Things Not Said: Homeland Security and Official Ideology

Email Print
FacebookTwitterShare

The United
States Commission on National Security, or Hart-Rudman Commission,
came into its well-earned own recently (April 18) with the re-airing
on C-SPAN of a program originally seen on January 31, 2001.
Co-Chairman Warren Rudman introduced the festivities, saying
that the Commission's goal was cohesive and coordinated strategic
planning (in more or less those words). He then summarized the
Seven Points of the Commission's Credo.

His partner
in rhyme, Senator Gary Hart, averred, that a Homeland Security
Agency was needed to meet u201Cinevitableu201D terrorist attacks on
US soil. Senator Pat Roberts said that such attacks were a matter
of u201Cnot if, but when.u201D And Senator Ike Skelton recalled
that DCI Tenet had reported, the previous year, that attacks
were u201Cimminent.u201D

Pride of
place at this confab fell to Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of
the House, and chief sparkplug of the whole project. Gingrich
noted the support of President Bill Clinton for the endeavor,
as did other speakers. Indeed, one of the first meetings mentioned
had consisted of Clinton, Gingrich, General Charles G. Boyd,
and Erskine Bowles.

We must
be grateful to C-SPAN for showing, once again, this interesting
bit of political theater. For one thing, the program establishes
a timeline for that controversial word u201Cimminent,u201D much as it
shows, once and for all, that high-toned Establishment figures
expected — or said they expected — u201Cattacksu201D on
US soil, well before 9/11, the day the Defense Department failed
to defend anything. Coming in the wake of the 9/11 hearings,
the Clarke testimony, etc., C-SPAN ought to have had quite few
viewers for this re-run.

The Democrats
will be losing a safe bet, if they don't get some mileage out
of this bit of old TV footage. Or maybe not: according to an
old joke, you can't convict a thief in a certain state, because
you can't find twelve people there who think that stealing is
wrong; and it may be that not too many prominent Democrats think
that empire – and the u201Csoftu201D police state that comes with it
— are wrong. I hope I am wrong here, even if John (u201CI Was Just
A Kid in 1971u201D) Kerry has given us little comfort, so far, in
this department.

There are
some good pieces about the Hart-Rudman Commission archived on
the worldwide web, most notably a three-part series, u201CHomeland
Security Act: The Rise of the American Police State,u201D by Jennifer
Van Bergen, of the radical website truthout, and u201CRise of the
Garrison Stateu201D by William F. Jasper of the John Birch Society.

[1]

This is the kind of Left/Right alliance that we
should encourage!

Last weekend's
C-SPAN coup is only one of many recent disclosures which
raise an awkward question: if all these high-placed, clandestine,
in-the-loop, top-top, secret-secret people u201Cknewu201D and said there
would be u201Cattacks,u201D how is that so little was done about the
matter, except for saddling us — after the fact – with yet another
post-constitutional federal bureaucracy? I think the moment
has come for an ideological interrogation of the sundry reports
issued by the Hart-Rudman outfit in the years 1998-2002.

II.
Biographical Sketch of the Hart-Rudman Commission

The active
life of the US Commission on Homeland Security (Hart-Rudman)
ran from 1998 to 2001. The ever-watchful Council on Foreign
Relations helped inspire it and a cadre of Congressmen and Senators,
including Newt Gingrich and Senators Gary Hart and Warren Rudman
were central figures. On its own evidence, the Commission was
u201Ccharteredu201D by the Secretary of Defense (William S. Cohen).
It held its first meeting in October 1998.

In addition
to the Co-Chairs Hart and Rudman, the commissars – I mean Commissioners
– were Anne Armstrong, Norm Augustine, John Dancy, John Galvin,
Leslie Gelb, Newt Gingrich, Lee Hamilton, Lionel Olmer, Donald
Rice, James Schlesinger, Harry Train, and Andrew Young. The
Commission's work came forth in three phases. Phase I dealt
with global changes bearing on post-Cold War US foreign policy,
and is enshrined in the September 1999 report, u201CNew World Coming.u201D
Phase II resulted in the paper, u201CSeeking a National Strategy:
A Concert for Preserving Security and Promoting Freedom.u201D

[2]

Finally, Phase III's u201CRoad Map for National Security,u201D
issued on February 15, 2001, spelled out a mob of institutional
changes needed to achieve American security, happiness, global
prosperity, and the lot.

While the
whole thing looks, on the face of it, like a lot of Center/Center
Right, Cold War Liberal/Neo-Con jobbery, it is well worth studying
the details, if only to find the various devils. I shall begin
with the Phase III report and come back around to the ideological
foundations buried in the longer of two 1999 documents.

It bears
remarking, that the Commission's chief recommendation — establishment
of a federal Department of Homeland Security – became law in
the wake of 9/11, and other proposals made in the Phase III
document may be coming to life one by one. But Homeland Security
plans abounded in the 1990s,

[3]

and it does not seem that the Homeland Security Department
now in existence owes more to the Hart-Rudman proposals than
it may to other, competing models. Indeed, Hart-Rudman fans
have said — and are saying today — that the administration of
George W. Bush failed to heed their good counsel in timely fashion
or in detail, etc., etc.

[4]

Homeland Security is a many-headed monster with many forebears.

Most notably,
the post-Hart-Rudman Independent Task Force sponsored by the
Council on Foreign Relations issued a report in late 2002, u201CAmerica
— Still Unprepared, Still in Danger,u201D

[5]

that states in its very title that not enough has been
done by the Bush administration to address the concerns of the
Homeland Security folk.

My purpose
in this essay is to tease out some characteristic ideological
hallmarks of the post-Cold War u201Cmomentu201D as concretized in the
Hart-Rudman reports. The themes we shall find are broadly shared
by those dwelling within the US Establishment.

III.
The Hart-Rudman Wish List of Early 2001

The Phase
III report, u201CRoad Map for National Security,u201D

[6]

announced flatly that, u201Cmass-casualty terrorism directed
against the U.S. homelandu201D had become a u201Cserious and growing
concern.u201D It followed, that there was a pressing need for a
cabinet-level National Homeland Security Agency to provide
for defense of American soil, u201Cas the U.S. Constitution itself
ordainsu201D! (See pp. vi, viii-ix.) In 112 pages of sustained text,
the writers of the report set out an ambitious, full-bore plan
of u201Cinstitutional redesignu201D in the now hallowed tradition of
the National Security Act of 1947 and NSC-68.

