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The United States as a Prisoner of War


The United States as a Prisoner of War

Andrew Bacevich

Let’s face it: in times of war, the Constitution tends to take a beating. With the safety or survival of the nation said to be at risk, the basic law of the land -- otherwise considered sacrosanct -- becomes nonbinding, subject to being waived at the whim of government authorities who are impatient, scared, panicky, or just plain pissed off.



" In the summer of 1950 when President Harry Truman decided that a U.N. Security Council resolution provided sufficient warrant for him to order U.S. forces to fight in Korea, congressional war powers took a hit from which they never have recovered."

Ever since, the American people have lived in a surreptitious, clandestine military dictatorship supported by the propaganda of a compliant and obeisant press, that has made all the people of the U.S. prisoners of wars built on a plethora of canards.


Andrew Bacevich always writes so well. And there is so much that is right here.

I have watched that curious passivity by both R's and D's and viewed it mostly as assent. And in and among this is the craziness of censoring Obama and "not giving him" what he wants, This throwing down on things like health care, safety net services with so much drama, So many things manage to happen that the 1% want. Like keeping the funding for endless war "solid". Like making sure nothing fixes too big to fail banks. Like shoving, pushing and squeezing through trade deals that are harmful to ordinary Americans.

It's all a choreographed dance. And Obama plays the scorned lover but in the end, they all are in it together. Just one big happy family of players, dancing to the tune of the 1%.


the grandchild of the Tonkin Gulf Resolution
In more ways than one.


none of them, nor any of the groups targeted, had a hand in the 9/11 attacks
Neither did Afghanistan or Iraq. The 9/11 attacks were home grown. Why bother to even write articles if you deny this?
"...there is a term to describe this type of behavior. It’s called cowardice."


Yea, verily yea!


I wish more pieces like this one were commonplace in the media and maybe people would remember their rights and/or learn that we once had them, if young. The oligarchy seems hell bent on dismantling democracy and our constitution everywhere you look.

While things may have looked one way and then later came to be regretted, these days - the days of the Endless War - it appears that they are being made permanent therefore leaving no room to return to back the way they were, so no regrets either. A twenty year old in uniform grew up not living under our constitution but under the Patriot Act. The Total Information Awareness of John Ashcroft has become data mining and warrantless surveillance.

One day we woke up and noticed we were no longer as free a people as we assumed we were. We found ourselves a people under constant surveillance, so why is that freedom? Sure the hobnailed boot has never stomped through American neighborhoods knocking down doors and rounding up people... But they sure could whenever they want to if ever they want to because it has been planned for it looks like but just not implemented.

I keep wondering at what will happen to this country if there is unrest?


Just remember that since Sanders is promising drones and to smash ISIS, he also will continue the permanent war.

Sanders exists so that Progressives can vote for more war, just like all the other Good Americans.


Stop Killing
It is Insanity
I do not like blood on my hands
Stop Kill in My Name
Stop It


Bacevich is one of the few historians left with an anti-imperialist conscience. But come on, go deeper if you're going to write about the American War State---He doesn't really believe that Osama and Al Qaeda were behind 9/11, does he?


Bacevich always offer a different perspective than the one we are spoon fed by the MSM. The perspectives that he shares are much closer to reality than the ones we read in history books. It is imperative to have a boogie man or two to focus on to maintain fear in the war equation to validate arms sales which greatly enhances the bottom lines of congress persons, and of the war machinery corporations and their share holders. The US reminds one of the class bully who always instigates school yard fist fights and then stands back to watch while school chums beat the heck out of each other and are the ones who get called to the principle's office, leaving the bully to begin again tomorrow.


Great Article. Some comments below refer to the MIA narrative of 9/11 as a probable inside job; how unpatriotic can some folks be? If not careful, you get end up confined in a mental institution - like some US Marine veteran was recently for making such claims on Facebook. Its best to avoid idle speculation and look to the facts e.g. the 1998 paper "Catastrophic Terrorism" by Zelikow, Carter & Deuch which uncannily poses the "what-if" question i.e. what if terrorists did indeed destroy the WTC and thousands died, it would be like another Pearl Harbor, a transformative event; we could change the domestic laws and wage the wars of our choice etc. Those smart patriots were sooo right that Carter is now Sec. Def and Zelikow got to manage the 9/11 Truth Commission like his hero Allen Dulles got to manage the Warren Commission which determined - before it even began - that Oswald acted alone and withheld all Oswald's CIA connections from his time at CIA's U2 Base Atsugi.
Thus MIA is any mention of the Coup d'etat of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. But it was all such a long time ago....Boring!


The exquisitely delicious irony of the American rebellion in 1776-1783.

The north American colonists fought against a King who even then was answerable to the British Parliament as to whether he could go to war, should he wish to do so, and now the USA has a "King" who can take the USA to war whenever he or she feels pleased to do so.

No annihilation without representation!


You already know the answer to your last question as you already know what terrors are held in Room 101. Big Brother is ever vigilant.


They/we recreate a neo-nobility sans the heraldic titles and hereditary ranks. No titled dukes or barons but yet kings and princes in all but name. What separates a noble from a peasant except attitude (and the f'n money of course) and the power that a peasant doesn't have. Nobles had that - the power. What defines power? There are those with immense amounts of money and of course money buys power but there are those who, while not super rich, still wield great power.

They are the ones who actively remove freedoms from others. The super rich only want to have things their way really. They are less concerned with the direct domination of others. They tell those who want dominate what they want they want done and have their orders obeyed. It is those who serve the super rich who feel the need for total surveillance because they do the surveilling and that separates them from the surveilled. The big fish in a little pond isn't that big of a fish after all but he is big enough to the little fish.

Big brother/storm trooper fascism isn't what is wanted. What is wanted is to de-equalize people. Forget equality as the ideal. There are those who seek to create classes beneath the super rich/oligarchy. A ruling class of those with power though not great wealth who are separate from everybody else. Power classes - a kind of middle management class - like those who are part of the permanent government (nepotism and insider privilege on steroids).

They don't want Big Brother... They just want to do to you what they don't want done to them... Taking away your freedoms gives them more power than you. That defines them... Not money, they aren't oligarchs, but powers that you don't have and can't do anything about. They will have them. Powers over you.

That permanent government power hungry ruling class - Big Brother's children.


Yes, and that cowardice is rampant not only in the MSM but in the so-called progressive press, like Democracy Now! Who refuse to expose the fairy tale of 9/11. By their silence they are cowards that re-enforce the bogus narrative of 9/11!


What separates a noble from a peasant except attitude?

Yes. The sword and the will to wield it, not to mention the ability to gather a few friends equally armed and willing. It's all really rather mediaeval.


It is an older story than that going back to First Caveman Ugh and his band of thugs who grabbed all the fermented wheat beer, stayed drunk all the time while growing a paunch and merrily decided this was a sign of their innate greatness and sought to make it hereditary. An attitude mind you that still has some currency Btw!

The hedgehog rampant and other rousing sigils of familiarity that served in lieu of an ability to read and write were about as cool as you got while never bathing (if you could help it) and traipsing about a big drafty stone house that was dark and miasmic as a pestilential cave (that you forced the local peasants to build simply out of the love they bore you for not chopping off their heads if they refused) and which was surrounded by a moat filled with many generations of poop that you and your noble family simply threw out the window.


Why does Ugh always get bad press? Was he Russian?