Sunday, January 28, 2007

Blowback The Costs and Consequences of American Empire

By Chalmers Johnson

"Blowback- its a CIA term. Blowback does not simply mean the unintended consequences of foreign operations- it means the unintended consequences of foreign operations that were deliberately kept secret from the American public so that when the retaliation comes- the American public is not able to put it in context- it is not able to put cause and effect together. Then they come up with questions like- "why do they hate us?"
- quoted from the documentary "Why We Fight"

Article Link

The suicidal assassins of September 11, 2001, did not "attack America," as our political leaders and the news media like to maintain; they attacked American foreign policy. Employing the strategy of the weak, they killed innocent bystanders who then became enemies only because they had already become victims. Terrorism by definition strikes at the innocent in order to draw attention to the sins of the invulnerable. The United States deploys such overwhelming military force globally that for its militarized opponents only an "asymmetric strategy," in the jargon of the Pentagon, has any chance of success. When it does succeed, as it did spectacularly on September 11, it renders our massive military machine worthless: The terrorists offer it no targets. On the day of the disaster, President George W. Bush told the American people that we were attacked because we are "a beacon for freedom" and because the attackers were "evil." In his address to Congress on September 20, he said, "This is civilization's fight." This attempt to define difficult-to-grasp events as only a conflict over abstract values--as a "clash of civilizations," in current post-cold war American jargon--is not only disingenuous but also a way of evading responsibility for the "blowback" that America's imperial projects have generated.

The Costs and Consequences of American Empire

The American Empire Project

Review of "Nemesis- The Last Days of the American Republic"
(Nemesis is the Greek goddess of retribution and vengeance, the punisher of pride and hubris. The God of the Bible is known as a God of justice, balance and wrath against the prideful and wicked as well. It is a universal idea that applies extremely well to the present circumstances we find ourselves in.)
From Publishers Weekly
Like ancient Rome, America is saddled with an empire that is fatally undermining its republican government, argues Johnson (The Sorrows of Empire), in this bleak jeremiad. He surveys the trappings of empire: the brutal war of choice in Iraq and other foreign interventions going back decades; the militarization of space; the hundreds of overseas U.S. military bases full of "swaggering soldiers who brawl and sometimes rape." At home, the growth of an "imperial presidency," with the CIA as its "private army," has culminated in the Bush administration's resort to warrantless wiretaps, torture, a "gulag" of secret CIA prisons and an unconstitutional arrogation of "dictatorial" powers, while a corrupt Congress bows like the Roman Senate to Caesar. Retribution looms, the author warns, as the American economy, dependent on a bloated military-industrial complex and foreign borrowing, staggers toward bankruptcy, maybe a military coup. Johnson's is a biting, often effective indictment of some ugly and troubling features of America's foreign policy and domestic politics. But his doom-laden trope of empire ("the capacity for things to get worse is limitless.... the American republic may be coming to its end") seems overstated. With Bush a lame duck, not a Caesar, and his military adventures repudiated by the electorate, the Republic seems more robust than Johnson allows. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

"Chalmers Johnson, a patriot who pulls no punches, has emerged as our most prescient critic of American empire and its pretensions. Nemesis is his fiercest book—and his best.”—Andrew J. Bacevich, author of The New American Militarism

“Nemesis, the final volume in the remarkable Blowback trilogy, completes a true patriot’s anguished and devastating critique of the militarism that threatens to destroy the United States from within. In detail and with unflinching candor, Chalmers Johnson decries the discrepancies between what America professes to be and what it has actually become—a global empire of military bases and operations; a secret government increasingly characterized by covert activities, enormous ‘black’ budgets, and near dictatorial executive power; a misguided republic that has betrayed its noblest ideals and most basic founding principals in pursuit of disastrously conceived notions of security, stability, and progress.”
—John Dower, author of Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II

“Chalmers Johnson’s voice has never been more urgently needed, and in Nemesis it rings with eloquence, clarity, and truth.”—James Carroll, author of House of War

“Nemesis is a stimulating, sweeping study in which Johnson asks a most profound strategic question: Can we maintain the global dominance we now regard as our natural right? His answer is chilling. You do not have to agree with everything Johnson says—I don't—but if you agree with even half of his policy critiques, you will still slam the book down on the table, swearing, ‘We have to change this!’”
—Joseph Cirincione, Senior Vice President for National Security and International Policy, Center for American Progress

“Nemesis is a five-alarm warning about flaming militarism, burning imperial attitudes, secret armies, and executive arrogance that has torched and consumed the Constitution and brought the American Republic to death's door. Johnson shares a simple, liberating, and healing path back to worthy republicanism. But the frightening and heart-breaking details contained in Nemesis suggest that the goddess of retribution will not be so easily satisfied before ‘the right order of things’ is restored.”—Karen Kwiatkowski, retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel

“Last fall a treasonous Congress gave the president license to kidnap, torture—you name it—on an imperial scale. All of us, citizens and non-citizens alike, are fair game. Kudos for not being silent, Chalmers, and for completing your revealing trilogy with undaunted courage.”—Ray McGovern, former CIA analyst; co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

Video on ”The Last Days of the American Republic.”


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