More federal
R&D funding was needed, the writers said, along with budget
trimming to be achieved, in particular, through u201Coutsourcing.u201D
In addition, the writers wanted u201Cfast-tracku201D weapons procurement
and greater u201Cexpeditionary capabilitiesu201D Cynicism about government
service should be met head-on with a National Service Corps
and a u201Cpure entitlementu201D G.I. Bill (xvi). (See pp. x-x, xii-xvi.)
Reforms aimed at creating a more supine Congress were aired.
(See pp. xvii ff.)

Now comes
a sudden interest in u201Cdefenseu201D of actual Americans and their
property at home, tied up in a bundle with a lot of Tofflerite,
futurist waffle and much invocation of the less-than-believable
democratic peace theory (democracies never attack democracies
— and So what? one might well ask). (See pp. 2-9).

Since u201Cattacks
against American citizens on American soil, possibly causing
heavy casualties, are likely over the next quarter century,u201D
actual defense u201Cshould be the primary national security
mission of the U.S. government.u201D Well, if memory serves, Messrs.
Hamilton, Madison, and Jay already sang that song in 1787-1788,
and if the US government and its advisors only learned the tune
in early 2001, what exactly have they been doing in between?
(See p. 10.) One wonders why the writers even bother with their
hand waving in the general direction of the Constitution. Something
about legitimacy, I guess.

The writers
continue: u201Cin many respects, the Coast Guard is a model homeland
security agency given its unique blend of law enforcement, regulatory,
and military authorities that allow it to operate within, across,
and beyond U.S. bordersu201D (p. 17). Stop and let that sink in:
Law enforcement, regulatory, and military authorities – within,
across, and beyond U.S. borders. I think we can forget about
all those silly old limits on power deriving from Magna Charta
and other unimportant traditions.

The writers
are soon off and running with demands for better cooperation
of post-constitutional federal agencies with state and local
police, as well as the u201Cbetter human intelligenceu201D (p. 22) —
of which we now hear so much. u201CThe National Guard, whose origins
are to be found in the state militias authorized by the
U.S. Constitution, should play a central role…u201D (p. 25). I have
italicized a phrase illustrating the seeming constitutional
indifference and historical ignorance of the reportisti.
(Pssst! fellows, the states and their militias existed before
the Constitution.)

The writers
wish to fix Congress, much as one u201Cfixesu201D a household pet, so
that the Executive – with the acquiescence and help of Congress
– can fix national security and thus the whole world (pp. 26ff).
Rumsfeld, Deutch, Bremer Commissions are mentioned in footnote
19, p. 27. Two of those names are of interest these days.

The next
section calls for u201CRecapitalizing America's Strengths in Science
and Education.u201D In language recalling the vintage corporate
liberalism of Clark Kerr, we hear much of human capital, the
u201Ccapacity of the U.S. government to harness science in the service
of national security,u201D and a u201Cknowledge-based futureu201D! But,
alas, unless Uncle Samuel regains his rightful share of Research
and Development, tragedy awaits (pp. 30-31).

(I'm sorry,
but I thought the feds had enough to do already, what with their
outcome-based foreign policy.)

Anyhow,
more money is needed and we must u201Crationalize R&D investmentu201D
(pp. 32-33). Showing, perhaps, the influence of the Tofflers
on Newt Gingrich and others, the report dwells much on new technologies,
said to be as big a deal as atomic energy was in 1945-46 (p.
37). To meet the future, fraught with peril and bright with
promise, we shall need u201Cmore scientists and engineers, including
four times the current number of computer scientistsu201D (p. 38).
Naturally, we need a National Security Science and Technology
Education Act on the Cold War model (p. 41).

We need
more math and science, more money for teachers, more public-private
partnerships, u201Cincentives to choose science and math careers,u201D
and more infrastructure support (pp. 42-45). It's 1959 again,
and the moral equivalent of Sputnik menaces our Radiant Future.
All these programs require capital, human and otherwise, and
right here in Free Enterprise America we have long since realized
that only Federal accumulation of capital can hope to
save the day. It is the Occidental Mode of Production.

Better
education for better labor battalions! The socialist road to
free markets! The centralized path to democracy!

And now
we come to the detailed sketch of u201CInstitutional Redesign.u201D
The US lacks, it seems, a strategic-theoretical framework, and
all its institutions must be overhauled, especially the stodgy
old State Department. We need, for example, five Under Secretaries
of State for imperial management, and a new policy network.
The NSC has too much to do, and should be reined in. (See pp.
47-56.)

Some ideological
and bureaucratic scores are being settled here, of which we
mere citizens are not fully aware.

The writers
want Defense Department reorganization, faster procurement,
more planning, internal u201Ccompetition,u201D reduction of infrastructure
through outsourcing, more innovation, better auditing, etc.
(pp. 63-74), but they could have saved themselves much time
by reading Ludwig von Mises's Bureaucracy and taking
an aspirin.

Backing
off from the infamous two-major-wars-at-a-time concept, the
writers call for u201Crapid, forced-entry response capabilities,u201D
better intelligence about everything, more u201Ctailoredu201D conventional
forces, and better u201Cexpeditionary capabilitiesu201D in view
of possible u201Chumanitarian and constabulary operationsu201D (pp.
75-77, my italics).

Naturally,
the US cannot u201Cwithout qualificationu201D recognize space u201Cas a
global commonsu201D (p. 79) and of course we need u201Cdeployment of
a space-based surveillance networku201D (p. 81), which is a roundabout
way of saying the US doesn't see space u201Cas a global commons.u201D

Now we
come to intelligence. As might be expected, we must recruit
more human intelligence and the DCI must have more authority
(pp. 82-83). We shall have the best spying ever, u201Cconsistent
with respecting Americans' privacyu201D (p. 84). What a relief.

