Friday, July 23, 2010

The Real U.S. Government

The Real U.S. Government By Glenn Greenwald

"Most of what the U.S. Government does of any significance -- literally -- occurs behind a vast wall of secrecy, completely unknown to the citizenry. . . . Secrecy is the religion of the political class, and the prime enabler of its corruption. That's why whistle blowers are among the most hated heretics. They're one of the very few classes of people able to shed a small amount of light on what actually takes place."

... The NSA sorts a fraction of those [1.7 billion e-mails, phone calls and other types of daily collected communications] into 70 separate databases.

... we keep sacrificing our privacy to the always-growing National Security State in exchange for less security."

Scott Horton Interviews Stephen M. Walt by Scott Horton

"Well first of all, the state is explicitly founded as a Jewish state. In fact, though, it is considered by Israelis to be the state of the Jewish people, so in a sense you’ve already declared the Arab population to be second-class citizens. It would be as though the United States said, “We are a Protestant state” or “We are a Christian nation,” and anybody who wasn’t would have to walk around knowing that they somehow didn’t quite fit in.

... I think that early in the Bush administration, certainly about the time that we were going into Iraq, there was a pretty ambitious idea that we were really going to transform the entire region. And first we’d knock off Saddam Hussein, and then we’d turn on Iran or Syria and either threaten them into doing what we wanted or actually engage in more regime change as well. And that particular dream, I think, died in the sands of Iraq.

... I don’t want to overstate Mr. Kristol’s power, but he’s obviously a very influential figure. And the most disturbing thing about the sort of role of neoconservatives is the complete lack of accountability. You would think that the architects of the Iraq War — and neoconservatives really were; they were the first people to talk repeatedly about the need to go to war in Iraq, and this began in the mid to late 1990s. These were the guys who dreamed up this whole idea. And you would think that, given the results of Iraq — a costly, protracted, disastrous war for the United States — you would think that no one would be taking them very seriously at all. But in fact — because there is in fact very little accountability in the sort of inside-the-beltway establishment, they are continuing to be on talk shows and have their journals of opinion and op-ed columns and, you know, forming new organizations, having founded old committees and projects and groups to try and advocate for war with Iraq — we now see the same people, same tactics, being used to try and push the United States into a war with Iran. As I said, you know, a half hour or so ago, they don’t have quite as sympathetic an environment, and certainly the 9/11 attacks certainly helped the cause, although they had to do an awful lot of distortion to exploit that, but nonetheless they’re trying to do the same things now, and it’s really remarkable, given the track record that they’ve had so far.

... We’re now in a position where you can’t even have an honest discussion about it. If President Obama says anything critical about Prime Minister Netanyahu, he immediately gets a storm of criticism and lots of phone calls, things like that.

... Well, and as anybody who saw when first the article and then the book came out, you suffered the brunt of this criticism and every kind of accusation about your character that could be made — you know, congratulations to you for bearing through that and standing by your positions there. So, is there any progress being made? I mean it seems like, geez, well, like you said before, it seems like the neocons really overplayed their hand with Iraq, that would have discredited them. Are we ever going to get to the point where it’s not “anti-Semitic,” quote unquote, to say, “Hey, America’s interests are different than Israel’s and we ought to take care of ourselves. They can take care of themselves fine, especially with all the weapons we already bought them.”



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