The Menace of the Military Mind

You just gotta love Chris Hedges. I mean, the man sued the President!!

I’m hoping to change some minds here.

There are some here who think the U.S. military won’t kill fellow Americans.  That there will first be an officer-revolt, that the guy-in-the-trenches won’t shoot family members or people from their town (ummm, Civil War?), that there are Oathkeeper type organizations, and a host of other reasons.

I agree there may very well be some that refuse to fire.  But, they are a small minority. They can and will be replaced.  Look at all the various conflicts around the world.  Who does the killing for the government? Copfuks and military thugs.  There is a never-ending supply of amoral, low-life scum in this country who will take up arms against you for a paycheck.

We already know copfuks aren’t our friends. Neither is the military.  That Wounded Warrior “hero” who had no problem going overseas to kill ragheads because he was only “following orders” is the same amoral fellow who will follow orders to shoot your sorry ass.  They do not – can not – make moral decisions.

Behold the terror of a military mind.


I had my first experience with the U.S. military when I was a young reporter covering the civil war in El Salvador. We journalists were briefed at the American Embassy each week by a U.S. Army colonel who at the time headed the military group of U.S. advisers to the Salvadoran army. The reality of the war, which lasted from 1979 to 1992, bore little resemblance to the description regurgitated each week for consumption by the press. But what was most evident was not the blatant misinformation—this particular colonel had apparently learned to dissemble to the public during his multiple tours in Vietnam—but the hatred of the press by this man and most other senior officers in the U.S. military. When first told that he would have to meet the press once a week, the colonel reportedly protested against having to waste his time with those “limp-dicked communists.”

For the next 20 years I would go on from war zone to war zone as a foreign correspondent immersed in military culture. Repetitive rote learning and an insistence on blind obedience—similar to the approach used to train a dog—work on the battlefield. The military exerts nearly total control over the lives of its members. Its long-established hierarchy ensures that those who embrace the approved modes of behavior rise and those who do not are belittled, insulted and hazed. Many of the marks of civilian life are stripped away. Personal modes of dress, hairstyle, speech and behavior are heavily regulated. Individuality is physically and then psychologically crushed. Aggressiveness is rewarded. Compassion is demeaned. Violence is the favorite form of communication. These qualities are an asset in war; they are a disaster in civil society.

Homer in “The Iliad” showed his understanding of war. His heroes are not pleasant men. They are vain, imperial, filled with rage and violent. And Homer’s central character in “The Odyssey,” Odysseus, in his journey home from war must learn to shed his “hero’s heart,” to strip from himself the military attributes that served him in war but threaten to doom him off the battlefield. The qualities that serve us in war defeat us in peace.

Most institutions have a propensity to promote mediocrities, those whose primary strengths are knowing where power lies, being subservient and obsequious to the centers of power and never letting morality get in the way of one’s career. The military is the worst in this respect. In the military, whether at the Parris Island boot camp or West Point, you are trained not to think but to obey. What amazes me about the military is how stupid and bovine its senior officers are. Those with brains and the willingness to use them seem to be pushed out long before they can rise to the senior-officer ranks. The many Army generals I met over the years not only lacked the most rudimentary creativity and independence of thought but nearly always saw the press, as well as an informed public, as impinging on their love of order, regimentation, unwavering obedience to authority and single-minded use of force to solve complex problems.

So when I heard James R. Clapper Jr., a retired Air Force lieutenant general and currently the federal government’s director of national intelligence, denounce Edward Snowden and his “accomplices”—meaning journalists such as Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras—before the Senate Intelligence Committee last week I was not surprised. Clapper charged, without offering any evidence, that the Snowden disclosures had caused “profound damage” and endangered American lives. And all who have aided Snowden are, it appears, guilty of treason in Clapper’s eyes.

Clapper and many others who have come out of the military discern no difference between terrorists and reporters, and by reporters I am not referring to the boot-licking courtiers on television and in Washington who masquerade as reporters. Carry out an interview with a member of al-Qaida, as I have, and you become in the eyes of generals like Clapper a member of al-Qaida. Most generals I know recognize no need for an independent press. The munchkins who dutifully sit through their press briefings or follow them around in preapproved press pools and publish their lies are the generals’ idea of journalism.


When I was in Central America the U.S. officers who were providing support to the military of El Salvador or Guatemala, along with help to the Contra forces then fighting the Sandinista government in Nicaragua, did not distinguish between us journalists and the rebel forces or the leftist Sandinista government. We were one and the same. The reporters and photographers, often after a day or two of hiking to reach small villages, would report on massacres by the Salvadoran army, the Guatemalan army or the Contras. When the stories appeared, the U.S. officers usually would go volcanic. But their rage would be directed not at those who pulled the triggers but at those who wrote about the mass killings or photographed the bodies.