Alas, just
when we require better bureaucrats, the US is u201Con the brink
of an unprecedented crisis of competence in government,u201D for
without the u201Csingle overarching motivationu201D provided by the
much-missed Cold War, u201Cworrisome cynicismu201D and a u201Clowered regardu201D
for serving the state abound (pp. 86-87). Thus we must have
u201Ca national campaign to reinvigorate and enhance the prestige
of service to the nationu201D (p. 88, their italics).

My suggestion:
read Mises, Hayek, Weber, and Rothbard on bureaucracy, and spare
us these Neo-Jacobin appeals. They weren't any fun the first
few times, and they aren't much fun today.

The reportisti
note with alarm, that u201Cmilitary life and values are… virtually
unknown to the vast majority of Americansu201D (p. 87). There is
a name for this horrible condition: it is called u201Cpeace,u201D or
at least relative peace.

To scrape
up human capital, the report writers wish to broaden the National
Security Act to support u201Csocial sciences, humanities, and foreign
languages in exchange for military and civic service to the
nationu201D (p. 89) — insert martial music here.

Now, here
is a worthy government program. The feds encouraged blind faith
in credentialism, took over higher education, and drove up its
costs via subsidy, and now they offer to u201Cfixu201D it through
indentured servitude to the state. As they say in the Guinness
commercial, u201CBrilliant!u201D Soon the u201Cwill work for foodu201D signs
will disappear, and we'll see disheveled guys along the Interstates
sporting ones that read, u201Cwill serve empire for graduate degree.u201D

Anyway,
it is a shame to shoot people without being able to shout, u201CLie
down or dieu201D in Arabic, Pashto, Amharic, or Akkadian.

The writers
call for relaxing ethics rules in federal service. One naturally
wonders for whom this was included. Richard Perle? In general,
hiring should be streamlined, with fewer peaks into the FBI
files of importante security honchos (pp. 91-93). FBI
files are just for the peasants.

The writers
complain that whereas baby boomers u201Cheeded President Kennedy's
call to government service in unprecedented numbers,u201D the selfish
Generation X-ers have not (p. 97). It has always mystified me
that so many of my generation heeded the call of Camelot, but
no matter. Add twenty points for the X-ers.

Of course
we need a National Security Service Corps (p. 101). The Armed
Forces need more u201Cquality people,u201D better incentives, more college
recruitment, grants and scholarships, better military promotion
and retirement, and more G.I. Bill entitlements. Someone must
improve the pay scales of NCOs (pp. 102-108). We must also reinvigorate
u201Cthe citizen soldieru201D ideal, an item which at least sheds light
on Gary Hart's otherwise inexplicable u201Cturnu201D to republican theory.

[7]

A short
section that might have been called u201CTowards a More Gelded Congress,u201D
calls for a u201Cbicameral, bipartisan working group,u201D (p. 110)
which presumably can bypass all that silly business about formal
declarations of war. Informing a few u201Ckeyu201D Congressmen is as
good as a declaration of war, isn't it? It is close enough for
government work.

u201CA final
wordu201D informs us that all the above-named program activities
are necessary to u201Censure American national security and global
leadership over the next quarter centuryu201D! (p. 116) Naturally
one wonders, Why? And the question arises, What if the two things
are incompatible? This brings us to the deeper ideological foundations
of the Road Map.

IV. u201CNew
World Coming,u201D 15 Sept. 1999: An Ideological Bonanza

The important
Phase I document is not the short report, but the much longer
one, u201CNew World Coming: American Security in the 21st
Century, Supporting Research and Analysis,u201D

[8]

which weighs in at about 140 pages. It is very interesting
for our purposes.

The reportisti
begin with the unfortunate u201Cdiffusion of poweru201D in the world,
while taking a swipe at the excessive Demo-Hegelian optimism
of Francis Fukuyama. Science and technology, and global economy
are mooted, along with the u201Cprospect of an attack on U.S.
cities.u201D Hobbes is quoted, and no doubt, rightly so. The
writers take up a mighty social engineering methodology and
espouse a u201Cdefinition of national security [which] must include
all key political, social, cultural, technological, and economic
variables that bear on state power and behavior.u201D These u201Cvariablesu201D
will be weighed somehow.

[9]

History, they say, u201Cis madeu201D — doubtless a veiled reference
to Nicol Machiavelli, always a favorite in such musings as
these, and often a clue that we are dealing with certified Straussians
(pp. 1-3, my italics).

Section
one, u201CGlobal Dynamics,u201D tells us the future's ahead (who could
doubt it?). It is also both familiar and enigmatic, abuzz with
u201Chuman activity,u201D and don't forget u201Csocial realityu201D with its
u201Cmultiple and interactive sources.u201D Miniaturization, information
technology, biotechnology, micro-electronics, and the Cyber
Revolution take their bows, as do rising speed of communication
and falling costs, u201Cpersonal infospheres,u201D stem-cell research,
clever sensors, cheap energy, and nanotechnology. On the other
hand, u201Cdemand for fossil fuels will growu201D and science will be
u201Cincreasingly weddedu201D to technological innovations and the latter
will be wedded more u201Cto industry than to government labsu201D (pp.
5-10).

Here, shallow,
pseudo-mathematical social u201Cscienceu201D that might embarrass Auguste
Comte, breaks bread with Low Church Darwinism: u201CMany new technological
advances will be based on bio-mimicry — the deliberate attempt
to capitalize on what nature has learned through millions
of years of evolutionu201D (p. 8, my italics).

The New
Stuff is both good and bad and will be hard to control. Techno-stimulation
may cause more ADD in kids. Women's issues in Third World targets
— I'm sorry, countries – are mentioned. Virtual communities
may replace real ones and u201Cour public sphere may contractu201D;
but, on the other hand, u201Clocal communities could flourish in
reaction….u201D (See pp. 11-14.)

Radical
decentralization is probably not a genuine interest of the Commissioners.

The report
writers expect to see more u201Cflat, non-hierarchical organization,u201D
less privacy, weakened borders, ethnic labor stratification,
and other changes, which could be good or bad. Social leveling
will threaten vested interests and new adversary ideologies
may arise, as well as a u201Cpost-modern stateu201D and new u201Cforms of
integration and fragmentation.u201D Human nature is mentioned (pp.
15-20).

