Another quintessential "blame the victim" sermon.
There's a Biblical component to this form of indictment since it sets forth to lay blame upon those who were long-deceived as if they were the authors of the deception.
Mr. Feffer offers this:
"No American executive will think of challenging the national security state without a comparable shift in public opinion. Such a shift would require a sea change in the way Americans think of themselves: a change in culture before a change in policy.
"In the meantime, we’ll be stuck with the president we deserve, and more importantly, the one our foreign policy deserves. Our foreign policy is aggressive, parochial, and hard-hearted."
IF he also added the role played by Christian Fundamentalism in NORMALIZING war under the guise of a holy battle between countering religious orders; or if he spoke about the role Hollywood plays in sexing up war and men who use guns without any hesitation; or the capture of mainstream media to traffic in ideological frames that make the missions of the Military Industrial Complex seem sane, if not inevitable... THEN, he could begin to make the case he otherwise asserts.
From the moment a young boy enters school, he's shamed if he doesn't show an aggressive capacity to fight back. And what sport is more revered than football? It's a sport based on "slaughtering" the enemy.
Grown men, often the head honchos of big business enterprises remain glued to the football field. Some of them own teams.
There is a VERY strong relationship between the "masculine coming of age rites" in America and football; and football-in its language of winning, its team orientation, its training in following orders--is the NATURAL segue-way into the military. Curiously enough, much in the way of military verbiage runs parallel to the language used in football.
Feffer makes no mention of 911 or how profoundly the view of militarists came to dominate virtually all sectors of U.S. media.
He also makes no mention of the kind of $ needed to purchase air & face time--necessary components of any successful political bid.
With PAC money behind those candidates who will undoubtedly support U.S. corporate interests, and many of these corporate interests reliant upon U.S. martial muscle in order to "successfully" exploit the resources of foreign lands, Mr. Feffer has left out another central ingredient in the vetting of candidates.
So, let's see:
By eliminating the role played by a Pentagon-fueled media propagandized FOR war; and leaving out the role of the Fundamentalist Christian church in playing cheerleader for "holy war,"; and leaving out the role of Big Money in vetting candidates; and the social and cultural conditioning that ties macho heroism to the very definition of manhood (and also, patriotism)... what comes into place he THEN says represents what the public deserves.
Also reflective of a blame-the-victim superficial analysis is the casual way that Feffer dismisses Bernie Sanders and ties all Americans to Trump's Neanderthal bluster (which IS an accurate depiction of the man and his fans) and Hillary's "out-men at the Mars' rules game" hawkish stances.
An essay like this reinforces the status quo. It blames citizens for the outcome that far larger forces shape... all the while keeping those shaping forces entirely out of the discussion.
Institute of Policy Studies in Washington... I wonder who might fund that "think tank" since based on an article of this nature, it grants a pass to all of the shaping institutions that have given war primacy in this land... and in spite of evidence ranging from the Piketty Study (where $ goes), and The Supreme Court's disastrous "Citizens United" (that big $ purchases candidates and through them, policy), and the Page and Gilens Study (that virtually NOTHING the public supports ends up made into current policy), still asserts that it's the people who get what they deserve.
Feffer, you're another Calvinist dressing up your case in Liberal euphemisms.