exceed a good few 100’s of billions of dollars. Granted that is only a tiny fraction of a ~17.6 Trillion (source: Wikipedia) economy, but it is larger than the GDP of many nations. And yet there is something not quite right in this picture. Revelations of recent years – the leak of Diplomatic Cables a few years ago, and more recent leaks by Edward Snowden of the NSA – have raised firestorms of criticism and accusations. What of our activities of the past many decades? What do past revelations tell about us?
Could it be that the tragedy of September 11, 2001 simply made us lose control as a nation, and engage in overt actions of brutal aggression? Have we engaged in extraction of information, torture, and murder in the past as well, but without as much publicity, both through leaks and now through official recognition, as we see today? John Perkins’s Confessions of an Economic Hitman provides compelling details of activities we’ve carried on with relative impunity…