And now
we come to u201CGlobal Economicsu201D and such matters as human capital
and education. On the down side, u201Ccapital markets and trade
may well be exploited by others for purposes at odds with U.S.
interests,u201D while at the same time, we shall see larger capital
flows, more and new participants, u201Cniche productionu201D (this is
new?), and industrial and service restructuring. This
is all, as per Newt, somehow radically u201Cdifferentu201D from other
periods of economic improvement. (See pp. 21-23)

All this
globalwhatsit may provoke resistance by u201Creactionary forcesu201D
and we may see neo- protectionism, regional blocs, and u201Cglobal
culture conflict.u201D The whole thing begins to read like a Soviet-era
propaganda tract, with the US leading the historic bloc of Progressive
Forces toward the End of History (but on a different train schedule
than Fukuyama's). US performance is held to be u201Ccrucial to avoid
a systemic crisisu201D (pp. 24-27).

If these
things weren't sufficiently alarming, we are told that the whole
world economy hangs on u201Cwillingness of the private capital markets
to continue their primary role in circulating savings from capital
rich countries to capital poor ones.u201D This will work u201Cunless
major countries suck up too much of the world's investment
capitalu201D (my italics). The writers quickly canvass China, India,
Brazil, issues of u201Cintegration and regulation,u201D and the u201Cvolatility
of capital marketsu201D with u201Cimportant security implications.u201D
International monetary policy remains a bother because of u201Ccapital
mobility, the existence of independent monetary policies, and
an inclination to fixed or at least stable exchange rates —
that seems impervious to permanent settlement.u201D The knowledge
revolution is creating u201Cgreater disparitiesu201D of wealth between
and within nations. The US and others will want to u201Ccontrol
and regulate dual-use technology for military-security reasonsu201D
(pp. 28-34).

Given all
this dynamism, so to speak, only the Great Helmsmen in
Washington-on-Potomac can keep the earth from leaving its orbit
and flying to a fiery death in the sun.

But just
as these new challenges are arising, globalwhatsit may lessen
u201Cemotional attachment to the stateu201D — especially where there
is u201Cno obvious physical or ideological threat.u201D States may become
less legitimate but subject — at the same time – to greater
demands for aid from interest groups or the public generally,
just when states have less leverage over economic life. As the
writers put it, u201C[t]he potential exists for millions of individual
decisions to shape the future without the mediation of existing
political institutions.u201D Here one wishes to commend the Commission
for almost discovering economic science; but having flirted
with a real insight, the writers turn on their heel and announce
that now the state's role u201Cis even more vitalu201D somehow
(pp. 35-37, italics in original).

Allegiance
rests on u201Cdomestic peace, economic well-being, and security
from external threatsu201D! Is state sovereignty in decline? The
reportisti continue: u201CFor some, globalization… may be
a vehicle to transcend the system of state sovereignty, seen
to be the font of the war-system that plagues humanity. Globalization
thus represents for some the withering away of the state by
the advent of other means.u201D And yet certain states will
endure in some form (pp. 38-39).

The writers
take up demographic challenges, Indonesia, US triumph in the
Cold War, literacy, and mass education. They seem troubled that
First Worlders are less keen these days to die for the state:
u201Csince life is no longer so u2018cheap,' casualties have become
far more expensive.u201D And of course all the tumult described
in preceding sections leads folk to u201Creligion or ideology to
explain changeu201D! Thus the road to much-awaited secularization
has proven rockier than expected. (See pp. 39-45)

All this
looming uproar raises issues of security. New wars will occur
and internal violence u201Ccould reach unprecedented levelsu201D leading
to refugee crises. Terrorists will be more loosely organized.
Add to this the inexplicably wrong-headed belief here
and there that the US wields u201Cits power with arrogance
and self-absorption,u201D and we may be in for a real backlash.
Thus, u201Cthe United States should assume it will be a target of
terrorist attacks against its homeland using weapons of mass
destruction. The United States will be vulnerable to such
strikesu201D (pp. 46-48, italics in original).

Other states
will try to acquire modern weaponry and some states will seek
u201Cto compete asymmetrically,u201D using u201Crelatively inexpensive
systems intended to deny the United States the advantages that
naturally accrue with technological superiorityu201D (pp. 49-50,
italics in original).

Biochemical
materials made at u201Cdual-use facilitiesu201D remain a concern and,
therefore, one imagines, the bombing of the Sudanese pharmaceutical
factory was just a case of justifiable caution. The writers
introduce u201Cnon-state actorsu201D along with the threat of Strategic
Information War (pp. 50-52).

Despite
its mega-colossal weapons systems, the US is vulnerable. Slipping
into the passive voice, the writers say that, u201Cweapons will
be deployed in pace.u201D One wonders who would do that. The u201Cirrationalityu201D
of rogue states and u201Cmisperceptionu201D could lead to u201Cthe problem
of inverted deterrence u201D — that unacceptable situation
in which the US might have to refrain from attacking another
state. Coming as we do from a higher culture, the bad actors'
u201Cresort to extreme violence — often against civilian populations
— will doubtless surprise and shock us in the future as it has
in the pastu201D (pp. 53-56, italics in original). Doubtless.

Chalk this
navet of ours up to the work of our conformist media.

In section
two, u201CA World Astir,u201D the Commission's writers take up regional
analysis. There could be Big Trouble in Europe. Russia is problematic.
The best bit is how the writers define the civilized u201Cwestu201D
(footnote 124, p. 59): u201Cwestu201D = u201Cfree-market democratic countries
whose intellectual origins are to be found in the Renaissance
and the Enlightenmentu201D — Christianity having, apparently, played
no civilizing role worth remarking. They worry that u201Cfearsu201D
may lead to immigration restrictions in the EU and ask if Eastern
and Central Europe can u201Crebuild the social safety netsu201D they
had under communism (pp. 60-61).

The writers
take up futurology once more. In one possible future, market-based
liberal democracies do well, but NATO is uncertain and so is
Russia. Of course the Balkans are trouble. In a worse future,
u201Crenationalizationu201D sets in to protest the pain of u201Cmeeting
economic targets,u201D imposed, one imagines, by the IMF. In this
future, the EU might be undemocratic – further comment
is needless. Here, too, North African refugees pour into Europe
and, accordingly, the u201Cfar rightu201D prospers. Russia falters,
turns fascist or national-socialist. The Balkans get worse (pp.
62-69).

