The Department of Offense
September 25, 2001
best efforts of government, sometimes bits of the truth leak out.
Former Israeli prime minister Benjamin
Netanyahu made one of the frankest statements yet about the 9/11 attack: he said
it was good for Israel. He quickly added an expression of sympathy
for Americans, lest he seem to be welcoming the horror we had suffered; but his
first reaction was right.
Objectively, the attack, though bad for the
United States, was good for Israel, just as Pearl Harbor, though bad for the United
States, was good for Britain as Winston Churchill was the first to realize.
Once Japan hit Pearl Harbor, the United States was bound to enter World War II on
the British side. Small countries always welcome the military assistance of big
countries. Its only natural.
Privately, Churchill spoke of the
British Empire. But because Americans frowned on empires, he spoke
publicly of Britain and America as the great democracies and
the English-speaking peoples. Today the Israelis speak among
themselves of the Jewish state, but when they address Americans,
most of whom are gentiles, they speak of democracies.
The interests of nations (or nation-states)
differ. Even allies rarely have identical interests. Whats bad for one may be
profitable for the other, though it is usually unseemly to say so. The necessities of
propaganda force them to present a united front, to insist that they stand for the
same ideals, and to profess to feel each others pain, as if they were
Now the United States is welded to Israel as
never before. The alliance went from costly to catastrophic in a flash. It
undoubtedly helped motivate the attack. If the United States had withdrawn from
the Middle East on its own initiative, Arab and Muslim hatred of this country would
have abated and the attack might never have occurred. But a U.S. withdrawal now
would look like the retreat of a defeated empire like the British
withdrawal from Palestine in reaction to Zionist terrorism. And no American
president can afford to look weak.
In response to the attack, the
Bush administration has created an Office of Homeland Security. Excuse me, but,
like, isnt homeland security the whole purpose of the Department of
Apparently not. Apparently the Federal
Government spends $300 billion every year for something that is not, strictly
speaking, defense as in the common defense of the
United States. So when it actually finds it necessary to defend this
country, it has to create a whole new agency!
The Department of Defense is, properly
speaking, a Department of Offense an offensive force spread all over the
globe, provoking enmities against which it cant defend us. It
does precisely the opposite of what its supposed to be doing. It makes us
insecure. Hence the need for a separate agency to produce security.
Once upon a time, before double-talk became
the American Way, the Department of Defense was frankly called the Department
of War. Maybe its time to resume the old name, in the interest of candor
and clarity. But whatever we call it, its obsolete. Like all state entities, it
has been outwitted by resourceful private persons and in this case,
singularly unpleasant ones.
Heartening as it is to see every American
waving a flag in each hand, you have to wonder where all these patriots were
while their Constitution was being wadded up, while their Republic was becoming
an empire, and while their politicians were pandering to the pro-Israel lobby. It
took a horrible physical assault on this country to wake them up, but they still
dont seem curious about how this situation came to pass while they slept.
We are told that our freedom is under attack.
And it is. But Osama bin Laden cant abridge our freedoms; only our own
government can do that by giving the FBI and CIA new powers, for example,
and by imposing new restrictions on airlines and travelers, banks and financial
institutions, and on private communications. It may yet force us all to carry
The prospect of a government that treats all
its citizens as criminal suspects is more terrifying than any terrorist. And even
more frightening is a citizenry that can accept the surrender of its freedoms as
the price of freedom.