'Going domestic'
0 comment Thursday, August 14, 2014 |
Here is an interesting piece from The American Conservative about the 'militia scares', Terror Begins at Home, the most recent being the MIAC Report, in which the Missouri Department of Public Safety reported on certain kinds of people, for example Ron Paul supporters, being potential 'militia members.'
As the article at AmCon describes, this kind of thing seems to go in cycles; when a Republican administration is replaced by a liberal Democrat regime, there tends to be a phenomenon, in which the media and the liberal regime gin up concerns over 'right-wing extremists' being a danger.
The most recent scare, before the present administration, was during the Clinton years, but that was not the first such cycle.
From 1938 through 1941, the media regularly presented stories suggesting that the U.S. was about to be overwhelmed by ultra-Right fifth columnists, millions strong, intimately allied with the Axis powers. (Actual numbers of serious militants were in the low thousands at most.) Reportedly, the militant Right was armed to the teeth and plotting countless domestic terror attacks�bombings in New York and Washington, assassinations and pogroms, the wrecking of trains and munitions plants. Plotters were rumored to have high-placed allies in the military, raising the specter of a putsch. The ensuing panic was orchestrated by newspapers and radio and reinforced by films, newsreels, and comic books. Historians characterize these years as the Brown Scare.
However thin the underlying charges, the Brown Scare clearly helped to promote a New Deal agenda at home and interventionism overseas. For interventionists, the Terror Crisis suggested that fascist powers already were attempting to subvert America, forcing the nation to confront the foreign danger. Above all, the scare provided a powerful weapon for defaming anyone on the Right who opposed FDR�s drift to war. Targets included not only isolationist senators and congressmen but also the potent antiwar organization America First, which drew support from a broad and reputable cross-section of public opinion�conservative, liberal, and socialist, Catholic and Protestant. By 1941, though, the antiwar movement was battered by allegations of fascist and anti-Semitic ties. Under Cover portrayed America First as an aboveground front for the most extreme and lethal paramilitary fascist groups. As so often before and since, a burgeoning antiwar movement was crippled by charges that it was covertly allied with the nation�s enemies. So successful was this tarring that in popular memory, America Firsters stand alongside Nazis and Klansmen as traitors, subversives, and bigots. In terms of achieving its goals, the Brown Scare worked superbly.''
Read the rest; it's interesting and pertinent to the present situation.
But when I read it, I thought of a piece from The Atlantic, which was published in the Clinton era, in 1996. I had not read it for a while, but it seems to be apposite these days, in light of the increasing push toward globalization and post-nationalism, and also the re-making of the Army with a whole different role envisioned for our military. The article is titled 'Fort Leavenworth and the Eclipse of Nationhood'
and though it's fairly lengthy, it is interesting to read and to see how closely the script has been followed as we move toward this 'brave new world' envisioned in the 1990s.
This passage in particular seems to fit with the AmCon piece. The writer discusses roundtable discussions at Fort Leaveworth:
GLOBAL reconstruction, or something like it, is more a description -- and a rationalization -- of what we are already halfheartedly doing than a cause behind which Americans will ever rally. Many parts of the world cannot be saved, and the voters instinctively know it. We may have run out of foreign causes that can buttress our own nationhood. Fighting faceless plutonium smugglers, high birth rates in Africa, and tropical-disease pandemics, although clearly worthwhile, will not engender drum-beating patriotism the way fighting Hitler did. Sure, there are always domestic causes to rally the nation -- but for the most part they are best handled as sudden crises. A protracted deterioration involving crime, family life, class divisions, and so on is hard to halt, and easy to deny.
It was with such lugubrious thoughts that I listened to a number of round-table discussions at Leavenworth. In one a group of majors lamented the end of the draft. "People who want the draft back are hankering after a lost golden age," Major Robert Everson said. "The draft is obsolete because of the way warfare is changing. War has become so technological that it takes too long to train people who will only serve for a year or two." The talk switched to Oklahoma City. A Marine in the group, Major Craig Tucker, said, "The minute I heard about Oklahoma City, I knew who did it -- rednecks, the kind of guys from southern Idaho." I had heard similar remarks. The finger-pointing at Middle Eastern Muslims immediately after the blast, while predictable on the basis of past events, reflected a coastal preoccupation with foreign policy and also an ignorance of social upheavals in the heartland, for which people in the military, quite a number of whom are from blue-collar backgrounds, have antennae. Tucker and another officer suggested that "a time may come when the military will have to go domestic" -- as when George Washington put down the Whiskey Rebellion in western Pennsylvania, in 1794. During another discussion a visiting Canadian officer said, "The biggest threat to Canada is the United States collapsing on itself. Canada's problems are out in the open, but the degree of turmoil in the United States is not admitted." Canadians have always sneered at the "disorderly" United States; I noticed that protests from the American officers were muted.''
And while these people were planning for domestic threats from 'rednecks, the kind of guys from Southern Idaho', there were other threats brewing in the United States, namely Islamic terrorism. It would seem they might have done well to focus more on that, and on controlling our borders and restricting immigration. But despite what has happened since 1996, it seems they are more worried about home-grown 'right-wing' extremists than about anything else. Can anything good come out of this attitude?
From the Jenkins AmCon article, again:
In 1996, the Anti-Terrorism Act gave federal agencies all the powers they could reasonably have demanded up until then. The existence of such a potent body of laws gives police and prosecutors a strong vested interest in applying the terrorism label as widely as possible in order to secure all possible legal advantages. If public opinion permits, they will assuredly use anti-terrorism laws against unpopular right-wing sects.''
A rash of recent mass murders by lone gunmen, including the nursing home shooting in North Carolina, will no doubt add further impetus to the calls for gun control.
And the thought of our military, increasingly staffed by people not of American origin, being used to quell domestic upheavals, is very unsettling.

Labels: , , ,