The writers
turn to Asia. The usual u201Cscience-based technologiesu201D are mentioned.
China is on the rise. Asians may adjust to democracy
on their own terms. Bigger Asian recession could u201Clead to virulent
anti-Americanismu201D followed by US protectionism. The writers
note that, China will need u201C5.2 million barrels of oil per day
by 2020.u201D China needs watching; China needs to get right with
u201Cintellectual propertyu201D! China could go corporatist and nationalist
and, thus, become u201Chostileu201D to the US. China would then need
balancing and the US would need bases for containing China (pp.
71-78). The writers do not say this, but an improved US chokehold
on world oil supplies would give US policymakers greater leverage
over China.

It hardly
requires saying that history and/or God has picked the United
States to make sure the right future comes about.

The writers
offer some thoughts on Indonesia, Southeast Asia, and North
Korea. Everywhere, it seems, the US must be u201Can engaged balancer.u201D
They turn to the u201CGreater Near Eastu201D consisting of Arabs, Israel,
Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and the subcontinent (India and
Pakistan). Pakistan's nukes and Iranian ambitions to have nukes
are mentioned (pp. 80-83).

All over
the Greater Near East there are younger, growing populations
and corresponding tumult. The writers again remark that u201CChinese
dependence on both Persian Gulf and Caspian oil will grow sharply.u201D
In footnote 152 (p. 85), they mention Al-Jazira as a progressive
force! (Times change, I suppose.) Islam is capable of modernization,
they say. A u201Csemi-independent [!] Palestinian stateu201D and u201Ca
regime change in Syriau201D are much wanted. Arab u201Crentier states,u201D
whose revenues come from oil, port fees, etc., and which reward
their backers with patronage, are a problem because they have
never scaled the heights of modern citizenship as found
in advanced western welfare-warfare states (pp. 84-93).

The writers
express fear lest the US pull back from Middle East due to public
unwillingness to u201Csupport expeditionary military deploymentsu201D
(p. 94).

Next comes
Africa with growing urbanization and possible humanitarian crises
(pp. 95-101), followed by the Americas. Latin American trade
with the US is growing, but societies there need the usual u201Caccountability,
transparency [!], and consistency.u201D The writers note that a
Mexican collapse would be bad for us. Likewise, Canada's collapse
would be u201Calarming to contemplateu201D (pp. 102-115).

In section
three, the writers take up u201CThe U.S. Domestic Future.u201D They
fret about social cohesion, our growing but aging population
(immigrants and natives, respectively). They worry that healthcare
u201Cwill compete with other spendingu201D including u201Cdefense and foreign
policy.u201D As Hispanics increase, Blacks will become irritable.
The writers further fret about American higher education (too
many foreign math and science majors) and single parent households.
They announce that biotechnology u201Cis rapidly developing the
potential to change human nature itself in fundamental waysu201D
(pp. 116-120, my italics).

Is this
the American New Man, slated to replace Soviet Man? In rejecting
Fukuyama, the Hart-Rudman commission has transcended him. Hart
and Rudman look in the mirror and gaze upon Hart and Negri with
their theses on immanent, omnipresent, and metaphysically annoying
universal empire.

[10]

The commission's
pen wielders worry that perceptions about fairness of u201Cincome
distributionu201D may cause trouble, especially since real wages
have been stagnant for fifteen years. This is dangerous because
social cohesiveness, u201Cwill,u201D and u201Ccivic consciousness form the
bedrock of national power.u201D Americans, still have u201Cshared ideals,u201D
but u201Cfragmentationu201D is a possibility. The writers bemoan lower
rates of voting, greater cynicism, less July 4th
hoopla, and less public worship of the US state, as the World
War II generation u201Cpasses from the sceneu201D Such trends could
lead to less individual self-sacrifice for the Common Good as
defined by bureaucrats. On the upside, Americans see America
as u201Cexceptionalu201D and are u201Cpositively disposed toward themselvesu201D
and most still support intervention. Even so, u201Cisolationismu201D
remains a menace and a return to military conscription may be
required. Then again, conscription u201Cmight limit an active foreign
policy.u201D Happily, though, Americans will u201Csacrifice… if they
believe that fundamental interests are imperiledu201D (pp. 122-130).

The commissioners,
for all their social science, are speculating about – and not
predicting – the future, but whatever happens, they believe
that more state power and greater public spending will save
the day, provided the people can be kept in line.

Section
four, u201CWorlds in Prospect,u201D alludes to Nietzsche and contingency
(more Straussian giveaways?). A good future resting on the u201Cdemocratic
peaceu201D and u201Ctransparencyu201D is contrasted with a bad future involving
nationalism and neo-protectionism, which tends to show – just
as William Appleman Williams, Gabriel Kolko, Immanuel Wallerstein,
and others held – that Cold War u201Canti-communismu201D was actually
directed at any nationalist withdrawal from the US economic
orbit. Another bad future of u201CDivision and Mayhemu201D might witness
the rise of u201Cprivate non-state militaries,u201D decline of the
UN, and division of the world between the democratic peace u201Czoneu201D
and a u201Czone of chronic troubleu201D (pp. 131-135).

A fifth
section recapitulates what is by now the only possible response
to all this alarmism and speculation: US military-political
control of the world. 21st century will see more
u201Cepisodic posses of the willingu201D and fewer u201Ctraditional
[!] World War II-style alliance systems.u201D This calls for u201Cstealth,
speed, range, unprecedented, accuracy, lethality, strategic
mobility, superior intelligence, and the overall will and ability
to prevailu201D (pp. 140-141, my italics). The report ends on the
note that the US u201Cwill need to find a proper balance between
activism and self-restraintu201D (p. 152).

Well,
good luck.

V.
Think Imperially, Secure Locally

The Establishment
Mind At Bay

Our interest
has been to find a window into the mind and worldview of a cross-section
of the beloved US elite; to see how they think about the world
and their role in it. This matters to the rest of us, because
they claim a right to drag us, willing or not, into their projects
and adventures.