This is why, after Barack Obama signed into law Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act, which permits the U.S. military to seize U.S. citizens who “substantially support” al-Qaida, the Taliban or “associated forces,” to strip them of due process and to hold them indefinitely in military detention centers, I sued the president. I and my fellow plaintiffs won in U.S. District Court. When Obama appealed the ruling it was overturned. We are now trying to go to the Supreme Court. Section 1021 is a chilling reminder of what people like Clapper could do to destroy constitutional rights. They see no useful role for a free press, one that questions and challenges power, and are deeply hostile to its existence. I expect Clapper, if he has a free hand, to lock us up, just as the Egyptian military has arrested a number of Al-Jazeera journalists, including some Westerners, on terrorism-related charges. The military mind is amazingly uniform.

The U.S. military has won the ideological war. The nation sees human and social problems as military problems. To fight terrorists Americans have become terrorists. Peace is for the weak. War is for the strong. Hypermasculinity has triumphed over empathy. We Americans speak to the world exclusively in the language of force. And those who oversee our massive security and surveillance state seek to speak to us in the same demented language. All other viewpoints are to be shut out. “In the absence of contrasting views, the very highest form of propaganda warfare can be fought: the propaganda for a definition of reality within which only certain limited viewpoints are possible,” C. Wright Mills wrote. “What is being promulgated and reinforced is the military metaphysics—the cast of mind that defines international reality as basically military.”

This is why people like James Clapper and the bloated military and security and surveillance apparatus must not have unchecked power to conduct wholesale surveillance, to carry out extraordinary renditions and to imprison Americans indefinitely as terrorists. This is why the nation, as our political system remains mired in paralysis, must stop glorifying military values. In times of turmoil the military always seems to be a good alternative. It presents the facade of order. But order in the military, as the people of Egypt are now learning again, is akin to slavery. It is the order of a prison. And that is where Clapper and his fellow generals and intelligence chiefs would like to place any citizen who dares to question their unimpeded right to turn us all into mindless recruits. They have the power to make their demented dreams a reality. And it is our task to take this power from them.


Author: Stucky

I'm right, you're wrong. Deal with it.

11 thoughts on “The Menace of the Military Mind”

  1. One of my favorite patriots. Man can he write and put truth over all the facades. Probably be one of the first in a fema camp.

  2. I was in a store a couple days ago and heard some national guard members talking about using M-4s in case of a riot over the basketball games.So the answer is yes they are planning to shoot real bullets in Atlanta Ga.These guy’s were all black .

    Justsaying ,what don’t you go to Atlanta and punch the first black guy in uniform.

  3. It is so heart-wrenching to see the writing on the wall, and feel so powerless to stop it.

    Bad winds are blowing. The removal of many of the former military leaders over the past couple years is not a coincidence.

    Stay the hell out of their way and hope they are too busy in the ‘hood to come our way.

  4. Ah yes, those evil military minds, all of whom have served this nation so poorly for well over 200 years.

    Men like General George Washington, General Andrew Jackson, General Ulysses Grant, and General Dwight Eisenhower. Didn’t do one fucking thing useful for this nation. Not one. All of them were deeply flawed. Ike, for example, was bald.

  5. SSS – Andrew Jackson is the US equivalent of Hitler. Seriously, what the fuck is wrong with you? Nothing he did offsets his mass murder of the American Indian. Nothing. To put him in the same sentence as Washington is a disgrace.

  6. Llpoh

    There is nothing wrong with me. I had a fairly decent round of golf today.

    I have commented extensively, and negatively, on Jackson’s policies towards the American Indians. You don’t need to school me on that subject. Jackson hated Indians, and he screwed them royally. But you must remember that the “Trail of Tears” tragedy took place under Martin Van Buren’s presidency, not Jackson’s.

    Jackson’s great accomplishment was killing the U.S. Bank (aka today as the Federal Reserve), something which nearly all of us here on TBP would agree. It lasted until 1913.

    I presented several examples of military men who have served this country, including Washington. Putting ANY of them in the same sentence with that man is a tough sell.

  7. SSS – your history knowledge is poor.

    That motherfucker sent my people – the Choctaw – on the the trail of tears beginning in 1831. He was president then, and for years to come.

    The Cherokee – for some reason the more well known of those slaughtered – were not on the trail until 1831.

    Do not tell me about that motherfucker. Do a bit of better research then come talk to me.

    Thousands of my people died on the Trail – men, women, children. The were forced to bypass water holesand died of thirst. They froze. They died of hunger. Of disease. They were sent on the trail in the dead of winter.

    Jackson was the reason why.

    I do not give a fuck about what else he did. He he should have been hung for crimes against humanity.

    It is undoubtedly the lowest point in US history, bar none.

  8. SSs trying to teach me history about the Trail of Tears. Unbelievable.

    Seriously, SsS, look up trail of tears – Choctaw, and get back to me.

    That motherfucker needs to be erased from all the history books.

  9. “Men like General George Washington, General Andrew Jackson, General Ulysses Grant, and General Dwight Eisenhower. Didn’t do one fucking thing useful for this nation.” ——— SSS

    Straw man!!!!

    I think it’s pretty clear that the article, as am I, are talking about the MODERN era.

  10. Please look at the Milgram experiment.
    Not only the military or the police.
    It will be your neighbour, the person you see at the mass, the kindergander teacher…


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