In this new post-democratic style, a reporter may point out any number of damning news or historical items, provided that he ties them together with a narrative thread which makes no sense at all. In this post we see how a master does it.
Robert Scheer [photo] makes a lot of sense in some passages of a recent piece published by the San Francisco Chronicle:
[...] What a boondoggle 9/11 has been for the merchants of war, who this week announced yet another quarter of whopping profits made possible by George W. Bush's pretending to fight terrorism by throwing money at outdated Cold War-style weapons systems.What's wrong with that? Not much! I can quibble over a few points, and I'll do so in a moment, but first things first... The piece is called "War industry regains command", which is a regular laugh riot, considering that the piece denies the basic (i.e. false-flag) reality of the event that put the war industry back in command.
Lockheed-Martin, the nation's top weapons manufacturer, reaped a 22 percent increase in profits, while rivals for the defense buck, Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics, increased profits by 62 percent and 22 percent respectively. Boeing's profits jumped 61 percent, spiked this quarter by its commercial division, but Boeing's military division, like the others, has been doing very well indeed since the terrorist attacks. As Newsweek International put it in August: "Since 9/11 and the U.S.-led wars that followed, shares in American defense companies have outperformed both the Nasdaq and Standard & Poor's stock indices by some 40 percent. Prior to the recent cascade of stock prices worldwide, Boeing's share prices had tripled over the past five years while Raytheon's had doubled."
Not bad for an industry in serious difficulty with the sudden collapse of the Cold War at the beginning of the 1990s, when the first President Bush and his Defense Secretary Dick Cheney were severely cutting the military budget for high ticket planes and ships designed to fight the no-longer existent Soviet military. Sure they had Iraq to kick around, but the elder Bush never thought to turn the then very real aggression of Saddam Hussein into an enormously expensive quagmire. He both defeated Hussein and cut the military budget.
Not so Bush the younger, who exploited the trauma of 9/11 as an occasion to depose the defanged dictator of Iraq and thus provide a "shock and awe" showcase for the arms industry, which continues to benefit obscenely from the failed occupation. [...] Sadly for the military-industrial complex, Hussein's army collapsed all too suddenly. But the insurgency, much of it fueled by the Shiites, who were ostensibly on our side, provided the occasion for pretending that we are in a war against a conventionally armed and imposing military enemy.
Of course, we are in nothing of the sort with this so called "war on terror," a propaganda farce that draws resources away from serious efforts to counter terrorism to reward the corporations that profit from hi-tech weaponry that has little if anything to do with the problem at hand. As Columbia University professor Richard K. Betts points out in Foreign Affairs magazine: "With rare exceptions, the war against terrorists cannot be fought with army tank battalions, air force wings, or naval fleets - the large conventional forces that drive the defense budget. The main challenge is not killing the terrorists but finding them, and the capabilities most applicable to this task are intelligence and special operations forces ... It does not require half-a-trillion dollars worth of conventional and nuclear forces."
That half a trillion only covers the Pentagon budget for expenses beyond the cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars or the Department of Homeland Security. Those last three items total more than $240 billion in Bush's 2008 budget requests. Add to that the $50 billion spent on intelligence agencies and an equal amount of State Department-directed efforts and you can understand how we manage to spend more fighting a gang of Mujahedeen terrorists, once our "freedom fighters" in that earlier Afghanistan war against the Soviets, than we did at the height of the Cold War.
"The Pentagon currently absorbs more than half of the federal government's discretionary budget," writes Lawrence J. Korb, "surpassing the heights reached when I was President Reagan's assistant secretary of defense .... And much like the 1980s, we are spending billions of dollars on weapons systems designed to fight the Soviet superpower."
[...] The taxpayers have been hoodwinked into paying for a sophisticated military arsenal to fight a Soviet enemy that no longer exists. The Institute for Policy Studies calculated last year that the top 34 CEOs of the defense industry have earned a combined billion dollars since 9/11. [...]
How so? Here are the paragraphs I edited:
Not to stoke any of the inane conspiracy theories running wild on the Internet, but if Osama bin Laden weren't on the payroll of Lockheed-Martin or some other large defense contractor, then he deserves to have been. What a boondoggle 9/11 has been for the merchants of war, who this week announced yet another quarter of whopping profits made possible by George W. Bush's pretending to fight terrorism by throwing money at outdated Cold War-style weapons systems.Robert Scheer doesn't give any indication that he understands how much global terrorism is rooted in despair and directed against occupying armies. Armies cannot defeat this tactic, nor can special forces. Only a tactical retreat can make this sort of terrorism go away.
