Barbaric Silence

by Milo Clark

March 5, 2001

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Part of my compartment is a naiveté which has repulsed direct experience as aberration.

It took me a very long time to recognize that the beyond barbaric efforts experimented in Vietnam were but a continuity common to militaries world-wide. One barbarity, usually that of the "losers," is vastly exceeded by the barbarities of the "winners." This has only been one part of my personal denial of Vietnam.

Another part has to do with the overwhelming direct evidence of US Government involvement with drug trafficking which began with the OSS enlistment of the [French] Marseilles factions working though Turkish originators of heroin; the subsequent involvement with the Mafia and the Cosa Nostra which ended up with them eschewing their long held refusal to deal hard drugs; taking over the French role in the Golden Triangle and financing the remnants of the Nationalist Chinese army scattered along the Yunnan/Burma/ Thai/Lao borders through heroin trading; involvement with Colombian, Peruvian, Chilean, Venezuelan, Ecuadorian and Bolivian cocaine distribution, expansion of off-budget sums available for covert and increasingly overt actions financed outside oversight and so on and so forth.

Today the DEA functions primarily in suppression of competition rather than suppression of drug trafficking.

As novels are often used to say what cannot be said about such matters, I have recently commented on a year 2000 published novel about WWII barbarity and escalations thereof, Advocate.

Peter Maas, better known for Serpico and The Valachi Papers (both nonfiction) published in 1994 an allegedly fictitious novel, China White,* dealing with several issues, primarily CIA and expatriate and now PRChinese involvement in expanding heroin markets first in Asia and then within North America.

The downgrading of CIA and upgrading of DIA, buried in the Pentagon, has added new dimensions to perfidy masked as national interest and national security.

In 1987, Norman Cousins, long time editor of Saturday Review when it was a bellwether magazine and contemporary of the legendary Mr. Shawn when he was editor of The New Yorker and that journal was much more than the hollow collections of "advertorial" copy now prevailing, published a prescient book, The Pathology of Power.*

In his foreword, George F. Kennan, no slouch in any dimension, noted that several major military figures of WWII, MacArthur, Eisenhower, Mountbatten, " . . . perceived the suicidal quality of the nuclear weapon and the danger of allowing it to become the basis of defense postures and the object of international competition. All of them spoke with a great sense of urgency. All went to their deaths hoping, surely, that their warnings would not fall on deaf ears and that a new generation of leaders would recognize that we are all living in a world of new political-strategic realities and would draw the necessary conclusion."

Kennan added, "Unfortunately, this has not happened. For thirty years past these warning voices have disregarded in every conceivable respect. There has been no new mindset. There has been no new recognition. . . . On the contrary, the nuclear explosive has come to be treated as just another weapon. . . . Coherent political purpose has been lost sight of. . . . the same exaggerations of enemy iniquity and capabilities; the same excesses of chauvinistic self-righteousness, the same thirst for unconditional surrender and total victory, the same mad assumptions that out of vast destruction and suffering could come something called 'victory,' and that would assure the emergence of a better world."

"We can see today the result of this rejection. After the passage of some thirty years, the security of this country has not been improved, never, in fact, was it more endangered that it is now.". . .

"And it is not only the external effects of this dreadful progression we must take account of. Hand and hand with it has gone, and must continue to go, a serious weakening of American society and an impairment of American democracy. It has led to the emergence of a military-industrial establishment of such dimensions that it has become the greatest single factor in our economic life, overshadowing the peaceful and constructive elements of the American economy and in some respects encroaching on them and replacing them. It is an establishment so clearly perceived outside the perimeter of democratic control . . . Constituting as it now does the greatest single purchaser in the American market, with all the power that implies, anchored in long-term contractual obligations that defy the normal annual budgetary discretion of Congress, its tentacles now reaching into almost every congressional district and distorting the electoral situations wherever they reach, this military-industrial establishment has become a veritable addiction of American society -- an addiction from which American society could no longer free itself without the most severe withdrawal pains. Were the Soviet Union to sink tomorrow under the waters of the ocean, the American military-industrial establishment would have to go on, substantially unchanged, until some other adversary could be invented. Anything else would be an unacceptable shock to the American economy" [emphasis added].

"The conclusion to which all this points is one of great gravity, but it is inescapable. The problem posed by the discovery and development of nuclear weaponry has proved to be one too large for the normal political system of this country. The qualities of mind required -- one cannot say for its solution (that goes too far) bur for coping with it in ways that do not spell utter disaster -- are not ones encouraged by active participation in the political process."

Kennan went on to suggest that better minds might be employed free of ". . . schizophrenia . . .the vast networks of modern governmental bureaucracy and subservient to the primitive assumptions on which these usually operate. . . politicians daily measuring his popularity by the reactions of the television screens and opinion polls . . . and beholden in countless ways . . ."

Clearly, these better minds have been nearly totally submerged. Norman Cousins lies neglected and ignored along with the other once-strong minds that edited significant American journals.

Cousins in his Prescript of The Pathology of Power writes:

"CONFESSION: This book is written in a mood of indignation and sadness over the way new attachments to power are distorting the traditions of freedom in America."

All you wonderful Swans-scanners may now add Norman Cousins to the ghostly chattering of voices ignored. As best I may, over recent months, I have attempted to call attention to many writers who have outlined the situation within which we are now totally immersed -- quite beyond redemption. There is no need to take my word for any of it.

And I will stay with my "simples":

"There is only one way not to play a game and that is not to play."

"Attempting to solve problems using the tools, techniques and thoughts which create them is silly."

In terms of the novel Advocate, which I doubt will be widely read, be happy as a Harry.

Meanwhile, hail the anointed monarch of the bureaucratic state -- your job probably depends on it.

Welcome to the millennium, at last.


* China White
Peter Maas
Pinnacle Books 1995; ISBN: 0786002042

* The Pathology of Power
Norman Cousins
W.W. Norton & Company 1987; ISBN: 0393305414


       Milo Clark, a founding member of Swans, had it all: Harvard MBA, big house, three-car garage, top management... Yet, once he had seemingly achieved the famed American dream he felt something was missing somewhere. As any good executive he decided to investigate. Since then, he has become a curmudgeon and, after living in Berkeley, California, where he was growing bamboos, making water gardens, listening to muses, writing, cogitating and pondering, he has moved on to the Big Island in Hawaii where he creates thought forms about sunshine. Milo can be reached at Swans

       Please, DO NOT steal, scavenge or repost this work without the expressed written authorization of Swans, which will seek permission from the author. This material is copyrighted, © Milo G. Clark 2001. All rights reserved.

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Published March 5, 2001
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