“Thoreau” on Unqualified Offerings called attention to an article by Philip Giraldi in The American Conservative about a favorite topic of mine—the Deep State—the hidden government that seems to operate no matter who wins the elections.
Consider for a moment how Washington operates. There is gridlock in Congress and the legislature opposes nearly everything that the White House supports.
Nevertheless, certain things happen seemingly without any discussion: Banks are bailed out and corporate interests are protected by law. Huge multi-year defense contracts are approved. Citizens are assassinated by drones, the public is routinely surveilled, people are imprisoned without being charged, military action against “rogue” regimes is authorized, and whistle-blowers are punished with prison. The war crimes committed by U.S. troops and contractors on far-flung battlefields, as well as torture and rendition, are rarely investigated and punishment of any kind is rare.
America, the warlike predatory capitalist, might be considered a virtual definition of deep state.
In many countries of Latin America and the Middle East, it is obvious that ultimate power rests with the military, working with an oligarchy of wealth. Turkey is a good example, Giraldi wrote. Such an alliance also exists in the United States.
America’s deep state is completely corrupt: it exists to sell out the public interest, and includes both major political parties as well as government officials.
Politicians like the Clintons who leave the White House “broke” and accumulate $100 million in a few years exemplify how it rewards. A bloated Pentagon churns out hundreds of unneeded flag officers who receive munificent pensions and benefits for the rest of their lives.
And no one is punished, ever.
Disgraced former general and CIA Director David Petraeus is now a partner at the KKR private equity firm, even though he knows nothing about financial services. More recently, former Acting CIA Director Michael Morell has become a Senior Counselor at Beacon Global Strategies. Both are being rewarded for their loyalty to the system and for providing current access to their replacements in government.
What makes the deep state so successful? It wins no matter who is in power, by creating bipartisan-supported money pits within the system.
Monetizing the completely unnecessary and hideously expensive global war on terror benefits the senior government officials, beltway industries, and financial services that feed off it.
Because it is essential to keep the money flowing, the deep state persists in promoting policies that make no sense, to include the un-winnable wars currently enjoying marquee status in Iraq/Syria and Afghanistan.
It will take more than a few individuals winning a few elections to root out this system. It would take a strong and committed mass movement, embracing a majority of the American people, and astute leaders working over a long period of time.
I think it’s unlikely that the United States faces a danger of a military coup as in the movie “Seven Days in May” or in Chile in real life in 1973. But there are other ways to topple an elected government. The financial and national security elite have the power to create crises which the public will turn to them, and not the elected politicians, to solve.