Not so Bush the younger, who exploited the trauma of 9/11 as an occasion to depose the defanged dictator of Iraq and thus provide a "shock and awe" showcase for the arms industry, which continues to benefit obscenely from the failed occupation. The second Iraq war, irrationally conflated with the 9/11 attack that had nothing to do with Hussein, provided the perfect threat package to justify the most outrageous military boondoggle in the nation's history. The bin Laden boys only had an arsenal of $3 box knives, but Bush claimed Hussein had WMD. Sadly for the military-industrial complex, Hussein's army collapsed all too suddenly. But the insurgency, much of it fueled by the Shiites, who were ostensibly on our side, provided the occasion for pretending that we are in a war against a conventionally armed and imposing military enemy.
Thanks to bin Laden and Bush's exploitation of "war on terror" hysteria, the taxpayers have been hoodwinked into paying for a sophisticated military arsenal to fight a Soviet enemy that no longer exists. The Institute for Policy Studies calculated last year that the top 34 CEOs of the defense industry have earned a combined billion dollars since 9/11; they should give bin Laden his cut.
And Robert Scheer doesn't even hint at something many of my regular readers already know: that much of the remaining terrorism is funded, motivated and directed by state-sponsored agencies, overt or clandestine. Not only that, but the leading state in this regard is not Iran -- it's the USA! That's right! We're number one! Number one at something! Number one by a mile! Number one with a bullet -- or a bomb!
The Pentagon has a very sophisticated and thoroughly immoral strategy of infiltrating and provoking "terrorist groups" in order to create pretexts under which to attack those groups or the countries that harbor them. Innocent people get killed in the attacks that our intelligence units foment, and they do this in order to "create" -- and then "fight" the terrorists. In other words, it's the intelligence and special forces that we have to be afraid of!
And even though he comes this close to making the story make sense, Robert Scheer manages to cast all his excellent reporting into a deep hole with some masterful spin, through which he draws a cover over a massive array of crimes.
Do you see how it works?
By sneering at "the inane conspiracy theories running wild on the Internet", Scheer distances himself from the basic point of his tale, and that apparently makes everything else all right -- by which I mean he gets his fiction published in the mainstream press.
Is it outrageous to call this reporting "fiction"? I don't think so, because rather than laying out the facts and pointing out the obvious connections -- or even just laying out the facts and not making any connections -- Scheer actively denies the one element of the story which would make all the others fit into place.
But he can't avoid doing that, not if he wants to stay employed as a journalist, not in post-democratic America.
In other words: military spending has run wild since 9/11, and much of the money is being spent on weapons systems that would never be useful against terrorism. And it's ok for Robert Scheer to say this, just as long as he doesn't point out that these weapons systems could be (and in some cases are being) used in a multitude of other ways, including foreign conquest and suppression of domestic dissent ...
... but even more importantly, he can say this as long as he doesn't say or do anything that might undermine the bogus official story of 9/11. Because if Robert Scheer starts talking about any of the reasonable alternative theories, his readers will see very clearly that all this spending, this conquest, this militarization, this mass murder abroad and suppression at home; all this is going according to plan.
The plotters weren't even very secretive about what they were planning. How did they do it? They explained that as well. They needed a "catastrophic and catalyzing event" ... and they sure got one! That made all their plans possible. How convenient.
So ... is it "inane" to argue that they did it? They had the means. They had the motive. They had the opportunity. And they aren't the type to sit around and wait for "good" things to happen.
When it did happen, they weren't surprised in the least. Find the people who took 9/11 in stride and you'll find some of the perpetrators.
Find the people who were dancing on 9/11 and you'll find some more.
Start finding these people, start putting all the pieces together, and suddenly the great military boondoggle makes perfect sense -- as the result of a hoax!
But Robert Scheer can't explain any of this to his readers. Nor, apparently, does he want to. Instead he sneers at those who know more than he does -- or more than he is willing to say. He does it right off the top, and in such an offhand manner that the rest of his piece, which could have been quite powerful, carries no weight at all.
Say what you will, this ain't Gatekeeping 101. It's an art form, albeit the slimiest of arts, and Robert Scheer is a past master. He first came to my attention when he was editing Ramparts, and the toxic truth that needed to be hidden was the evidence of multiple shooters in the JFK assassination. Ramparts, for crying out loud! Refusing to publish evidence of multiple gunmen! Why should Ramparts be so cautious? Better yet, why should Robert Scheer be editing Ramparts?? Or in other words...
Not to stoke any of the inane conspiracy theories running wild on the Internet, but if Robert Scheer isn't on the payroll of an intelligence agency, then he deserves to be.
It's not an academic point. At stake is the legitimacy of a war which has killed at least a million people so far and which seems poised to go on for another fifty years. Also at stake is the fate of the administration which launched that war, and those who have done their dirty work for them. In other words, if the war is based on a pack of lies, then the people who have been telling those lies have an awful lot of blood on their hands.
Why don't you e-mail Robert Scheer at RSCHEER@truthdig.com and tell him what you think of his column?