As we have
seen, the Hart-Rudman Commissioners warned repeatedly of attacks
on Americans and their property, on US soil, attacks said to
be u201Clikely,u201D u201Cimminent,u201D a u201Cserious and growing concern,u201D i.e.,
inevitable. This was a rather constant refrain. But why should
a commission, whose membership reflected the US official mind,
show a sudden interest in actual defense, when we have had a
War Department since George Washington and, even better, a u201CDefense
Departmentu201D since 1947, which, one might think, had the defense
of American soil well in hand? Indeed, the sheer artificiality
of the u201Chomelandu201D security concept is puzzling at first.

What the
Hell else were these people ever licensed to defend? I suppose
they could answer that they were so busy defending South Korea,
Israel, reliable Third World despotisms, particular oil companies,
and the like, they clean forgot to defend the home counties.

These people
were essentially saying that, yes, we are putting Americans
in danger (nudge, nudge), but it just can't be helped. Hence
the bizarre blend of complacency and alarm that can be seen
in the Hart-Rudman Reports. Critics have lately raised some
interesting but narrow questions – Should the Bushies, or anyone
else, have twigged that something was up on a particular day?
Who knew whatever they knew and when did they know it? These
are worth answering but don't go to the heart of it. The prospect
of intra-elite verbal bloodbath has its appeal, but such a discussion
will skirt fundamental issues.

The
Liberal
Corporatist Crisis of Legitimacy

While the
shades of Hobbes, Machiavelli, Nietzsche, and Leo Strauss brooded
over the outcome, Court Intellectuals of the Establishment,
as represented by the Hart-Rudman Commission, wrestled with
a number of issues which they saw as quite pressing: loss of
state prestige, unwillingness of the people to sacrifice for
the state, social or political u201Cfragmentation,u201D fear of a new
u201Cisolationism,u201D and so on. To this was added, as we have seen,
a peculiarly American form of Gnostic dreaming about changing
human nature.

The Commissioners'
preferred answers to these big questions, as well as to the
practical matter of terrorist attacks, serve as proof of Randolph
Bourne's famous aphorism: u201CWar is the health of the State.u201D
With unerring instinct, they took up the cause of managerial
reform and sketched out a mammoth project of renewed state building
via institutional reform, with the Coast Guard as their working
model. But the housekeeping details of institutional u201Creformu201D
are not as important as the underlying policy goals and assumptions.

Stealth,
Speed, and Lethality

Turning
to the applied side, it must be granted that these people are
not stupid and their assessment of the dangers to which they
have exposed their countrymen by their Griff nach der
Weltmacht (u201Cgrasp for world poweru201D) was probably fairly
realistic. This is one area where we might expect them to be
honest, especially when they talk to one another, largely out
of earshot of the peasants and petty bourgeoisie who elect some
of them.

Yes, given
US demands for absolute security and for utter u201Copennessu201D on
the part of others, including the universal Open Door for American
trade and investment,

[11]

and given a determination to achieve these goals by force,
when needed, our leaders have in fact made us enemies that we
never needed. They have also managed to give hostage to the
Marxist notion that u201Ccapitalismu201D requires imperialism.
Anyway, now that u201Cweu201D have these foes, the US elite rightly
fears that Total War, which they helped invent, will
come home to roost.

The enemies
they have found for us may not play by their rules. Hence all
the talk about the grave insult of u201Cinverted deterrenceu201D and
the threat of u201Casymmetric warfare.u201D After Vietnam, the US Establishment
learned characteristic u201Clessonsu201D — not to lower their
expectations of world dominance, but to develop new tools for
technical problem solving very much in the American pragmatic
tradition. Better bombs, better guidance systems, better human
intelligence, and maybe some language lessons.

A Note
on the u201CEconomicu201D Causes of World Disorder

According
to official — or at least semi-official – doctrine as expressed
in the Hart-Rudman Reports, far-reaching u201Cchangesu201D and dynamism
are at work and the US is out riding global fences and keeping
order in the face of the u201Ctumultu201D resulting from inexorable
u201Ceconomicu201D inevitabilities. This resort to a kind of economic
reductionism is interesting but may not make us any wiser. If,
as a well-known theorem in economics has it, both parties to
a voluntary exchange benefit, then why should more trade lead
to unhappiness and tumult?

Ian Roxborough,
a sociologist who is himself a consultant to the US military,
writes that the Hart-Rudman Commission's u201Cproposition that globalization
will produce a backlash that will be the fundamental security
challenge to the United States has little empirical evidence
to support it.u201D u201CThe commission might have done better,u201D he
adds, u201Cto examine the specific situations likely to foster extremist
opposition to the U.S. Government…. [R]ather than an u2018ideological'
or u2018religious' reaction to globalization, or a deep clash of
cultures, what we may be witnessing is a nationalist response
to American assertiveness in the world…. And these nationalist
rages are likely to be responses to quite specific actions
on the part of United States.u201D

[12]

A palpable
hit! But for the Commission to consider that anyone outside
the US has a point of view, or that actions disliked by the
US could ever be caused by US provocation, was clearly outside
the scope of their inquiry.

Roxborough's
comments, mild as they are, find indirect support elsewhere.
A team of political scientists concluded in 1981, that a good
many Third World conflicts u201Care defensive in nature: they are
all brought about by the aggressive expansionism of the state,u201D
especially where u201Cstates are still involved in the primitive
accumulation and centralization of power resources.u201D They suggest
that, u201Cover a relatively long period of time state expansion
will generate violent conflictu201D and thus u201Cit is the progression
toward greater order itself that produces much of the relatively
greater violence we find in new states.u201D And here comes the
kicker: u201Cthe evidence strongly suggests that the rate of economic
development is related to both the rate of state expansion and
collective violence in a way that runs contrary to the way postulated
by the dominant view on such matters.u201D Further, u201Cstate expansion
seems to produce much more violence than economic growth…. Rather
than state expansion being an antidote for the violence produced
by economic modernization, our rather limited evidence shows
that it is economic modernization which is the antidote to the
violence produced by state expansion.u201D

[13]

In other
words, state building is bad enough when left to the locals,
who run the state or live under it. To the extent that the US
government just can't hold back from interfering in others'
conflicts, we are forced to ask whether or not it is US foreign
policy that destabilizes the world. u201CGlobalizationu201D — if by
that we could be allowed to mean a natural expansion of voluntary
trade and the unfolding of a more complex, worldwide capital
structure — hardly enters into it.

