El Conquistqdor Francisco de Orellana

El Conquistqdor Francisco de Orellana
The Conquistador who put the Amazaon baisn "on the map"....Francisco Orellana

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Empire Strikes back....

*** We’re always trying to connect the dots. Unfortunately, the dots won’t stand still!

Last week, we were thinking about how democracy...or any government...operates on the basis of shared emotions, or feelings, rather than real ideas. We explored the public’s contemporary narrative on the financial crisis. What we saw is that a common view of what is going on — in order to be commonly shared — has to be stripped so bare of nuance and paradox that it ceases to be an idea at all. It is just a feeling.

And sometimes, it becomes a grotesque, simpleminded fantasy that it is actually the opposite of the original thought or desire behind it. It becomes a zombie thought...actually harmful to the group that holds it.

If you follow the popular media, for example, you would think that the US is engaged in a war against “terrorists”...bad people, who for a reason never explained, aim to do harm to Americans. These terrorists are so evil they must be stopped...at all costs.

“It’s a war,” says US Attorney General, Eric Holder. So, he explains, we can set aside the Constitution and the Bill of Rights — the very things we’re supposed to be defending — to fight it.

Thus is the US military industry set to the task of protecting against “terrorists”...with the solid support of the American people. An announcement at the Ft. Lauderdale airport on Friday told us that “military personnel can board at their leisure.” They got the treatment normally given to paying business class passengers! On one plane, a stewardess invited military personnel to take the vacant seats in the business class section. And it was reported last week that of all America’s public and private institutions only the military retains the confidence of the general population.

But if you bother to study the situation at all you quickly realize that it is not terrorists who pose a threat to the US, it is the US military itself. The Pentagon has gone rogue...now it is a danger to the nation.

Terrorists are insignificant. Trivial. You could fit all of them in a mid-sized movie theatre. And half of them — like Osama bin Laden himself — are so infirm, insane or incompetent that they are completely incapable of doing any real damage to the world’s only super-power.

The US military — along with its suppliers, security agencies and all the rest of the lethal establishment meant to protect America — is big. And very expensive. Like a parasite, it drains energy and resources from its host — the productive US economy. The total cost, fully loaded, is about 8% of GDP.

America is, of course, no normal nation. It is an empire. The cost of running an empire is high. But empire is supposed to be a paying enterprise. An empire takes tribute from its vassal states in exchange for providing protection. That’s how all empires worked.

The US empire, on the other hand, loses money. It conquers foreign nations...but it fails to make money at it. Instead of sucking resources from its vassal states, it takes resources from the American public. It is no longer protecting the nation; it is endangering it.

More to come...


Bill Bonner
for The Daily Reckoning

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