No matter who is labeled president after the election, the crisis this process has created for most Americans will not be over. It will be like no other moment in all of America’s history. Now is the time to look back into the past and connect those events that have led us to this most strange and significant moment. We’ll start with the day America’s leadership lost all consciousness.
“‘We’re the dark matter. We’re the force that orders the universe but can’t be seen,’ a strapping Navy SEAL, speaking on condition of anonymity, said in describing his unit.”
If anyone thought the war on terror contained an otherworldly quality, this quote on the front page of the September 11, 2011 Washington Post from Dana Priest and William M. Arkin’s book Top Secret America confirmed it.
9/11 had taken America through the mirror and there was no coming back.
Following 9/11, the elected government of the United States willingly delivered over what remained of America’s civilian control to a department of Homeland Security, dedicated to expanding the unelected government’s fear of darkness into everybody’s life. Added to this was a top secret military operation known as the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) that thought of itself as the dark.
Begun as a modest hostage rescue team, by 2011 JSOC had morphed into a veritable heart of darkness, with the power to murder at will and completely unaccountable to American or international law.
At the height of its notoriety under General Stanley McChrystal in Iraq and Afghanistan JSOC operated completely in the black as a “Stovepipe,” operation reporting to no one and employing infamous rogue ex-CIA professionals such as indicted Iran Contra operative Dewey Clarridge.
The Navy Seal Team that was said to have taken out Osama bin Laden operated under JSOC. Retired military personnel refer to JSOC as “Murder, Incorporated” and the “most dangerous people on the face of the earth.”
But if JSOC’s reputation for secrecy, vengeance and death can’t be explained from within the context of traditional U.S. military operations or U.S. law, then what set of rules is it operating from? Or is it simply that the rational enlightenment traditions that most Americans take for granted have become subjected to deeper and older rules of behavior rooted in an irrational world of personal, private and holy war?
No one less than the legendary Cold Warrior, Time Magazine’s Henry Luce understood that his passion for defeating Communism constituted “a declaration of private war,” which, in citing the example of the privateer Sir Francis Drake made it not only “unlawful,” but “probably mad.” As the child of American missionaries, Luce was committed to the militant spread of Christian Capitalism while viewing its ultimate triumph over the world as an inevitable consequence of God’s will.
Described by Tournament of Shadows authors Karl E. Meyer and Shareen Blair Brysac as mystical imperialism, the term can be traced to both Britain and Russia’s 19th century efforts to establish dominion through a mix of imperialism and Christian zeal.
The competition came to a dead stop in Afghanistan with the end of the Great Game in 1907, when Imperial Russia and Great Britain chose to accept Afghanistan as a neutral buffer state between empires. But with the advent of the Cold War in 1947 and the mysterious and intoxicating god-like qualities inherent in nuclear weapons, a new and more apocalyptic iteration of mystical imperialism came into being.
The sole purpose of America’s mid 20th century defense intellectuals was to rationalize nuclear war, not mystify it. America’s cold warriors were far removed technologically from their 19th century counterparts whose Christian elite believed they were bringing enlightenment to the “darker regions of the earth.”
But whether by design or by accident within a short time an entire stratum of American scientific and political thought found itself immersed in an irrational realm that looked, smelled and tasted like medieval mysticism. A 1960s London Times Literary Supplement marveled at the new priesthood who moved as freely through the corridors of the Pentagon and the State Department as the Jesuits once had through the courts of Madrid and Vienna, centuries before.
Tasked with defeating Communism by any means possible they invented their own reality, accelerated the nuclear arms race, created an imaginary domino theory of Communist aggression in Southeast Asia and then escalated a real war in Vietnam to counter it.
President Kennedy’s science advisor Jerome Wiesner eventually came to realize that the so called “missile gap” and the massive buildup of America’s nuclear arsenal in response to it was only a “mirror image” of America’s own intentions towards the Soviet Union and not the other way around. Yet instead of addressing the error, the U.S. slipped deeper into the Cold War mirror.
By 1978, these thermonuclear Jesuits and their CIA counterparts were using the U.S., NATO, China, Iran and Saudi Arabia to shake the Soviet Union’s domination over Central Asia through a Christian/Islamic holy war in Afghanistan.
In a rational world it might be assumed that this war would stop with the defeat of the Soviet Union and the collapse of Communism. But instead of ending, America’s full blown splurge into personal and private holy war caused the U.S. to slip into a crisis of identity.
Forced after seventy five years of anti-communism to finally define itself based on what it stood for and not what it stood against, the United States entered a house of shadows in which it continues to wander. Stricken by decades of economic and military excess, its mission has become confused, its legal, moral and philosophical foundation abandoned and its role as leader of the western world questioned as never before.
America is clearly not the country it was before 9/11 but what has it become and what do the current candidates for the 2016 presidential election tell us about the direction we’re headed?
Join us as we explore the little-analyzed facts and covert agendas that the United States must now reconsider in the 21st century and what those agendas mean to America’s role as “the dark force that orders the universe,” in our next installment of America, an Empire in Twilight Part II.
Copyright © 2016 Fitzgerald & Gould All rights reserved
America, an Empire in Twilight Series
PART I: When America Became the Dark Force
PART II: How Guilt, Innocence & Facts Have Been Rendered Irrelevant
PART III: Neoconizing the Just War Doctrine in the service of American Empire
PART IV: America’s Late Stage Imperial Dementia
Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould are the authors of Invisible History: Afghanistan’s Untold Story, Crossing Zero The AfPak War at the Turning Point of American Empire and The Voice. For more information visit their websites at invisiblehistory and grailwerk.