I note
in passing, that the Commission's idea that economic growth,
in and of itself, causes mass discontent and violence, owes
something to the ingrained suspicion of the market characteristic
of US Court Intellectuals, whether they descend from Marxists,
New Dealers, or Mr. Lincoln's mercantilists. They do seem, however,
to understand markets heavily regulated, controlled, and politically
manipulated by people like themselves.

The
Comfy Chair of Homeland Security Studies

The Commissioners
wish to bring American universities even more into the service
of the state than they are already. We need more math, science,
linguistics, etc., they cry. Better education for empire abroad
and empirical collectivism at home!

This naturally
brings us to the status of Homeland Security as an applied social
science. As Andrew Gyorgy noted in 1943: u201Ca few months after
Hitler came to power, a special chair of u2018National Defense Science'
was created for [Ewald] Banse at the Technical University of
Brunswick, a bestowal of official approval on his theories.u201D
Banse was a paladin of the German school of geo-strategy or
geopolitics, a field, in Gyorgy's words, u201Cof an all-embracing
character. It is a new science ignoring strategic impossibilities
and willing to exploit militarily any phase of human life, any
reality of the natural or man-made world.u201D He notes that, u201Call
other branch sciences of Geopolitik, such as geography,
economics, the study of politics, medicine, law, communications,
and national psychology, convergedu201D in u201Cthe new science of national
defense.u201D

He continues:
u201CAs devised and planned by German geostrategists,u201D modern war
consists of u201Cideological, psychological, economic, and military
warfare.u201D With air power added, war u201Cbecame totalitarian not
merely in its ultimate goal of world conquest, but even in its
methods, in an exploitation of all known human sciences and
technological inventions.u201D And thus: u201CMilitary campaigns today
are the end, not the beginning, of the struggle. Ideological,
psychological and economic war, as variant forms of the same
power struggle, usually preceded any kind of military action.
Total war has militarized peace and, paradoxically, to a certain
extent demilitarized war itself.u201D

This style
of warfare aims u201Cto create confusion and foment uprisings.u201D
Further: u201COnce this initial u2018conspiracy' framework is laid,
the power of totalitarian propaganda warfare is turned on the
victim in a manner that is bewildering to local public opinion
in critical areas.u201D In addition, u201C[a]n energetic press and u2018loud'
radio-propaganda campaign is helpful not only in directly threatening
the enemy but also in covering up the more significant internal,
fifth column activities of German agents abroad.u201D (Unfortunately
for these theorists, the u201Cmusicu201D of AC/DC was not available
as part of the u201Cu2018loud' radio-propaganda campaign.u201D)

Finally,
Gyorgy notes that, u201C[s]ecrecy and speed are perhaps the most
characteristic watchwords and features of geo-strategic argument,u201D
along with maximum use of air power.

[14]

Somehow
this puts one in mind of Hart-Rudman's u201Cstealth, speed, and
lethality,u201D and having taken a tour through the Reports, I think
we might agree that the Commissioners and their researchers
have worked on a similar scale, using similar methods,
to those of the German geopolitical thinkers. Before u201Cmoral
equivalenceu201D and other complaints pop up, I concede that the
German social-scientific planners of the 1930s and '40s had
different goals than their US counterparts, then or now. On
the other hand, the techniques and the mindset are much the
same across a range of subject matter, and techniques and mindsets
have consequences that can undercut their supposed neutrality.
Those who claim to have good intentions and yet adopt certain
techniques — and with nothing better than utilitarianism as
a moral guide — may find themselves dragged along by their techniques
to unexpected places.

Since it
often happens, where the American mind is at work, that technique
displaces announced ends, these surprises can materialize fairly
quickly. It can also be asked whether or not global u201Copennessu201D
to American trade and influence is of such overriding importance,
that it can routinely u201Cjustifyu201D US military excursions abroad.
The answer, I suspect, is No, and that would go twice for delusional
exercises like imposing u201Cdemocracyu201D by military violence.

In any
case, the embrace of Total War is much the same in the two cases
under discussion, whatever the differing goals of the states
involved. I do not think that the costs of Total War — in morals,
politics, blood, and money — can be brushed aside as lightly
as some may think, via consequentialist speculations.

A Policy
That Became an Assumption That Became a Prison

The blurring
of the war/peace distinction, noted above, erodes the line between
foreign and domestic provision of security.

As the
Hart-Rudman Phase III Report put it: u201CNotwithstanding the post-Sputnik
dangers of a nuclear missile attack from afar, U.S. national
security policy in the 20th century has been something
that mainly happened u2018there,' in Europe or Asia or the Near
East. Domestic security was something that happed u2018here,' and
it was the domain of law enforcement and the courts. Rarely
did the two mix. The distinction between national security policy
and domestic security is already beginning to blur, and in the
next quarter century it could altogether disappearu201D (p. 130).

Garrison
state, anyone?

And while
we are on this topic, it is worth recalling that just as so
many US interventions are now referred to as u201Cpolice actions,u201D
the logical corollary – the militarization of domestic
police work – has been underway for several decades.

[15]

Our rulers
effectively willed this supposedly u201Cgivenu201D erosion of
the boundary between internal and external security. It is a
clear case of striving for a certain results for many decades
and then proclaiming, once they are achieved, that the Fates
did it, and that the cumulative decisions of specific policymakers
had nothing to do with it. The pretence of inevitability is
ideologically necessary, but no more convincing for that.

This result
is, however, perfect, if one's goal is state building, whether
for its own sake or for the sake of the goodies power can deliver.
The classes who never much believed in bills of rights – the
police, executive officials, including the military, and not
a few legislators – can only regard this moment of creative
destruction with favor. If we cannot usefully distinguish between
war and peace, then Mr. Lincoln's much-advertised u201Cwar powersu201D
— already a conceptual muddle – apply at all times, the American
Revolution was a waste of time, and we are living through the
final stages of a slow-motion coup.

