Won't Back Down

Submitted by Bill St. Clair on Fri, 12 Oct 2007 09:37:11 GMT  <== Politics ==> 

Naomi Wolf at firedoglake - great essay on the fear, despair, and anger growing across America in response to the neocon police state. It better end soon, my friend. We've tried to shame them. We've tried to unelect them. We've protested, written letters, signed petitions. Yet it gets worse. Drastic action is indeed in order. It's time to terminate the neocon new world order's command. Terminate. With extreme prejudice. [inherentlaw]

It is clear from this inundation of personal stories of abuse and retribution against ordinary Americans that a network of criminal behavior and intention is catching up more and more mainstream citizens in its grasp. It is clear that this is not democracy as usual -- or even the corruption of democracy as usual. It is clear that we will need more drastic action than emails to Congress.

The people I am hearing from are conservatives and independents as well as progressives. The cardinal rule of a closing or closed society is that your alignment with the regime offers no protection; in a true police state no one is safe.

I read the news in a state of something like walking shock: seven soldiers wrote an op-ed critical of the war -- in the New York Times; two are dead, one shot in the head. A female soldier who was about to become a whistleblower, possibly about abuses involving taxpayers' money; shot in the head. Pat Tillman, who was contemplating coming forward in a critique of the war; shot in the head. Donald Vance, a contractor himself, who blew the whistle on irregularities involving arms sales in Iraq -- taken hostage FROM the US Embassy BY US soldiers and kept without recourse to a lawyer in a US held-prison, abused and terrified for weeks -- and scared to talk once he got home. Another whistleblower in Iraq, as reported in Vanity Fair: held in a trailer all night by armed contractors before being ejected from the country.

Last month contractors, immune from the rule of law, butchered 17 Iraqi civilians in cold blood. Congress mildly objected -- and contractors butchered two more innocent civilian Iraqi ladies on Tuesday -- in cold blood.

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Naomi Wolf's article is eerily similar...

Submitted by Matt on Sat, 13 Oct 2007 01:34:52 GMT

...to a section from Milton Mayer's They Though They Were Free (http://tinyurl.com/2rtks7):

"You see," my colleague went on, "one doesn't see exactly where or how to
move. Believe me, this is true. Each act, each occasion, is worse than the
last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next. You wait
for one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock
comes, will join with you in resisting somehow. You don't want to act, or
even talk, alone; you don't want to 'go out of your way to make trouble.'
Why not? - Well, you are not in the habit of doing it. And it is not just
fear, fear of standing alone, that restrains you; it is also genuine
"Uncertainty is a very important factor, and, instead of decreasing as
time goes on, it grows. Outside, in the streets, in the general community,
'everyone' is happy. One hears no protest, and certainly sees none. You know,
in France or Italy there would be slogans against the government painted on
walls and fences; in Germany, outside the great cities, perhaps, there is
not even this. In the university community, in your own community, you speak
privately to your colleagues, some of whom certainly feel as you do; but what
do they say? They say, 'It's not so bad' or 'You're seeing things' or 'You're
an alarmist.'
"And you *are* an alarmist. You are saying that *this* must lead to
*this*, and you can't prove it. These are the beginnings, yes; but how do
you know for sure when you don't know the end, and how do you know, or even
surmise, the end? On the one hand, your enemies, the law, the regime, the
Party, intimidate you. On the other, your colleagues pooh-pooh you as
pessimistic or even neurotic. You are left with your close friends, who are,
naturally, people who have always thought as you have.
"But your friends are fewer now. Some have drifted off somewhere or
submerged themselves in their work. You no longer see as many as you did at
meetings or gatherings. Informal groups become smaller; attendance drops off
in little organizations, and the organizations themselves wither. Now, in
small gatherings of your oldest friends, you feel that you are talking to
yourselves, that you are isolated from the reality of things. This weakens
your confidence still further and serves as a further deterrent to - to
what? It is clearer all the time that, if you are going to do anything, you
must *make* an occasion to do it, and then you are obviously a troublemaker.
So you wait, and you wait.
"But the one great shocking occasion, when tens or hundreds or thousands
will join with you, never comes. *That's* the difficulty. If the last and
worst act of the whole regime had come immediately after the first and
smallest, thousands, yes, millions would have been sufficiently shocked - if,
let us say, the gassing of the Jews in '43 had come immediately after the
'German Firm' stickers on the windows of non-Jewish shops in '33. But of
course this isn't the way it happens. In between come all the hundreds of
little steps, some of them imperceptible, each of them preparing you not to
be shocked by the next. Step C is not so much worse than Step B, and, if you
did not make a stand at Step B, why should you at Step C? And so on to
Step D.
"And one day, too late, your principles, if you were ever sensible of
them, all rush in upon you. The burden of self-deception has grown too heavy,
and some minor incident, in my case my little boy, hardly more than a baby,
saying 'Jew swine,' collapses it all at once, and you see that everything,
everything, has changed and changed completely under your nose. The world
you live in - your nation, your people - is not the world you were born in at
all. The forms are all there, all untouched, all reassuring, the houses, the
shops, the jobs, the mealtimes, the visits, the concerts, the cinema, the
holidays. But the spirit, which you never noticed because you made the
lifelong mistake of identifying it with the forms, is changed. Now you live
in a world of hate and fear, and the people who hate and fear do not even
know it themselves; when everyone is transformed, no one is transformed. Now
you live in a system which rules without responsibility even to God. The
system itself could not have intended this in the beginning, but in order to
sustain itself it was compelled to go all the way.
"You have gone almost all the way yourself. Life is a continuing process,
a flow, not a succession of acts and events at all. It has flowed to a new
level, carrying you with it, without any effort on your part. On this new
level you live, you have been living more comfortably every day, with new
morals, new principles. You have accepted things you would not have accepted
five years ago, a year ago, things that your father, even in Germany, could
not have imagined.
"Suddenly it all comes down, all at once. You see what you are, what you
have done, or, more accurately, what you haven't done (for that was all that
was required of most of us: that we do nothing). You remember those early
meetings of your department in the university when, if one had stood, others
would have stood, perhaps, but no one stood. A small matter, a matter of
hiring this man or that, and you hired this one rather than that. You
remember everything now, and your heart breaks. Too late. You are compromised
beyond repair.
-- Milton Mayer, "They Thought They Were Free" pages 169-72

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