by Matthew Payne on September 15, 2013Comments Off on The NSA–Land of Captain Kirks
I have always thought the men who have absolute authority over us (and hint, they are mostly men, unelected and old) have the mentality of a bunch of little boys. All this macho bullshit about the army being a “warrior culture” (real warriors do very poorly in the age of industrialized warfare–ask the Zulus), cartoon names for killing machines such as “the Predator” and the “Reaper” (at least previous generations had the shame to name their thermonuclear devises “Peacekeepers”) and Orwellian nomenclature for snooping programs betrays a certain mindset. Not sober-minded realists but megalomaniacs and fantasists run the most powerful national security state every constructed (and yes, I mean Barack Obama as well, he of the belief that you can drone people into submission rather than just pissing them off). The laughable assertion of the NatSec types is that it is a dangerous world out there and they, due to their superior Vulcan intellect and access to “the” data, the need largely unsupervised control (the “black budget”) over government powers to counter nebulous “threats.” And as for the democratic sovereignty made a mockery by suc secret government, well the answer of the NatSec “professionals” (often contractors and PR hacks, the two roles can be interchangeable) is that the public is too infantile to be trusted with the knowledge of what their government actually does. The patron saint of this set, which they are too obtuse to realize was a critique, is Colonel Nathan R. Jessep of A Few Good Men, (you know, “You Can’t Handle the Truth!”–shouted and with spittle flecked vehemence). The upshot of all this is that the public needs to trust them and only them. As if. If nearly three quarters’ of a century’s worth of experience has taught us anything, it’s that these clowns are more fitting to star in Dr. Strangelove than be fitted out for their John Wayne and James Bond fantasies.
But, you know, even I can get shocked and color me shocked. The shocking figure is General Keith Alexander, absolute despot of the NSA. Think that characterization is extreme? His own colleagues in spookdom have noted his thirst for aggregating power and the “blowback” of his methods (first pioneered in Baghdad against a conquered and victimized population) drive a dangerous “cowboy” mentality whose motto is, quite literally, “Collect It All.” This guy wants to “hoover” it all up and it’s very, very hard to believe he hasn’t used that power to the same ends as the original Hoover. But where do we find all this out about an out-of-control spook chief? From some Hippie radical rag, like the New York Times? Hell no, from the establishment flagship of the NatSec Vulcan set, Foreign Policy. Note they refer to his activities as “barely legal.” As if. The guy lied to Congress and got even the super-compliant, alleged, FISA court to brand his activities illegal. It’s just that the law is for peasants, not aristocrats like General Alexander in this environment of impunity we laughingly call a constitutional republic. So, what could possibly shock me about this guy? This.
If that looks to you like the bridge of the old cheesy 60’s space opera, Star Trek than you would be right! Alexander had his “war room” remodeled in all the shades of his teenage fantasies (and I mean that. Alexander was born in 1951 and Star Trek debuted in 1966–he was 15). Really, what more is there to say than, “Please, please look at the clowns you have ceded authority to.” Yes, yes. Much of this is designed for PR stunts since, apparently, allowing visiting Congress critters and other dignitaries to sit in “Captain Kirk’s chair” (it makes me humiliated as a US citizen to even report this) impressed them with the need to ever more grossly expand the NSA’s budget. But the narcissistic element to all this is as obvious as John Thain’s (Merrill, Lynch’s–ahem–“canned”–CEO) bathroom. (You are obviously a special guy if you need a million dollar crap house). Glenzilla has the details on Starfleet Ensign Alexander–go, read the details, and weep for the Republic.