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Imagine growing
up in a family where every day, father raped daughter, mother tortured
son, brother abused brother, sister stole from sister and the whole
family murdered neighbors, friends and passing strangers. Imagine
the underlying assumptions about life that you would adopt without
question in such an atmosphere, how normal the most hideous depravity
would seem. If some outsider chanced to ask you about your family’s
latest activities, you would spew out perversions as calmly and
unthinkingly as a man giving directions to the post office.

This state
of unwitting confession to monstrous crime has been the default
mode of the U.S. establishment for many years now. Government officials
routinely detail policies that in a healthy atmosphere would shake
the nation to its core, stand out like a gaping wound, a rank betrayal
of every hope, ideal and sacrifice of generations past. Yet in the
degraded sensibility of these times, such confessions go unnoticed,
their evil unrecognized – or even lauded as savvy ploys or noble
endeavors. Inured to moral horror by half a century of outrages
committed by the "National Security" complex, the establishment,
along with the media and vast swathes of the population, can no
longer discern the poison in the air they breathe. It just seems
normal.

And so it was
again this week when The Washington Post outlined the Pentagon’s
plan to put dirty war – by death squad, snatch squad, secret armies,
subversion, torture and terrorism – at the very heart of America’s
military philosophy. Not defense against declared enemies, not deterrence
of potential foes, but conducting "continuous" covert
military operations in countries "where the United States is
not at war" is now the Pentagon’s "highest priority,"
according to the new "campaign plan for the global war on terror"
issued by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

What’s more,
the plan makes it clear that Rumsfeld, far from being politically
vulnerable, has in fact been exalted above every other institution
and official of the U.S. government, with the exception of the twin
tyrants in the White House, President George W. Bush and Vice President
Dick Cheney. The Pentagon warlord has been given carte blanche to
send the 53,000 secret soldiers of the Special Operations Command
into any nation he pleases, to undertake any mission he pleases,
without congressional approval, legal restraint or the authority
of the target nation’s U.S. ambassador. Thus America’s diplomats,
the ostensible representatives of the nation abroad, have been reduced
to mere frontmen, pathetic beards for black ops savaging the laws,
sovereignty and citizens of their hosts.

The plan is
the culmination and codification of an ad hoc array of programs
and powers that Bush has doled out to Rumsfeld over the years, including
a series of executive orders signed after the 2004 election that
essentially turned the world into a "global free-fire zone"
for the Pentagon’s secret armies and proxy foreign militias, as
a top Pentagon official told The New Yorker. "We’re
going to be riding with the bad boys," another Bush insider
said. Yet another courtier compared it to the glory days of the
Reagan-Bush years: "Do you remember the right-wing execution
squads in El Salvador? We founded them and we financed them. The
objective now is to recruit locals in any area we want. And we aren’t
going to tell Congress about it." The overriding ethos of the
plan is brutally simple: "The rules are, ‘Grab whom you must.
Do what you want,’" an intelligence official told The New
Yorker.

Perhaps most
ominously, the plan makes copious preparations for expanding the
range of the war on terror even further. The trigger for these new
actions is another terrorist strike on U.S. soil. Oddly enough,
the Bush faction views such an unspeakable horror as an "opportunity,"
Pentagon officials told the Post; it would provide a "justification,"
they said, for hitting already-targeted individuals, groups and
states that for various political reasons have not yet been subjected
to what Bush likes to call, in his bloodthirsty parlance, "the
path of action."

But perhaps this is not so odd. In November 2002, we wrote here
of another "opportunistic" endeavor: the Pentagon’s plan
to foment terrorism by infiltrating terrorist groups and militias
and goading them into action – i.e., committing acts of murder
and destruction – in order to "flush them out" for
counterattacks or use them to advance U.S. policy in targeted states,
including "justification" for military intervention or
occupation. Perhaps some of Rumsfeld’s infiltrators were "riding
with the bad boys" who struck in Dahab, Egypt, this week. With
unrestricted black ops now ascendant, we can never know for sure.
But we do know that each act of terror only enhances the power of
the ever-expanding national security complex, entwining it in a
mutually beneficial embrace with violent extremists everywhere.

Rumsfeld’s
"campaign plan" is itself a blueprint for state terrorism,
an open license to break any and every law on earth and inflict
human suffering on a global scale. Yet the only controversial aspect
of this sinister program noted by the Post was the potential
turf battles it might spark within the national security bureaucracy.
Not a single question was raised about the morality or legality
of the undertaking; the Pentagon’s assertion that only "bad
guys" would be hit was simply swallowed whole – despite
the glaring fact that tens of thousands of innocent people have
already been killed or falsely imprisoned in the so-called "war
on terror."

But this depravity
passes without comment, without recognition. It’s just normal, you
see. It’s the way we were raised.

May
1, 2006

Chris
Floyd, Global Eye columnist for the Moscow Times, is the
author of Empire
Burlesque: The Secret History of the Bush Regime
.

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