Critics
of the radical historian William Appleman Williams used to fault
him for failing to produce a document with u201COpen Dooru201D written
all over it, for every instance in which he said that a US policymaker
had promoted that policy. He replied, quite reasonably, that
somewhere between 1898 and 1938 the Open Door had gone from
an interest-based policy to an ideology about whose foundations
the policymakers no longer needed to think. In this, US policymakers
have resembled their foreign collectivist opponents far more
than they have admitted.

Under the
Open Door conception of trade, every place in the world must
be open to American business, and this arrangement is ours by
right, for if we cannot have access everywhere, we shall
wither on the vine and sink into economic nonfeasance. It is
hard to square this vision with Richard Cobden's and John Bright's
notion of free trade, but no matter, we are all right-wing Keynesians
and Chicago School Hobbesians now. If defending this particular
vision of global u201Copennessu201D and (alleged) u201Cfree tradeu201D requires
the effective creation of empire, that outcome is acceptable
to advocates of the Open Door.

But, as
the Hart-Rudman Reports make clear, to sustain this policy,
we shall have to adopt domestic police-state methods to confront
the dangers the policy itself has generated. Thus, u201Cweu201D need
a mild police state at home so that u201Cweu201D can go on having an
informal, overseas empire that u201Cweu201D don't need in the first
place — at least on other readings of economic theory and the
facts of world politics. If the going gets tougher abroad
in the long haul, the supposed mildness of the domestic security
organs could become quite academic.

The Hart-Rudman
people were essentially saying that, yes, we have been putting
Americans in danger, but it just can't be helped. Their meditations
on homeland security combined an amazing complacency with palpable
panic, a mixture that Garet Garrett once called u201Ca complex of
vaunting and fear.u201D

[16]

And what was the ground of the panic? Taking their writings
at face value, it was the fear of a terrorist attack on American
soil; but it was also the fear that if the peasants, shopkeepers,
and other rabble ever noticed why America has enemies
willing to attack us at home, they might want to discuss the
empire, the Open Door, and other such items.

So the
Hart-Rudmanisti say, in effect, u201CLeaving all the background
noise to one side, give us more money and power so we may protect
you at home, with only a modest reduction of your liberties,
from these dangers that someone has created.u201D

This is
just not good enough. We want a discussion of precisely those
things that are normally left to one side. We shall not get
it from anyone within the Establishment, whose main alternatives
right now are the nice, moderate (Rockefeller-sponsored) imperialism
of the CFR types and the armed-for-bear, u201Cinvade the worldu201D

[17]

program of the Neo-Conservatives.

Anti-Establishmentarians
unite! You have nothing to lose but your conventional wisdom.

Notes:

[1]

Jennifer Van Bergen, u201CHomeland
Security Act: The Rise of the American Police State
u201D and
William F. Jasper, u201CRise
of the Garrison State
.u201D Two other pieces by Van Bergen
deal with the broader homeland security terrain, http://truthout.com/docs_02/12.04B.jvb.hsa.2.htm
and http://www.truthout.org/docs_02/12.05B.jvb.hsa.3.htm.

[2]

http://fas.org/man/docs/PhaseII.pdf
, or http://www.nssg.gov/PhaseII.pdf
.

[3]

The Center for Strategic and International Studies, the
Project for a New American Century, the Anser Institute for
Homeland Security, and the Center for Security Policy should
be mentioned, and all these have websites. There is also the
Defense Department's National Security Study Group (NSSG),
whose website houses the Hart-Rudman Reports. This is only
the tip of the iceberg.

[4]

Cf. remarks by Hart and Rudman in u201COnline
NewsHour: Securing the Homeland
,u201D October 31, 2002.

[5]

See u201CAmerica
— Still Unprepared, Still in Danger
,u201D 12/4/02.

[6]

US Commission on Homeland Security, Phase III Report,
u201CRoad Map for National Security,u201D http://fbox.vt.edu/arch/psk2/papa6224-2004/Hart-Rudman3.pdf
, or http://www.nssg.gov/PhaseIIIFR.pdf
.

[7]

Gary Hart, The
Minuteman: Restoring an Army of the People
(New York:
The Free Press, 1998).

[8]

http://www.fas.org/man/docs/nwc/NWR_A.pdf
, or http://www.nssg.gov/NWR_A.pdf
.

[9]

As Murray Rothbard points out, to speak of variables
presupposes the existence of constants, something notoriously
absent in human action (u201CThe Mantle of Science,u201D in The
Logic of Action
, I (Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar,
1997), pp. 12-13).

[10]

Michael Hart and Antonio Negri, Empire
(Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000).

[11]

William Appleman Williams, The
Tragedy of American Diplomacy
(New York: Dell Publishing,
1972) and Andrew J. Bacevich, American Empire (Cambridge,
MA: Harvard University Press, 2002).

[12]

Ian Roxborough, u201CThe
Hart-Rudman Commission and the Homeland Defense
,u201D September
2002, pp. 3, 23 (my italics).

[13]

Youssef Cohen, Brian R. Brown, and A. F. K. Organski,
u201CThe Paradoxical Nature of State Making: The Violent Creation
of Order,u201D American Political Science Review, 75, 4
(December 1981), pp. 904, 907-909.

[14]

Andrew Gyorgy, u201CThe Geopolitics of War: Total War and
Geostrategy,u201D Journal of Politics, 5, 4 (November 1943),
pp. 348, 350, 353-355, 357.

[15]

See Diane Cecilia Weber, “Warrior
Cops: The Ominous Growth of Paramilitarism in American Police
Departments
,” Cato Institute Briefing Papers, 50
(August 26, 1999).

[16]

Garet Garrett, u201CThe Rise of Empire,u201D in The
People's Pottage
(Boston: Western Islands, 1965 [1953]),
pp. 123-125.

[17]

Murray N. Rothbard, u201CInvade
the World.
u201D

April
29, 2004


Joseph R. Stromberg [send him
mail
] is holder of the JoAnn B. Rothbard Chair in History at
the Ludwig von Mises Institute
and a columnist for LewRockwell.com
and Antiwar.com. See his War,
Peace, and the State
.

Joseph
Stromberg Archives

Email Print
FacebookTwitterShare
  • LRC Blog

  • LRC Podcasts